Ramadan: Dressing for Work Without Breaking “Much” Rules.

Happy Democracy Day Nigeria.

So Ramadan started a few days ago and in a lot of ways, I’m still not prepared for it. But hey, we must Fast. So today I’ve decided to talk about Ramadan and dressing especially for those of us who work in places where there’s no room for the flowing dresses and Hijab that Islam mandates us to wear as females.

IMG_20170529_072139First things first. If like me you were totally unprepared for Ramadan and didn’t get time to shop for clothes right before, below are simple tips on how to rock the items currently in your wardrobe (at least until you can shop for a few new clothes).

These tips are however limited to head scarves, dresses and pants as they cover the core body parts in Islam.

Let’s begin with head covers. Yes, before Ramadan, you love flaunting those really nice weaves and wigs but how do you keep up with that in Ramadan where you want to cover your hair but you know covering weaves mean itching especially with the Nigerian climate. Well, I say go for braids or cornrows with extensions. They are easier to keep under a scarf/turban and even better with short/small scarves. You get to remain the classy, chic lady without getting your Boss worked up. For white scarves, to avoid hair oil stains, use a wig cap or small silk scarf before tying on the white scarf. It’s easier to wash after.

Again if like me, you’re wondering what to do about those short dresses in your wardrobe till after Ramadan, I say do a little mixing up. Wear those dresses over your pants (Jeans or plain). Try putting that really nice dress over a nice pant in another colour closer to it on the colour wheel, whip out your bag, sunshade, heels or flats and, hello workplace. If you are not really good with what colour goes with what, then stick with black pants or neutral colours underneath those dresses until you figure it out.

Looking for where to do a few quick shopping this Ramadan without going out of your way? Check out @fsquam on Instagram. She has really nice items. Also see below a few of her collections.IMG_20170524_204041

Remember, no matter what you wear, with the right accessories and the right amount of confidence, there’s no stopping you.

 

 

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Strange Bus Fellows, Food and Love in Traffic

Throwing back this Wednesday…

So I was on the notorious Lagos-Ibadan express-way some years ago trying to make it to my cousin’s wedding in time. Alas, the road had another plan in mind. The traffic was mind-numbing. All the while, Olamide’s “Yemi my lover” kept playing in my head. I don’t mean, earbuds-music-playing. I mean the voice-in-my-head-singing-kind.

Just when I thought my head wont stop singing, after about 3hrs in traffic already, someone decided to start sharing traffic tales – of how one time, they were stuck in traffic at Ikorodu heading to one of the Ijebu towns when they saw a bride being whisked away on a bike so she wouldn’t miss her own wedding.

Another talked of how one mother of the bride had to serve the wedding meal to people in traffic when she realized she might not be going anywhere that day.

While this was going on, one woman began coughing excessively so much that the person beside her started adjusting on the seat to give her enough space. This was at the time when Ebola was said to be in Lagos. Everyone on the bus began eyeing the woman like “e fit be ebola” even when we knew coughing was not one of the symptoms of the virus. The space ehn, it would conveniently take two people. The fear of Ebola sha. Who wan die?

Oh and there was the tale of a man who shared with us how he met his wife on a bus trip to Benin. With nothing else to talk about, we decided it was time to talk about how a lot of travellers miss their buses on that particular road because they got tired of sitting in traffic and decided to take a walk. By the time the traffic starts moving again, they can’t identify which bus is theirs.

What’s your traffic story?

House Hunting in Lagos: Things They Don’t Tell You

First things first, Lagos apartments are OVERPRICED. If you think you will get value for your money, please get ready to be shocked out of your wits. What you will find is that rent property quality is not even at par with the cost placed on it. I’ll get back to this in a bit.

Source: Google
Source: Google

So January 1st this year I had a list of what I want in 2017 and top of that list was paying my own rent. Rationale: My dad retires this year and it was past time papa mia stopped footing the rest of my responsibilities. Then I thought again, Olodi-Apapa (where I currently stay) is too far. I’ll search for a place in a central location in Lagos and pay.

