Saturday, May 05, 2007

I am a married woman! I am a married woman!

The Hilton, as I've said before, is what passes for a city centre in Abuja, given that the planners forgot to give it one. As you might imagine, it is chaotically busy at the moment, with all the sycophants and big men from up and down the land hanging around arranging their slice of the new national cake.

This increased centre of gravity pulls in second-level sycophants and young students-cum-prostitutes in their wake. Getting in the place can be a faff, with cars jostling for position from left and right by the entrance, slowly funnelling down into a single queue. I had a meeting there a couple of days ago. I let a couple of cars go ahead of me on the left, then pushed forward, only for another car on the left to match me inch by inch. This was a bit of a cheek I thought, given that I had let two cars go ahead.

I looked to my left. The driver was an early middle-aged looking woman with a stubborn expression set on her face. I wound down my window and told her that it was my turn. She ignored me and carried on pushing forward. At which point, my bucolic inheritance reared its red-ragged head, and I put my palm down on her bonnet with a thump. This shocked the driver momentarily, and I pressed home my advantage.

A few minutes later, parking the car, she came racing over to me, a ball of ballistic fury. "How dare you do that to me! I am a married woman! I am a married woman!" She brought her wedding ring within a couple of feet of my face. I felt like bursting out laughing. I was thinking: She thinks that everywhere in the world, when you tell someone you are a married woman, the other person should kneel down with respect - what a silly person! Meanwhile, all I coud see before me was a pig-headed bush woman with not a sliver of decorum. That said, her temper was still boiling and she was continuing to shout, so I apologised a few times. Meanwhile, a few security guard types came over. She drove off and the situation melted away.

How curious that some women in Nigeria think that they have garnered an additional layer of respect from the world simply because they are now a wife. Do Nigerian men really only learn respect for women when they are married? If not, why do some Nigerian women think this?


Lolita 1:46 pm  

And there you have it, the reason a lot of women find themselves in loveless marriages with lecherous husbands - Respect.

You should know Jeremy, you are a Nigerian Man now, you should have allowed that woman to pass, ah ah, you sef!!

Calabar Gal 1:54 pm  

I am a married woman! LOL!!
So what? Pitful excuse.

Anonymous,  4:40 pm  

jeremy,lam always amazed whenever l come to nigeria and lam been told, that l always have to mention that lam a married woman.what does it matter to anyone if lam married or not.l guess it is so men know you are not cheap.

Fred 11:03 pm  

Hitting her car constitutes battery, Jeremy. You're lucky you weren't arrested! ;-)

Married woman, indeed!

kemi,  12:56 am  

The answer to your question Jeremy is because they are stupid and have no sense of self-worth.

That is why Nigerian men tend to be more philandering than most. Because they know the stupid bush goat they have at home is too scared to become single or divorced and lose the "respect" she associates with her status.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, many Nigerian women believe Mrs. is better than Dr. as a title.

omo-obanta 1:22 am  

I am a married woman-and so what?

Anonymous,  1:39 am  

Jeremiah - this is your version.

Her version might be - You were trying to 'pick her up' she had to remind you about her marital status LOL

Communication and gestures ..... interpretation perhaps? LOL

In my head and around me 6:33 am  

You have been a victim too? I feel your pain/amusement. I am constantly a victim...maybe because I am a single female it's a lot easier to be a target. I even blogged about it here:

BTW, you were the victim of a drive by snooting! LOL!

We should form a support group. I will be a member until I too am married and finally respectable. ROFLMAO!!

Olumide Abimbola 10:02 am  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeremy 10:17 am  

Funny how realisations get confirmed quickly. I realised that the Nigerian understanding of the word 'saucy' is that it means rude. (Elsewhere, saucy means sexy - but it surprises Nigerians to think that it could possible mean that). But perhaps saucy-as-rude is an archaic/implicit meaning that has been preserved through colonial English?

Kola,  1:57 pm  

maybe she meant you're being a chauvinistic male bully who thinks he can oppress her with aggression..maybe she was saying I'm sitting alone in a car but dont think you can bully me because you're a man....I have a husband who can meet you on the brute force level you seem to be trying to reach out to me on...I think your assesment of the situation is unfair. You're too quick to judge her as some nitwit who thinks being married is a mark of respect...she's a woman...who's car's been hit by a man who she clearly cannot confront in the same way. I prefer to assume she's a basically intelligent person and that might be what was going through her head...than to assume the worst about her and perhaps (if you're honest with yourself) Nigerian women in general.

Anonymous,  4:18 pm  

I think your behaviour is totally out of order Jeremy. So what she cut you up. You don't have to be such a bully and behave like brute. You have really gone down in my estimation Jeremy with this vile behaviour.

Kola I disagree most Nigerian women even when they are not in a threatening situation like to let the world no about their marital status. So much so that a friend insulted me recently with: At least I am married. You will die single. Of course I responded by telling her that I'd rather die a single woman than experience her current marriage. Marriage and motherhood seems to be the only credible status giving to women in our society. This is a great pity and this is why they have to shout at the top of their voice.

2plus2,  4:29 pm  

Can I add my two penny's worth. The women should all go get a life. Earn realy money, do something that makes them happy and just about hope that their so-called husbands are not at it with the nanny, gateman, cook, cleaner, you name it etc.

Not surprised Jeremy, MRS is the altimate acolade for the average Nigerian young woman aiming for RESPECT.

