REPERCUSSIONS OF A PLANNED EVENT

My weekend was pretty decent (thanks for asking); everything went as planned till the Pastor announced that there would be a meeting after service of all church workers and singles. As I happen to be both (yes I work in church, don’t act surprised), I had mixed feelings about waiting for another meeting because my initial plan was to head to Yellow Chilli and devour the seafood okra that I had been dreaming about all week.

The Pastor spoke softly to the singles of the church about the importance of being upright in the Lord and most of all abstaining from sex before marriage; he went on to talk about the consequences of premarital sex such as unplanned pregnancies, STD’s including the spiritual implications as he put it. Each time he speaks on this topic, I feel bad for him because about half of the ‘singles’ population usually has a smile on their faces knowing that other than the spiritual implications, they can protect themselves from getting pregnant or STDs but that’s not what I really want to talk about.

Towards the end of his speech, he mentioned the absence of a certain sister as she walked to the front with a protruding belly that must have been about 6-7 months old. Sister Cynthia was one of the few people who helped me settle into church, she became a member in her teenage years and grew to be a devoted church worker including being the assistant head of the singles’ fellowship, so you could imagine the surprise on the faces of a lot of members as she stood in front.  As the pastor continued to speak, I watched a lot of the ‘elders’ have the look of disgust on their faces, like she had committed the greatest sin of being pregnant. Most of them engaged in side discussions saying things like ‘She doesn’t even look remorseful’ ‘Can you imagine?’ ‘Who is the father?’ ‘She has brought shame to her family’ and I just wanted to turn around to give them a good piece of my mind but hey it wasn’t about me so I shut up and continued to listen to the pastor. 

It was easy to feel pity for her as she shed tears in front of the people but I knew Sister Cynthia, I knew it was all a scam, I knew this was all part of her master plan. I remember calling her on her 28th birthday to offer prayers of love and being found by the man whom she would become the bone of his bones; when I was done she said ‘Thank you Sister Gidi, I appreciate your prayers but I am no longer waiting, if I am not married by 30, I am getting pregnant and living my life’. Well here she was, 32, pregnant and single seeking approval from the people of God.

As part of the usual tradition, the pastor asked what punishment should be given to her and of course the over-zealous members offered all sorts from washing toilets to arranging the seats in addition to sitting at the back of the church for one month. One woman stood up to express her disappointment at the shame brought to the house of the Lord even though everyone knew she was planning a rush wedding for her 22-year-old son who got his 18-year-old girlfriend pregnant; of course she thinks no one knows but everyone knows nothing is a secret in the house of the Lord.  

After the ‘ceremony’, members walked up to Cynthia like it were a funeral, consoling her for her unplanned situation and offering words of wisdom. As expected, she kept up the act, put her head down in planned remorse and said how much she missed church.

When it got to my turn to ‘sympathise’, Cynthia smiled and said ‘Now that I am having twins, Mr Right can take his time to show up’

The Ghosts of Lagos

One of the things you notice in Lagos these days is the emergence of the roving ghosts by this I mean young men who walk around in white kaftans and drive range rovers (range rover sport in most cases). For some reason, the acquisition and constant ‘wearing’ of white kaftans and driving range rovers (and/or g-wagons) has become a status symbol representing new money and ‘arrival’ in Lagos.  The only problem is that in most cases (if not all) these ghosts are far from what they represent but simply an illusion.

A while back, I met a guy called Goke; he was a good-looking young man in his kaftan, tall, spoke very well with proper diction and drove a black Range Rover (I think the 2012 or 2013 not sure sha). It was an instant connection; he was educated, exposed and looked comfortable so as a young Gidi woman I was interested (abeg who no like better thing?). Anyway, after a few weeks of my new catch, I decided to tell Ada, a good friend, about him. If only you could see the look on her face when I recounted the ‘how we met story’ and the way she burst out laughing when I showed her Goke’s picture, it was official I was the fool in all of this because according to her, ‘I was definitely not his type’.

