I’m here to address the subset of Nigerian men who display stubbornness, pride, and close-mindedness when it comes to dating, and specifically when judging a Nigerian woman’s ‘eligibility’ or ‘girlfriendability’ or ‘wifeability’ in that cesspit called the Nigerian dating pool. This will not apply to all Nigerian men, but even if it doesn’t strike a chord with you, please feel free to help your brother, friend, colleague, uncle, or a random stranger at the bar out.
Here’s a short true story to help explain my point.
My friend Lami (whose name rhymes with mine, and also may or may not be me) had a very disheartening conversation with one of you Nigerian men a while ago. We’ll call this man, who is Lami’s friend, ‘Toye’.
Yes, he’s Yoruba. Sigh.
Granted, Lami started by ‘looking for Toye’s trouble’, so I can understand why he may have been defensive, but sha… here’s how part of the conversation went-
Lami is boredly swiping on Tinder when she sees Toye’s profile, smirks, and swipes left. She decides to tease Toye about it, so she texts him.
Lami: Oga, why are you on Tinder? *laughing tears emoji* It’s not for elderly people like you please.
(Side note: Toye was 30 at the time)
Toye: Recreation. Lol. It’s fun. How far did you have to expand your search for me to show up tho? 50 miles? 18-57 years old? #thethirstisreal lol.
Lami: 30km – the radius of an average city. Neverrr thirsty *cool sunglasses emoji*.
Toye: You do know the general opinion is that girls on Tinder are the thirstiest tho? That’s what makes it prime hunting ground.
Lami internally starts clapping for Toye’s quick flip of the switch on her.
Lami: LOL Tinder in general is thirsty kingdom.
Toye: Agreed. But a thirsty guy is not necessarily a bad thing. A thirsty girl on the other hand…
Lami: LOL that’s sexist… But IDGAF
Toye: Lol. It’s just elderly advice.
Lami: I’m not thirsty but girls have a right to be thirsty too #equalrights #equalthirst.
Toye: …In case you were hoping for something respectful and meaningful from a hook up app.
Lami: I just came back sef after a hiatus from the mind numbing conversations *laughing emoji* They usually trail off.
Toye: Equal thirst is a myth. If I smash someone new every day, I am legend. Not so for a woman.
Lami: That’s only true in your Nigerian machismo mind. Ugh.
Toye: It’s true everywhere.
Lami: Nah. Equal rights to being a heaux.
Toye. Lol. Double standards are real. It’s the reality of life.
Lami sends meme of the indefatigable Cookie Lyon filing her nails.
Lami: Believe whatever makes you sleep at night
Toye: I’m just sayin. Tinder girls = thirsty girls who no respectable male I know would date. So leave it for us before your future bf relegates you to less than gf status.
Lami: *multiple laughing emojis* It’s not that serious.
Toye: Ok oh. I’m a guy, I’m telling you.
Lami: You really ARE elderly. These views.
Toye: Ok Tinderella, I hope you find your prince there. Lol. I’ll attend your wedding I promise.
Lami: Lollll it’s not that serious jor, but thanks old man for the kind thoughts.
The conversation went on, but I’ll stop here because at this point she was both seething and highly amused. Toye is Lami’s dear friend and an all-round progressive guy, but this thought pattern would be very funny if it wasn’t so bothersome and he wasn’t so sure of himself, dishing out this k-legged advice. Like, for real??? LOLOLOL. But also, UGHHHH.
I’ll say it once, slowly, and henceforth, as many times as I need to for you, my Dear Nigerian Men: Holding women to different eligibility standards than you hold yourselves is silly, illogical, laughable, and a moot point.
Kill that tiny voice in your head that calls a woman horrible names for drinking just as much as you and your buddies on a night out, or being open with her sexuality, or unashamed about her dating adventures. Don’t argue, don’t excuse, don’t give it a voice, just KILL IT. And don’t be quick to brush it off, really examine yourself. Many of you think you are progressive and liberal but your words and actions don’t line up with your lofty views of yourself.
Having removed the log in your own eye, please feel free to then call out your friends when they display their ignorance on this issue. Be like “Guy how far na? This is 2015, abeg leave this stupid talk.”
We thank you in advance for your service to the advancement of womankind.
You, Dear Nigerian Men, and Toye, and the ‘respectable’ men he refers to, and everyone who thinks like them, have no right to judge a woman for her choices, but even if you must, will you judge her for the very things you and your male friends do? Please do better.
Editors Note: This post was originally written in 2015 as a follow up our Dear Nigerian Men Series.