MY ASO-EBI RANT

We are barely through with the first quarter of 2014 and I now have a total of 10 weddings to attend…not 1, not 2 but 10; make that 9 because I attended the first one last weekend (that’s a whole different story). Before you think I am the wedding Grinch, let me state that I am actually very happy for all my friends that are getting married and I am also tapping into the ‘anointing’ of finding love and the happily ever after that comes with it. However, with weddings come expenses not just on the family but also on the friends of the couple like having to buy the wedding aso-ebi.

It would be unfair to assume everyone knows what the aso-ebi is so let me explain myself. Aso-Ebi is a Yoruba term, which literally translates to family cloth, as Aso means “cloth” and Ebi means “family.” Traditionally, aso-ebi was the fabric which members of the same family wore to identify themselves at events such as weddings and other ceremonies.  At a wedding, for example, members of the groom’s family would wear a particular aso-ebi fabric, while members of the bride’s family wore a different one. Through the years, the aso-ebi tradition has now become something for both friends and family and has spread across all tribes in Nigeria and maybe Africa.

Honestly, I don’t have a problem with buying aso-ebi but I have a problem with the pricing of these fabrics and the differentiation of non-asoebi wearers at any wedding.  In most cases, the family of the couple significantly increase the price of these fabrics with the motive of covering the wedding costs but where do you draw the line from adequate pricing to pure exploitation. Then at the weddings, non-asoebi wearers are treated as the rebellious friends with their presence almost insignificant to the big day

In the past, couples would be buried in gifts of all shapes and sizes but these days friends almost forget to bring gifts for the couple due to many reasons, one of them being the amount of money they may have spent prior to the wedding itself. As a friend of the bride, you are either paying for the bridal shower, or the bridesmaid’s dress or the often overpriced aso-ebi.  I mean after you may have spent a minimum 50,000 naira for a friend’s wedding, what else do you want to buy for them again? Call me cheap but mehn a lady works hard for her money and some of these things are over budget. Let’s not even talk about getting a make-up artist because these days amateur make-up does not cut it, getting new shoes, having your hair done or gele tied by a professional, or requesting custom-made jewellery to match your outfit. The total cost of only being a guest seems to be increasing with each wedding. If I had to spend 50,000 per wedding and with a total of 10 weddings in 2014, I am looking at almost 500,000 naira on just looking good at weddings that are not mine… that’s someone’s yearly salary o.

Gift for the bride’s first meal for her husband maybe?

I often wonder why there is so much hype about having aso-ebi or buying the aso-ebi of a friend when in most cases, the outfit is worn only once and left in the wardrobe for many months to years. Most times, I ask for the colours of the wedding and strategically get an outfit in that colour so I can always repeat it at a later date but the problem with that is when I get to these weddings, I am never identified as a friend of the couple and end up hustling for everything including small chops (imagine!)

On that note, even though I do not totally agree with the aso-ebi hype and overpricing, I am willing to buy if and when the aso-ebis make sense and to support my friend getting married. I must admit though, they make wedding pictures look really nice and rich. 

SISI HOT LEGS

They say ‘if you’ve got it flaunt it’ and that’s exactly what I had in mind when I decided to  wear my burnt orange one-handed short dress on Saturday. After one week of working hard and feeling ‘unsexy’, I decided that was going to be the day I go all out. This may not be a big thing to you but for me it’s huge because I am more of a conservative dresser and I love being comfortable so you’ll usually find me in long dresses and trousers… but last Saturday sha I was not going to have it, I was determined to wear that short dress to go to the salon…yes salon!

With time you’ll get to know that I go to the salon a lot, not because I am vain but because somehow something takes me the salon every week, whether it’s my hair or eyebrows or nails or pedicure, I just end up in the salon for at least an hour every weekend. Also the salon is one of the best places to know what’s happening in Lagos and listen to random gist; plus I have run into a few celebrities in salons and if only I could share the before pictures but let’s just say make-up and weave is very good to some women.

Anyway last Saturday, I walked into one of my usual salons feeling like Naomi Campbell with my sunshades on (because it adds to the ‘entrance’) and gave my signature Miss Gidi smile which has the ability to melt the hearts of anyone (an asset I got from my mama *wink*). The hair stylists were singing my praises and saying things like ‘ah aunty you go dash me this your dress o’ knowing well that it’s not the dress but who wears it, after all if Aunty Uche decided to wear the dress, it would be a blouse thanks to her 40G boobs giving it a lift and Yewande would make the dress look like a maxi but that’s not the point here.

