Hailey Brown’s Memoir-Episode 5

Family Systems Theory

Dear memoir wrote Hailey, Today was an emotionally intense day. I had to sit with Owi and his friend, Nuhu as I listened to them yak about their interpersonal problems. Why did I take up this job of being an amateur shrink? Hailey wondered.  She closed her eyes and leaned back into her armchair, allowing the events of the day gone by drift before her mind’s eye.

“Babe,” said Owi, “I have a few problems I want to share with you. I know you are wise so you will find me a way out of them.”

“Hmph!” snorted Hailey. “My perspective is valuable and I don’t dish out advice for free. What are you willing to do in exchange for my wise counsel?” She looked at him under half-closed eyelids.

“Ah ahn!” Nuhu, Owi’s bosom friend cut in. “Can’t you even do something for nothing?” They all stood outside her apartment, with Hailey on one side of the low fence.

“Pay her no attention,” snapped Owi. “I know she likes money so much. Ask her now, she’d tell you that she’s a businesswoman!”

“I can see that.” His friend replied. “Anyway, what can we reasonably do in exchange for your perspective, young lady?” He asked pleasantly. He shifted from one foot to another, as he felt uncomfortable wearing his shoes all day long.

“Nice guy!” she said approvingly. “Why don’t we go to Emac restaurant down the road? I want to sample their Sweet and Sour Pork with Fried Rice.”

“You see just how greedy Hailey can be?” Owi grumbled.  “What are friends for?” He turned to Nuhu with a shake of his head.

“Take it or leave it. I have some laundry to do and I came out when I heard the bell. If you want me to leave my laundry for you, you’ll have to make it worthwhile.”

“OK, OK, let’s go to Emac. But I have very little money on me.” Her friend complained.

Vanamos! That’s why there’s something called POS, Owi! Don’t be a stingy guy!” She laughed as they hailed a cab to Emac restaurant.

Once there, the trio was led to a table for three. As Owi peered at the menu, trying to make up his mind, Hailey placed her order for Sweet and Sour Pork with Fried Rice. Nuhu eyed the waitress with a gleam in his eye as he ordered a glass of Bloody Mary.  The trio sat in silence until she asked abruptly,

“So what is so important that you want me to find you a way out?”

“Ermm…” Her friend was at a loss for words. Nuhu nudged him and he resumed his request.

“I have noticed that I don’t have a way with women, Hailey! It seems like none of them wants me.” He ended sadly.

“How do you know that none of them wants you? I want you so bad, I am willing to pay for your company the very instant you stop wearing this silly suit you have on right now!” She laughed.

“You’re breaking my friend’s heart with your sarcasm,” Nuhu observed. “We didn’t come here to be laughed at. So tell us, what helpful advice do you have for him?”

Hailey was silent for a moment. She took a sip of her Chapman, swirled it in her mouth before swallowing it and spoke dramatically.

“I have observed Owi for a very long time. I think he is a very lonely young man, who gets attached to women very easily. That is the genesis of his problems.”

“How? I am a man. Men don’t get attached to people as easily as you make it sound.”

“Really?” She laughed. “Wasn’t it you who used to visit me every evening, stay until it’s quite late and I tell you I want to go to bed?”

“That means I like you, not that I am attached to you.” He retorted.

“And whenever we chat, don’t you poke me, sometimes unconsciously?” Hailey returned. Owi’s order for a bottle of malt came and he sipped it thoughtfully.

“So is it a bad thing to get attached to people very easily?” Nuhu asked. “Don’t you women complain about guys who act cold and unfeeling? Can a woman ever be satisfied?” He spat.

“Calm down!” She smiled at him. “There is nothing inherently wrong with getting attached to people, but it is not helping my friend. He does this because he has issues at home!”

“Issues at home?” Nuhu wondered. “He never told me about them. I feel surprised to hear this.” He compressed his lips.

“Yeah. He sees his Dad as some kind of monster, who does lots of horrible things. He has complained of his father’s controlling tendencies and how his Mum had to bring them up without much help from the man. This makes him have lots of emotional issues.”

“Hailey, when I want help, I don’t want some sort of Dr. Phil analysis of my early life.” Owi snapped. “Can you just get to the point?” He glared at the young lady seated at the table.

“What’s with the cold look you’re giving me? I’m getting to my point, just be patient, OK?” She waved her chopsticks at her angry friend.

“Hailey thinks that many people who have problems at home try to fill their inner void by making lots of friends and looking for a romantic partner to complete them.

Such people use this as a support for the help lacking at home.”

A child screamed across the restaurant and everywhere was silent for a moment. Its mother hushed the child and within a few moments, the background music from the loudspeakers could be heard once again.

“Even if Owi has problems at home, does that mean he is sentenced to women not wanting him?” His friend wondered.

“Not at all. In a bid to fill his inner void, Owi overestimates the depth of an association. This is made worse by the fact he refuses to embrace his shadow self.” Hailey observed.