Goke had history; history with Ada and a lot of other women in Lagos that the mumu like me did not know. Apparently he was one of the ghosts of Lagos, constantly wearing a white kaftan appearing to be a Lagos big boy and drove around town (town being the Island) looking for his next victim. His victims usually range from the comfortable to rich women either by hard-work or by heritage, the type that lived the good life and all he had to do was spend a bit of money in the wooing stage before getting the money back with interest after she must have been smitten by him. As I am an ‘aka-gum’ when it comes to men, this automatically made me bad market for him…unfortunately for him, he didn’t know that.

To be honest, the signs were all there but somehow I ignored most of it because I was focused on the possibility of correct ‘broda’ as a toaster. From the beginning I noticed a few things like the constant wearing of the white kaftan, I remember teasing him about wearing this to the All Black Everything Party at Spice Bar in December, I got a few free tickets so I offered him one and Oga showed up in white to an all-black party, I was so irritated  because I had to wait for an additional hour in heels before the guards allowed us to get in, now that I think about it, I should have left his behind at the gate.

He said he lived in Lekki but somehow  I never got to see it because he was always at a friend’s place or some bar to hang out. Turned out that he had no place but stayed with different friends till they got tired of having him around.

He said he had a business, one minute it was oil servicing and the next it was estate surveying but he had a steady entertainment business to the side, and somehow had a lot of time to always be around me and be my ‘errand boy’ in the name of being there for me. I know that entrepreneurs control their own timing but at some point even they have situations that are beyond their control that needs to be sorted out before pleasure.

Back at the ABE party, dude was table crashing. You see, as a woman I am free to table crash but even I do not do that, I get pride small so I always buy my first bottle before going about looking for a friend that has a bottle of champagne to share. Goke on the other hand had no problem with table crashing from the moment he walked into the location, I just watched him as he wandered from one table to another hailing all the ‘celebrities’ and strategically placing himself next to their tables for free drinks. na wa!

He promised the world without my asking. AH! If you hear the kind of things he promised within a week of meeting me; trips to Seychelles, shopping sprees in Dubai, dinner at the eko hotel sky lounge sef. This dude had a lot of pending deals that he was going to get paid for ‘soon’ but as they say ‘the money na audio’, ordinary 10k I no see use pose.

He drove a Range Rover sport, yes I know this reason makes no sense but it’s kind of a coincidence that to rove means ‘ to travel constantly without a fixed destination’  and a wanderer Goke definitely was. According to Ada, his vehicle was his only ‘asset’ which was all part of his packaging that most women fell for.

Na God save me sha, I would have seen pepper in this Lagos but Ada never gave me her gist with him.. hmm

OPEN LETTER TO THE ISLANDER

Dear Mr Islander,

Since this is the era of open letters, I have a few things to say; actually I have a lot to say but will keep this as brief as possible because I need to get back to work (as that’s what pays my bills at the moment).

Since when did Mainland to Island become long distance? Often times I hear words like ‘I can’t imagine dating someone who lives on the mainland’ like the mainland has now become some area left behind for those suffering from leprosy.  As a matter of fact, I would like to know the genius that came up with the notion that a mainland-island relationship is now classified ‘long distance’. Last time I checked, it only takes 30-45 minutes to drive across the bridge to see someone you care about/love that lives on the other side. I admit that with traffic it could take a lot longer but let’s be honest the traffic on Ozumba is equivalent to the traffic on Third Mainland Bridge on some days; so unless you are looking for a booty call at 2am in the morning there is absolutely nothing long distance about it.

You go about saying you would never date someone who doesn’t live in Lekki, VI, and/or Ikoyi, but you are willing to date someone who lives in the ghettos of any foreign city because she is ‘abroad’ and has a watered down accent.  Have you been to Ikeja lately? Oh I’m sure you haven’t because you can’t imagine dating someone on the mainland. Well in Ikeja, we have almost everything that you can find on the island except a karaoke bar that allows us sing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, that’s because we are practical, like who really needs to sing that much anyway?. I agree that the crowd at these spots may be different from those on the island like the woman I saw trying to ‘price’ chicken at KFC in Surulere but you must admit that some of these experiences add to the spice of a wonderful and memorable date.

