Share Your Lessons, Experiences and Opinions
Ok so I am running around like a headless 'Okuko-Agric' (the black and white chicken) trying to get organized and stuff. No I am absolutely not shopping, rather I am sorting what I know I can part with. I have a huge family and once I land everybody will come around to shop and obtain and seeing as I am a very kind happy go lucky person it will be hard to say no as that one t-shirt, shoe or bar of soap can mean a world to the person asking. That's just how it is. I have already put money aside to buy 'Ncha na Nnu' (Soap and Salt) and 'Akpa Rice' (bag of rice) for the Mamas in the village that will come to see their daughter. It ain't like they can rock my high heels. Giving during 'Yuletide' is something we've always done in our family, just like many others do. Back then we traveled to the village in two station wagons. One packed with all of us and the other packed with food stuff. Bags of Rice and Beans, gallons of groundnut Oil we purchased from Oyingbo Market, Garri from 'Aunty Mary' at Agbor Hill, Dozens of Ejidike and Our Ladies bread from Onitsha, Palm Oil at some blue colored factory just past Benin. It was easier then because we were kids, there was abundance, things had not gotten bad then, but now that my father has 'men and women' to feed and train in university, everything I am sure is on ration. With that in mind, I decided against being foolish with the whole 'going to Nigeria for Christmas thing'. Which brings me to the topic. I had been planning to blog about this before I saw this NE forum post by BGT which captures half of what this entry is about. That bit about taking diet pills just because you are visiting Nigeria is a bit extreme, I hope that friend was just being funny. Anyways I am basically going to add the other aspect of the equation before the yarn becomes stale.
So last night I was talking with a 'wise-adviser-slash-consultant-type' friend of mine in Nigeria (not Ayi, Mati or Nunu; as if you know all my friends...lol) and I was going on about how I would like to accomplish somethings other than just club hopping and visiting all the joints that Bella Naija raves about. As man pikin dey grow old meeeen priorities have to change. Just imagine seeing your friends' kid brothers and sisters, or the ones that called you 'Senior Adaure' backing up their booty to a dude that used to toast you when you were a spring chick, is reason enough for you to boycott the dance floor and become an official wall flower. Anyways as we continued this conversation somehow we ended up talking about how the social circle of Lagos has still not changed and how intimidating it can be. It is about how rich you are, which school you went to, which car you drive, 'who is your fada', where you live, what you wear, who you hang with. People judging and snubbing based on 'stupid and irrelevant stuff'. This is common knowledge, life style of the Rich and Famous on the Island, speak only when spoken to, just like in Beverly Hills. God forbid that you don't know the 'movers' and 'shakers' of town, the ones that make City People on a weekly basis, and I am not talking about the ones that just happen to be there when 'Mr. Onye-Foto' was testing his lens. I remember my last trip how I so broke that rule and one of my girls wanted to beat me up when I gisted her. One 'hot and fine popular banker dude' and his equally tall and handsome brother tapped me on the shoulder and was trying to start up a conversation. He was like 'Hey Sexy Mama'. On a normal day Addy would have been like 'Hey Cutey, buy me a Sprite and I'm your cheap date,' batted my eyes and shined my teeth, after all me too I can be a playa-from-Himalaya ;). But on this day I was a bit reserved and apprehensive, feeling just a teeny wee bit too 'americana-feminist-slash-Shaniqua' for my own good. I almost chopped the man whole for calling me 'sexy mama'. I snapped my neck, crinkled my brow, flipped my hair and was like 'Pssh....Who the hell is your Mama... Talk to the hand'(ok so i didn't really say that but it crossed my mind). How about I went home and was flipping through Ovation and saw this dude in his wedding and was like 'Oh isn't this the guy that was cat calling me?" My friend and my sister were like, 'Ehn... izzzz a lie...did you get his number?". I was like "For what?". My friend grabbed the magazine and thwacked my head and my sister was like 'you be idiot sha'. Lol. They proceeded to give me this dudes background and history, and I was more disappointed because that was a network connection lost than anything else. So from the exchanged I gathered that it was a criminal offence not to have known the gentleman-banker and worst of all not getting his number. That moment in Mr. Banker dude's life is probably non existent to him, but for me that was Lesson 1 of '101'.
Having lived outside Nigeria so long, the whole Lagos social life can get highly irritating, especially in December, when you know that half the people aren't really like that but just have to conform, because that's just the way it it. The only way to avoid it is if you lock your self up at home or at some church.
Addy is not one to shy away from the public and I don't know how to 'shut up and just be looking'. So what then is the problem, well from the conversation it appears the unspoken rules include 'Speak only when spoken to', 'No Dancing Ajasco', 'save the no make up face for your hubby', 'bring out American accent proper', 'None of that happy hippiness', 'learn how to snub if it is not natural' and 'never hit on the guy first'. I think Addy is in a little situation here, especially with the hitting on a guy, talking and dancing part. Some of the ones that are already in our blood as Nigerian women include 'coming correct with the baffs', 'never repeating in a place where you'll be seen' and 'never compliment another chick, she wont appreciate it'. Me when I see a chick in a nice dress I always go a step further and ask where she got the dress because I want one too. I am told that is an abominable action. I think I might be spending 2 weeks in my Village and skipping all the drama abeg.
So the question is how do you guys manage to survive the social circle of Lagos, especially past January 7th when the Christmas 'red carpet', assuming you got one, is rolled up an dthe hospitality turns to 'you are on your own'. How do people function with the silliness. How do you network and build contacts without seeming like a kiss ass social climber, tagged a wannabe (that word in the Nigeria circuit is as bad as being labeled Liberal from 2000 to 2005 and Conservative or Evangelical Republican last week), a hater with 'bad-belle' when you rebel against the norm or worse yet RAZZ when you are just a non conforming oddity and don't fit into the bubble. I am sure there are people who do not subscribe to the above characterization but in general what is so bad about Lagosian being down to earth and keeping it real or am I just exaggerating, over analyzing and pulling shit outta my you know what.
By the way I am disabling the comment moderation temporarily as I won't be able to publish the comments due to my trip. I am off to North Carolina on Wednesday night to see my 'daaalins' including Oyinkan:) and to attend a wedding. I can't wait....so excited. I have missed Bojangles too. Anyways in the spirit of weddings, here are some new links that were sent to me by an 'anonymouster'. They've been floating around so you may or may not have seen them. If you have any more you are welcome to post it in the comment section.