In Lagos, falling in love starts with red lipstick, always red lipstick.
You have a fairly expensive weave, heels you can barely walk in, a tight bandage dress, Chanel No.5 perfume… and red lipstick.
You are heading to the club with your friends. It’s Saturday night; you’ve had a long week and you are really eager for some random ‘hello-beautiful-can-I-buy-you-a-drink’ conversation with any dude with passable looks and some good height.
You arrive the club with excitement pushing you from behind and anticipation telling you to get ready for a wild night. You might be going home with the number or card of some hot dude.
Hopes are high, alcohol is getting you higher. You are on the dance floor, gyrating like an afro-beat dancer. You and your friends, playing silly; one grabs your waist, the other is breast-to-breast as you try to numb your stupidity with more alcohol.
You are at the club, it is Saturday, and everything is aaaalright.
You look around with what is left of your sight; everyone is getting as wild as they can; girls are grinding on strange men, too much to drink on every table; big spenders, the smell of liquor and expensive cologne; cigarette smoke; dim lights, pre-coital frenzy over loud music…
There are women with bigger breasts, wider hips, fatter buttocks, more expensive weaves, more aggressive approach, more this and more that…no chance you will find a man to look your ordinary way; but you are too drunk to care. Your makeup is smeared, the last trace of your lipstick is stuck to the rim of a wine glass, your heels hurt, you are on your third bottle of Vodka and cranberry juice with your friends; and you feel like taking your clothes off now. It’s too hot in here. But first you need to use the restroom- you are feeling nauseous.
After vomiting into the toilet bowl, it is time to go home.
3am and you are still single. It is well.
You wake up to a headache banging in your head like an angry child knocking his toy against the wall. You have to go to church, it’s a ritual. Regardless of what Saturday unearths, Sunday is ever willing to conceal and make pure and whole again.
There are many times that you run to church after a raunchy night with sex all over your hair; but with just the smell of your pastor’s cologne, you are certain you have been cleansed from your sins- you have become new again; old things are gone. Until the next Saturday- a tradition that confirms your inability to be perfect, just the way God likes you to be- imperfect and in dire need of His love and help.
You are in church, all of Saturday’s scandal out of the way; you can feel the gentle touch of your Saviour peeling away layers of your sin until you are as white as snow, with curly blonde weave and a sparkle in your heart- just like those horrid pictures, sold everywhere, that portrays his holiness.
So…just as you are basking in that moment of purification, you turn to your left, and there he is looking at you with big brown eyes.
A hot male.
What you had hoped to find on a debauched Saturday is waiting patiently for you on a holy Sunday!
Praise da lord!
After sizing each other up, numbers and Blackberry pins are exchanged at the end of service.
Then the lies begin:
“I have been with only two men my whole life,” she says.
“I am not dating anyone presently,” he says.
“I am celibate; keeping myself for that special someone,” she says
“I am a one-woman man,” he says
Your first date is smudged with bible scriptures.
Your second date is buttered with deceit.
By your third date, you are both convinced you are adults and there’s nothing wrong with a-little-sex.
Sex happens and leaves you lost in your heads…
“He came too fast…”
“She needs to shave…”
“He needs to work that thing better…”
“Everything is drooping and touching the floor…”
But you are needy animals at this point, so sex will happen again and again and again… and a few more dates.
Soon, conversation will become polite; then arguments on: “Why didn’t you pick my call all day?!” and “I was busy, why would you call me 109 times?!” would start.
Sex will lose its flavour after the second month, and Lagos traffic with poor network will be the convenient excuses for you both to finally drift apart.
She, back to the comfort of alcohol and friends.
He, back to his 4-year old relationship that is leading to the altar in three weeks!
But first, the bitter ruckus:
On Facebook she writes: “Men are useless liars; gone through one more asshole, but I stand strong.”
She tweets: “Weak men cannot handle the strength of a true woman, but I refuse to bend.”
On Blackberry messenger she rants: “I am God’s princess, only real men are invited.”
On google plus, she posts a meme: “Worthless dogs will inherit the flames of hell.”
(All the while, monitoring his social media activities and maddened by the pretty pictures of another woman he has on his profile- just the right capsule for torment.)
He is not sure all these rants are directed at him. She was just a moment’s fancy, something of a reward for living in a city as hectic as Lagos. Their love, as fast-paced as Lagos’ bikers speeding to their deaths, was something ephemeral. Isn’t that how it should be? Isn’t that how you fall in love in a city as diverse and multi-coloured as Lagos, blessed with too many beauties, too many head-turning buttocks, too many people looking for love and material stuff… and settling for less?
You fall, you stand up; pick your shattered brain from the floor, piece it back together and move on. Love, in the city, lasts just as long as a hot cuppa tea!
He tags her to his wedding invitation on Facebook with the rest of his 685 friends.
But these days, they call it maturity- moving on without bitterness. Afterall, she is a Lagos Sisi, she should be used to the easy/hurtful cosmopolitan life nah, he wonders.
Love is found everyday on the streets of Lagos and lost somewhere between the deceitful lifestyle and asphyxiating energy of the city.
In Lagos, love is pain and more.
It is what it is.
Eko oni Baje.