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J-Girl(_)(_)(_)_3Lord Bless Ifeoma

By Jennifer Obiuwevbi

I’ve always enjoyed hanging out with my male friends. Why? I get to hear all the unbelievable things they go through with women and jot some of them down for future references.

Last weekend, I had one of those hangouts with a bunch of guys I met at my NYSC Camp. They recounted how much fun they were having with their recent move to Lagos – especially with Lagos girls. Apparently, to them Lagos girls are like new creatures they get to watch in their natural habitat. They find them fascinating.

Anyway, as we sat in our little cubicle at a restaurant, talking about how life for them is now quite different, they asked me when my “bobo” is coming to get their approval (like he’ll need it). After recanting the usual answer – “I haven’t found what I’m looking for…men aren’t chivalrous anymore…I don’t have time for relationships”- I told them about the craziest experience I’d ever had with a man in Lagos. Don’t worry, It’s PG, I promise.

I was walking down Allen at Ikeja, Lagos when a guy selling used GSM phones by the side of the road saw me coming. This man stared at me for some time and said “Ah! Fine Geh! I swear if I get you to myself I go suck you dry” and made the slurping sound. It’s needless to say my friends laughed so hard one of them spilled his drink, but that only led us to a new point of discussion. What was the basis of his calling me fine girl first of all then going on to make such a derogatory statement.

I understand in Lagos it’s a norm for people to use the term “Fine Girl” to get a woman’s attention even though it has since lost its charm but, really, what does it mean to be a fine girl in Lagos? Has it moved from a sincere form of flattery to a means to an end?

Even if the term was still true to its purpose of being a compliment, what does it take to be a fine girl? We see it every day. Each girl is in a silent competition against the next girl, trying to get better clothes, higher shoes, longer weaves, brighter skin… is this all to get the highly coveted title of “Fine Girl”? Are those the special ingredients that make a fine girl in Lagos?

I asked some of the guys and they seemed to have previously discussed it. “Look, every girl is fine in her own way. It depends on where you are and what is termed as fine there. If Jennifer Lawrence is referred to as obese in Hollywood, then that just goes to show that different places have different standards of beauty. In Lagos, the standard for beauty has gone from every woman being herself and looking good, to having a bright complexion, long Brazilian hair, a crop top and inverted Nike’s in the name of eyebrows. I’ve come to see that’s just the way it is here.”

A lot of my male friends ask me why women do all that we do. Even though I explain that it’s all about individual expressions of their beauty, they still end with the same question, “But isn’t it too much?” I used to say no, but now I am not so sure.

Is it possible for a woman to lose herself in the quest for beauty? Can she just wake up and not recognise herself in the mirror because so much has changed? Will the quest for beauty ever end or is it a matter of changing oneself as the trends change? How do you know if and when you get to the final stage of this seemingly insatiable competition for beauty? What determines the true meaning of a “Fine Girl” in Lagos?

And just for fun, what is the worst “Fine Girl” experience you have ever had anywhere? Sharing is caring. Have a great day ahead.

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