I am tired of you always telling me to ‘stop by’ ,‘pop by’ or ‘come over’ like somehow it is a shorter distance for me to drive from the mainland to the island than it is for you. It’s a 50/50 thing here so let’s meet halfway like at Yaba or Surulere, or maybe Lagos Island (Freedom Park can be a nice romantic spot on some days). Actually, I change my mind, stop being lazy and drive to Iyana Ipaja if I ask you to, do you even know where that is?

So hence forth, I shall no longer drive to our dates or accept to see a movie at The Palms or Silverbird. I will sit at home, wait for you to pick me up and then have you drop me back home after our date (don’t even think about offering to pay for a cab). Truth is, if you cannot cross the ocean for me then you’re not man enough. Shikena!

Yours faithfully,

Miss Gidi

MARRIAGE BY FAITH

My friend Cassandra is planning a wedding, her wedding. She has a date, a hall and her two wedding dresses. As a matter of fact, she’s been in contact with the designer and has paid part of her dress bill. The only problem is, Cassandra is not engaged, she’s not in a relationship and she doesn’t even have a potential suitor.
 
It’s perfectly normal to have your big day planned in your head, I know I have ideas of what I want and ideal locations for my future wedding whether in Lagos or outside, I once had a wedding scrapbook where I wrote down ideas and pasted pictures of the wedding dresses I wanted. I said I was planning my wedding by ‘faith’ but eventually kept the planning in my head especially since every quarter I had to change my mind on the dress I wanted. Even with all of this, I never thought of actually contacting a designer and paying down on the dress I would wear for my wedding day because one thing was missing…a fiancé.

Cassandra may sound extreme to you but she represents a number of women in and outside Lagos who are planning their weddings ‘by faith’. The bible says, ‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen’, therefore, Cassandra hopes for her wedding and now has the evidence of what is yet to be seen.
 
I remember watching the movie titled ‘Mrs Somebody’ starring Uche Jombo-Rodriguez and thought to myself ‘surely this is an exaggeration’ of what girls do to get married but today I officially apologize to the script writer and everyone else for that assumption because as I watched Cassandra show me her dress designs, shoes and her recent call log showing that she has been in touch with the designer and I could only worry for her well being and sanity. What happens if she is still single by her set date or if things may have changed that could affect the possibility of her getting married. I don’t want to sound like the party popper here but does anyone know tomorrow?
 
As I continued to ponder on Cassandra’s drastic measures, I came across this skit on YouTube by Yomi Black featuring Dolapo Oni (who is not a bad actress by the way) which had me laughing and thinking of the whole marriage by faith idea. Why have we become so desperate? By all means imagine your dream day and maybe have tentative plans in your head but contacting the designer and paying for a wedding dress when you don’t even have a boyfriend is somewhat disturbing.
 
I know this is a new year and girls are not smiling but abeg una suppose chill small….

 

