Last night a Business seminar was held at the work place. My function there was purely administrative but then someone there began to make some statement about how success in business entails surrounding yourself with the right people. "Make sure you surround yourself with lawyers. Make sure you make friends with lawyers. Lawyers come in handy in business, they will give you great advice you need, they will point out loop holes that you otherwise don't see and thus help you avoid making mistakes and possibly losing millions, they will guide you, give you legal advice and also even help you out with some agreements. And the best part of all? You don't even have to pay them!"
Say what now?!!!
In that instance I forgot my role as admin and host and raised my hand to speak but without even waiting to be acknowledged or granted permission I raised my voice. Of course I voiced my displeasure at his statement and that line of thinking. Yes, we will help friends when we can but what you're suggesting is that one should manipulate and abuse the friendship of their lawyer friends...
The man, who used to work at Department of Petroleum Resources but left to start his own business, which is quite successful by the way, pointed out that he meant it in a harmless manner; "it's just that when you're starting out you'll need all the help you can get. Of course if the lawyer gives you all that help and advice freely when you're just starting out, when the money starts rolling in and you start having big "briefs", you will call him to handle them and he will get well paid".
Nope! Once again I was on my feet. "I disagree with that statement and this isn't even speaking from a legal standpoint but from a business standpoint". I've learnt that the best way to be a pauper is to work for free. But that's besides the point. Experience has taught me that when you have a skill which you've turned into a business and you do free work for "friends", in a lot of cases they undervalue your talent and question the strength of your skills; after all if you're so good then why am I not paying you? Free work makes them question if you're worth your salt... 'You do that beautiful makeup job for free, then when there's a bigger occasion they remember they only want Banke Meshida and they will gladly pay her 200k', a friend complained. *Tonia, a baker and caterer also complained; 'on her husband's birthday she begged me to bake and cook for them for free, at her birthday party she begged me to bake and cook for free, same as her mother's birthday. Each time I agreed. Then when she was doing something for her colleagues at the office she went to someone else and paid over 100k, for food that isn't even as good as my own', Tonia lamented once when she swore she would never do any free work for friends again.
Another argument was about to ensue when I caught myself and decided I didn't really want to be a part of the argument in the business seminar. Although all round interaction was encouraged, I wasn't one of the guests. Therefore, In order to distract myself I picked up my phone and started to send random messages to people on Whatsapp. One of these people was a very old GREAT friend of mine. Matty.
I've told some of you about Matty, right? Well Matty is married with kids now and the last time we talked or chatted beyond the surface pleasantries was probably four years ago. Matty didn't reply till I got home last night, at midnight, and we chatted for hours. He began to ask about all my friends he knew (about) and they all happen to be married with kid(s) now; Chocolate, Nene, Yoko, Osayi et al.
He chuckled at the thought of some of them as mothers now and the conversation moved on to other things. Matty and I live barely 5 minutes away from each other but for some reason we haven't seen or talked in years and when we chat it's Hi-Hello-Howareyou, but last night it was deep, sincere and heartfelt.
Towards the end of our conversation he said; "Quick question". I told him to ask away. He had only two words; "Why single?" He asked. Coming from someone else I might have rolled my eyes/laughed it off/shrugged it off/blown a fuse/asked how it's any of your concern/mindlessly mumbled "in God's time", but with Matty it was different.
Why single? Just two words but I could hear the genuine bafflement, the confusion, the concern... Why is everyone I asked you about married but your aren't? What is the reason? What do you think the reason is? Is it by choice or circumstance? Why is your situation different?
Matty only said two words but I know him well enough to know what exactly he was asking. Unlike with other people or every other person who has asked me this I didn't give some rushed, automatic or default response. When he asked, something I'd expected him to ask anyways, I paused for a few moments to consider what angle I could best answer his question from.
I told him some things which led to another conversation entirely and restarted our chat. We talked about other things but all day those two words have flashed through my mind.
Why is any single woman single, really? Does anyone ever know? Is there an answer to that question?
Well yes, there is, for those for whom being single is a choice.
But for the rest; Why single? They ask you that question and look into your eyes, holding your gaze, eagerly awaiting an answer. It sincerely baffles me, that question is rhetorical at best!
And as the chat wound to a sleepy end he asked me; "Are you happy?"
This time I didn't have to pause, to mull over it or think. This time I responded with a hearty Yes! And Matty who knows me better than most people do, didn't for one second think it was false, uncertain or wishful. He said; "Well that's what matters, really.".
But wait o! Let's leave all the literature and come back to the crux; Why am I single? Is it weird that I've never asked myself this question before? I think it is and I can't think of any answers, can you?
No, before you begin to discuss my matter, let's talk about you single women. Have you ever wondered about your singleness, said to yourself but Mary, Janet, Amaka, Tolani, Fatimah, Imabong, Wandoo, Osarieme, Tega and Wariebi are married, not like they're better than me, or finer than me, or more domesticated than I am, or more intelligent than me... So what is it, why am I single?
Why are YOU single?
*regardless of your status, please know that happiness and being a part of a couple are not mutually exclusive. Life is sweet, don't delay the savoring of this dish all because 'they' told you that you're not worthy to eat it alone*