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Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter: First Things First

Atoke

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The first time I tasted the delightfully sweet and savoury goodness called ‘GizDodo’ I knew I was hooked for life. That perfect blend of the sweetness of fried plantain, with the sensory crunchiness of peppered gizzard – absolutely mind blowing. It’s one of those things I enjoy eating without having to worry about how to make it but on Friday, the craving for GizDodo was strong. Braving the weather, I headed out to find a place to buy plantain and gizzards.
15 minutes, a chilly nose and 4 closed shops later, I gave up and headed back home. It was while that GizDodo dejection was brewing that I looked up and saw this fair complexioned guy smiling at me. I smiled politely back and I noticed he was slowing down.
“Hello. You’re Nigerian”
I wasn’t sure I heard properly the first time so I took off my ear phones just to confirm he wasn’t just muttering and he was actually speaking to me. I angled my head slightly to the right and held up the right side of the earphones to indicate I hadn’t been listening.
“Are you Nigerian?” He asked again. I nodded, trying to mentally check whether it was something in the way I was walking, or my forest thick head of hair.
“You’re from which state?”
I was more puzzled by the question than by the syntax of the sentence but both were issues that told me a lot about him. I wasn’t about to start a lecture on grammar and sentence structure so I hurriedly pushed that thought away. Then, I wondered why it was important to know what part of Nigeria a person is from. I hadn’t spoken so there was no question of trying to determine if I had a strong Yoruba accent. Was my Ogbomosho/Ilorin personality oozing through my pores in a way that could be sensed just by looking at me? I was truly puzzled.
Also, because I’m not the most sociable person in the world, so I wondered if this was how things were done – meet a Nigerian, query them about where they’re from. If that fails, ask them where they worship and what they worship. (Yes, the same guy asked me what I believe especially as he wasn’t getting any favourable responses about my spirituality or lack of it therein).

I wondered if his questions were for the purpose of establishing a sense of kinship? If this was so then was it not enough that I was Nigerian? Did it matter where I was from specifically? Did it say something about how disunited we are as a people? Was the absence of plantain and my inability to make my GizDodo somehow sending my brain into overdrive?

As I walked home, I pondered upon the issue. Was it meant to be an ice breaker? If I had said I was from Oyo State would he have asked what local government area? If I then said Ogbomosho north, would he have asked where my family house was? The possibilities were endless. How do people start conversations these days? Is it like “First things first, let’s get where you’re from out of the way…”

He found it quite exasperating that I didn’t answer but he did get my number. However, I’m sure after hitting a dead end on the spiritual issues, he might not call again. Good for him. He might have had to endure me correcting his tenses after every conversation.

I shall leave you ‘at this particular junction’ *In O’Neal’s voice*. Have a great week ahead. Keep your head up and remember to smile. Don’t forget to share your thoughts on the subject of knowing where a person is from. How important is it to you to know a person’s place of origin? Or is it just a way of starting a conversation? Oh, and share some of your favourite ‘conversation starters’ and the most awkward ones. How did you respond and why are they so memorable?

Peace, love & cupcakes!
Toodles!

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website atoke.com for more information.

98 Comments

  1. debi

    November 18, 2013 at 9:55 am

    So you are O’neal’s fan- “At this particular Juncture”…Hmmn!

    • esther

      November 18, 2013 at 9:58 pm

      lol…. where’s o’neal? are he and feza still an item?

  2. didi

    November 18, 2013 at 9:59 am

    lol. Atoke, I love your write ups so much. I am not big on commenting but I got a good laugh on this one. lol @ gobomosho/illorin personality oozing through your pores. We have all had those encounters with those first liners that make you go “huh”. I get asked do you have kids? And I wonder if it is because of my ample bosom ha. I just over look it anyways because you can really tell the level of shallowness or maturity with the first bit of the conversation and just keep it moving. Thanks for the laugh.

  3. Anonymissie

    November 18, 2013 at 10:02 am

    yaaaaay

  4. Berry Dakara

    November 18, 2013 at 10:02 am

    He was just making conversation.

    • CarliforniaBawlar

      November 18, 2013 at 2:21 pm

      Well…too bad!! he just missed out on a better chick like Atoke for not having better conversation starters. My convo starter for years, even in Naija was “are you Rita Dominic’s sister?!!” I swear one guy almost slapped me when I said no!! lmao.
      I get where Atoke is coming from. I’ve had 2 very recent experiences, and it has nothing to do with a guy chatting me up so y’all don’t crucify Atoke.
      1.Just this past week my Afghan friend randomly texts me from out of town asking what tribe I’m from. Too tired to even ask how he knew there were tribes on Naija, I told him, and then he responded that he was with one of his Nigerian students and so she asked! Please how on earth is that a conversation starter ?? from 300miles away! I straight up texted him to tell her that tribe shouldn’t matter!! then She gave him a silly excuse about not being able to figure out where my name is from!! why did she need to know???? why??
      2. Recently my friend introduced me to one of her new students, I g0t her number to give her a call….2mins into the conversation she’s like “oh I’m assuming you are Yoruba ehn….I’m from Delta state” Please what am I supposed to do with that information? Would we have become bffs if I was Delta as well?? It generally just shows a different kind of state of mind. One I can’t deal with. I already knew she was Delta! My friend had given me her last name as well…..that didn’t stop me from calling her (heavens forbid that it should), but why did she feel the need to get all awkward?? Abegi….
      On the flip side I find that it’s a totally different if someone asks where you lived in Naija….