AND WE SHALL MANHUNT IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD

Nigeria is full of young women, out of school, successful, entrepreneurial and ready to take on the world except that according to society, there is one major thing missing, the ‘MRS’ title. So they turn to random dates, recommendations from family and friends, the occasional social media hook-ups but most of all they turn to God and the church, hoping to find a man in the church, actually what I mean is going to church to find a ‘man’.
While having a conversation with a group of single Christian women, one of the things that came up was the search for a spouse especially one that had the ‘fear of God’. It amazed me that about 90% of the ladies on that table believed that the best place to manhunt was in the house of the Lord. Each of them had picked ‘popular Lagos church brands’ to be active members so they could be noticed by the eligible bachelors in the church. Like most validation stories go, everyone had their testimonies to share on how this had worked for Sisters Titi, Uju and Amina. Some others shared their strategy of attending different churches so they could meet different types of bachelors, from the happening Pentecostal church on the mainland to the Catholic one on the island that supposedly has a lot of ‘oil money’, I mean what better man to find than one that’s rich and loves God.
This is where I insert my disclaimer; I am not saying a church is not a good place to find the man of your dreams, after all we meet people in different spaces and places but what I am saying is going to church with the main purpose of finding a man is absolutely ridiculous and in a way a mockery of the church. So what happens if you find God and not a man in that church, do you switch churches, do you have an agreement with God, what exactly do you do?
I tend to liken a church to a hospital obviously not in every aspect but you could argue that they have certain similarities. A hospital is where you find people with various ailments, some severe and some not, looking for treatment from the doctor; very much so a church, where you find people with spiritual ailments, some severe and some not, looking for treatment from the ‘man of God’. But I haven’t heard of women choosing hospitals to go to because of the type of eligible bachelors that use them …well not yet as we know in Nigeria nothing is impossible and I have heard of a lady who applied to companies for a marriage progression instead of a career one.
* A lot of young women who have these motive of searching for a ‘money making, church going man’ most times fall prey to men who are in search of redemption themselves and end up with stories that touch the heart. It’s pretty much like attending Lagos weddings these days, it’s no longer about the couple but about the small chops (which I love) and the friends of the groom (male friends of course). In churches, it is no longer about God for some people, it’s about what and who they can get; everyone hiding behind the makeup, good clothes, bible quoting sessions and people throwing all caution in the air (especially single sisters) because in their words ‘he attends my church’ then he must be good.
I honestly would like to know who started this trend, when finding men became the main purpose of going to church and not finding God, when women got dressed, joined the choir or ushering departments so they could be noticed, yelled the loudest hallelujahs and offered to be prayer partners when they themselves needed prayers. Ok I think I am ranting now but maybe some churches need to edit the grace and end it with ‘and we shall manhunt in the house of the Lord forever and ever’….then again who am I to judge.

LOVE ON WHEELS

Lagos is back in full swing and by full swing I mean, the Israelite journey from the mainland to the island has begun. As a true lagosian that was unable to travel anywhere during the holidays, you learn to appreciate the free roads and somewhat smooth drives you have when most of the easterners have returned to their villages for the break. But this is not about that, it’s about something else. 
 
If there’s ever a time I would meet ‘the one’, I doubt it would be in Lagos traffic especially on a Monday morning. Yup I said it! There’s no way I would find love in traffic. One of my favourite driving past time is watching the facial expressions of those driving especially when trying to maneuver their way out of a bottle neck. It is absolutely hilarious ! 
 
Both men and women, married or single put on the ‘warrior’ face, clenching their steering wheels, occasionally tightening their lips and are often prepared to throw out insults at any sight of reckless driving that could damage or dent their cars. There’s absolutely nothing about being a gentleman or lady when driving in these streets of Lagos I tell you. 
 
I mean if I were a young man, I wouldn’t think of ways to ‘toast’ a babe on third mainland bridge or imagine toasting the fine babe that just kissed her teeth and spread her palm very wide insulting the other driver’s father in one word… ‘Waka!’
 
In Lagos, you need a traffic alter ego. The person you become the moment you start your car and begin  your day’s journey. This alter ego is most times far from the cute, nice and semi-innocent girl you want to appear as when a potential suitor looks your way. I’m yet to give a name to my traffic alter ego, but I can tell you that she’s rough, fast, stubborn and fearless…guess I’ll call her Charlene. 
 
People are often themselves when they drive as well, from picking noses to slapping weaves, you find all sorts that could deter anyone from getting to know the other.  Maybe someday I would hear of a couple that met while driving on traffic. I would really want to know what happened and how … But for now I know I wouldn’t even try to talk to Charlene if I were a guy. 

THE HYPOCRISY OF BORN AGAIN BROTHERS

Or maybe the title should be the problems with some born again brothers. You decide while I write 
 
I sincerely believe that some born again brothers have listened to one too many sermons on marriages and strange spirits that they have developed a phobia to commit. Instead of taking out time to know a woman as friends with no strings attached, they go the whole nine yards for a few months/ years before  claiming not to have gotten a confirmation from God or found inner peace as they walk away, breaking hearts and putting all the blame on God. But this is not about those brothers, it’s about the one that use this excuse as a trick to be players because we all know every girl wants a good Christian boy. 
 
