Friday, September 9, 2011

Life and times of lovelorn Lagos Sisis: Joan's Story

*Thanks OO, my Edo state source*

Hi there. I am Joanne Igbinosa but everyone calls me Joan. So you may call me Joan too. You’ve met Somto.
As you’ve guessed, I am as unmarried as Somto is. But whilst Somto relishes her singlehood and would curse you out if you take her to task on it, I am….ashamed of my single status. Yes.... I said it.... I CAN’T STAND BEING UNMARRIED. I feel like such a failure.
I was so envious of Somto when she said her aunt and her mum had tried to hook her up with Chike. For me, that would have been the jackpot; a successful man with his own business and citizenship of another country….what’s not to love? So what if he can’t speak English? With all the English I’ve been speaking, has Central Bank called me to dash me money? English and all these things are superficial and overrated as far as I am concerned. Somto is so lucky, people are always queuing up to hook her up and she’s always finding fault with the guys. If they are not too short, they are fat, if they are not too thin, they can’t speak English. Abeg, she’s too idealistic and unrealistic jare. Nobody goes out of their way to even consider my matter. She calls me Doormat because I want to get married and she calls me Chameleon because I don’t see anything wrong in being the woman a man wants you to be so he can put you in his house.

I know what a lot of you are saying right now “This Joan is desperate o”. Well, na you get your mouth. Maybe I should share my story with you and we will see if you won’t be desperate if you were in my shoes.

My father died in 2001. We are 5 children in my family. We are all girls and I am the first child. Two weeks ago, my youngest sister came bounding in one evening screaming her head off
‘Mummy! Mummy!!! Mummy!!! Sister Joan!!!!!!’
‘Obehi! Wetin?’ asked my mum
‘Mummy, Eruka just proposed! I am engaged!!!!’ she said, flashing a simple white gold ring with a tiny diamond on it in both our faces and beaming hugely.

Stop the press: my 19 year old sister, who is in her 3rd Year at the University, was proposed to by her 26 year old boyfriend. This is my worst nightmare come to life.

‘Thank you Jesus! This is number 4 in this house. Chineke Daalu oooo!!!’ sang my mother to the high heavens.
I just stood there, rooted to the spot. My mother wasn’t trying to be insensitive. Far from it. But she was happy. A wedding is a joyous occasion and she couldn’t help but be happy for her baby. I was happy for my sister too…..i was happy for all of them when they got engaged and subsequently got married. But it is hard to always be the bridesmaid and never the bride….though technically I was never their bridesmaid.
It was just that this announcement took me back to last year when my third sister got married in our village, Irrua Edo state. (We are Asan people)

On the way to Irrua we were all in high spirits. It had been a minute since we went to Irrua. My father made us all promise that we would get married in Irrua because he would be buried there and even though he would be physically unable to give us away, he would feel closer to us. So every time one of us gets married, we sojourned to Irrua. This was the third marriage in Irrua. The first two, were a nightmare for me. It had nothing to do with the weddings themselves but everything to do with the war my father’s sisters were waging against me and my single status. The thinly veiled hostility towards me was not for small children. But I was prepared to grin and bear it for Cassandra’s sake.

We got to Irrua and it was business as usual. We opened up our big village house and people from all over came pouring in. I took a few minutes to go and speak to dad. I just always felt he was lovingly embracing me and reminding me to pray whenever I sit on the red sand surrounding his grave.
One by one, my father’s 7 sisters started trooping in. This time, they meant business. First, it was Mummy Uniben, so called because she ran a canteen in Uniben for close to 15 years; the formidable pariah of the family, then it was Mama Edosa, Mama Mabel, then Mama Ighedosa, then Mama Irikefe, then Mama Adoke and lastly, Mama Lucy.

My mother knew what they were coming for. Mama Irikefe was her bum chum. She knew the general gist of what was about to happen. She sent us away when they kept coming, told us to go and see our uncles in the hope that before we got back, they would have talked and gone. My mum was imported into their midst from Nnewi, Anambra state. She has had to fight a mighty battle to win their respect and they all knew better than to mess with my mum.

