My date was an ahusa (Nigerian walnut), black as the seed of Ishin on the outside but white as efun (chalk) on the inside. He was Nigerian alright; in picture but in reality, he was as British as they come. It was a nice day; he spoke, laughed and bounced around like a basketball in the hands of a happy teenage boy. I galloped behind saying as little as I could and eyeing the entrance of every London Underground Station we passed, wishing he would change his mind and relent from his unrealistic resolve not to take any transportation. He was so British in his manners, attitude and speech that I started to feel too Nigerian and he was fast to classify my attitude and mannerism as too Nigerian. so I decided I wanted to be cool; I wanted to be as non-Nigerian as possible. I wanted to prove that I had integrated myself into the culture of the British people so I shut my Nigerian mouth, said little, and laughed when he made jokes about everything Nigerian. The air was silent; I could hear my thoughts above the noise of traffic as we walked passed Victoria Station. I wanted to make conversations; I desperately wanted to be a great company, so I asked “What Nigerian foods do you like?”
“None” he said laughing into my face. “You see our food was created to satisfy the need to survive and do it quickly. Slaves needed food but not much time can be given for that process so the foods were heavy to provide great energy, swallowed to maximize time.”
I bit my tongue and nodded my head. Oh lord, I thought, let this day be over before it has started. He licked his lips and I knew the lesson was not over
“Which foreign country have you seen serving Nigerian foods. That shows you how unpleasant they are.”
“Most people love Jollof rice,” I said. “My American friend loved Eba and Egusi when they tasted it.”
“They were just being polite and they probably went to spit it out after you left.”
At this point, I knew he was a hopeless case. He is one of those Nigerian British born babies who are not actually Nigerian and I am a Nigerian baby who would always think in some ways like a Nigerian. Ok, maybe most ways, apart from the notion of a woman being inferior to a man. For instance, I am a Nigerian and my idea of a date is movies and pop corn or an evening in Nandos or any other fancy restaurant where they serve spicy chicken. Of course, you will be paying.
I am down for some new things like picnic in the park and a walk through in the British Museum where we would discuss the variety of ancient and modern objects and coins, and how it reflects the Zoroastrian traditions in other religions. So that I can prove to you that, I am not just a beauty without brain (yeah beauty; monkey no fine but him mama like am). I wish every strand of my hair were coated with the knowledge of history so that I can dazzle you with my counter argument but I am afraid they are not. My heart is sold to poetry and writing but I could not discuss it with him for fear he would laugh and say “that is so Nigerian”
I got home and looked into the mirror but I could not find me. I was lost; something was missing. In a desperate attempt to find it, I immersed myself in the world of Nigerian film on YouTube. I called my friends back home and spoke freely in my Nigerian English. Slowly I began to feel that tingle of familiarity, my tongue started to relax and I felt Nigerian again.
I promised myself, Never again would a date make me lose me. I am Nigerian and if that is too much for any British born Nigerian specie to handle then ja kuro, make I carry go with my life.