Avoiding Tief Head and Tabanca

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These days, Alicia Keys is to be blamed for loads of people getting a serious chain up where love is concerned.

Blast “Unthinkable (I’m Ready)” on your speakers at least once, and you’re left daydreaming about that guy or girl you like. Oh, how sweet it would be if they were to call you and say, “I was wondering maybe, could I make you my baby”. If only…

To avoid a serious case of a tief head, please don’t listen to Alicia, or if you do, quickly buss a gangsta rap or Movado tune immediately after. Trust me, hardcore lyrics will send you right back to reality, and dispel all hallucinations about the object of your affection.

The name of the song is “Unthinkable” after all, and, well, in most cases, your wish just ain’t gonna happen.

Imagination is a great friend, but it’s also a top rate, chain up artist.

Single or committed – you’re fair game for a tief head. It’s hard for people to chain you up about your money and other earthly possessions, but when it comes to matters of the heart, we can fall for almost anything. Sometimes we can’t even blame the ‘tief’!

‘Single or committed – you’re fair game for a tief head’

We tief our own head, and let our imagination run away with us.

How many women dream about a beautiful wedding, and how their boyfriend will pop the question in the most magical way possible? Admittedly, most people (men and women, but mostly the ladies) may think of how they’d like their wedding to be, but when your dream starts to consume you, and your significant other isn’t even thinking of joining the engaged train, you’ve got to reel yourself back in.

Trust me. There are people who plan weddings, booking the venue and the whole nine yards, and they haven’t been proposed to as yet. Get those dreams of posting a wedding album on Facebook or your photo appearing in the Saturday Express out of your mind.

Wait for it to actually happen before you let yourself get carried away. I know, easier said than done.

You can’t help but think of how your kids would look with that cute guy you’ve been nursing a major crush for. Will they get his nose and your eyes? Oooh… your bone structure would merge perfectly together, as long as they don’t get Grandpa’s big nose, right? Chile… when you start to think like that, it’s time to take the elevator back to earth.

Women are famous for tiefin’ their own head, and are left nursing tabancas, with best friends rushing to their aid. Guys, they tend to keep their options open (blame it on social conditioning – girls look for Prince Charming; guys sow their oats until they find ‘the one’). But when a woman sees a guy she wants, she zones in. She’s enamoured, and she analyses everything he says, interpreting it in the most palatable way.

‘Guys tend to keep their options open’

“Babes I eh see yuh in 51 last night, ah miss yuh” suddenly means “babes I does hug up my pillow whole night pretending is you”. ‘I like you” probably also means that in about a year or two, he might consider buying a diamond for you (O_o).

Ladies, if a guy calls you frequently or dreamt about you, this doesn’t mean he’s ready to devote the breath that he breathes to you. Only Maxwell does that (and yes he calls me frequently… *snickers*).

Then there’s the classic “well he only tells me certain things, and can’t talk to other girls like how he can talk to me”. That doesn’t mean he considers you the oracle of his life. We tend to ascribe way more “specialness” to ourselves than the other person does. Just because he can talk to you comfortably doesn’t mean in the end he’ll choose you over others (people are fickle like that).

Emotions have a way of sweeping us up, and removing logic from our thought process. Sometimes your “unthinkable” dream of romance may be quite possible, but after listening to a few dreamy R&B tunes, you get impatient; you want it now, and can’t wait for the other person to be ready.

That’s when your “I was wondering maybe, could I make you my baby” gets a full-on brace because you’ve popped it too soon.

Now don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a rant against romance (I’m a believer). This is for the people who daydream about love with no tangible evidence of reciprocity from the object of their affection.

Reciprocity is key. While you don’t want to have a tit for tat approach to love, you don’t want to be the only one giving. Women easily fall into the trap that if you like or love somebody you must give them your all – even if they don’t do the same for you.

‘Reciprocity is key’

Men rarely make you the axis on which their earth spins, especially if you’re not exclusive, and even some who are supposedly exclusive don’t (but let’s not go there now). Most men tend to wait until they’re sure about you before they start to get seriously carried away.

As my friend Susy says, “Man doh lie, woman does lie to theyself plenty times when it comes to love”.

Don’t stop liming with friends, change your schedule, or turn down dates with others in case he calls, so you’re free to accept. That leaves you wide open for a set-up and disappointment.

Look at his actions, and make sure you look out for certain signs from early on.

Don’t mistake red flags like possessiveness and aggression as passion or devotion. To quote Susy: “Doh take the whole ‘I have no boundaries with you’ mamaguy. A person with no boundaries is dangerous”.

Set boundaries. You’ve got to know what you will and will not accept, and, while some of that will change, some never will. See, because if you’re really toutoulebay, when homie approaches you with the “unthinkable”, you’ll swoon and fawn, and when the $%^& hits the fan, we all know how that’ll go down.

