Read the daily, non-fictional tales of a young, unmarried Nigerian woman who lives in Lagos at this time.
I am 30 years old. I have been for the past two years. And I will remain so till I am ready to change my mind. Even then, I will be different ages to different people.
No, I do not have a problem with my age - or maybe I do but that’s my business. What I have a problem with is the rude, insensitive question I get from people whenever I mention my age.
“Are you married?” they ask, like entitled little brats who think they deserve answers to questions about my life.
These are strangers who do not know me from Adam. They are colleagues at work who know next to nothing about me besides what I tell them. These are neighbours who raise their eyebrows because a single woman my age lives alone. They are my fellow church workers who wonder why I have not been hitched with a “brother” yet. They are the “more culturally inclined” ones who think I should be married at my age.
Then comes the next barrage of questions if I dare to respond in the negative.
“Why aren’t you married?” “When are you getting married?” “Are you getting married soon?” “Are you in a relationship?”
God help me if the answer to the last question is also in the negative.
“Why? Don’t you want to get married?” “Oh! You haven’t met the one!” “Are you doing shakara?” they would continue to barrage me with questions.
Family members - aunties, uncles, older cousins - seem to ask their questions differently. Definitely not less subtly, but differently.
“How is our husband?” “Are we meeting him anytime soon?” “When are you bringing him home?” they pry.
“I do not have a husband” or “We do not share a husband,” I would respond to the first question, and to the last, I would say, “Who?”
My eyebrows would furrow into a knot and I would stare at whoever was doing the asking, pretending not to have an idea what they were talking about.
“Your husband na,” the relative would continue, not in the least bit uncomfortable.
I would then act busy, change the conversation or go mute. This would depend on who the relative was.
What about prayers of “A se ti e na!” (we will do yours, too) “Ti e lama se lo la!” (It is yours we will do next or tomorrow) that I get from aunties and uncles at family weddings?
These are weddings I am forced to attend, weddings where I just want to rest from walking or standing all day in heels after paying my dues as a cousin’s bride’s maid, weddings where I want to tear out my hair because I hate the drudgery of the sermons in church, weddings where I meet relatives that I do not want to see.
So, don’t blame me if I decide I want to remain this age for as long as I please.
Yes, I am 30 years old. I have been for the past two years.