The Man on Ikorodu Road

My visible other half wrote this article and it was posted on Just kidding. Hi, I’m Obianuju and will be invading HRH7’s space to satisfy my/ our loyal readers. Enjoy this post! And leave me (her) a comment or 30 ;).
I still remember him. White jalabiya swinging, white cap placed pertly upon his head, hefty book carried in the crook of his arm, hateful words spewing as he pointed to everyone in a running stream of vitriol.
I remember him; a potential stressor at a time when I clearly avoided those, the mad woman who had grabbed my forehead was still fresh in my memory.
I remember walking closer to the railing in Ikorodu Road after coming back from my internship, the glow of pride that I did not sleep in the office today lifting my spirit.
I remember being jostled and a teeming crowd which seemed to appear from nowhere blocking my exit route. I remember having to pass directly by this extremely dissatisfied human specimen, in turns proselytizing and criticizing. Little did I know, I was his next victim.
He looked me up and down, giving passersby a two second saving grace before he assaulted their ears again. His eyes sharpened on my black official trousers. My favourite ones. And then he pointed, raining saliva down my face and started a barely understandable diatribe about how women should not be allowed to wear trousers while I looked for the quickest mode of escape before he touched any part of me at all and ignited my own rage.
I remember this and so much more when I think about my life. A friend once told me, “the weirdest things always happen to you”.
The point of this tale really is not to give that man any wider a stage than Ikorodu Road. It’s not even to restate my belief on minding your bloody business. No. It’s about two issues a lot more controversial-Β 

1) Why do people believe it’s alright to impose their beliefs on you?
2) Why do people who want to win you over to their way of thinking think humiliation is the best method?

I understand now that the man was a fundamentalist Muslim and extremely devout, I’m not going to refer to him specifically; my aunt’s referral of him as an idiot did a lot to restore my self confidence. But, standing on the bridge blocking passersby and screeching insults at men who didn’t grow beards or women who drank or 17 year old girls who wore trousers was an opinion. And while I champion the right of all human beings to their opinions, the germy saliva he sprayed on my face made it an improper way to express such opinions to me. If he had touched me and I’d gotten the chance to practice my self defense “skills”, I have no doubt that a fight would have ensued and of course being a Nigerian female, overwhelming public opinion would have been against me. Afterall, we women are to respect our place and appreciate whatever spotlight is put upon us, even when it’s by a smelly man in a white jalabiya screaming garbage.

I have a love- hate relationship with Twitter. It’s an application for people to deliver their opinions in real time and to a wider audience than they would have been able to accumulate in real life, mostly. Some points are witty, I’ll grant but mostly it’s just better packaged garbage than the man on Ikorodu Road was selling. In the past week alone, I’ve read in turn people praising as well as deriding President Buhari for shaking a woman’s hand, distinct opinions expressed by a single man as when the women he will marry needs to get up from bed, certain repressed tribalistic beliefs couched as witty insults being exchanged and criticism and praise being for Caitlyn (formerly Bruce Jenner) and so much more.
Very often, I find that engaging people in widely publicised debates about their opinions is humiliating and tends to make the person stick all the more to their guns so I generally don’t bother. But I do ask this question in all honesty- Is there no better way to get your opinions across? For instance, being called and quietly advised about my dressing one Sunday did so much more to change my dressing habits (I now set out my camisoles on Saturday evening) than any public display could have done. I found that taking my friends aside to correct them, gently voiced does so much to win them over than the screams they might have publicly expected.
I still wear trousers, all the time where I can help it. But I have never gone to church in a dress with a plunging neckline without a camisole or gone on stage at a conference wearing any dress more than 3 inches above my knee, without wearing tights or leggings.
I’m not entirely sure this article will make a difference in changing people’s perceptions of how they treat and address others but I’m exceptionally glad that no mad women have touched my head recently, I don’t sleep at the office anymore and no pungent individuals have caused me to bathe thrice recently. And with your help, that streak can continue running.
I’ll leave you with this paraphrased saying:
You’ll attract more bees with flowers than garbage.