Shortly after my entrance and usual small talk with instructions on what I wanted done, the owner of the salon who is pretty young, came over to say hello and advertise their new spa service especially the body exfoliation with full body massage package. Now to you it may seem like an innocent advert but this wasn’t my first time in the salon and they’ve had this package for over a month now which he never told me about on any of my weekly visits to the salon but hey who cares right?.  He then offered me a discount letting me know that if I decided to get it done within the next 2 weeks, I could pay 10,000 naira instead of the usual 20,000 naira.

Of course as a Gidi babe, I knew 10,000 was a good deal but I wanted more (you can’t blame a girl for trying her luck) so I told him how I could not afford it with my current salary  and would have to take his offer when I became a ‘bigs babes’. We all laughed about it until a certain gentleman who had been paying attention decided to join the conversation and offered to pay my bill, actually the conversation went like this

Gentleman: Ah ah how can a fine lady like you not be able to afford it?

Me: But I can’t though, is it fine you use to pay?

Gentleman: What about your husband or boyfriend? Just call him and he will pay for you

Me: *laughing* If I had, I would have called him by now but I take care of myself

Gentleman: Hmmm even though I don’t believe you, let me take care of you this once, no strings attached o but tell them the day you want to come in and I’ll settle the bill now 

Me: Are you serious?

Gentleman: Talk before I change my mind

Change which mind? if na joke stop am… Omo I told the salon owner day and time sharply, of course after checking my calendar to form busy schedule; then I thanked this gentleman for his kind gesture as he walked towards the till with the salon owner to pay for my session. After all of this, Yewande turns to me and goes ‘Ah Aunty you don turn Sisi Hot legs, abeg dey wear mini come o’

And this is another reason why I love being single in Lagos…

Have a great week guys

Miss Gidi

Aunty Naomi, my role model

MAD MEN WALKING

Can you imagine? It’s been 10 days since my last update, I apologise o….living and working in this Lasgidi takes a lot of your time and energy without realising it. Anyway, before I begin on the topic, I would like to say that I did not ‘forget’ to post on Valentine’s day, actually I chose not to write about the dreaded day of terrible Lagos traffic with flowers and cupcakes being the most purchased products of the day. Radio stations playing love songs as people called in to dedicate special messages to their loved ones, everybody had something to say about love so why should I? *shrug* Before you think I am hating on all the lovers out there, let me move on to the topic of the day.

One of the cleaners in my office got beat up by an area boy a.k.a agebro a few days ago, the story is that on her way to work, this random stranger decided to chat her up and when she refused to pay attention, he then beat her leaving her with scars and a swollen lip. So for the last few days I have been watching her limp into work and perform her cleaning duties in the fastest possible way which is nowhere close to the rate she used to clean.

Then I came across this, a story of a young girl who was killed because she refused to accept the sexual advances of a few cult members and it reminded me so much of another lady sometime in 2001/2 that was raped  by a cult member in Unilag because she refused to date him, although she was not killed like Odusanya, I can be certain that she was left damaged and hurt and hopefully she has overcome the pain from that nightmare in her life.

It is no longer news that we have lunatics roaming the streets of Lagos, even the way people drive shows there are certain people who should be booked in the psychiatric hospital in Yaba but if you think those are the only kind of mad men in Lagos then I’m sorry for you o.

Recently, I met someone, whom I would call Mr Stranger. Mr Stranger is friends and family to some of my mutual friends so when I got a Facebook friend request from him I thought it can’t be that bad to accept and get to know more people, nothing wrong with expanding your network right? Anyway sha, this brother in the Lord turned out to be good-looking, had a ‘profession’ and was from a good home so there was no way I could have questioned his sanity or wonder if my life was at stake. Before you judge me, let me say that people meet other people online all the time and I have made a few good friends over the internet in all my years of writing and being active on social media sites.

Anyway Mr Stranger turned out to be a psycho, a liar, a substance abuser e.t.c and in just a week of knowing him I was subjected to a verbal/written exchange as a display of his mental state. I’ll save the details of what happened within a week of knowing Mr Stranger for another day because the story is long! But I am indeed grateful to God for dodging that bullet. I can’t shout abeg.

