Cynophobe Alert

Cynophobe Alert

I was attacked by a neighbour’s dog when I was a child and ever since that incident, I have been afraid of dogs. In Nigeria, it was very easy to avoid dogs because Nigerians aren’t big pet owners; most dogs are owned for security purposes alone (which makes them even scarier) so avoiding dogs was no problem. When I moved to Istanbul, I encountered dogs in my university campus. There are so many dogs in the campus: seriously, I believe my campus is a dog shelter. I was scared at first but my fears were assuaged when I realised that the dogs only barked and ran after moving vehicles so I was in the clear. After I moved into a dormitory on the university campus, I did become slightly irritated by the dogs because they bark at night and very early in the morning thus disturbing my precious sleep (sleep is my first love) but I wasn’t afraid of them.

On the 16th of September 2016, I was moving from one dormitory to another. Sidebar: Being a foreign student who stays in a dorm in Turkey is not easy because some dorms close for summer break so you may have to move into another dorm during that period. As a foreign student, all your luggage is with you, it’s not like the Turkish students who go home during breaks/weekends to drop their winter clothes and pick up their summer clothes and vice versa. Foreign students can’t afford to do that (maybe some can but I’m not one of those) so we must move into another dorm with all our heavy luggage (sigh!!!! and insert sad and tired face emojis). I believe that is why all my suitcases have expired before their prime: a suitcase I just bought last year is already dead; the wheels are the first to go ofc (I wonder if I get them fixed somewhere………..)

On this day, I was pulling my very heavy suitcase and the suitcase was making a very irritating noise because the wheels are pretty much non-existent. I guess the sound was irritating the dogs as well because they started barking viciously at me. Their barking was so loud that a security guard had to come out and try to calm them down. The guard told me the dogs wouldn’t do anything to me, they were just barking at the sounds from my suitcase. I was scared but I continued pulling my suitcase. As I continued on my way, the dogs started running towards me while barking. Now, I was very scared: I thought they were going to attack/kill me (I’m obviously very dramatic). The guard tried to calm them down while I continued walking but these dogs did not settle down. I just stopped moving and a car driver who had witnessed the entire episode decided to give me a ride to my dorm. I usually don’t take rides from strangers but I wasn’t ready to be attacked by dogs. I jumped into the car and I was dropped off in front of my dorm. Sidebar 2: People animal lovers always say dogs are more afraid of you than you are of them. If that was true, then why did these dogs bark and run towards me. You don’t run towards something/someone that you are afraid of, you run away from it (well, unless you’re a white girl in a horror movie). My experience has definitely laid that fallacy to rest.

I was very grateful to the car driver and I was very impressed when he didn’t ask for my number. I was impressed because usually when a man does a woman/girl a favour, they usually ask for a phone number in return. That is why I’m very unwilling to receive help from guys because I know 9 out 10 times, they will ask for my number. The driver was very good-looking though and I have more respect for him knowing he did me a solid without expecting anything in return (thumbs up to you sir): I guess good Samaritans do still exist.

Later in the day, I had to go to the grocery store and I went out of my dorm. When I saw two dogs close by, I ran back to my dorm: I was obviously still traumatised by the earlier episode. I had to calm myself down and find the courage to go to the store because I had nothing to eat and I was very hungry (food is my second love). When I finally had the courage to go to the store, the dogs had moved (THANK GOD) so I didn’t encounter any dogs on my way to and from the store.

My fear of dogs is cemented now. It is so bad that I don’t think I can be friends or date a person who owns a dog.

 

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Misogyny in Nigerian Schools

Misogyny in Nigerian Schools

I have been thinking about my secondary school experience a lot lately because of my blog and I realised that there were several problematic things that were accepted. I remember there was a female teacher who used to make girls wipe their lips whenever it was glossy. It didn’t even have to be lip gloss: she asked the girls to wipe their lips even when we used Vaseline (how are we supposed to moisturise our lips in Harmattan?????????? Insert confused face emoji). I’m saying glossy so I don’t make her come off a crazy irrational person but she had a problem with moisturised lips of any kind. I guess she wanted us to moisturise our lips by licking them. I don’t know why she had an issue with glossy lips, maybe she thought glossy lips would tempt the boys and the male teachers. I don’t know why a person would sexualize glossy lips but even if they are sexual on whatever planet, shouldn’t the boys/male teachers be educated on consent and self-control instead of body policing girls.

