Hey! Your dress is too short
Lately, travelling has become a bore to me. It’s no longer a favorable pastime. I would sit, calculate the long hours to be spent on the road, the stress, the uncertainty of Nigerian roads, the sanity of the driver and his uncanny habits. When I say habits, I mean such ones as branching into the fuel station after take-off, with the putrid smell of premium motor spirit in the air, (causing your stomach to be knotted and probably release the food you had eaten that morning)carrying passengers for destinations they would end up not reaching.
After postponing this trip over and over again, I summoned courage and decided to go on this wednesday morning(29th sept), typing my blog story in my head and listening to music via earphones. I just needed to be distracted for time to pass quickly. I tried closing my eyes so as not to notice the distance but it didn’t work.
It was a three hour journey from FCT to Zaria, on an empty stomach(hastily made sandwich was packed in the bag, though and a bottle of coke) but I couldn’t bring myself to eat it. Partly because I knew the driver would enter a fuel station on the way and the smell could upset my stomach and then, because I remembered the story I heard about a student who fell sick in school and vomited Amala and Ewedu on a Monday MORNING even though I don’t know those who were brave enough to scrutinise the smelly something in order to know the type of soup that went with it, #smh# (lobatan! Don’t look at me like that and pretend as if you don’t also enjoy solids in the morning, lol, lol). I didn’t want to vomit bread or anything.
I don’t want to bore you with the details of the journey because I didn’t sit beside an Adamu or a Hassan. Instead we were just three ladies at the back seat. True to Nigerian drivers, he got to Kaduna and said he wasn’t going ahead again. I was too angry to even argue. Consequently, three of us going to zaria had to join a Kano bound bus and so began the nightmare.
I didn’t understand a bit of the conversation around me. Even when the driver stopped so many times, I could not ask what was happening. The ‘usman’ guy(name coined by me) sitting by my right was shifting and adjusting without care, brushing me closely in the process. I was livid, yet I couldn’t talk to him. The bus stopped so many times, making me more agitated. I don’t want to say that my northern brothers are clumsy or nonchalant or always look untidy because I have equally met handsome, educated and well behaved ‘hassans’ while travelling this route.
I had to be back that same day so, I was eager to get off the bus and stride majestically into the open gate of the Main Campus of the Ahmadu Bello University in Samaru. However, when I put a call through to Samaila, who usually picked me from the main gate, he was unreachable. So in a last minute decision, I decided to go in through the North gate for the very first time. That turned out to be my undoing.
As I walked hurriedly past, in long quick strides towards the entrance, I noticed two ladies and a man sitting there. I thought they were securities so I just walked past them. As if on cue, all three of them turned to me at the same time and said ‘hey, your dress is too short, we don’t allow this kind of dress here, go home and change”.
I was dazed. My dress? You see, I had left home wearing a knee-length dress(not fitted), with a tiny belt and a jacket. I had even reprimanded myself for putting on a jacket when the heat became much. What if I had put on a certain body-fitted dress I had in mind?Why didn’t I just wear a top and Jean? Go home? I looked at them and said ‘but, home is abuja’.
They didn’t seem perturbed. Instead, they said ‘is this your first time of coming here? Are you a student here? Go and buy leggings. ARrrrrrrgh! Where do I get that from? And they pointed at a shop across the street.
In my mind, I was screaming and abusing them in my language. I didn’t even beg. I just walked away. I thought of going back to pass through the main gate but it would be another stress.
Story cut short, I angrily sulked to the shop, bought a pair of trouser I hated(there was no leggings). By the way, I have never worn leggings…weird? I walked past them again and they seemed not to notice me. I didn’t bother to look at them too. My look could have killed somebody. I didn’t like myself at all. Imagine wearing a full dress with a trouser underneath. I just felt so silly. It was an odd way to dress.
Angrily, I began to keep a close watch on all the female students coming through the entrance. Yeah, some were in full length gowns, with long hijabs, handgloves, stockings(you should come to the north to experience the heat) while some were in tight fitting jeans, cleavage revealing tops, short gown with slits. Then I looked at myself and wondered ‘was it the soap I bathed with that morning?’ or plain bad luck? Why were those other girls not stopped?
Infact, I am still wondering and do not know what to think. Oh yeah! I have spent one year in that school and never been stopped because of my dressing. Is this part of ‘change’ or do I have to cover my head next time? What did I do with the trouser? I removed it on my way out of the school and dashed it to Almajiris(by the way, those Almajiris should compete in Project Fame…they can sing, chanting all forms of rhythmic syllables in a monotone- they remain a permanent problem of the north).
Happy independence anniversary!!!