Naija Dreams 6:07 pm  

lmao !!!!!
Buhahahahahah !!
Welcome to Naija !!Chai so dem dey do oooh !!
If u arent married in that country na big wahala !!
You will be suprised her husband prolly panel beats her daily ....but all she knows is she is married !!!
May God help us women folk in that country !!!

GG,  7:20 pm  

Interesting story Jeremy..but I find your question even more interesting. Setting aside the comments that turn this situation into a 'he said-she said', etc. Your question, as I interpret it, asks why do some Nigerian women feel that she obtains societal validity by carrying her marital status on her sleeve.

There is no short answer to your question, particularly since I haven't been to Nigeria, and the only Nigerian people I know are the young men playing football for my University's team. But it sort of reminds me of Asian women here in the US who marry white men and immediately make a point of mentioning to everyone that their husband is white. As if to show that the color of their husband's skin -and the husband's anglo last name, serves as a shield or sign of prestige in their communities.

Pseudo-Independence 9:31 pm  

What sort of tradition is this?

why on earth, at the Hilton of all places, is she claiming to be a married woman? Is this the way of the Nigerian woman?

with the most innocent of faces, i would have been tempted to give the following reply in the most subtle/almost quiet manner: "you are not a married man! you are not a married man"

abeg don’t let them drive you crazy in naija - you particularly have to be aware appearances may well be deceiving; you cannot judge a book by its cover.

but i like the manner in which you promptly expressed regret - the apology!

Jeremy 9:41 pm  

Anonymous-before-2-plus-2: I agree it wasn't the best behaviour on my part to bang on the bonnet. I felt bad about it immediately. In London I used to be a very aggressive/competitive driver. I'm a lot more chilled out in Nigeria, but it is a bit tricky to always keep your cool when you are surrounded 24/7 by terrible/inconsiderate driving. What to do?

Anonymous,  10:50 pm  

but jeremy you have hadly changed. you are still an aggressive and competitive driver!!

Spook E 12:51 am  

I suppose she meant - I'm a married woman, I could sick my husband on you. At least thats what I drawn from my run ins with such married i mean women, in Nigeria.

Anonymous,  5:08 am  

lol to put another spin on it, maybe she was trying to tell you to be careful, tht her husband was gonna beat you up, since she couldnt do it herself loooool

Olumide Abimbola 9:51 am  
This comment has been removed by the author.
יושה (Yosh) 10:34 am  

"...In London I used to be a very aggressive/competitive driver. I'm a lot more chilled out in Nigeria, but it is a bit tricky to always keep your cool when you are surrounded 24/7 by terrible/inconsiderate driving..."

That's why you drive, with your left arm out of your window? *:D*...seen you a couple times swing lanes on "that" road while I'm minding my biz... :)

omohemi Benson 1:40 pm  

I am an umarried woman!
What am I to do?

Do Nigerian men really only learn respect for women when they are married? answer: to a large % yes. Not only the men but the entire society.

Pseudo-Independence 2:28 pm  

At the risk of going off point, were I to be female, would I bear Mrs mynigerianhusbandsname? No way! I think the tradition should be tabood into a bin of rotten fish

ps: this is not to say am not female

Bitchy 2:38 pm  

Lol!! What a psycho!

@ Pseudo - If you were a woman, I would dare you to try doing the 'keeping my maiden name' thing. You'll be appalled at the responses you get, even from women!! I have brought up this topic many a time. A large number of Nigerian women regard it as stupid to not want to change your surname. Contrast that with the Spanish attitude where women automatically keep their names and the children do the double-barrel thing. I know what a fight it would be were I to insist on keeping my name. For the sake of peace, I'd probably let it go. We're so backward it stinks.

Anonymous,  4:41 pm  

not only spanish women also Islamic women. also traditional Yoruba women. All keep their names upon marriage.

Nijawife 4:51 pm  

My man what are you saying-being married is a licence in Nigeria to be respected.I mean look round and see how your fellow men look down and talk anyhow to unmarried girls and see how they treat married women with a lot of respect but dont think its bcos we are special but one of their subservient servant in the house.Have you seen a married woman having an argument with even ordinary driver on the road and the next thing you hear is i have your mate at home.And bcos we pay too much price for using that title(mrs)we have now assumed that being married confer priviledges to us anywhere

Anonymous,  5:28 pm  

eh please, not to derail the topic, but how is taking your husbands name backwards?

Gosh some people, if you dont like it dont do abeg...after it is not only in naija that ppl change their names upon marriage, and in that same naija sef, a lot of women never change their names legally, but just call them mrs so and so when officially they remain ms. whatever whatever

and also those ppl you know that kept their how many do you know have legally changed their names but are still informally referred to by the maiden name

sorry to derail your topic jeremy, but when ppl heap abuse on our backward nigeria just cause they feel like it, abeg! its not cute

Waffarian 12:24 am  

Hahahah! yes oh! As a single lady, I have also been thrown the "I am a married woman" syndrome, from friends that only last year were at clubs shaking their booties! These days, the answer to all questions and situations is "I am a married woman". Yes, being married is only secondary to "I am a mother", the two together, and they are now indestructable!

Anonymous,  11:16 am  

I am a married man. I once had a disagreement with a guy on a business issue, the next thing he is telling me, i am a married man who has a wife.

My reply "and so f***king what"

femi 12:19 am  

So because a woman chooses to adopt her husbands surname she is automatically backward ??

you my friend are suffering from what they call colo mentality.

Anonymous,  7:55 pm  

I am a married woman.

Also DEAD, died laughing!!!! some (other) lazy bugger suggested you do RSS feeds for your blog. Wouldja please? too much trouble reading opening (slow) pages to read archives...

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