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.