Thus the search began. First I learnt that what I have known as a self-contained apartment all my life is called the Mini-flat in Lagos. So by Lagos definition, a self-contained apartment is just one-room with bathroom and toilet carved into a corner of it and a Mini-flat is usually a room, sitting-room, kitchen and toilet facilities in it. For me and everywhere I have lived (Ogun and Ondo) except Lagos, what I described as a self-contained apartment will be regarded as just what it is – a room.

Source: Bellanaija

That understood, I limited my search to “Mini flat” in Ilupeju, Airport Road area of Oshodi, Gbagada, Yaba, Onipanu and Maryland. Budget: 250,000 Naira per year. Can I hear some short snorts, somebody? Google became my friend, that’s aside the BBM announcement I made about searching. The first few responses I got to this “advert” was “250k? For Miniflat in this Lagos? Make it 300 or worse 350 na”. At this, I get my small Nokia and put the calculator to good use. Let somebody not come and be counting bridges in Lagos abeg. After the calculation, I realised going up on my initial will put plenty pressure on my pocket. After rent, I will sha still pay bills and feed and look good; all of which also cost money. So 250k or nothing.

Between Jiji.com and Nigeriapropertycentre.com, I managed to find some agents. The first I met in Yaba, very customer-centric, was the one who taught me the difference between self-con and Miniflat according to Lagos. Then we (My twin and I) decided to go see the apartment and then he says we’ll be paying 3000naira for inspection fee. The Ijebu in me kicked in. I need to pay to check? What if I don’t like the place? Will I get refund? Answer: No. I calculated; if I saw five different agents to check different places, 15000 is gone? LOL! So I quickly told him I’ll call him later about it as we’re undecided as to whether we want Yaba.

Source: Google

My next stop was Oshodi. I saw two places there. The first place, if you have a car, you will be parking on the street. That told me one thing. The man who owns the house is not progressive. Is he praying his tenants never own cars? Did I mention the almost non-existent ventilation? Lagos is hot enough for one to add cramped apartment to the wahala. My answer, Mbanu! The second place had a very poor road network, and the apartment, two stories up, had not been connected to water. Again, no thank you. For both I paid 1,500naira inspection fee.

Please note that at this time, I hadn’t thought to ask my dad how much my current two-bedroom apartment costs. Next stop was Ogudu, this one was found by a friend. The sad part about that area was that both ways, I will always be in traffic: whether to work or from work. That’s like adding ten years to my twenty-something already. Still, let’s see the apartment. It was nice. The builder or landlord however made a mistake: the window of the sitting room and the stair outside the house are on the same level; which meant if it rained and water flows down the stairs, it will flood the room. Did I go in rainy season? No. How did I know? Chuck that to the few times my twin and I have gone to Popsi’s house while it was being constructed. The detailed eye helped where nice would have just been enough for some people.

Long story short, I found another apartment at Onipanu. 270,000 yearly as rent and 120,000 for “agency and commission”, the agent said. Total: 390,000 Naira in the first year. Note again, this is rent only. Then I called papa and he said “120k commission and agency? Isn’t it supposed to be 10percent of rent again? That’s what the law says. That’s too much to pay”. That’s when I decided to ask, “Daddy, how much do you pay for this our place?” Let’s just say the answer got me realising I can pay 1 and three-quarter year’s rent at my current place. Did I mention that my current house can comfortably park 10 cars, has steady water supply and is only “far” when you’re coming from after Oshodi (Ikeja, Ojota, Ketu, Ikorodu)? Also to and from work or anywhere, I’m always against traffic unless the Apapa traffic demons (oil tankers and freight vehicles) are out to play.

Source: Google
let’s just stop here please

Final decision: Rent paid and I will not be moving.

Lessons Learnt?

