Dear Single woman in Lagos,
So, you have rented your own apartment, or you are sharing with some friends.
It feels good to be alone, under no one’s authority, to eat what you like when you want, to come home anytime you feel like.
Yes, yes but this isn’t all it takes to live as a single woman in Lagos. Everyone knows that Lagos, thanks to all the mega city songs, is one of the most dangerous places to live in especially when you are a single woman living alone.
Here is a short guide to surviving and living a peaceful life
- Whatever mode of transportation you take- Bikes, keke, bus, cabs, do not let the person take you to your house. If it is a gated estate, stop at the gate and walk home (the walk is good for your body) If it is not, stop a few houses from your house or street. Trust me, you do not want strange men to know where you live.
- You need a find that balance between being too friendly, polite and just rude. So you are living alone or with another single person. You are young, seem ‘happy’ in the eyes of neighbours so naturally they may not like you. Find a way to maintain a cordial relationship with your neighbours without also being the person they can talk down on. Once, someone was commenting about how different cars bring me and my housemate home every night, wondering the kind of work we do. (You know what she is insinuating) Brethren, the ‘different’ cars were uber/taxify. I heard but next day when I saw her I greeted her sweetly.
- Inviting your friends’ over- Now this seems like a very innocent thing to do yes? Because you will get lonely in that apartment of yours. So you invite a few friends over, have lunch/dinner, watch movies, good conversations or even sleep overs. The real question is who are your friends? The people you invite to your home are they really your friends? Do you really know them? Men or women. This also includes your neighbours, whatever it is they want to borrow, they can take it outside the door. I have a friend who lives in a studio apartment so because the first thing you see when you enter her house is the bed, she doesn’t let random men inside. It might sound crazy, but many are mad, and they are living in Lagos. Don’t allow strange people especially men come into your house. Many women have been harmed, raped or even killed in their homes by the people they let in.
- Locking up – It is okay to get up about 5 times to check that your door is locked before you sleep. It is paranoia but you can’t be too sure. There was a day I was absolutely sure I locked the door, but when I got up just to check, alas, it was open.
- At work, because you are single, and not living under anyone, often people will want to pass off their work to you. You’ll hear things like c’mon it is not as if you are going home or your parents will complain, just help me do this, just help me that. Now, if you do not mind, go home, just don’t let anyone guilt trip you. Learn to take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself can come in different forms. You could take self-defense classes. When you attend parties be sure to watch what you eat or drink. Have a concrete plan on how you will get home.
- Since you are single and already rented an apartment in Lagos I am sure you have heard people ask why you live alone as if it is a crime. When I was looking for a place the first thing a house owner asked me was why I wasn’t living with parents or relatives? One asked my friend how many male friends will be visiting her. It is so absurd. You’ll get used to it, but if you have the strengf ef ze Bleck Panther, do it for Wakanda!If for whatever reason you have a sucrose guardian, please do not let him live in the same neighbourhood as you. Lagos is difficult, I understand, but kindly find another sucrose guardian who lives miles away from you. Women have been killed for less.
- In the estate or compound you live in, if they are any dues or levies to be paid, please make an effort to pay promptly. Like I said, people are not happy you are living alone. It is almost like a taboo to some people. Do not give them the chance to talk rudely to you or insult you. Respect yourself at all times.
- Being single is not a disease. Your relatives, neighbours, random people from church will try to make you feel bad about being a single woman, with a business or career and living alone. Sometimes your relatives will even try to tie you down with the black tax, as per what is she even doing with her money? Husband you don’t have, children you don’t have, come and help me pay my children’s fees. It is okay if you want to help out, but don’t let them force you. Take care of yourself, eat what you want, go out with friends, do what makes you happy because like my friend Ayo says #Thislifenaonce! So enjoy this time you are single