Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Single White Male in Maputo

Living in a foreign country undoubtedly hurls you into a different cultural realm where you often have to set aside all of your preconceived notions of conventional practice and jump head first into new experiences and understandings. One of the many cultural differences that I have had to get used to here in Mozambique has definitely been the different culture of dating in this country. Living in Africa has really introduced to me for the first time the complicated dynamics of inter-racial dating. Now let me make myself perfectly clear, inter-racial dating, in and of itself, is not a problem. Where the problem tends to lie, however, is in the dynamic between “rich white man” and “poor African woman.”

Personally, my experience with dating Mozambican women has been more problematic than rewarding. This is not to say that such relationships cannot work. I only have to look at my friend Brenden and his lovely girlfriend Fiona or my boss Pierre and his amazing wife Astheline to see that people of different cultures can indeed make some harmonious music when joined together. The problem in Mozambique is that there is an overwhelming “Sugar Daddy” phenomenon between white men and black women and it is this phenomenon that is incredibly difficult to escape when a young Canadian boy wants to meet some local Mozambican ladies.

Mozambique certainly has no shortage of attractive women but unfortunately the intelligent and independent ones are overshadowed by the legions of girls seeking nothing more than the perfect Sugar Daddy. I would call these girls little more than pseudo-prostitutes and there are a plethora of them on the streets, the clubs, the restaurants and the cafes of Maputo. These girls don’t actually “charge” you anything to “be” with them but if you want to have them by your side you had better be prepared to foot the bill for everything she may desire.

I was quickly introduced to this reality back before Christmas when I was began dating a Mozambican named Joyce. She was quite attractive, funny and I enjoyed the idea of having a local girl to help me practice my Portuguese (everybody keeps telling me that this is the best way to learn another language after all!!). We had met innocently enough but it became quite clear very quickly that Joyce wanted to move right on in with this Canadian boy as soon as possible. She was 24 but had no real education and wasn’t doing anything other than going to driving school. Being with a women with no ambitions in life other than being a girlfriend, and who constantly asked for money for everything from drinks and clothes to taxi fares and cell phone credits, quickly lost its appeal. One night we were supposed to go to a big night club in Maputo with a bunch of friends but plans changed and we went to a house party instead. When Joyce found out that we were indeed not going clubbing she threw a huge tantrum, proclaiming that she was “wasting her time” with me. Needless to say, the Jared and Joyce relationship ended the following day.

There are so many Mozambican girls like Joyce in Maputo that they actually have counseling services for girls that get “dumped” by their Sugar Daddies. However, this service is not to help these girls turn away from such a lifestyle but rather to get them back on their feet in order to find a better catch. There is even a ranking system for Sugar Daddies with Canadian and Scandinavian men topping the list. This is apparently because the girls know that such men are rarely abusive and will provide for them financially for an indefinite amount of time in the event of an unwanted pregnancy. I hear that the bottom ranks on the list are occupied by Portuguese, South Africans and Mozambican men. I can hear the conversations now, “Hey did you hear that Violeta finally scored a Swede? Yes but poor Telma, still stuck with that Boer!”

The whole phenomenon gets worse when you see the disgusting age difference in some of the Sugar Daddy couples. It is next to impossible to go out on the town in Maputo and not see numerous old ex-pat men, many with wedding rings still on their fingers or conveniently left behind at home, pouring drinks down the throats of teenage Mozambican girls with their breasts pushed up so far they are nearly touching their chins. The worst case I ever saw was a sixty something Afrikaner lying on the beach with a sixteen year old girl sprawled out on his lap drinking lemonade and playing games on her cell phone. She seemed to be in an entirely different world as he continued to run his crusty old hands over her stomach and her back.

Other attempts of mine to get to know what I had originally thought were nice, intelligent, independent Mozambican ladies have also produced disappointing results. I really have no desire to play the role of the Sugar Daddy and am finding it difficult to get around this issue given the local expectations of what relationships with the White Man should entail. And although I have not closed the door entirely with Mozambicanas, relationships with female ex-pats have proven to be no less complicated here in Maputo. Our lives are too transient at this point I guess to make anything meaningful last…but I suppose I’m opening up a whole other issue here and this post is already way too long. In any event, the dating scene here in Maputo has certainly been full of many inspiring, confusing and eye-opening twists and turns that have certainly added some flavour to my life in Mozambique.


Blogger Sean said...

Jared, I'm on my way! Now with more of a purpose than to cut your hair - I want to be a sugar daddy!

11:36 p.m.  
Anonymous Patrick said...

Pimp'n all over the work

6:23 p.m.  
Blogger Elise said...

i'm shocked.had no idea things were like that over there!

5:55 a.m.  
Blogger Franklin Murangira said...

Will be there in a week's time

4:24 p.m.  
Anonymous unaiti said...

This article is extremelly problematic and not only shows one side of the story showing white men has victims and the black young mozambicans has predators which is rather decieving as well as gives plenty of space to create dangerous racist stereotypes about "african women"! People get what they look for! There are plenty of black, inteligent and independed women in Mozambique that do not need ANY mam to pay shit for them!

7:17 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jared,you're right, I have experienced this as well, most of the young floozies in Mozambique are a bunch of gold diggers, with no morals and integrity, not to mention any intellect they are so professional at what they do, it is as if they are trained in the art of it from a very young age. The comment from unati is a load of crap.

3:05 a.m.  

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