I call these men mad because there’s no justification for the way they behave, who really wakes up in the morning and decides to attack someone else especially someone who may not be able to fight back. They remind me so much of secondary school bullies that would go out of their way to hurt you just to prove a point and claim supremacy.

After my experience with Mr Stranger, I think we need a new force to have random mental checks on people roaming the streets of Lagos to certify if they are mentally fit, lots of ladies both young and old are falling prey to these kind of men who are mentally unstable and not all of them survive it. It’s really unfortunate for my office cleaner and for Miss Odusanya that got killed but I encourage more women to be careful and if possible learn to physically defend themselves.

10 SIGNS THAT HE IS A LAGOS BOY

Even though Lagos is a melting point of cultures, there are particular traits that resonate among a set group of men who may have been born or lived in Lagos for a very long time.  From the occasional white kaftans to the Lagos ‘swagger’, a typical Lagos Boy is one that cannot be missed.

Here are 10 ways to know if the guy in question is a typical Lagos Boy:

He believes in ‘packaging’
In Lagos, packaging refers to the way you present yourself, in most cases in a way that should enhance your value to others. A typical Lagos boy understands this and therefore invests in the right outfits, the latest gadgets, luxurious cars and maybe a short course in one of the ivy leagues graduate schools.

He is a hustler
Ever heard them call Lagos the city of hustlers? Well true to the title, the typical Lagos boy is always chasing one contract or the other or knows someone who knows someone who can do something at a cheaper price regardless of size and industry.

He is a spender
A typical Lagos boy believes in enjoying the luxuries of life so he will spend his money on the little things from spa treatments to popping champagne in clubs; although he would tend to do more of the latter than the former.

He is an events animal
No matter his age, a typical Lagos boy will be at almost any party or major event there is in this city. His motive is to let everyone know that he was there and also to mingle with the crème de la crème.

He loves to network
The question ‘So what do you do?’ is not an opportunity for small talk but a chance for him to know how to place you as a person. A typical Lagos boy knows the importance of connections especially in future business deals so he’ll want to know what you do and how you could be of use to him in the nearest future. They usually know someone in any viable industry.

He is an Old boy
Although it may not apply in all cases but majority of the typical Lagos Boys either graduated from Kings College or at some point in their lives attended Kings College for a period of time

He does not want liabilities
Listen to me ladies, if you have liabilities like lots of younger ones that you are ‘training’ or parents that depend on you for a monthly income, then you are not the type of girl who a typical Lagos boy will go after. He wants a woman who comes with no stress and no bills but with tangible assets that could help his overall ‘package’. So the next time you meet a guy that asks ‘What does your father do?’  in your first conversation then know that he wants to figure out if you are an asset or liability.

He thinks the mainland is too far
Refer to my open letter to Mr Islander for more details

He loves to deliver goodies
Whether it is your birthday or just because it’s another day, a typical Lagos boy loves the efizzy of delivery and he will have cupcakes, flowers and other random things delivered to you much to the envy of your colleagues and friends.

He will show you off
It doesn’t matter if you are the main chic or the side chic, a typical Lagos boy will show you off to all his friends and some family. Problem is, only his friends know your position in his life while you continue to believe it’s all about you.

So there you have it, Miss Gidi’s guide to identifying a typical Lagos boy, I know there may be more but these are the ones I can remember for now.

Somewhere in Enugu

Cassandra isn’t alone after all, the marriage by faith fever continues.
Somewhere in Enugu, the pastor of a branch of Winners Chapel during a church service asked all the single women to wear wedding dresses to church if they want to get married this year. The next Sunday, single women stormed the church service in wedding dresses and were asked to sit in front to receive special prayers with some ‘seed sowing’ involved

And this weekend , the exploitation continues:

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….

 

DATE GONE BAD BY ADUNNI ADE

I had to put this skit up to mark the end of the ‘homecoming’ or ‘I Just got back’ season we experience in Lagos at the end of every year. 
 

Single ladies who live in Lagos can relate to the Lagos boy packaging and hunting strategy that’s used from November -January to impress the visitors; some ‘local’ girlfriends get dumped and guys get a whole lot of re-branding going on during this season to impress the foreign girls, a quick 2 week relationship and back to their normal lives once it’s all over. but that’s gist for another day sha, for now here’s the clip.