Whatever the reason for her strong dislike of moisturised lips on only female students her actions reinforce the idea that girls should alter their behaviour and appearance to avoid sexual assault or rape. I don’t think that was the message that she wanted to send or at least I hope that wasn’t the message she wanted to send but that was the message that was received. It is this kind of thinking that makes people say “What was she wearing?” or “Why was she out that late?” after a girl has been sexually assaulted/raped. I don’t know why people don’t understand that the perpetrator is the only criminal and should be the only one put on trial. [The biggest lie that women/girls have been led to believe is that they can avoid sexual assault/rape].

The incident that exposed the blatant sexism in school was when we had to pick a class monitor and an assistant. It was the beginning of a new academic year and so we had to pick a class monitor (class president for non-Nigerians). Our form teacher came to the class and said we had to choose a boy to be the monitor and the girl to be his assistant (insert face palm, smh, angry and sad emojis). Two other female students and I were shocked and decided to question the teacher’s demand. We asked him why it couldn’t be the other way around and he said (prepare yourself for this strong dose of unapologetic misogyny) that boys are better leaders than girls. The three of us who initially questioned the teacher decided to protest loudly and respectfully (respectfully ofc because nobody wanted to get flogged on a hot afternoon). After a few minutes of debate and cheering by supporters, I remember very distinctly that it was other female students that told us to “Keep quiet” and “You guys are making noise”: a perfect example of internalised misogyny. We were challenging the teacher to give a female student a chance to be the class monitor and the people who told us to stop were female students. We did stop and a boy was chosen to be the monitor while a girl his assistant (LONG LIVE THE PATRIARCHY).

I had no interest in being the class monitor because I was a class monitor in a previous year and I absolutely hated it but I protested because I wanted to give a girl a chance to be the monitor.Also, there might be a girl who hears that and believes that she is a less competent leader than any other boy just because she is a girl and a boy who hears that and believes that he is naturally superior to girls/women in all areas except in domestic affairs (Yes, they can let us have that one- rolling my eyes) thus perpetuating the vicious cycle of oppressive patriarchy.

Schools should be the last place misogyny should occur because schools are meant to educate young people and inspire social change that will make the world a better place.

That time I tried to change myself to make boys like me

I have realised that I am not a people’s person in the sense that I’m not every body’s cup of tea: only a select few can handle of all this ‘good good’ (in my Beyoncé voice from Drunk in Love) and I’m very fine with that. I wasn’t always fine with it though, in secondary school, I wanted people to like me. One day in class, a couple of classmates and I were having a discussion about everything and nothing as usual and the conversation somehow ended up on the topic of marriage (I don’t know why our small selves were talking about marriage), one of my male classmates told me he pitied the man that was going to marry me because I wasn’t ‘wife material’. According to him, I wasn’t ‘wife material’ because I cursed and I wasn’t domestic enough (I made it no secret how much I detested housework and cooking). For my non-Nigerian readers, being wife material is a big deal because in the Nigerian society because marriage is the most important validation a woman can receive: it means a woman is finally worth something. All the school certificates, PhDs and so forth mean nothing to the society if a woman is not married: In Nigeria, if an unmarried woman finds the cure for AIDS, people will still consider her a failure (This may be the case in other countries as well but I can only write about what I know). I say all that to emphasise how important marriage is in the Nigerian society and to explain why I felt some kind of way when I was told that I wasn’t good enough to be married to (TBH, it hurt a little a lot).

