I used to go to school with this chap called George, one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, I swear. I met George during our freshman year at Hampton University. He was one of 5 other Ghanaians who had matriculated that year and he lived in James Hall.
Now what you need to understand about George is that he was the typical mamaba, and he stuck out like a sore thumb in James Hall. First of all, he had a typical Ashanti atiko (knot on the back of his head) and on a campus of cocoa-colored kids, he was the only coal-tar black one. George’s freshman dorm featured young Black men from all walks of life, but like most Black men, they had one goal: Not to look like a punk. Someone obviously had never sent my dear friend that memo. George would traipse off to the shower room in a peach bathrobe and powder blue shower caddy every morning, smiling a greeting his fellow dorm mates along the way. They would look quizzically at him, assuming that he was of course gay. George had (and I believe still has) a tremendous penchant for the gift of gab. He could talk to anyone about anything. In time, he quickly won over all those macho Black men and their overbearing male bravado.
As a mamaba, it was understood that George went to school to learn, and not waste time. He was more likely to have heard of Debussy than DMX. He distinguished himself academically very quickly. He took honors courses from his sophomore year all the way through graduation. In our junior year, he was selected to go to Europe for advanced physics courses and work-study over the summer. When he came back, he was ripe with stories and would regale us over dinner in the small cafe.
He told us how he had made fast friends with Stavros, another student doing the same course from some Slovak country…Romania or the Ukraine, I think. When George mentioned to him that we had quite a few students on our women’s tennis team from the same country, Stavros seemed pleased. He taught George how to greet these ladies cordially and encouraged him to shout out the greeting at the first opportunity. It was rather fortuitous then that Maria and Anna, two a senior and freshman tennis players that we were all acquainted with, walked into the cafe at that exact moment.
“Oh! Maria! Anna!” George chirped gleefully. He beckoned them frantically.
They walked over to the table to greet the rest of the bunch.
“I learned something in your language while I was in Europe this summer,” he proudly. They were both all smiles.
Their smiles faded.
“George,” said Maria sternly. “That’s not something you say to a lady…or any woman for that matter.”
Anna, the freshman was silent. She seemed shocked an uncomfortable.
“Why ever not?” asked George. “I was just saying ‘hello’!”
“That’s not how you say hello.”
“That’s what Stavros told me,” countered George.
“Who is Stavros?”
George explained who he was and their relationship.
“Well…what does it mean?” he finally asked.
Anna pipped up timidly this time.
“It’s a crude way of describing a female’s private parts.”
Mortified, his otherwise baritone voice reduced to an ear piercing squeal.
“Uhhhh!!!” he shuddered. “I’m going to kill Stavros when I see him again.”
Now, it is incumbent upon me to set the stage for you. This whole scenario is the equivalent of a clueless Swedish White guy sitting in the middle of Spelman’s campus screaming “COOCHIE!!!!” at two approaching athletic Black women. Not good…not good at all I tell you.
Ahh George. Say it with me everyone: KUUDA!!! Muahahaaha…cough…snicker!