As Terror Fabulous says, woman want “action, not ah bag ah mouth”.

‘Woman want action, not ah bag ah mouth’

Be practical. If you want lyrics, throw on some Brian Mc Knight or Marvin Gaye.

Whatever you do, don’t let Alicia tief your head. She’s been doing it throughout her career, with you getting butterflies, and convincing yourself that you don’t want nothing at all, if you ain’t got ‘him’, when the object of your affection probably doesn’t even know your name.

Yes, you’ve told yourself no one can get in the way of what you’re feeling, but drink some kool aid, and slow your roll.

If you’re getting to know someone, take your time and enjoy the process instead of rushing to get that “wifey” status.

It might be hard to do, but it’s better in the long run, if you want to avoid heartburn.


Image credit: Zoe Fortune.


Karel Mc Intosh

Karel Mc Intosh is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Outlish Magazine. She's also the Lead Communications Trainer at Livewired Group, where she conducts workshops in business writing, social media, and other communications areas. A real online junkie, when she isn't surfing the Internet, she's thinking about surfing the Internet. Find out more about her here or tweet her @outlishmagazine.


  1. observer

    July 12, 2010 at 2:39 am

    Isn’t unthinkable about a woman desiring a man who is attached? hence the entire thing being so ‘unthinkable’?

    BUT if he says it’s on, she’s ready…even if people may think her/them crazy.

    “Time is only wasting why wait for eventually” as in Eventually he will leave his wifey.”Why give up before we try, feel the lows before the highs” etc. etc.

    I heard the tune was turning into a kind of horner woman anthem in TnT.It’s also gaining traction with the Lesbian community, go figure.

    I think that Trinidad society should embrace Wives and Mistresses the way Latin American and Spanish societies have. Much more open, and marriages seem to last longer.

    Anyways…I gone dey.
    Looking forward to an article centred around : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_SI2EDM6Lo

  2. This Trick

    July 12, 2010 at 3:25 am

    Well I know this is tru for me but ur right some gurls go lil too far, but guys know what to say and when to say it to keep you hanging on, then to find out da fool was just wasting my damn time, but I have learned not to fall for the shit anymore, so tabanka who me never??

  3. Aisha De Bique

    July 12, 2010 at 3:48 am

    Women very often don’t seem to know the difference between a man who is good to sleep with and one who is worth marrying.Let’s face it ladies-the key to avoiding ‘CHAINUP’ is knowing the difference.Some men are REALLY good in bed(and even if you don’t sleep with them-you imagine that the sex will be MIND BLOWING)-but are not at all MARRIAGE MATERIAL.The women who want to get married have to be careful that they don’t waste time and energy pursuing men who will make unsuitable husbands and fathers.It’s about being practical.Some women seem to get a rush from pursuing men who how have no intention of settling down(with them or anybody else for that matter).A toy friend is a toy friend is a toy friend-don’t try to make something out of nothing.If it’s marriage you want, go after men who will make great spouses.Just a word of advice ladies…some of the men you would never consider romantically-because you think of them like ‘brothers’-may very will make the best husbands.

    • Miguel_de_bique

      July 11, 2012 at 2:08 am

      Good point. However from observation and my personal experience, being a good ‘brotherly’ spouse and father is not enough to hold the interest of the female partner, if the decision to marry was based solely on the practical reasons you mentioned . and in some cases will lead to the female partner finally relenting from inhibiting her true desires and having a sleep with that toy friend that can provide that mysterious MIND BLOWING sex.

  4. Randumb Thinker

    July 12, 2010 at 4:04 am

    @ Observer,

    You make a good point but those women fall smack dab in this category as well. Even women who men tell ‘Aye girl, I jus cool limin with you, I like the way things are at the moment’ as in the case of break your heart, often get caught up.

    Truth be told I think that just makes them want to be with the man even more, because they see it as a challenge. My remedy, remind them every two – three weeks…. ‘Listen, I know you said you want to go with the flow, but right not the flow aint flowin into a relationship’… as I said, the reality check wares off, but at least it gives them the opportunity to say ‘well I dont like this, and I am not waiting around anymore’

    I also know a few older single women who have adopted the ‘spanish’ attitude you are talking about because they have been through all the heartache already, and when they find someone they like their view of what men are like is a lot more accurate than the younger women in the market, so they say ‘boys will be boys’ and move on… it may hurt them, but they are not going to try to change the guy.

  5. Christine

    July 12, 2010 at 4:14 am

    I completely agree with this article. One time too many we as women allow ourselves to get caught up with these ideals. We allow ourselves to think that if we fantasize about the “possibility” it may eventually turn in2 reality.
    In the end, what it all comes down to is being honest with yourself and trusting your gut. There’s ALWAYS that voice telling you “You’re fooling yourself” but for the most part, we’d prefer to suppress it. This article is a lil reminder why we need not suppress it, but trust our gut.

