A Simple Guide to Understanding Today's Ethiopian Woman

No, it did not have to get this ugly this early; and we at SELEDA take full responsibility for capitulating so easily to (choose one:) emotional blackmail/jeers/provocations and we think even thinly-veiled threats, which have resulted in us agreeing to address, er,  "issues" between Ethiopian men and women. (Frankly, we are shocked, shocked that there even are any.) While we are anxious to foster peace and harmony between the genders, we must admit to feeling a little queasy, not to mention grossly ill-equipped, at being appointed the vanguards of such highly sensitive matters. (Apparently we are being mistaken for responsible adults, which must alarm at least some of you.)

However, let it never be said that we shied away from a challenge. So, treading very carefully, we have risen to this one to recklessly go where no sane editors have gone.

With the help of Ethiopian women throughout this fair land, we have hereby compiled The List. SELEDA, of course, righteously absolves itself from the wrath of chagrined Ethiopian men everywhere, and encourages them to come up with a counter-list for Battle of the Sexes: Part II.

SELEDA Women Speak...

OK, gentlemen. You're confused. The line has blurred. The "relationship thing" between us used to be so much less… icky. Now, yebass bilachiu, we hear some of you are yearning for the 'bengna gizay' days when it was perfectly acceptable to kidnap ('metlef') women and use us as bargaining chips in land deals. ("I'll take four hectares and that pretty li'l thing right there.")

Unfortunately, these days, that little stunt might get you slapped with a restraining order or two. So, in the interest of welcoming  in the new Millennium with all festering confusions purged, we, concerned SELEDA women, have compiled this little list for our husbands and the men we love… may they never meet. :-)

Observe, if you will, the rules:

 Never, ever start any, any, ANY sentence with "Endet set lij wonesh…".

  We take affairs of the heart and bad hair days very, very seriously.

 It is not your inalienable right to get first dibs at front section of the newspaper...always.

 We let you win in Trivial Pursuit. What's wrong with letting us win in sports?

 Love your Veal Sauté Zurichoise. Can't understand why the kitchen ends up resembling Jan Meda in the aftermath of a Timket celebration whenever you cook.

 "No" means: "Not on your life, buster!"

You like Hobbes. We think he is a misanthropic moron. It's called a difference of opinion, and not a supreme affront to your manhood. We don't always have to agree on intellectual matters.

 We want soulmates.

 Please, no sudden moves. Some of us are kick boxers.

One more time: Golf is a colossal waste of time. And every chance we get, we will use your nine iron as a door wedge.

We exercise post-feminist double standards when it comes to car troubles, getting rid of vermin and ROTH IRAs: the last vestiges of AMD (All Man Duties).

 James Bond is a dork.

 Kenny G is a bigger dork.

We don't care what you've read: intelligent women know when you are playing the "When-in-doubt-buy-her-stuff" card.

Starting a fight because someone dissed 'your' woman is the lowest, creepiest and most repelling courting protocol ever! If you want to fight for women's honor, volunteer at a shelter.

Handle it with grace when we pick up the check. We just think it's fair… especially if we make more than you.

 No, it is not fair that Valentine's day is geared to us. But neither is 36 hours of labor.

 Yes, we think that men driving ridiculously expensive cars are trying to compensate for something.

 Don't refer to us as "eswa" or "ledjetwa". Suitable alternatives are "yene emebet", "yene konjo" or "hodaye".

If you can't remember the day you asked us to marry you, don't expect us to remember when we had the oil last changed.

While we are at it...Definitions 101. "The Sensitive Man:"  Noun. It's when you trust us enough to be vulnerable with your inner-most soul. Begrudgingly admitting that you once let a Geo cut you off-- that's a symptom of a sociopath. Try not to confuse the two.

If you want strong, independent women, seek out strong, independent women. If you want vacuous, self-centered women, seek out vacuous, self-centered women. Never confuse the two.

We say what we mean, and mean what we say. If you think that's a bluff, call us on it.

Honor, respect and  love will infinitely get you further with us than your skill to tell apart a Bordeaux from and a Burgundy.

 It's a quirk we have: we would rather get there in one piece than 5 minutes early.

Misogyny, along with silk suits, black sneakers and CK briefs are unacceptable.

Learn the words to Muluken's song, "Sewinetwa".

 Don't ask if you don't want to be told.

 A good pair of Salvatore Ferragamo shoes say a lot about you.

Under penalty of a slow and painful death, thou shalt not order a single more gadget from the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog.

 Our credo... "Negerin ende Derg jeep gelit-lit argo mawrat new".

 No, no, for the last time: no, we did not mess with the sound equilibrium thingy on your stereo. We have yet to figure out which one of those million buttons turn the darn thing on!

Don't pay attention to nefarious rumors that chivalry is dead. We find it charming.

Despite our cute little temper tantrums, and by gosh they are cute, know that we love our Ethiopian men: we love your unique sense of humor, your dedication to family, your work ethic and the way you mashkormem us.

 We want to make you happy.

  We want you to make us happy.


Chin up, guys! You are playing in the Big Leagues. We assume we are playing with Big Boys.

"Ko-ko-ko-ko-ko! Wonde yetedeferebet hager!" Men, we feel your pain. Unite and send in your annonymous contributions for "Battle of the Sexes: Part 2" to Seleda@yahoo.com.