When I was in my late teens, I decided I wanted to start wearing trousers (or pants, as our American friends would call them). Partially from a religious standpoint and partially from a moral one (which was dictated by the religious one), I hadn’t been raised to wear this item of clothing. All that it’s a sin for women to wear men’s clothing bit. So, it was always skirts and gowns.
I remember going to this weekly market (Oil Mill Market in Port-Harcourt, Nigeria – where they still sell pretty much everything and anything) with my mother, and basically harassing and haranguing the poor woman till I got my first pair of jeans trousers. As you can imagine, I wore the heck out of those jeans. Hey, they were my only pair!
That caused some problems – my shape is such that my hips are relatively pronounced, as a matter of fact. It is a hereditary thing, from my father’s side; in fact, when I’d go on a diet, my mother would always say, “If your hips start disappearing, that means you’ve gone too far.” My wearing trousers, was turned into something weird because a lot of people who had known me, before then, hadn’t seen me wearing trousers. That, and the not-so-little fact of my shape, proved to be too much of a distraction for them.
So, a lot of people assumed that I’d started wearing trousers, because I was trying to attract a boy’s attention – and they took my mother to task over that. She had become widowed by this time, and there were some ‘concerns’ that the trauma of my father’s assassination and lack of a father figure, would send me hurtling into the bed of the first dude I could find. And that I would possibly seek out guys, instead of waiting for them to even come to me – so, I was trying to change my wardrobe to attract them. This was obviously rubbish, because my principal worry at the time, was getting into university, which you can find on Wikipedia, and is a story for another blog post …
Anyway, my mother banned me from wearing trousers around her. So, I’d just wait till she was out of the house. Then, I started to get more trousers made. I’d get material (especially one-of-a-type pieces of material), draw a design and give it to a tailor to sew. It made my mother really uncomfortable. Till one day, a work colleague of hers said to her, “You know for a fact that your daughter is not promiscuous. You know you raised her well. Why are you listening to people? Hopefully, your daughter will soon get into university; wouldn’t you prefer that she shows you what she’s capable of, here and now? Instead of pretending in your presence, and doing something outside … something that you would have sworn she could never do, because she’s been pretending to your face?” Thank you so much, Aunty Mary!
My mother saw the light LOL – especially when some of her friends whose daughters took the pain to dress in a certain way at home, started wearing all sorts of other … contraptions when they went away to university, far away from their parents.
There was even this one we heard about, whose mother had been bragging on her daughters’ virginity. Seriously, I don’t even understand why anyone would do that … but she had about five teenage daughters and was all like, “All my daughters are the prototype from which Mary, the mother of Jesus, was cut.” And her friends would use her daughters as examples for their own ‘erring children’. Until one of her daughters came home from university, with a baby. Yeah, one she had given birth to. Not even the girl’s room-mates had known she was pregnant. In fact, she had told them she had a serious stomach-ache, they’d called a taxi to take her to the clinic, and she’d given birth in the taxi. The taxi-driver and her room-mates had thought she was dying, because they hadn’t suspected she was actually in labour. She had also been visiting her parents during the pregnancy, but they hadn’t suspected a thing.
Of course, some of her mother’s ‘friends’ – who it turned out, had just been mocking her – trooped to their house, to congratulate (or was it, commiserate with) her, as soon as they heard. In fact, a few days before the sorta-happy news broke, a friend of her mother’s had come to the house and been all like, “You’re such an amazing mother; how do you do it? You’re so lucky! All your daughters are virgins.”
It’s so easy for people to judge you by the standards that they try to foist on(to) another person – especially, when it comes to sexual issues.
Copyright ©Chioma Nnani