  1. Lagos apartments are priced based on Location. Please note, location doesn’t necessarily mean quality apartment. It only means you’ll be paying almost double the price of a Mile 2 apartment in Yaba
  2. Only you know your pocket. Don’t let your big girl/boy status be determined by those who think living in one area isn’t good for your status when they are not supporting you with a dime.
  3. That thing they say about Lagos and packaging, it’s true. Don’t let your need for a fine house take your eyes off the really important details. Go with a detailed eye.
  4. If you have a low budget like the one I had, look beyond the really catchy areas of Lagos. It doesn’t make sense to drive a Murano while living in one-room in Magodo when you can get a mini-flat or standard flat at the same rate in Okota, Mile 2, Palmgrove or Egbeda and still drive that Murano.
  5. Only you know what you want. Don’t let Lagos’ idea of what is good make you lower your standard.
  6. Most importantly, life is too short to be living to pay rent alone.

 

What It Really Means To Be a Man in Nigeria (A Lady’s Perspective)

This is for every man out there who is in constant psychological battle for his masculinity
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Gentlemen, shall we?
For once let’s talk about what it means to be a man. Let’s leave society’s drama of man versus woman and social media standards of men and women. Let’s look beyond the Yoruba demon hash tags and the men-are-insensitive speeches and take a look at what it really means to be a man.

Admittedly the Nigerian society is unfair on women. It’s very demanding on us, tasking us to have woven ourselves many yards thick into the fabric of wifely actions and/or inactions from our teenage years. Judging us to be good wives and great mothers, expecting us to birth and raise children who will be model citizens from the moment we become women and making sure anything short gets us the “you’re not a good woman” tag. But this is not about women.

Carried away by the noise constantly raging between the sexes, we forget that this part of the world is equally unfair on men. It’s more subtle but it’s there. It’s there every time you approach a girl for a relationship and in the first few sentences, she’s gauging how much you’re worth, if you can cater for her needs and if you can really match up with the image of the man she has in her head. So first you have to be better than the man in her head or some prior man in her life.

imageSociety’s unfairness is there in the subtle way it expects you to cater to your family and woman’s needs not minding whether you even have enough for yourself. It’s also there in other men’s expectations of you. So from go, you’re made aware of the many people you have to convincingly provide for to be called a man. There’s you, family (nuclear and extended), woman (or women) and of course social responsibility. It’s brutal if you’re unable to. Society will not hold back.

So you get a job to keep up with those expectations. You’re happy with the job but soon, the little you make is no longer enough because the bills at home keep going up or “your mates are driving good cars and you’re still on leggedez benz” or “Temi’s boyfriend took her to Dubai for Christmas but where did you take me?” So you buckle up and start one or two side-businesses in order to meet up responsibilities and keep up with the social scene. Did I forget to mention that the kind of career you find yourself increases your reputation? Oil sector is equal mega hit. Business and ICT equals he-get-prospects. Banking is big-boy. Medicine/Law/Engineering gets you a he’s-a-professional. Every other, you’re on your own. Try explaining to a Nigerian what it is you do as a copywriter (hopefully they don’t get it confused with copyright).

The unfairness is there in the expectations from family in taking care of your younger ones or in even supporting the home front especially if you’re the first born son. And just when you’re getting the hang of it, just when you’re beginning to understand what it means to be a man, then you’re subtly urged to begin to include iyawo rere in prayers because you need a woman who will hold home down so you can focus on the hustle. So like the woman who doesn’t want to be tagged for Shiloh 2030, as a man too, you don’t want the tag of someone who can’t keep a woman. So you try to be a man and man your way through heartbreaks and sadness and deaths and depression and manipulation and family. So you learn to be bigger than you really are, even if it means faking it and dressing it up. You have to be a man. Remember?

deceptionWhat about sex? Every day you go online, somebody is talking about 6 inches and 9 inches and without even realizing it, you’re measuring yourself against someone’s preconceived idea of how many inches you need to be a conqueror in bed. You begin to wonder if that hot new girl you are about to conquer has been with someone bigger or smaller and if you’ll somehow do better or less than her last man. You begin to ask yourself if the you’re-the-man which Precious was chanting the last time you both rolled in the hay was her being good at faking orgasm or her being the real deal.

