Sunday, January 21, 2007

I was recently scouring the Internet for interesting blogs and websites related to Nigeria and Nigerians and happened upon a blog I liked. The author was writing about his recent trip to Nigeria and expressing his thoughts on the experience. Personally, I liked practically everything he had to say. He was straightforward and candid about Nigeria and its people without being condescending. That, to me, is always refreshing.

Nonetheless, he made a comment about Nigerian women that caused a commenter to turn downright evil in her response. The blog author, who I won't specify just in case he doesn't want the additional attention, stated,

"I’m not really attracted to Nigerian women. Even the ones based outside of Nigeria. By a runaway margin my mother, my sisters and a few of my aunts are the best looking women Nigeria has to offer (and if I wanted to be totally honest they are actually not pure Nigerian)...".
Now, this guy isn't the first Nigerian man I've heard say this, (he's the second), and I am sure he is bound to not be the last. However, it never seems to surprise me whenever such sentiment is shared. I recently read an article in Essence magazine where a black gentleman stated that he prefers dating non-black women out of convenience but plans to eventually marry a strong, black, sister. Let me assure you, the article generated a tremendous amount of heated discussion between myself and my girlfriends. I can admit that his preference for non-black women, whether now or forever, did not surprise me for many reasons. Yet, the blog author's comments about Nigerian women, on the other hand, did leave me very puzzled.

So, this got me thinking. What is it about a man or a woman that could cause them to not be attracted to people of their own 'group'? Be it people of the same race, ethnic group, religious group, or in this case a person of the same country of origin.The blog comment also had me wondering why I wasn't bothered by the Essence article but could not stop thinking about the blogger and his lack of attraction to Nigerian women.

Now, let me make my disclaimers -

First. I can admit that I am puzzled by the blogger's comment because I am a Nigerian woman. I have female friends from all over the world and consider them to be wonderful in their own right. Despite this, I must confess that I would be happy if my son's marry Nigerian girls. Nevertheless, I realise how important it is to be with someone you love, respect and can get along with. That will always be more important than where your partner is from.

Second. Although, I always assumed I would marry a Nigerian, I never exclusively dated them. In fact, come to think about it, I only had one fully Nigerian boyfriend even though I went on dates with Nigerian men. I guess it is no surprise that I am happily married to a non-Nigerian. My husband comes from the Commonwealth of Dominica in the West Indies. I appreciate his heritage and acknowledge that it is a significant aspect of who he is. The fact that he is not Nigerian has never been an issue for me.

Third. My mother explicitly told me that she would prefer that I not marry a Nigerian. Her reasons were based on the experience of herself and her girlfriends. She explained that she never wanted me to deal with unappreciative in-laws or be in a situation where my in-laws wanted my head on a plate. I think that she also wanted me to be with someone who didn't feel that it was his inalienable right to have as many women as he wanted all at the same time. (That one was based on her own personal experience, I can confirm.) As we can all concur, you do not have to be Nigerian, to have such a character trait or deal with problematic in-laws.

So, back to the question at hand, why do I care about whether a Nigerian is not attracted to other Nigerians? Well, I can't explain it. I just don't know. I shouldn't care, and must confess I am not upset. After all, the blogger has a God-given right to be attracted to whoever. Nevertheless, I think that on some level I am interpreting his comment to be a reflection on Nigerian women and not on who the blogger is. On some level, his comment can be interpreted to mean that Nigerian women, in general, are so unattractive that even Nigerian men don't want them. Aah, good! It is refreshing to now be able to express the concern that lurked in my not-so subconscious mind. That's why I couldn't stop thinking about the comment!

Now that I have figured that out, it's on to the second part of the process - getting this issue out of my head. I understand why I was never bothered by black men not wanting black women. Firstly, I have never had a problem with black American (or white or Asian men for that matter) being attracted to me and more importantly because I have always seen myself as a Nigerian woman and have never had a problem with Nigerian men being attracted to me either. (I don't mean to sound vain, but it's true). I have always understood that men, and women, will have their preferences and that their preference is in no way a reflection of how attractive or intelligent or good I am as a person. On some level, I was disturbed because he didn't claim to find some Nigerian women, other than his relatives, attractive.