Upon hearing that I was unfit for marriage, I decided to inquire how I could fix that (IKR, it’s messed up that I had to think about such things at that age). I was very opinionated, I cursed and I was unwilling to take a joke (aka let people insult me) and I guess some most guys don’t like that in a girl hence why I was deemed unfit for marriage and I decided to remedy the ‘problems’. So yes people, I decided to change myself to make boys like me. You know what, try not to judge me too harshly, I was very vulnerable at that time because the boy I liked, liked a girl who was the direct opposite of me: she was considered the quintessential ‘wife material’. She was quiet, non-confrontational and all that good stuff and so I decided to emulate her. Remembering how desperate I was back then, I want to smack myself I have smacked myself. I can’t believe I let people’s words influence me like that: I was so gullible and stupid but hey, I guess that is part of being a teenager with medium to low self-esteem.

Throughout my wife material period, I absolutely hated myself for pretending to be something else just to get a guy to like me (the most difficult part was holding my tongue) and the most embarrassing thing or should I say the funniest thing (I guess it depends on your sense of humour, mine is pretty twisted) about the whole story was that he didn’t start to like me (insert face palm and smh emoji). Talk about wasted efforts: that is like going on a very strict diet and not losing weight. Gosh, I was so stupid in high school but fear not, now your girl has “open eye”. The experiment didn’t last very long and now I know I am a terrible actress so I guess the experience helped me realise that Nollywood was not a viable career path for me.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being wife material if that is what you truly are or even if that is what you are pretending to be ( that is your concern) but I am not wife material and I am not going to pretend to be something I’m not to get someone to like/marry me: I won’t do anything during the courtship that I don’t intend to continue within the marriage. If there is anything that I have learnt in my 20 something years in life is that people marry who they want so be true to yourself and you will find your person.

On a side note, I hate it when people say “swearing is not lady like”. If a person doesn’t like to use or hear curse words, that is totally fine but to consider cursing ok for only males is absolutely sexist (I say ‘absolutely’ a lot don’t I?).

Nice to meet you, will you be my girlfriend????????????

Nice to meet you, will you be my girlfriend????????????

So, I think hope you are probably going like “What?!?!” right now because of the title but I swear I have experienced this situation countless several times. Guys that I barely and I mean BARELY (yes, I’m screaming) know have asked me to be their girlfriend. I am still trying to understand the reasoning behind the action. I don’t understand how you can ask someone to be your girlfriend when you don’t even know their surname; you might have looked the person up on Facebook or whatever, but their Facebook name might be fake. It is just weird and creepy af. I moved to Turkey immediately after my gap year in Nigeria so I have only experienced this abroad but I’m curious to know if this happens at home as well. Apparently, this hasn’t just happened to me; it has happened to several African girls that I know in Turkey. I have a theory for why this happens abroad: I think the guys feel that since we are both African/Nigerian in a country with very few black people, so we should date. That is the only reason that I could come up with because it makes absolutely no f*****g sense at all for one to ask someone to be their girlfriend without first discovering if they are compatible.

The most recent “asking out” happened in Germany. I was returning back from Berlin one day and this Nigerian guy got on the train and sat opposite me. I usually listen to music on the train but that day, I was having a mild headache so I decided to stick with my thoughts. I wanted to fall asleep but I just can’t fall sleep on a train because I’m afraid of missing my stop (that has happened to me once). Back to the story, I was just looking out the window (I never get tired of the view even though I have seen it many times) and the guy sits opposite me. I said hello and continued looking out the window. After a few minutes, he initiated a conversation and we started talking. Mind you, this conversation was very shallow (it gave me no indication of his character) but entertaining. We continued talking until we reached Cottbus. We exchanged numbers and I went home. I usually don’t give my number to strangers but one of my new year’s resolutions was to be more friendly BUT this resolution has not worked out well for me at all so I am going to revert back to my unfriendly self.

I honestly forgot about him until he messaged me one day and I replied because I wanted to be polite but I guess when it comes to male-female relationships, politeness/friendliness is almost always mistaken for romantic interest that is why girls have Resting Bitch Face (it’s a survival tactic). He used to message me once in a while and the messages were just ‘hi’, ‘hello’, ‘how is it going?’ kind of messages; There was no deep, profound conversation happening.  A few days later, this guy is telling me he wants me to be his girlfriend (insert confused face emoji), where is this coming from? Dude, I don’t even know or like you like that. Turns out after we spoke, he looked me up on Facebook, is attracted to me and now he wants to date me (I don’t think I’m communicating how batshit the situation is). This dude wants to be in a relationship with me based on ONLY my physical appearance. This made think/realise that the guy just wanted a physical relationship and nothing more; like an “acquaintances with benefits” kind of situation (I said ‘acquaintances’ because we were not even friends) and I am simply not interested in that at all.