Don’t get me wrong o, I understand the importance of getting the go ahead from God as a Christian but what confuses me is that these men do not seem to ask God’s permission before toasting the chic , making out with her and possibly having sex before saying oh God hasn’t given me a go ahead to commit. They conveniently forget all about God when they give in to their fleshly desires and then blame the devil for bringing such temptation their way. 
 
Someone needs to tell them that enough is enough. Enough with the hypocrisy and lies when all you want to do is sleep with chic and appear like a Godly brother while you’re buried inside her as she calls the name of The Lord in a not so Godly manner. 
 
And even if that’s not your intention then stay true to your belief by keeping your hands to yourselves when you get close to her. Do not come with the good boy angle only to walk away like a chicken with words like ‘our spirits don’t connect’ … Really though?! 
 
Before you step up to the chic biko pray from afar, get your confirmation or remain the brother in Christ. And if your mission is to be a heart breaker, remember these words 
 
What you sow is what you reap
 
Ok I am done ranting … 

SAY NO TO RECKLESSNESS!

“You look bigger in person, you must have been eating all the Nigerian delicacies since you got back”…

This, my friends,  was the first thing a young man said when he saw me in person after days of ogling over my Facebook pictures and listening to me speak on the phone. It was supposed to be our first date and just as I was about to sit down, he uttered those words. My reaction? Well, I smiled and started counting down to the end of the date (in my head of course).
Every woman (and some men) knows that with the right angle, you could look smaller in pictures, maybe not significantly smaller but the right pout could make your face slimmer than a full smile…Anyway, before you think I am HUGE, let me put the disclaimer out there; I am a UK14/ US10 and I happen to be 5ft 9.5 inches tall so technically I am not round in shape, a few extra handles that Shaun T’s Hip-hop abs can handle if only I would be disciplined and stick to the schedule but my weight or appearance is not the topic here.
It amazes me how reckless a lot of Nigerian men can be when they speak to single women, they are sometimes very quick to say things that could be offensive and insensitive without thinking of the consequence. I understand that we have a very ‘frank’ culture in Nigeria but in the dating world, this so called frankness doesn’t work.
After one conversation, they are quick to call you dear, hun and love which usually comes before the sexually awkward jokes that makes you try to recall exactly when you met this person in question. I am not a snob and I do enjoy a good joke but I find it difficult to understand why anyone would try to guess my cup size in our second conversation based on my BBM display picture. I wish I was exaggerating that scenario but somehow dude found a way to randomly guess my cup size while we were talking about the economic situation of the country (ok maybe not exactly that topic but you get my point), I remember looking at my blackberry screen when I saw the words ‘So you must be like a 38F right?’. Like really? Who does that? How does that affect the price of garri in the market? Or the Nigerian inflation rate? And to think I was fully covered in the picture in question, and no I am not a 38F!
Someone needs to let our men know that it is not right to say things without thinking, that commenting on any woman’s physical features, who you are not related or close to, can be awkward, offensive, insensitive and/or insulting; that a personal space is ‘personal’ and you shouldn’t see a need to stroke her weave or hold her waist when you technically have to right to; that calling her boo, dear, hun after your first conversation is a breach of personal space. And finally, even if you are thinking it, do not say it because now she’ll think you are an ass and would never return your calls or reply your text messages.
Needless to say Mr Nigerian Delicacies would not be hearing from me again…

THE CONTRACEPTIVE EXPERIENCE

I am yet to figure out what’s worse as a single girl in Lagos, walking into a pharmacy to buy a pack of condoms or walking into a pharmacy to buy the morning- after- pill popularly known as Postinor 2. One says ‘Yup, I’m active and protective’ while the other says ‘oops, I did it but I’m not trying to get pregnant’. Whichever the case, the look you get from the attendant is something that no young woman would want to experience.
 