In the end, the struggle to be a man is no small feat. Men may break your heart, take advantage of your love, choose the hustle over you; in the end those things are things  society conditioned them to be in order to be called a man.

So for once, guys tell us, what does it mean to be a man?

This thing called Youthful Exuberance

As a writer, there are certain things that come to you easily; particular attention to things (details) even when it seems you are not looking.

So sometime ago, a contact of mine used a Display Picture that most people keep hidden, an insignia of a particular confraternity. Usually I’m not one to ask people stuff about their DP except we are very good friends, I proceeded to ask him about it nonetheless and if he was a member. He answered in the affirmative. He then proceeded to explain his reason as “youthful exuberance”. My antenna went up just then. I thought he could have just own up to his choices and then let it go. I’m a sucker for people who own up to their choices, good and bad anyway. But calling his choice “youthful exuberance” when he is apparently still proud of his membership didn’t go down well with me.

For me, youthful exuberances are choices one would rather not associate with as one grows, but which are part of a person’s growing up reality. If you’re proud of your choices as an adult, then it no longer qualifies as youthful exuberance. A friend argues that though youthful exuberance is not necessarily something you’re not proud of, it could be something you’ve outgrown nonetheless.

If this guy’s choice was something he has outgrown or regret because he did it out of curiosity or peer pressure (I didn’t ask his reason), why is he identifying with that choice? However, confraternity is not the subject of this article. This article is about a young man who blamed his choices on youthful exuberance when he still very much enjoys the benefits of that choice as a young adult.

I think everyone of us have done things that looking back, either makes us smile, fill us with regrets, make us wish for those times, is the reason why a particular nickname stuck or just become great entertaining stories for when we meet old friends again. I think it is fair to call exuberances experiments i.e. experimenting with life until we get to that point where we can make informed decisions about what to let go of and what to continue with. If as a young person, I had experimented with drugs and alcohol and then decided to stop because I have outgrown that period of my life, then I can call it exuberance. If I had at one time derived joy in partying all day every day, going from one party to another, with no direction to my life and then one day I stopped it all, then that also qualifies as youthful exuberance. But if I still do these things and take pride in them, then it is not exuberance.

I’m open to a different opinion though. What do you think qualifies as youthful exuberance and what does exuberance mean to you?

Should Tribe Be a Major Factor in Marriage?

Hi guys,

Tonight, we will be doing things a little differently. Today’s article went up on another blog I’m a contributor on. I had a different topic planned for here so I had to debate with myself about it. In the long run, that topic won the debate. So here goes, Should tribe be a major factor when getting married? Click on that and it will take you to the other blog. I hope you enjoy it as always and please don’t forget to share and leave a comment.

I love you guys always.

Bae Monitoring: The Many Ways You Are Doing It Wrong

Once upon a time, I was a radio freak. Radio put me to bed every night and woke me up in the morning. I remember there used this be this show on Cool FM (before adverts got more space than programmes) where listeners called in to have their boyfriends/girlfriends tested. Basically all the listener needed to do was call in, provide phone number of the said person and give vital information that could help the presenter cook up a valid lie.

On this particular day, a guy called in. According to him, he had invested money, time and emotions on the lady and he was at the stage where home-to-mama was the next sensible thing. However he wanted his lady tested so he can be sure they were on the same page. The presenter called the lady; let’s call her Sandra, telling her that a company she applied to is of the opinion that she is the best candidate for them. However, because of the nature of the job, they require people without commitments as they will be more flexible. The presenter then asked her, “Do you have a boyfriend?” If it were you, biko, what would your answer be? Therefore, Sandra answered, “No”. Na there kata kata burst.

Somebody lied!!
Somebody lied!!

Let’s come back to two days ago. While scrolling through Twitter, I saw a tweet about how you can find out if your boo has other boos via http://www.knowyourboo.com . Na so I click. I was curious about the new ways people have invented for monitoring their partners.

