Las Gidi and our love for brand names

Lagos…..City of dreams, land of opportunity and all the glitz and glam that one could imagine. Seriously, Lagos is paradoxically one of the most ludicrously opulent cities in the world, up there with the likes of Mumbai. And I say paradox because even amidst all the squalor and squelch that is so replete in the city, there is such abundant wealth: the rich in their beautiful clothes stand on the same rain-soaked ground as the poor with their tatters. What a dichotomy – Sims

I couldn’t have started this post any other way, I mean who doesn’t love Lagos? Okay don’t answer that; but after living in this wonderful city for about 24 years now I must say Lagos is one that inspires me and amazes me. No other city has been able to bring out the best in me like Lagos…Lagos is the reason why I write, why I am inspired and why I am sometimes baffled.

One of the things that baffles me in this Lagos is our love for names, who you are, who you know but most of all who you are wearing/carrying…Ah yes WE LOVE BRAND NAMES. Gidi girls (because the term ‘Lagos girls’ is considered derogatory) always want to talk about who they are wearing or carrying. From the international luxury brands to our very own Nigerian overpriced well-known brands, anybody who wants to be somebody which is everybody in Lagos wants to be known to carry or wear the ‘best’ even if they have to fake it. An average Gidi girl would rather carry a Grade 1 fake LV than carry an equally beautiful and better quality lower budget bag from a no named designer. If you doubt me, take a look at most of the stores around, most of them sell counterfeit handbags at ridiculous prices. Before you think I am being judgmental, let me state my disclaimer, I don’t have a problem with certain people choosing to buy counterfeit items (it’s a free world after all) I only find it funny when people buy things for the name and not the design.

A few weeks ago, I experienced two ladies have an hour-long argument on brand names, handbags and their worth. It all began when Lady A couldn’t take her eyes off Lady B’s designer handbag so she complimented it and asked where she got it from and for how much. Lady B, with a sense of pride and with a concentrated indigenous accent (I won’t mention which one), replied that she bought it from a highbrow store and it cost an equivalent for 85,000 naira which made Lady A exclaim and insist that she had been duped because she recently purchased that same handbag from an Instagram seller for about $200. Lady B feeling slighted at the unexpected response then said that Lady A had purchased the fake version of this ‘handbag’ from Instagram and Lady A was the one that had been duped. Of course Lady A wasn’t going to accept that so she said ‘it’s not possible na oyinbo babe dey sell the bag on Instagram, let me show you pictures’ which of course left me startled on how the race of a seller could determine the authenticity of a product (that’s another gist)

Eventually it led to an exchange of brand names, stories of different trips/shopping sprees and how much each of them had spent on luxury brands. Actually it sounded more like stock taking of what brands each of them owned and where they had gotten these items; of course no one could verify their individual stories but hey it was fun listening to them have such a shallow argument because not once did they mention the unique/phenomenal designs of these things they had acquired.

These ladies are simply a representation of some ladies in Lagos, I can’t count the number of times I have heard Gidi girls talk about brands and how much they spent on them or the occasional showcase of our local celebrities ‘instagramming’ empty shopping bags from certain luxury stores while on vacation in the UK, US or UAE. It’s like a disease, as long as you want to be ‘somebody’ in Lagos you must own a few brands and be able to showcase them at all times, even if you cannot afford the original then buy a fake. It doesn’t matter how the item looks, as long as it is a luxury brand then you are fine.

Personally, I am not crazy about brand names neither am I afraid to say I got a beautiful item from Primark or Ipodo market (which is in Ikeja by the way) or that my tailor charged me only 1000 naira for a fashionable iro and buba that some designer is selling for 10,000 naira. Truth is, as long as it looks good then I am happy with it, not saying that I do not buy brand names but for me it has to do with the design not the name. I am yet to understand what the obsession is with brand names especially in Lagos where things are hard and those who obsess over these names cannot afford a year’s rent.

As for the ladies in question, none of them had the original ‘designer handbag’ …in Lagos, you can always fake it till you make it.

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

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