‘All the single ladies, all the single ladies, all the single ladies… now put your hands UP!’
Beyonce’s Single Ladies track was a worldwide hit and a symbol of female empowerment to some. It hit back at men who play with the hearts of women and then regret it once ‘like a ghost’ we are gone.
However for the single ladies of Nigeria, that song filled you with dread… the ladies who waved their hands and twerked on the dance floor, mouthing Queen B’s lyrics may as well have painted a large, red ‘A’ on their foreheads: being a single woman in Nigeria is tough!
Heck, being a single woman anywhere in the world has its challenges. But Nigeria in particular, with it still being a dominant patriarchal (and some would say ‘backward’) society, can seem like one of the worst. Just check out the hashtags and countless memes; take the worldwide trending #beingfemaleinNigeria as an example.
So when wedding season kicks in – which in Nigeria is pretty much ALL year round except Christmas – it can become quite tedious putting up with aunties, uncles, mums, dads, that woman who you are not related to but knew you ‘since you were small’, that sleazy friend of your parents and your ‘smug married’ friends who all seem to question your sexuality ‘but ah ah are you a less – bee- aan?’; your integrity ‘it is because you like to play play, you are not a serious girl’; your character ‘men don’t like women who talk plenty like you’ and your skills ‘yes, you own a company but can you cook MOIMOI*?!’
But fear not ladies! Just like Aesop’s tale of The Tortoise and the Hare, life’s a marathon not a sprint. So in the meantime until you find a man worthy enough to ‘put a ring on it’, here is a list of how to survive a Nigerian wedding as a single woman.
First and most importantly, DO NOT FEEL PRESSURED BY ANYONE to attend. So many people gatecrash weddings and show up uninvited and is that the entrance you want to make?
Nothing says ‘F-You’ than a posse of hot-to-trot ladies en mass. Roll with your crew, party with your crew, smile with your crew and leave with your crew.
Don’t let your tailor take you for a ride, get that fabric and Aso Ebi* style ON POINT.
Make sure it is on tiiiight, giving you a facelift that Madonna could only dream about having.
Not everyone is a fan of the ‘beat face’ makeup that to be honest will melt in the Nigerian heat (and not forgetting the lack of air con in the wedding venue) but at the very least your eyebrows better look groomed. People underestimate the importance of good eyebrows. I consider them the nipples of the face.
A fabulous fan is an essential at a wedding. One, to cool you from excruciating heat; and two, for waving the haters away (bye bye!).
It is not about that ‘Auntie’ who you only ever see once in a blue moon – coincidentally at events when there is free champs and chops* – yet she still wants to judge (wait, didn’t she marry three times?). She is not an oracle.
Ignore the tales of impending doom from people who don’t matter. Your family may put the pressure on but they love you truly and want you to be happy at the end of the day.
Run, run away quickly! If the son is apparently SO amazing, why is he single at 35 and being set up so desperately by his mum? Oh wait, you’ve even dated before but Momsie doesn’t know and it didn’t work out? Awkward…
Always be the Queen of the D-Floor and get sprayed* a plenty! I mean, you had your eye on a pair of boots on Net-a-Porter anyway right?
Because at the end of the day you should love when you are ready, not when you are lonely (or when they say you should).
Enjoy it (single) ladies!
Moimoi: Deliciousness encompassed in a steamed bean pudding. Usually eaten with rice and stew, sometimes eaten for breakfast.
Aso Ebi: Pronounced ‘ASHO EYBEE’ Nigerian outfits made from matching fabric to be worn by a group of people to a party or wedding as a uniform to identify the group of wearers e.g. family and friends of the bride will all have the same aso ebi fabric.
Gele: Essentially a head tie, but don’t be fooled. A tight, well-tied and luscious gele fabric can transform an outfit and most importantly, your face.
Spraying: Nigerian practice of throwing money on a dancing person (usually a chick). Used to be USD$100 bills and GBP£50 notes – make it RAIN on dem hoes – nowadays with the economic climate expect dirty Naira notes if you’re lucky!