Lagos is not the most fertile ground for a healthy relationship; not even any relationship that is not solely sex based. There are women in droves who settle for guys who just screw them.
Nothing more or less.
Some of them give up and recline to a life of chastity, and consequently less exposure and less opportunity. I meet these women often in tens and hundreds; and still, any poll would prove they come in more than those figures.
I’ll tell you about Rhonda and friends:
Rhonda had a figure way more spanking than Khloe Kardashian’s best revenge body. Not that she ever took her workout routines more seriously than the laziest housewife who occasionally turned up at the gym with dim inspiration that lasted ten seconds, she was just endowed with the most compliant body figure.
Rhonda, in her early forties, was the most successful blogger in Lagos, Nigeria. She had diversified into the entertainment industry, running her own music studio, several talk shows and satirical news on YouTube channels. She was adored and despised–praised and cursed–by fans and critics respectively. But her line of work made her the chief of critics. There was always someone displeased about something she blogged, especially in Lagos where she lived. And whenever they attacked her, the matter of her age and marital status always came up.
* * *
Rhonda had driven herself to the party one evening. Much as she hoped to arrive the venue in Lagos Island at the same time with her friends, or just a few minutes apart, The Fates had a different plan for her. Her usual cohorts, Ada and Toyo who were coming in Toyo’s car had a flat tire on the way. They were still committed to coming just because of Rhonda, but now it was going to be at least one hour later.
Rhonda had barely got the chance to grab a glass of any drink before a man walked up to her and asked, “Are you Rhonda Nneji?”
“Yes I am,” she replied politely.
“Oh,” he grimaced. “You look a bit bigger in real life.”
Rhonda smiled pitifully. She looked around the party and saw a few artistes she knew waving at her; there were good looking gentlemen dispersed around the party making small talks, or flirting with some young eager-to-fit in girl who had come to the party for that exact purpose; she saw groups of friends shielding one another with their company; she saw movie actors and journalists. Why was this rude, badly spoken twat whom she had never seen in her life the one who stepped up to her?
“My sister always reads your blog?” he told her.
“Please thank her for me. I appreciate that.” Rhonda was looking away from him.
“Are you looking for something?”
“Yes I am.”
“What is that?”
She forced another smile. “Don’t worry about it.”
“Maybe I can help you to–”
“Please excuse me.”
She took out her phone and pretended to dial a number as she walked away from him.
Moments later, one of the journalists who had come to the party basically to work discreetly came up to Rhonda just as she finished speaking with an acquaintance that had come to greet her. She didn’t mind answering a few questions. About a decade ago, she too was doing whatever she could to get her brand off the ground. She had taken advantage of the power of the first arrival when few people knew about blogging, let alone the clout gossip news was going to command.
As more people acquired smart devices and settled into the comfort of accessing local and global news from their phones, her prominence increased. In a few years, her name became a byword in the online news world. She watched so many aspiring bloggers in Lagos try to emulate her. Only a handful survived, but never quite accrued as many followers as she had. Whenever she could, she would extend a hand down to a potential next big blogger, even if it was only in the form of an interview.
The journalist asked her, “Are you here alone?”
“Just for the moment. My friends will be here soon.”
“You don’t seem to have a lot of friends. As popular as you are, in fact the queen blogger in Nigeria, one would expect that you would have more company at this sort of party.”
Really? That’s how you want to play this? Rhonda wore her sweet public expression. “I don’t mix much. I get shy. But you can’t tell anyone that?”
“I’ve got you like a sister,” the journalist said.
Be thankful you’re not my sister, you two-faced snitch.
“If you don’t mind my asking, why don’t you have a man yet?”
But I do mind. Rhonda rolled her small eyes and laughed. “Everything in its perfect time.”
Is this really about time, or finding the one?”
“Kisses don’t turn frogs into princes anymore, so you could say it’s a bit of both.”
“But do men slide into your DM regularly?”
“They do, however, as a principle, I don’t respond to anything that isn’t either news or a message from someone I know.”
The journalist pressed further, “Do you know sliding is the most recent convention in dating and affairs. If you lock away the chances…”
Just then Rhonda saw Ada and Toyo walk in. She heaved a deep sigh of relief, and told the journalist, “My friends are here. I have to go now.”
She closed her notepad. “Thank you so much for your time. I hope I see you again sometime.”
I’ll never see you again. Rhonda smiled sweetly. “Of course that’ll be nice.”
As she was scooting across to meet her friends, two men blocked her path uncharacteristically. One of them said, “My friend and I have been arguing about something. Since you’re here, we decided to just ask you directly.”
“Okay.” It was an irritating drawl as she also noted their Eastern accent.
“Are you with anyone?”
“Yes, I’m here with my friends,” Rhonda said.
The other man shook his head. “Not like that. We mean do you have a man in your life?”
Rhonda frowned. “That is a very private matter. If you would excuse me now.”
They blocked her way again. “Because we’re single,” one of them said. “In case you’re looking for a guy who can take care of you. Which of us will you choose?”
I’ll go to the convent. “Your desire to take care of me is very touching, but I’m fine.”
“So you won’t–?”
A scowl appeared on her face. “If you do not let me through right now, I will empty this glass on one of you.”
They parted like a magic door and let her through.
Toyo asked her as soon as she came around, “So how’s it going?”
“We’re leaving now. They have the most annoying people in attendance. Lagos men are so rude. And everyone wants to prod my singlehood. I turn right, someone says I’m fat; I turn left, someone wants to marry me. Like that is not enough, one despicable reporter came to start lecturing me about sliding into DM. I’m just totally done.”
Ada was laughing heartily. “We are so staying put. This is going to be a lot of fun.”