We were gone for about an hour. Everyone sans the bride to be who was cooped up in the house for one traditional something or the other. It was almost getting dark when we made our way back home. I knew there was trouble when my father’s 7 sisters were still in the house. We greeted them. They grunted their reply. As we were about to go into the room, Mummy Uniben called out


That’s my Edo name.

‘Ma’ I replied

‘Come and sit down’

Oh oh. What is going on here? I knew I was in for it when she eyed me up and down as I came to sit by my mother whose face looked thunderous.

‘Emilomo, how old are you now?’ she asked even though she knew the answer as she was at my naming ceremony, the old croon

‘I’m 31 ma’ I replied

’31!!!!!!!!!’ she shouted and burst into rapid dialect.

’31 and you’re still shielding her, ehn Mama Emi’ that was Mama Ighedosa. Who put this one’s mouth in the matter? 5 children, different baby daddies. The gist in the family was that when Ighe was born, she was 17 and my grandma had to be taking her from house to house to ascertain who the daddy was. When they get to one house and they slam the door in their faces, she would suddenly remember someone else who ‘may be’ the baby daddy. She hates us because daddy dressed down Mama for following her everywhere and he stopped giving her money for school and things because she was a ‘useless girl’ ah! Daddy!! I miss him so. He would have walked this stupid bunch out of our house. Anyways, back to the matter.

The side eye my mother gave Mama Ighedosa was adequate to keep her quiet….at least for a while.

’31 and you are still in your father’s house. Do you want to kill your mother’ mummy uniben asked

‘aunty, I’m not complaining. God’s time is the be….’ My mum was saying

‘keep shut!’ Mummy Uniben said to my mum (Mummy Uniben believes that selling food in Uniben ranks her amongst the Professors there. She’s always blasting big..big grammar)

‘which God? Which time? I have told you time and time again. I have called you on phone, I have said it with mouth, with ears, with the whole of my body that we must do something about this girl. I said you should bring her during Christmas so we will go and do divination on this her matter, you dodged me. You will be doing akada and born again. You are not more enlightened than me, afterall, I worked in Uniben for 15 years and 10 months (I guess she did ‘work’ in Uniben) When matters become like this, they must wash the head of the person involved with black soap and do certain sacrifices and I have told you it will cost money and……’

WHHHAAATTTTTT! I tuned Mummy Uniben out for a minute. Did I just hear sacrifice? Sacrifice???? it has gotten to that? I don die.

I’m tired of talking abeg. More later


  1. What??!!! Babe, whatever happens, don't let it get to you. Just try. At least you don't have to see them always. I can't count the number of desperate women who got married and severely regretted it.

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  2. I can feel this girl's pressure sha. But it doesn't mean she should settel for anything that comes her way, as she is prepared to do

  3. If this is for real, as really, really funny as the story is, it's more interesting than it is funny. IMO, the young (err... old) lady, at 31, don pass her time (that's my opinion tho).

    It's interesting because as she dey grow dey reach 31 shey she no meet nice guys wey she for hook with (even if they are 'just friends') then start those dem seductive tricks when pressure starts to mount.

    Her younger ones probably learnt from her mistakes and took men seriously, as they were, and not hope that a superman would come from planet krepton; that the ones around ATM were not good enough #JustSaying.

    Make she just retire from searching and start-up a counsellings centre for young girls that could end up like her #JustSuggesting.

  4. LMAO first is this real? secondly, mummy Uniben is a joke! :p
    thirdly, 31 is really kinda old to be unmarried :/

  5. lmao....ohboye!! relatives are not smiling! I'd really hate to be in her shoes...

  6. Celestocalculus - i think those are insensitive statements you just made, but then again, na you get your mouth.

    Cherry, that was some hilarious gist even if laced with some truths about our marriage culture. God dey shaa

  7. Wow, i feel for Joan o. She is under a lot of pressure. She should be strong. Her time will come soonest.

  8. marriage is most definately not a do or die afffair , she can still live a fulfilled life without a wedding band on her finger


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