Notice how I did not say ‘single lady’? Well, that’s because whether they admit it or not, the men also feel the pressure sometimes but that is not the focus of this blog. I will be using my life as a case study for being single in Nigeria so just in case you notice I am taking it personal, well, that is because it is. So, let’s dive right into it, shall we?
Yes, alone! Abi I cannot go on vacation in peace without being reminded of my single status?
So I decided to use my lunch break to do some quick shopping ahead of the weekend and as I approached the entrance of the mall, I sighted one of those popular sales people selling travel packages at Ikeja City Mall. I call them popular because they are always there most Fridays and Saturdays! This lady was walking towards me holding out one of their flyers and I could see another one of them observing from a distance. As she walked towards me, I shook my head signaling to her that I wasn’t interested in what she was about to sell to me. I was aware I was being abrupt as I did not even let her speak but I know them. I can predict how the conversation will go; I remember how it went 4 years ago all too well. Throwback to 2014 or 2015 (not sure), I alighted from my car and one of these salespeople walked up to me, I stopped, I listened, I was interested, I asked questions. The next tour was close, and I wanted to participate. Then Unku asked me to fill the form and in the form was a compulsory column for my husband’s details. I looked up at Unku, told him I am not married. The smile and eagerness on his face was replaced with a frown followed with a gesture to take the form right out of my hands. “The package is meant only for married couples” he said. I released the form to him. I was shocked that a business and its sales team will be willing to throw away business opportunity because the prospect was not married. So you see why I did not even let this lady speak? For all I know, they may have changed the policy, but I am not interested in finding out. Dear Hemingways, I have been taking my money else where and will continue to do so.
Renting an Apartment as a Single Lady
This one right here is very frustrating! After the gruesome search, I finally find an apartment I like and matches my budget and then I am told Landlord does not want a single lady? What the heck!
My last experience? There was this nice 2-bedroom apartment on Adetoro Adelaja street in Magodo. Large enough space for parking, rooms are sizeable, and it was a block of flats which means there will be other tenants just like myself. I told Mr Agent that I like it and will be taking it. Mr Agent smiled and said he knew I would, but that I will need to do something for him. He says the Landlord insists on meeting the prospective tenant and that when we get there, I should tell Oga Landlord that my husband is abroad when he asks. I asked him why I would do such a thing when I am not married, he says the Landlord insists he does not want a single lady taking the apartment. I stopped in my tracks, took a deep breath and let out a sigh. I told Mr Agent I will not be doing such a thing. I asked if the Landlord was giving me the apartment for free, he said no. I asked if the amount I was going to pay was the same for married tenant and single men in the building, he said yes. I told him as calmly as I could that I have worked really hard to be able to pay my bills and afford the apartment (which was not cheap by the way). I will not pretend to be married just to give my money to a landlord who will not respect my hustle. Mr Agent did not understand why I was willing to walk away from an apartment I loved when the solution in his opinion was simple and easy. I told him, no one will belittle my hard work just because I am not married. So Oga Landlord can take his apartment and shove it…
Attending Family Events
Call ten different unmarried single ladies and they will give you slight variations of their experience attending family events. I guess the variation is due to the type of family, ethnic peculiarities, age of the lady, her personality, her life achievements and overall relationship with her immediate and extended family. The response of family members ranges between whispering when they think you are not listening (what they say falls within the spectrum of pity and outright mockery), or they call you out openly in an elaborate family meeting – the Nigeria version of an Intervention.
In my own case, my mother will rather not have me attend family events and when I insist on attending, she sticks with me like glue and practically prevents me from interacting with other members of the family. I am not sure if she is protecting me or herself but every single time, I can see the pain and near disappointment of being the only one among her friends and siblings whose daughter remains unmarried. It bothered me before, but when that pushed me into an emotionally exhausting and mentally abusive relationship, I made up my mind to focus on what is working in my life.
Yes, I am happily single. When I decided to focus on what is working, my life literarily transformed into a very happy one. Although not without its own sacrifices. For example, I cut off an aunt who turned ‘when are you getting married, you are not growing any younger’ into a form of greeting. I also told a friend who said I was being too choosy and faking my happy life that if her kind marriage is what is obtainable then I am better-off. Well, she stopped talking to me. I warned family members that I will not be entertaining suggestions to visit prophets and spiritual leaders for prayers. I have made it clear to friends that I will not be welcoming unsolicited advice. Read about my response to a friend who advised I consider being a Baby Mama.
The benefits to this approach have been great. Apart from a happy lifestyle, I am healthier and more beautiful than before. I attract more people into my life too. I must mention another fall out from this approach, my parents now think I have given up on marriage and have become nonchalant about it. Well, I don’t mind that notion even if I know it is not true. I simply have a better perspective about it. I will wait until I meet the man who finds my flaws sexy, who I don’t mind taking the lead and who loves me with all my rough edges and all.