According to the Masterminds of this app, “the only thing you and your Boos’ other boos have in common is you all call the same number (well except your Boo is one of those James Bond kind- then we can’t help you), so the more people enter your Boo’s phone number, the more potential boos your Boo has.” I’ll try to ignore the “Boos’” up there as that technically means even the person wey dey search for Boo’s Boo get plenty but I’ll chuck it up as grammatical error. Who else sees the fault in this creation? Just in the event that I’m the only one seeing it, let me share.

Say for example, 20 of my friends input my number and follow the prompts thereafter. According to the app, that translates to me having 20 “potential” boos, not minding that those who searched me out could be anyone. Let’s just take this as another app to add humour to our already boring lives (Something tells me this could be Anakle at it again. Remember that Bride Price app that went viral one time? Yeah)

Maybe she's not just his student
Maybe she’s not just his student

This brings me to the many things people do to monitor their partners. I’ve been privy to instances where Baes ask their Boos to give the phone to whichever friend the Boo had told them they’d be with just to confirm if Boo is where he/she claimed to be. All to be sure they’re being cheated on. Why go into so much trouble? What happened to trust in relationships?

In my opinion, if your boyfriend/girlfriend is a passive, chronic or not a cheat, you would know at a certain point in the relationship. However I have to agree that some are actually gods at this cheating thing, you would never know. The question is, after knowing, what do you do with that information? Do you stay in the relationship and keep hoping that you monitoring them will eventually cause them to stop? Do you take it as fate and look the other way just so you don’t kill yourself on top man matter? Do you go on one of your own and defend it with the tit-for-tat resolve or do you just get out of the relationship altogether?

Who is he talking to?
Who is he talking to?

Really I think monitoring your partner is just a quicker way to six feet below. Yes, you can ask bae where he/she is at, but leave him or her with the discretion of whether to tell you whom they are with. Usually, you wouldn’t need to ask. However going the route of asking them to give someone else the phone, following them everywhere in a taxi, stalking their social media or even calling in to radio shows to have them checked out, that’s way over the top.

So if you ask me, the best way to monitor bae is not to monitor bae.

But do tell, have you ever monitored your Bae (past or present)?

Thursday Shenanigan: Maturity and Being Just Friends with Exes

When it comes to life, I believe simple is better. I don’t like complications. So I put that belief into everything and whatever I do. Relationships included. Friend equals friend. Ex equals ex. Boyfriend equals boyfriend. Toaster equals toaster. Let’s-not-mix-up-roles-let-everyone-know-where-they-stand thingy.

However lately, I’ve been caught up in conversations about having contacts with exes and sharing throwback gist with them every now and then. Tête-à-têtes in extreme cases. Now as much as I’m an advocate for to-each-his-own, I don’t believe in being friends with exes. In fact, when someone tells me we-can-still-be-friends after a breakup, I see it as insulting because the end result of that (usually) is the friends-with-benefits zone and at best, a situation where you tell me everything going on in your life including your heart troubles (things you told me when we were in a relationship). Why would I want to put myself through such misery? Just why?!!

Bandaged Heart

Let’s say I even go ahead to chuck my feelings at the time and listen to the woes, the best I’d give is “sound” advice which will obviously not be sound or a couple of eh-yahs rightly interjected in necessary places. So for me, it’s best we go our separate ways. It’s not about being immature. It’s about self-respect and then mutual respect in the afterthought. It means I respect myself enough to give me time away from you to heal and I respect you enough to not come to you with stories about how I have things going good or bad (without you).

Here’s where maturity and civility can come in. If after said relationship, we see each other anywhere and everywhere, I’ll personally take it upon myself to ask about all the months in between the last time we spoke and that day we met again. In fact, give me the full download and I’ll be the best sounding board you’ve had in months. Also feel free to call me up three or more months later to tell me how my advice worked and ask how I’m doing. But do not, I REPEAT, do not call me the very next day to ask if I’d like to hook up sometime or if I missed you in the time we’ve been apart. Nna, please don’t make me wire you shiko there.