Now, I would be the first one to tell anyone that physical attraction is very important in a relationship but a functional relationship cannot be based on that alone. The funny thing is many of these guys post memes on Facebook to denigrate women/girls that date guys ONLY for money but you have no problem wanting to date a girl/woman ONLY for her physical appearance (hypocrisy much).

When guys do things like this, it creeps me out (gives me stalker vibes). Now, I am hesitant to meet up with him when he asked because I know his motives. At least this guy left me alone when I told him I wasn’t interested. In a previous situation with another guy, I had to block him on all Social Media and WhatsApp because the dude did not understand “NO”. I think he thought I was playing hard to get or whatever but I just wasn’t interested in him like that.

To all the guys out there who are truly interested in a functional romantic relationship with a girl and not just trying to smash, give a girl time to know and possibly like you before you ask her to be your girlfriend. PSA, a girl may not/ doesn’t have to like you even after getting to knowing you. If you ask her out and she turns you down, please leave her alone and move on. Disturbing her and killing her phone by continuously calling her is not going to make her change her mind; it might get you blocked.

The Dangers of Stereotyping

“You are just being too sensitive,” said the white man I told that his broad generalisation of Africans is racist. First of all, a white man (most privileged group of people all around the world) has absolutely no right to tell me what is or is not racist because they get treated like human beings wherever they go; they are treated with respect and given the benefit of the doubt, so they have NO firsthand experience with racism.

I have heard several versions of his statement from various people when I call them out for stereotyping: “It was just a harmless joke. You take things too seriously. Chill” are just some examples of replies I have gotten. Now, I will be the first person to tell you that I used to be guilty of stereotyping. I genuinely thought I was just being funny, and I never once stopped to think about the effects of my “jokes.” It wasn’t until I moved to Turkey that I realised just how dangerous putting a group of people into a box could be. Apparently in Turkey, most of the black girls living there, are sex workers (there is no statistic backing up this claim but that is how stereotyping often goes), so now, Turkish men have decided that all black girls living in Turkey are sex workers. This very “harmless” broad generalization, is one of the reasons I prefer staying indoors (I would even say that I hate going out). Whenever I go out, I always run into several men who try to solicit me for sex or who make very lewd comments concerning me. This is very disturbing and dangerous; it makes me feel very unsafe.

I remember one time I went to a bargain shop in Istanbul with a friend. I found a piece of clothing that I liked and I decided to ask for a lower price (cos it was a bargain shop). The shopkeeper said he would sell it to us for a lower price if we have sex with him (disgusted face emoji). I am 100% sure that the man would never say such a thing to a Turkish girl no matter how scantily clad she may be dressed (This by no means an endorsement for the harassment of scantily clad women and girls). There have also been instances where some guys would “tap our current” (for non-Nigerians, tapping current means to touch a girl’s boobs or ass, usually without permission). I am sure the people that say “black girls in Turkey are prostitutes” do not mean to put black girls in dangerous situations (at least I hope they don’t), but unfortunately, there are people that take that statement and run away with it.

Putting an entire group of people into a box is very dehumanising. Within any group, there is diversity; people have different opinions, personalities and ways of reacting to things. There is a popular saying in Nigeria (maybe also around the world) that goes “Even identical twins are not the same.” We if can accept the fact that people who share the same DNA, are not similar in all aspects, why then do we not extend that fact to other groups of people. I urge anyone who reads this post, to think very carefully before stereotyping people because your “joke”, may have real life consequences for someone else.