All emotions aside, this guy is free to his preference. His lack of attraction to Nigerians says nothing about Nigerian women. I must remember that. I probably started to think too hard about his comment because I read a response written by a fellow 'Nija babe' -

"...You self-hating cock-muching [sic] homo! You reflect the problem with the xpat community. So obsessed with everything “british” you forget just where you come from. I like alot [sic] of your stuff but i found this post to be revolting and unfair. You owe all nigerian women an apology. Try starting with your mum."

Like the blogger, the responder is free to her opinion. At least he has let the world know his preference. He never claimed that Nigerian women, as a whole, are not attractive, he only stated that he does not find them attractive. At least he finds some of his Nigerian relatives attractives, although he did qualify that by stating that they are "not pure Nigerian." Regardless, I personally am glad that I am a Nigerian woman because all the Nigerian women I know are beautiful, smart and worthy of any man's attention. They might not be perfect, but no one is.

10 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

Anonymous said...

All I can say is that the guy is blind.

Unknown said...

Well, to each his own. What is good for the goose may not be good for the gander. I'm married to a Nigerian and loving it.


I am glad that you are in a fulfilling marriage with a Nigerian. And, I agree with your take, "What is good for the goose may not be good for the gander."

At the end of the day, we are all entitled to our preferences. Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you again soon.

Anonymous said...

Everyone has a right to their own opinions. But to hurt, demean and prejudge others is wrong.
If I had prejudged my husband for being a Nigerian, I would have missed out on a wonderful husband.

Only God can judge, because He sees to the core of a person's heart.


@ Linda O.: Hear Hear! judging people without knowing them will nly get us nowhere. Thanks for the words of wisdom. Please stop by often!

Unknown said...


To a certain extent, if you are someone who appreciates difference, it might be difficult to date amongst your own. The key is being with someone who respects you as a person, your culture and I repeat respects YOU as a person.

My gosh: I always thought you were married to a Nigerian. Abeg..how did you meet... Gist me!!


@ Pamelastitch: Oh my. How I met my husband is a very funny story. I think I'll put it up at my ...Easier... blog someday.

I agree with you, the most important factor in any relationship, regardless or national/cultural origin is RESPECT. I hope that people will understand that. Love is important, of course, but Respect will get a couple through the tough moments. Thanks for reading this old post!

rethots said...

...as we like it.
I can't marry an albino.
I can't marry pure white.
I can't marry....
all choices we are entitled to but, in making choices (& speaking) we ought to be cautious so as not to to heard wrongly. Or give the impression of labeling a people (as in this case) as been not right.
While i respect the guys opinion (personal it is & entitled to it), i do hope he insinuates not that the Nigerian woman is the worst of the lot?

Anonymous said...

Hmm...Quite honestly I've heard people say that. I think that in order to understand this particular author's preference, we have to look at his relationships, on differnt levels, with Nigerian women. Perhaps he has been abused in a number of ways by Nigerian women or come in contact with certain Nigerian women. Who knows. At one point, I shared the same sentiment, though not as severe. I came to find out that I was only lying to myself. When people know each other quite well, as Nigerian women and men, seem to, it can be a source of hatred. Go figure. But, to stoop to the level of this blogger, there are a multitude of attractive (intelligent, sexy et al) women in & out of Nigeria. So he would have to provide further details in order to qualify his statement. Only then, can we begin to have useful debate.

Sugabelly said...

I find his comment hurtful. I just started university in America, and I have heard things that make my ears burn and that I never dreamt I would hear in my life. A guy that I had a massive crush on, was newly dating, and that I thought liked me suddenly opened his mouth one day and said "Oh, I would never go to Africa, have you seen Blood Diamond? The people there are so dirty and scary looking and everything is dirty. If I ever found myself there, I wouldn't eat anything or drink or touch anything, and I would carry a huge bottle of hand sanitizer with me all the time."

As you can image, I was stunned speechless.

A second before he said that I couldn't stop looking at his golden Aruban skin and loose black curls. By the time he had finished speaking, he was the ugliest thing in the world to me. I collected my clothes without a word and left, and spent the rest of the night in the shower trying to scrub his filth off me.

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