  6. karel

    July 12, 2010 at 4:14 am

    Another thing I practise is playing in my league. If I know homie way too bright for me, in terms of he has tricks up his sleeve or way smooth at the player thing, I doh even bother. Safer is saner.

  7. Trini

    July 12, 2010 at 4:58 am

    i think all female secondary school students should read this

  8. Cherrie

    July 12, 2010 at 7:22 am

    I think this article is spot on. I have been the victim of tief head too and as I look back I see it was me making a lot more of the situation than there was. I have learned since – “Listen to what they do – not what they say”

  9. cant admit my name next to this post...lol

    July 12, 2010 at 8:29 am

    well Karel, perfect timing with this article lol. Just back from my break in Tenerife and think I have a case of the tief head….very unusual, think it’s the island’s fault….not mine of course. And i went to attend a wedding….so there was a lot of daydreaming and oppotunity to get a case of the tief head!

  10. sjohnson

    July 12, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Thanks God for my older brothers. They always guided me and broke down the guy codes. I got expert enough to sense ah “Mr.Tief Head” around the corner.

    I agree with De Bique, why run down a man to marry who is known for not settling down! Do you have a magical butterfly down there to make him husband material all of a sudden? Who fooled you and told you that?

    Sad thing is these toy friends do not give you toy Aids, is the real deal full blown. As women, we have to stop using the lyrics in music to guide our love lives. If I did that, then I may have been with man number 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 already. Trinidad is a small place yuh dig?

  11. Nicole

    July 12, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Ok so you made me a laugh out loud – literally. But you’re spot on girl. And girlfriends = ENABLERS! lol.

    Not always a bad thing, but a really good friend will tell you when to snap back to reality.

    We might not listen, but sometimes we need to hear it.

    Loved this piece!

  12. Laura

    July 12, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Good article Karel. Sometime ago I wrote a piece about how to spot a playa. And one of the men I spoke to said he is always up front with women, he tells them that he just wants sex, that he not looking for nutten else but because he treats women quite nice, plenty of them forget that is just sex he on and start acting like they in a relationship, making demands and ting until he just gets fed up and cuts them loose. Women need to stop fantasizing and pay attention to what the men say and do and stop thinking they’ll be the one to get him to settle down. That way nobody head will get tief.

  13. Miss-Leading

    July 12, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    There aren’t enough good/great guys to assist in avoiding the ‘Tief Head’ and possible ‘Tabanca’. This article was well written though!

    I’m left to wonder however, who…Who are we going to marry?
    ‘Husband material’ is…scarce and SOMETIMES it APPEARS – with the help of an artist like Ms. Keys – that a leash and some training will do the trick.

    I’m looking forward to an article that highlights the reality of our options as women in T&T, and how we’re going to deal with, or, are dealing with that reality. Thus far, (in my opinion) soaring on an emotional high, until doomsday, SEEMS to do the trick.

  14. MG

    July 13, 2010 at 1:27 am

    The older I get the more I find the cliches we all dismissed are true. The more distant you are with a man, the more he runs you down, the worse you treat him, the more he wants you. When he know you’re home hoping he’ll call or pass by he will put on his clothes and lime with the boys. Let him only know you out liming – and with a next man to boot – and he jijjery. It’s all well and good to say you don’t want to play games but girls, plenty of dem playing whether you in on it or not. The key is to see what’s actually there, not what you want to see. This over-analysis thing we does do “he hand accidentally brush mine last night when he pass me oh GOD HE LOVE MEH” is a serious self chain-up. If a man wants you, trust me, he will make his signals strong and clear. Any kinda ambiguity is a sign of being on folly. He like yuh, but he want to be able to pull back if he wants to. And THAT type of man barely putting on a condom, far less for a ring on yuh finger.

  15. mrichards

    July 13, 2010 at 7:34 am

    It’s interesting to see the female perspective on this. Too bad most women don’t listen even when the man makes his intentions clear. I think somewhere deep down inside women have this hope that they can change a man’s mind. On the flip side, most men are not completely opposed to the idea of marriage but let it be on their terms. Focus more on just enjoying the company and if the man realizes that he enjoys the time spent with you more than with anyone else then the proposal may not be far behind. Just take it easy and let it progress naturally and don’t try forcing the issue.

  16. knycky

    July 17, 2010 at 6:52 am

    @Trini ALL WOMEN SHOULD READ THIS, not just secondary sch girls. That said ah *going and stop Jah Cure’s Unconditional Love dat ah had on repeat since ah meet de man* smdh.

    *Giggles as I leave de room*

    Great one as usual Karel! Buyacaah!!!

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