German Diaries

One of the FAQs I get when I tell Nigerians that I live in Germany is about beer (the most popular question I get is about racism as I mentioned in an earlier post). It is widely believed that Germany produces some of the best beer in the world. I do not drink beer in fact I will go as far as to say that I hate beer. I have tasted the famous brands in Nigeria; Guinness, Star, Heineken, and Gulder which is how I know that I am not a beer person at all.

I do drink alcohol. I am a wine girl, red or white, it makes no difference to me; I drink them all. I do also love alcopops (drinks like Snapp-which I think is a Nigerian brand).  I just recently had tequila;chocolate flavoured tequila to be more specific and it was really really good. I always thought tequila would be sour because, in the movies, people always make weird faces and sometimes shake their heads when they drink it (which is what I do when I eat or drink something sour-projecting much). I have not tried brown liquor either because I am a broke student but hopefully one day I will be able to afford them. PS: I would rather spend my money on bags.

So I decided to try the world renowned German beer to see if it would change my opinion about beer.Here is the verdict:

I do not like beer here or there,

I do not like beer in Germany or Nigeria,

I do not like beer at all

(see what I did there……)

 

Have a lovely day

Note: Since initially publishing this post, I have been to Munich which supposedly produces the best beer in Germany and I find Munich Beer or München Bier (as we say in German) to be drinkable. Wine is however still my preferred choice of alcohol.

My 185 Euro Mistake

My 185 Euro Mistake

Lemme give you guys some background about where I live. I study in Turkey but I am currently living in Germany for a year as an exchange student. When I tell people (well, mostly Nigerians) that I live in Germany, they always ask me about the racism. They think the racism here is so rampant because of the history of Nazis. Even I was a bit scared of the racism here, I almost turned down this opportunity cos I was worried about the potential racism. I personally (emphasis on the word personally) have not experienced racism in Germany. Now, that is not to say that racism does not exist in Germany or that people who say they have experienced racism are lying but that is a topic for another day.

Back to the gist of this post. So one night, I was chilling in my apartment (not nearly as luxurious as I am making it sound, but dream with me) and I wanted to drink coke (I am addicted to coke) with my rice and stew ; drinking coke while eating rice is a very Nigerian thing. I decided to go buy the coke while the rice was cooking to save time because, at this point, I was very very hungry. The corner store where I was going to buy the coke from is 3 minutes away from my building so I was not worried about the rice burning.  So I put the rice on the cooker and went out to buy the coke. Upon my return to my building, I realised that I had indeed forgotten my keys in my room (insert stupid face emoji). It was really cold outside so I buzzed one of my neighbours to let me in. When I entered the building I was so scared that I was going to set my building on fire and get arrested and have to pay a fine or spend 2 years in prison (as you can tell, I have a very active imagination). I cannot speak German fluently so I asked one of my neighbours to help me call the firefighters to come help me open the door so I can prevent the building from burning down. Apparently, that is not part of the firefighter’s job description so I had to call a locksmith. My neighbours told me to wait and try to open the door through other means but because my electric cooker was on, so I did not want to wait.

So we called the locksmith and they gave me an estimate of what I was going to pay (around 200 Euro) and that I had to wait 90 mins till they arrive, I did not mind the price because at this point I was trying not be an arsonist but the 90 minutes wait was not good enough for me cause I did not want to spend 2 years in prison. While we were waiting for the locksmith, I finished my coke (nervous drinking) and my neighbours continued trying to open the door with paper cards and plastics. After 20 mins of trying, the door was finally opened (mentally dancing ‘shoki), we tried to call the locksmith to tell them not to bother coming but there was no answer so I thought I was off the hook and they were not going to come. 30 mins later, my doorbell rang and it was the locksmith and even though he did not lift a finger to open my door, I still had to pay 185 Euro (probably for their petrol). I did feel so stupid for forgetting my key but yeah everybody makes mistakes.

The rice did burn a lot and my room smelled like burnt rice and I was quite difficult to sleep that night but the next day, I was on a bus to Hamburg, where I stayed for 2 nights and when I returned, the odour was not as strong (naturally). I did tell you that my stories will make you feel smarter oh and I shall talk about my trip to Hamburg in another blog.

Bye Beautiful People