In a country that is sexually active and you can tell from the number of children being born daily, I find it amazing how we are still very shy when it comes to talking about sex or acknowledging the fact that people do have sex in Nigeria. Sex education is something that is frowned upon and even adults pretend to live in ignorance on the matter. Like most things in Nigeria though, there is a double standard when it comes to sex.
 
Single guys do not understand what I mean by the pharmacy experience, because they proudly walk into the store or pharmacy, ask for a pack of condoms, pay with a smile on their faces and walk away, like nothing happened. To them it’s a normal experience and the only form of judgement they could get is the size of condoms they choose to buy (which is why most opt for the large and extra-large). For the single ladies on the other hand, it’s a whole new ballgame, you have to walk in, hover around the pharmacy, make sure there aren’t a lot of people around and then you ask in a quiet voice close to a whisper for a pack of condoms or the morning-after-pill. While doing this, you do not keep eye contact with the attendant because most likely they would be staring at you to take note of your face and as soon as you are given ‘the substance’, you quickly pay and walk away as fast as you can away from the store. God forbid, there is one married or elderly woman who watched your purchase…chei, if looks could kill?!
 
While guys can walk into the same pharmacy every week to buy different types and flavours of condoms, single women have to change location for the fear of being tagged as the ‘promiscuous ‘ girl or ‘ashewo’ (whatever word you fancy).  In most cases, they never use the types of Health Plus or Med Plus; instead they would rather go to the local ‘chemist’ who needs the additional sale anyway. In Nigeria stores/pharmacies, you learn that you’re being judged by what’s in your shopping basket/cart.
 
This is quite different when you have a ring on your finger though (by ring I mean if you are married) because in this case, you are just seen as a woman is not ready to have children and you will get the respect you deserve. I know this because I have tried this experiment and both experiences are very different I tell you. While most pharmacy/store attendants give you the judgemental look without the ring, with the ring on the other hand, they are quick to say ‘Yes, Ma’, ‘OK, Ma’ and if you push your luck, you could get recommendations too. It proves one thing that in Nigeria, everything sexual is okay as long as you are a guy or a married woman.
 
So to all the fellow single women in Nigeria, if you have a problem with the ‘look’ when you want to get your contraceptives, simply invest in a ‘fake’ wedding band and everything would be alright.
 
As they say, fake it till you make it. 

YOU CAN CALL ME MISS AMAZING…

Rare, one of a kind, one in a million, outstanding, incredible, a true friend…because apparently that’s what I have become, not like I am complaining but they are only names given to me by guys who have decided I am only good enough as a friend…yes my people, I have been friend zoned more than once in my lifetime.
 
I find it funny when guys claim women can never be friend zoned when in reality they say they are searching for a good girl while they have a ton of ‘amazing’ women around them that they have put aside as ‘too good for them’. My question is what the hell are you looking for? And why do you walk pass a good thing that’s staring you right in your face?
 
In the last few months, I have gotten the ‘thank you for being a good friend’ speech, ‘I have strong feelings for you’, ‘you are an amazing woman’ but somehow I am still single and the one that all these single young men come running to when they need emotional support. There’s something I am obviously doing wrong here and I need to find it and stop. 
 
My friends claim I am too nice, too entertaining and too tolerant, that men have a problem with women that are perfect and need a bit of drama in their lives. I am in no way saying I am perfect but is a sister supposed to be mean for the hell of it, like get upset for no reason, curse and cause an uproar just so she’s seen as dramatic enough for a relationship.
 
Others claim I am too smart, opinionated, too intelligent, and men don’t want a woman that knows more than they do so they would rather such a woman as a friend for intelligent conversation but nothing more. So what’s a girl supposed to do? Act dumb? Pretend not to know how many countries there are in Africa or that she doesn’t know how to use Google to join a conversation when she is absolutely clueless.
 
Honestly it is a bit difficult to understand why all the amazing women are single and the not so amazing ones are snagging up the men. This dating world is confusing i tell you but while we’re at it, you might as well put your best flaw forward…