Moving on, as much as I realize that examining one’s life from time to time is needed, I don’t think reminiscing with Exes is the way to go. Yes there are days when you look back and say, “Oh! I had it good with so-and-so person” and there will be days when you’ll say “I’m not going to act in so-and-so because that was my mistake with this person”. But in all of those I-wish moments and now-I-know-better days, don’t share them with the characters involved.

image

Usually when the past reaches out, it is for a feel-good moment. So if you’re reading this, please know that moving on without the baggage of let’s-be-friends is maturity too.

My 25kobo!

Concussion the Movie; Worth Seeing or Nah?

Hi guys, it’s been a minute you saw me. How have you been? Okay before I get carried away with all the Valentine gist you can’t wait to talk about, let me tell you about this movie I saw on Valentine’s Eve; Concussion.

First, before you call me weird for not doing the usual lovey-dovey movie that any normal person would have done on Val’s eve, here’s what prompted the choice of Concussion.

Early Saturday, I somehow got involved in a discussion with friends on the movie Beasts of No Nation (click here to read my review on it), and one of them said she didn’t enjoy the movie because she didn’t think Idris Elba’s West African accent in the movie was that great. In her words, it was a rather poor imitation. My mind went on a spin. “What?” I gasped, just before another friend said he thinks BoNN is a rather great movie but Concussion now that is a movie that should get the accent-not-right hammer.

So imagine the hand of fate when getting to work on Saturday for a radio production, I found some of the guys watching Concussion. Out goes my Flash for a copy. So here is what I think about the movie aside the obvious Will Smith-your-accent-doesn’t-say-Nigerian-lest-talk-of-Ibo-Nigerian feeling I had. Or better still, let’s talk about it.

Will Smith as Dr. Omalu
Will Smith as Dr. Omalu

The first turn off was Bennet Omalu (Will Smith) pronouncing “Enugu” the way a foreigner would. His pronunciation didn’t convince me of his Nigerian-ness because Omalu supposedly spent years in a medical school in the Eastern part of Nigeria yet he couldn’t pronounce “Enugu” properly, the way my Eastern brothers would. Nah, Will, just stop right there. But basing this review on that alone is like making comments on the design of a package without a critical look at the content of the package itself. Unacceptable.

Concussion tells the story of a Nigerian migrant and Pathologist Bennet Omalu who finds himself as a coroner at a county office in Allegheny. While working, he is assigned a Mike Webster to perform autopsy on. Unknown to Omalu, Webster is one of many professional NFL players who would meet their deaths at a young age for playing American football. Omalu called it Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Prior to Webster’s death, Webster lived his post-football life trying to get his head to quiet down so he could sleep; doing a lot of hurtful and disturbing things like pulling out his teeth and gluing them back in or stunning himself to unconsciousness with a Taser gun.

Will Smith with Mbatha-Raw in the movie
Will Smith with Mbatha-Raw in the movie

Amidst the issues and drama of trying to concretize his (Omalu’s) discovery (about the danger of American Football), Omalu’s personal life is also dragged into the turmoil. In the end, his study is accepted, the NFL Committee moved to carry out further study and do more for the players, and Omalu lives happily ever after. Okay, I exaggerate but you get the drift.

The story itself is good but the plot is unbelievably flat. It reminds me of a mash-up you just want to get over and done with. There were times the transition from one scene to the other left me asking ‘what just happened’ (insert confused emoticon here) and other times, I find myself looking for the connecting thread between one scene and another. The dialogues were watery a few times and forced in some others. Throughout the movie, I kept waiting for the tension to happen. Perhaps because the movie attacks America’s favourite sport, producers of Concussion decided to not give it their best shot (all pun intended). For a movie that supposedly earned about $33.9million in Box Office, there’s just something (maybe many things) lacking.
In all, I didn’t get the wow effect I expected and if I were to rate it; I’d give it a 5. Just for effort.