So, I think I was about 11 years old before I fully realized that I was FEMALE. My naivete knew no bounds and try as my family might to educate me about that fact, I was just too much of a free soul reveling in the fun of just existing without the burdens of understanding my gender. I didn’t grow my hair while growing up; I was on a low cut till after secondary school. I wasn’t really a tom boy but I just didn’t wear much skirts, I never did makeup until my sister’s wedding in 2013 after which I never did anymore until late 2014. I was in the university when I started noticing the mannerisms of most of the girls on campus. Not like I was too special or different but I noticed that I was almost acting like a guy, completely different from how the other girls would act.

For instance, the way I walked then was deemed manly cos I walked fast, I carried my weaves for at least one month before removing it unlike other girls who would hurry to have theirs changed after a week or two. I never tweezed my brows cos I just didn’t care while most girls made it a point of duty to trim theirs every week. I found a guy’s unnecessary flirting with me irritating and for that, I was labelled a “Lebanese” if you know what I mean. lol. I had 4 jean trousers which I wore with many tops while my roommates thought I was weird as they had so many trousers and skirts to change into at different times of the day. I was really ebony dark in complexion and I loved it that way but most of the girls then started buying goat milk for bath wash so that they could whiten up.

The list is endless.

I’ve adjusted a bit to the role of being female however, the struggles are real more especially because, society has always had this expectation of us to be in a certain kind of way and we have unconsciously bought into that role and even gone ahead to create more higher expectations for ourselves. And since returning to Lagos since schooling and serving elsewhere, I’ve observed so many more struggles. How stressful can it get? Well, before I start sounding like a radical feminist, here are 8 out of the numerous social struggles of being a single female in Lagos.

  • You’re expected to always smile, be nice, be cheerful, never pick offence but just smile. 
Seriously though, must it always be so? What if I just want to wear my poker face and not worry about who’s looking? What if I’m not in the mood to be cheerful cos it could be quite exhausting sometimes? and what if I’m sick and tired of being nice all the time cos a lot of people have taken my niceness for stupidity and gotten away with it.  What if a guy spanks my behind in public? If I react, people’ll be like, ” Wooo, she’s got a temper”. If I don’t react but just smile at the guy they go like, “she’s a cheap one”. Really?!

  • Slay all the time. 
Thanks to social media, we keep getting the same impression everyday that we have to slay with our make up and outfit even in the toilet, bathroom, market, gym, spa, closet, kitchen, pool, and all the awkward places in this life. What if I love my face natural and without makeup? what if I love to dress down and feel relaxed in those places without looking too serious like I’m going for a photo shoot? And my sisters on Instagram are not helping matters at all so the pressure to always kit up could burn down your sense of just being you. Jeez!

  • To be light complexioned 
The expectation of most single females to be light in complexion hasn’t been an easy feat to conquer as everyday, there is an increase in the population of converts from the dark skinned club to the white chicks club. Some call it, “just a little bit of toning to make me glow” and then, before you know it, the process begins from toning to looking like a burnt plantain and then the full blown whiteness. Although, there’s a slang on Instagram called  “Melanin” that tries to promote dark skinned girls but the reality of it is that, when you go out to the hot spots in Lagos at any time, the percentage of light skinned girls supersedes that of dark skinned girls and most of the time, the light ones get most of the men’s attention. What a life!
  • Have at least 3 different human hair weaves or more handy 
Apparently, everyone knows it as a fact that most single females in Lagos have human hair weaves and the rich display of it all is seen at gatherings. Gone are those days when as a single female, you can comfortably and confidently rock your shuku/ Ghana weaving to a top notch event and be admired by almost everyone on how cultured you look. Now, it’s the other way round. Even those who claim to be doing the natural hair thingy too find themselves wearing a human hair wig for an event.
What if I’m tired of spending too much on other human’s hair to look good, does it really reduce my wife material from a million yards to nothing? ugh!

  • Live on the Island 
As a single female in Lagos, this one particularly is major. Gosh! you’ve got no idea. Every hustling guy or babe expects you to live at Lekki (note, there’s  a HUGE difference between Lekki phase 1 and lekki. Those who know knows), VI or Oniru. Surulere can be considered if you have a car. It doesn’t seem to matter if you’re a tenant paying rent or  a squatter patching up with friends, just live on the Island and you’ll earn some level of attention. Most girls will attest to this fact. I once visited a male friend with a female friend of mine and we met his relatives at home. Then one of them started a conversation with us in this manner;
Him: (to my friend) where do you live?
My Friend:  Lekki phase 1
Him: (to me) do you also live here at Lekki phase 1?
Me: no. I live on the Mainland
Him: ( swiftly changes focus to my friend) so, which street is it?
And thus, the conversation continued in that light about Lekki for a while before the topic changed to a general one. I was shook. lol. I thought, ” Uncle, you don’t even know Mainland!”. Well, I wasn’t bothered as long as I have a roof over my head and my laptop to write.

  • To use an Iphone 
I don’t know how I notice these things but I do and I think it’s because I’m a writer so I tend to observe a lot. This is so true cos I actually did an opinion poll with friends and they confirmed it. In this regard, even the Samsung Galaxy S8 doesn’t stand a chance of being regarded as a high budget gadget. How sad. Some of the ladies I questioned lamented almost the same thing;
“Babe, that money for Iphone 6s or 7s would really go a long way in supporting my career but I just need to have it for packaging. Babes need to belong too now.”
See what I mean?
  • Know someone who knows someone.
This one happens a lot at hang outs. As a single female in Lagos, you are expected to know at least someone that knows anyone in a high position. If you don’t know anyone, then what the hell are you doing being single in Lagos? I’ve hung out with some friends a couple of times before and usually, it amazes me when I realize that I’m probably the only person at the table who doesn’t know the owner of the place or the cute sophisticated looking male or high class babe that walked in. See job of knowing! Not like it’s wrong to know people but this one is serious. Sisters, you gotta know someone so that your journey to the alter will be quicker. lol
  • “Asides Uber and Taxify, always have a cab man’s number handy”. 
A friend once asked me how I was getting home after work and I answered that I was taking my usual route where I would board a public bus. She looked surprised and started a lecture on the need for me to have the Uber and Taxify apps on my phone. She told me that from the office to my home, they’ll simply charge me #2000. She went ahead to explain that, I should also have a cab man’s number on my phone to always be available should any of those taxi companies mess up. According to her, it only cost her #150,000 on transportation for a month and more so, it maintains her standard as a high class single babe living on the Island. I thanked her for her advice and then started my calculations.
So, at that time, my salary wasn’t up to #200,000. I calculated 2000 by 30 days and I came up with 60,000. Then I calculated my office feeding expenses for the month, excluding feeding at home  and it ran into 15,000 . At the end of it all, I wasn’t left with much to cater for other miscellaneous expenses not to talk of saving.  I decided that for that time being, public transport was okay for me except on occasions where I have to go out to events or hang out with friends. Biko, I cannot come and die.
Sisters; truth is, it could be really tough keeping up this standard and then you might end up finding yourself in unnecessary competition with yourself, thereby neglecting your priorities (that’s if they’re really important to you). My way of handling these struggles; I just do me and of course maintain my dark complexion.
There’re still so many other struggles but I’ll leave you all to comment on them below in the comments section.  Guys!, what are your own struggles? Feel free to also share your experiences too.
Cheers!
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