“How do I overestimate the depth of an association? Are you indirectly saying that I’m not as close to you as I think?”

Hailey sneered at her friend. She was enjoying his obvious discomfort. Nuhu pleaded with his eyes for her to continue her observation. She went on.

Hailey makes Owi realize that it is the nature of the activities and interactions engaged with someone that determines how seriously she will take you, not the tag friend to the association!

“I remember you once told me that all women like is money. That if a man doesn’t have lots of money, women won’t touch him with a bargepole. Am I right?” She queried her friend.

“Eh ehn now!” Owi agreed eagerly. “All the women I’ve dated want their Brazillian hair, jaunts to the shopping mall, getaways, and lots of gifts. It’s almost like that’s the basis of the relationship: money!”

“Why won’t they?” Hailey retorted. “Does it make sense for a man to go after a woman who is used to receiving such gifts from her previous boyfriends? Do you think the so-called love will douse her appetite for the good things of life?”

“Even you? I thought I would have your sympathy. It seems like you encourage your girlfriends to be golddiggers, young lady!”

“Like I was saying,” she continued as if no one had spoken, “You meet such women and offer to take them to the Goat meat peppersoup joint, instead of an upscale restaurant like where we are now.” Hailey waved her hands at their surroundings. “When you get there, you fish around in your pockets as you produce #200 and #50 notes, further reinforcing her impression that you don’t have much to offer her.”

“I see men do that a lot. is anything wrong with that?” Nuhu asked.

“Depends. Anyway, when this lady agrees to date you, both of you spend the greater part of your time together in that dingy apartment of yours. She hears you talk about how you have to stretch your salary till the next payday, in between your ramblings about Osho’s writings.” Hailey paused and looked meaningfully at the two men over her glass of Chapman. She took a handful of ice cubes and added them to her drink.

“Well?” They both cried impatiently. “We don’t have all day!”

“I’m here to eat and drink, remember?” She laughed. “Yeah, so this leads me to the fact that outwardly, the lady calls you her boyfriend, but in reality, she sees you as someone she amuses herself with!”

“That’s cold.” Nuhu said. “Why can’t they see Owi as their boyfriend? After all, he pays them regular visits!”

“Fact of life.” Hailey returned drily. “I think both of you are somewhat late to the school of life. In the school, it says that people value others based on the nature of activities and interactions they engage with you, not based on whether they outwardly call you their friend!”

Please explain that statement. It sounds profound.” Owi begged.

“Profound?” Hailey laughed as she took a mouthful of her Fried rice. “Yeah, I guess.” She shrugged.

“I mean that to gauge the depth of your associations aright, you will want to always bear in mind the nature of your interactions and activities with someone else. Don’t think of people in terms of roles, like friend, date, boss, mother, wife, etc.”

“Who does that?” Both men cried.

“Many people do. It’s the failure to understand this that makes many live-in couples divorce shortly after they get married. The way each viewed the association changed the moment they used the word husbandwife to describe their interactions.”

“I agree with your facts. But how does this relate to my case?” Owi asked as he tapped his fingers on the table.

“I’m trying to tell you that for many women, they can’t take you seriously based on the nature of interactions and activities you have with them. When nearly all your time with them is spent complaining about money, interspersed with ramblings about Osho, they can’t see that as a real relationship.” She pointed out. “They’d just see you as that weird dude without any money, whom they go to for an ego boost!”

“Ouch.” Nuhu winced. “That hurt.” He drank his Bloody Mary in silence as Hailey tried to organize her thoughts.

“What we’re concerned with is the way forward.” Owi said.

“I agree. But you can’t have the way forward without understanding that good and bad can exist within the same woman. How? You find something about these golddiggers attractive. This exists with their love for money.”

“What does Owi even find attractive about these fake girls?” His friend wondered.

“I like their appreciation of beauty, their diction, their ambition, and their domestic abilities.”

“Good. Now, you can see that these qualities exist beside their love for money, and this avarice of theirs doesn’t lessen their good qualities.” Hailey said as she raised her glass.

“That’s true.”

“Instead of expecting that such women will see you as their boyfriend just because you went up to them and said Hey, lady, you look amazing! I think your Mum must be a very beautiful woman, both of you went to a goat meat peppersoup joint and she gave you her phone number, find out how to be marketable to such women!” Hailey advised.

“But what’s wrong with that approach?” Nuhu asked.

“If you met a guy who told you he liked your clothes as they make you look dapper, both of you drank some beer together and he took your phone number, would you see him as your friend, based on that kind of interaction?”


“OK, Hailey, how do I become marketable to such women?”

“You believe in God, right?” Owi nodded.

“You say your prayers every morning, right?” Hailey asked Owi, who nodded again.

“Then pray to him to show you how to be marketable to such women!”

“Ah ahn na,” Nuhu complained. “If the solution you had was prayer, why did you make us spend all this money on you?”

“Chill, aiite! He can read my blog post on being friendly and marketable.” Hailey told him.

“Anyway, it’s time for me to take a dance class. See y’all later!”

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