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Underage and Not Dressing It!



I attend an orthodox church in Lagos and we have a newly formed youth church where teenagers and young adults have their own services. The other Sunday, I was rushing into church as I was very late but before I could step in I was stopped by one of the coordinators (a guy) and introduced to a lady who is a parent of one of our faithful. The lady had a complaint. Her complaint was that her fourteen year old daughter (who was not at church that day) had reported to her that some older guy she met at the church had been ‘toasting’ her almost to the point of harassment. She added that this guy had told her daughter that he was twenty-seven which added to her discomfiture. Her daughter had gone on to stress that she was just fourteen but the guy had apparently been unperturbed by this. The mother was understandably alarmed! It became clear that this was not just a case of a teenage boy being a teenage boy but of cradle snatching at the very least! Before long we were joined by the youth president and a female coordinator. We thanked her for coming to talk to us about it instead of going to the priests and promised to resolve the issue.

We now had our own mini-conference to discuss the matter; three men and a lady all between the ages of 26 and 33. The female coordinator said she knew the girl in question and stated that she was a nice and quiet girl. We tried to figure out what would make an older man approach a young girl in that way! Personally, I was in shock and did not say much. We tried to cover all the bases…was it the girl? Did she over-exaggerate the story a little? Did she look older than her age leading the guy to think she was ‘of age’ or was the guy really trying to ‘catch her young?’ Before we could say “Senator Yerima!” another teenage girl walked into the service. And boy! You should have seen what she was wearing! The black strap dress (which was very nice by the way) was form fitting and ended above the knees. I mean this was a dress we would have admired on an older woman. We tried to guess her age. The female coordinator said 16, the president was clueless; the other male coordinator guessed 17 and I said 18. But lo and behold this girl as we confirmed later was just 14! I got into service and took a good look at the girls and found that about 70% of the teenagers wore dresses that were a bit on the risqué side. It quickly became obvious that the young girls were inadvertently (or not) in part to blame. End of story.

Now the above story serves to illustrate a nagging trend observed in our young females. I do not claim to know the names of all the styles of tops, blouses, skirts, jeans, dresses and shorts but I know you know what I am writing about. I am sure that in their innocence and naiveté these young girls do not suspect that they may be attracting undue attention to themselves. Or do they? Something tells me not to be fooled as I know that women love to draw attention to themselves with their clothes and accessories. But the result now is that old men are now ‘toasting’ young girls!

It has become increasingly difficult to tell a young lady’s age. Is it because girls of the 21st century seem to have developed way faster that their 20th century counterparts ever could? Teenage girls these days dress like adults and even the pre-pubescent and pubescent ones dress like the pop stars and video vixens they see on Channel O and Sound City. So who is to blame really? Is it the parents who have failed to ensure that their daughters are decently attired? I remember my father setting my sister straight over her dressing years ago. Or is it the men, who in a Yerima-stylee are beginning to venture into paedophilia? Don’t they fear God?

I remember when I was 18 and met this really nice and pretty girl who had just moved into the neighbourhood after a few years overseas. Of course as a sharp guy I made my move and soon we were taking long walks and holding hands. But I got the shock of my life when a few weeks later my younger sister informed me ‘by mistake’ that the girl was only 14! Initially I did not believe her for she was far too mature for a 14 year old and ascribed it to bad belle on my sister’s part. But alas, it was true as it was confirmed by a mutual friend! That was it for me for I could not bring myself to terms that I was interested in a 14 year old! It was for the same reason I avoided the Silverbird Galleria. Not once, not twice I would find myself seated at Barcelós by a window seat and then a very nice pair of legs complete with lovely shoes, jeans or colourful hemline would appear by the window, only for me to look up and see a smallie or young ’un as my friend would refer to them! It was quite annoying really! But not many men, young or old would be as noble as I was under the same circumstances.

In a way I do not blame the younger girls. They may just be trying to be like their smart and beautiful looking older sisters after all! Have you seen what some ladies wear to church not to talk about what they put on when going to the club or a party? It would appear that perhaps things have gotten very bad as I understand that the leader of a popular church in this country recently issued a dress code edict for the female members of his congregation!

Truth is I try not to get involved in discussions on how women should dress. I believe that all women should be allowed to wear whatever they want as long as they can answer in the affirmative to the following questions:
“Do I look good in this?”
“Do I feel comfortable in this?”
“Is this dress appropriate for the occasion?”
“Am I sending the wrong message with this dress?”

In conclusion, please don’t get me wrong, I am a live-and-let-live kind of guy. I ordinarily would not support a bill on indecent dressing and I feel that women are free to wear whatever they want but when it comes to underage girls that freedom has to be cherished and respected. So please, dear mothers, wives, girlfriends and sisters, please talk to your daughters.

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