Obianuju Ayalogu


21 Comments Add yours

  1. rixlibris says:

    Idiotic rantings in public places are part of the price we pay for freedom and individual liberties. Start carrying pamphlets, it doesn’t matter the cause, and when confronted by the ranter offer to sell a pamphlet to them. “Please sir, support studying bats to learn to use echolocation to find food sources for starving penguins.” The goal is to make him think you even nuttier than he is and he’ll move on to someone else. Can’t beat them, join them.

    1. hrh7 says:

      You sir, might be an evil genius. I totally respect evil geniuses by the way.
      That’s immensely funny and i definitely will try it.
      Thank you so much for commenting.

      1. rixlibris says:

        Thank you. To be on evil genius has always been my goal. Before moving out into the woods we used to get regular Saturday visits from our friendly (truly friendly) Jehovah’s Witnesses. Most of the neighbors would shun contact but I welcomed it. I would engage and ask many, many questions. Eventually the visit would reach the point where they would start to fidget, check the wrist watch, hand me the Watchtower magazine and say, “gotta go.” Then one day they stopped ringing my bell. They probably noted me in a log book somewhere, “avoid the lonely guy at 2320.”

      2. hrh7 says:

        πŸ˜πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜ You scared off Jehovah’s Witnesses? Wow! That is amazing. And really weird too. I hope you got some answers to your questions though.
        And once again, thank you so so much for commenting. I’ll be by your blog as soon as I can.

    2. Tracey Rains says:

      You truly are a genius! Evil? Who cares! That is a brilliant suggestion! As a liberal in the buckle of the Southern US Bible Belt, I needed a few silver bullets!

    1. hrh7 says:

      Thank you very much.

  2. Adaeze says:

    I think this piece can be on any magazine, it was well written. Some people carry the open rebuke is better than secret love thing too far most times. I’d rather you tell me my”faults” in private.

    A mad man once slapped me- it was like an Indian film, he actually crossed the road to slap me… I was too stunned to react.

    As for the man on Ikorodu road…. the rantings of bigots are worthless.

    1. hrh7 says:

      This comment is all shades of awesomeness. We have twin mad people stories! Should I be happy or sad?
      And I always prefer secret rebuke as well. Thanks for commenting Adaeze.

  3. Wow, dis is extremely lovely.

    1. hrh7 says:

      Hey you! Thank you for visiting and commenting. How are you doing these days?

  4. Tracey Rains says:

    I used to sing Southern Gospel in churches all across the Eastern US, and was so demoralized that most of the venues’ insisted that all women wear only dresses or skirts. They could not care less if I was a drunk or…whatever…as long as I wore a dress. I believed in the message I presented, but just couldn’t buy into the hypocrisy that whether or not I exposed my legs mattered more than my character. To me, that’s the worst problem with most ranters: They are ultra-focused on something trivial while ignoring the deeper issue. I loathe dresses and feel vulnerable and exposed in them, so I always just wore a pair of pants with the legs rolled up under my skirt until I finished. I finally gave it all up before I ended up as much of a hypocrite as they.

    1. hrh7 says:

      Genius solution to that problem but I recognise why it couldn’t continue. A friend tried that at school once (it was a sport day and they banned trousers and shorts from being worn by the girls) but they caught her. Good news is she didn’t receive any punishment.
      And while I do not support the hypocrisy of telling women to only wear skirts and dresses and to continuously ensure that they remain less than their male counterparts, I definitely hope you still remain in Christ? I’ve found that anger and disappointment fade away from my memory when I call upon Him.
      Take care of yourself. Hugs.

      1. Tracey Rains says:

        I have remained true to my faith. I stopped singing in public because I did not want to become embittered. Thank you for the support!

  5. D'Dream says:

    The key is not to impose your own thoughts and belief on another. i tried as much to share my faith but in doing that, i dont force it down your throat like some religious bigot do.

    1. hrh7 says:

      Thank you. You understand the point I was trying to make. I don’t mind people preaching to me. I truly don’t mind. When it gets embarrassing is when you shove down your thoughts and opinions down my throat.
      Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. It is much appreciated.

      1. D'Dream says:

        Ur welcome sir or is it ma?

      2. hrh7 says:

        Miss. 😊

      3. D'Dream says:

        Aiit, thanks Miss. Nice Checking this blog out

      4. hrh7 says:

        Lovely having you here

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