Fellow Nigerians, I know common sense is not common. But at least, let us be borrowing ourselves sense from time to time.
The way we act like senseless human beings sometimes, e dey always burst my server. I think social etiquette should be taught as a subject in our schools right from primary to tertiary institutions.
Abi, how else do you explain our penchant for discussing someone else’s weight, marital status and other similar matters as a way of exchanging greetings and initiating conversations?
“You are fat o!” is not a greeting.
Now, it’s bad enough that acquaintances and friends who haven’t seen you in a while feel the need to comment on your weight as a form of salutation, but from a total stranger, I find it highly offensive.
The other day, I was sitting jejely on my own, minding my own business(as always) when a male friend whom I hadn’t seen in a long while invited me over to hang out with him and a couple of friends.
Seeing as I was just going to hang out with friends at home, I decided not to bother with makeup and just threw on my jalamia.
It was more like mini house party at my friends crib. The guys were there already, drinks were flowing, the speaker was blasting “Soco Socco baby o! Oya socco socco, gbefun lopo lopo🎶🎤”, and of course, there was food. Peppered snails, Peppered Chicken, Barbecued fish, Pizza and chips.
“Meet Zuri” One of the guys said, after hugging me. “Zuri, Ykayy”
“Hi Zuri!” I said.
“Hunnnn” she replied, sizing me up.
The mini party was going on well, with lots of dancing and interesting games when one of the guys suggested a new game. We were supposed to each pick a person and tell him/her what we liked or admired about them.
Bimbo, one of the guys said he liked that even casually dressed and totally void of makeup, I looked very beautiful.
The other guys agreed with him, saying that it was rare for a girl to come to a party without make up.
“I totally agree with you guys. If she weren’t so chubby, she would have been very beautiful”.
Eewo! Emi chubby? Would have been beautiful? Wait o, abi is this girl trying to say I’m ugly?
I was going to react to that statement, but I caught my friend’s pleading look, so I decided to let it slide.
The games continued and we were all really having a great time, until I cut a slice of pizza.
“You really shouldn’t be eating that, you know …..” I heard Zuri say as I took a bite of the pizza.
“I mean that you need to change diet. You shouldn’t eat stuff like Pizza. It’s only going to add to the fat that you already have”.
I could see the guys mouth hanging open.
“Hanty, have you seen me eating before?”
“Nope, I’m just giving you a good piece of advice.”
“And what advice is that?”
“To change your diet. Fat really isn’t healthy you know”
“Are you alright?” I asked.
I mean, this is someone I have never ever met in my life, who has never set her eyes on me prior to this time and who has absolutely no idea whatsoever of my eating habits, attempting to advice me to change my diet.
**This is the place where you insert a long drawn out sigh**
I took a long look at her, taking note of how skinny she was, with her sunk in eyes, and her dracula-like front teeth.
“Zuri” I started nicely. “Are you by any means trying to body shame me?”
“Na wah o! I don’t know what it is with you fat people always shouting body shaming. Any little thing, you will say they are body shaming you. If you are fat, you are fat. Admit it, work on yourself and stop crying that someone is body shaming you when they are only trying to show concern about your health”.
I was speechless for a moment. Not because I didn’t know what to say to her, but because I have never met someone quite as rude as that. And trust me, I have met lots of people of rude people in this my short life.
“Zuri!” my friend snapped. I could sense that he was about to lash into her, so I signalled at him not to interfere.
“Wehdone o! Madam adviser, Miss Perfect body size, have you looked at yourself in the mirror? I swear, if you know what you look like, you wouldn’t be out here criticizing someone else’s body shape. You that look like ‘egungun be careful o, na express you dey go, make breeze no carry you go o’. Pankere wo gown. You need to eat some food girl.”
“She would have been very beautiful if she were not so fat. You need to change your diet….. Yen, yen, yen, yen, yen …...” I said mimicking her. “Whu Bonga Fish epp?”
“You no fit talk? Answer na! Shebi you bin dey run your mouth like person wey chop Okro before?”
You see, there are some things they should have taught you in school, one of which is that; you do not criticize the weight, physical appearance or even the marital status of someone you just met, without expecting them to give you the badly needed brain resetting, tongue lashing someone should have given you long ago.
I am beautiful.
I will not suffer because you are too narrow-minded to see how beautiful I am. You aren’t perfect either, with your skinny body. You wouldn’t catch me commenting on that though. I will not allow you to criticize or belittle me just because my body size does not meet up to ‘a certain set of standards’. Who even set the standards sef?
I don’t have a problem with my body, you do. So go and fix your problem.
Just imagine the rough play o. Who even gave you the right to look at my body, form an opinion about it and then voice it out in the first place? Are you okay at all?
And no, this is not you being concerned about the person’s health. Who appointed you detector of healthy people? Just think about it, the fact that you are slim, is not an indication that you are healthy.
Imagine if someone you just met lashed into you in the middle of a conversation on a completely different issue, saying “Babe, this one you are looking like the left over bag of bones of a dog, are you sure you are not suffering from a wasting sickness? You need to change your diet. Enough of Salads. Eat some real food girl!”
How would you react? I bet you wouldn’t like it bah? Good. Learn to mind your own business. Nobody appointed you Monitor-in-Chief of people’s weight and sizes.
Osaaro kutu Monday jare. Lemme go and hustle. Ngwa, Bye.