    • slice

      November 18, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      i agree o. it’s just conversation

  5. Gistyinka Blog

    November 18, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Hmmm thanks for litter tips, Hope will Nigerians can live in unity and forget about tribalism.

  6. shay shay

    November 18, 2013 at 10:13 am

    I was in Dubai 2 months ago and I met a Nigerian woman, i smiled and said hello and she asked if I was nigerian. I said yes and she said what state are u from. Puzzled and irritated, I answered, ”FCT” and walked away. Its annoying, so my state of origin determines whether am fit for freidnship?

    • slice

      November 18, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      let me continue the convo for you. it may have gone like this.
      shay: i’m from anambra
      girl: really? anambra guys are so cute. I visited anambra ten years ago. i really love their food.
      shay: (blushing) so do i do anambra guys justice
      girl: (blushing even more) you sure do
      shay: (sensing a good chance to get number does the needful) may I call you later
      lol

    • whocares

      November 18, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      lmaooooooooooooo. dawg!!!!!

    • P

      November 19, 2013 at 11:05 pm

      Gbam! Sometimes you need to let them land before drawing conclusions!

  7. damy

    November 18, 2013 at 10:19 am

    All I got from this article was Gizdodo, thank you Atoke, that’s all I’m gonna be thinking about.
    uberchicmichi.com/fashion-forward-part-1-the-idea/

  8. mia

    November 18, 2013 at 10:33 am

    for starters, i really hate it when i meet a complete stranger and you start interrogating me, i’m always totally pissed, like, i don’t know you from Eve, why would you be asking me questions like that? i always prefer we talk around general issues then we proceed to knowing each other personally. if you meet me for the first time and you start asking me such personal questions like my state of origin, sorry, you will be getting the cold shoulder.

    • Ekwitosi

      November 18, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      @Mia I am with you on this one interrogation indeed! Terrible conversation starters these days! Few minutes into the conversation for someone that does not know your story, it will go like this ‘Pretty girl like you, you are not married!’ It comes out like an accusation like I put it to you that you are not married! Or sometimes ‘you don’t want kids!’ And they will continue because if you wanted kids you would have been settled by now. You should show up at all these parties so that you can meet more Nigerians and maybe someone may want to marry you. May I add that this conversation has been one sided because I have not uttered a word through this unsolicited advice and accusations!

  9. temmy

    November 18, 2013 at 10:36 am

    what’s your shoe size?

    • Ekwitosi

      November 18, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      @temmy seriously? Size 12 W?

  10. Me

    November 18, 2013 at 10:41 am

    I don’t see the big deal..you’re just over analysing.the dude might have just been trying to hold a conversation and probably didn’t know how to go about it or what to say. I’ve met people like that. They usually mean no offence.

    • ms lala

      November 18, 2013 at 11:38 am

      EXACTLY!!!! I went to london got stuck at the aiport cuz i missed my flight i kept ranting and some Americans heard my accent came over helped and we sat waiting for the next flight…they asked what state i came from…its a normal bloody question..we apparently came from cali to london and that only made our conversation fun and home like feeling. simple as that…NIGERIANS DO TOO MUCH.

    • lilz

      November 18, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      Thank you o

    • whocares

      November 18, 2013 at 1:40 pm

      note the difference between your experience and her story.. “he heard my accent” is different from he saw he, came up to me and the first question was “are you Nigerian” . the art of conversation making must be dead if its normal to start one with that. whatever happened to a simple “oh the weather is terrible”? it is NOT normal. I get that some people only feel more comfortable with other people from their nation so I suppose we have to make allowance for that. but it is NOT normal.

    • whocares

      November 18, 2013 at 1:40 pm

      note the difference between your experience and her story.. “he heard my accent” is different from he saw he, came up to me and the first question was “are you Nigerian” . the art of conversation making must be dead if its normal to start one with that. whatever happened to a simple “oh the weather is terrible”? it is NOT normal. I get that some people only feel more comfortable with other people from their nation so I suppose we have to make allowance for that. but it is NOT normal.

    • slice

      November 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      @whocares, it’s completely normal. i can actually see a
      nigerian (even in pic only) among many foreigners and guess
      correctly 9 times out of 10 that the person is nigerian. nigerians
      and non-nigerians ask me all the time if i’m nigerian and if you’re
      light skinned that question is quickly followed by whether you’re
      ibo.

    • whocares

      November 18, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      @ slice. recognising is different from using that as a basis for conversation though. that’s my point. it may be my problem but it drives me mad if that’s the first thing I get asked as opposed to if it just comes up in the middle of the conversation.

    • slice

      November 18, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      @whocares, i see what you mean.

  11. eniola

    November 18, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Thanks again Atoke! LOL @ the guy though. Does it matter where one is from, from the on-set? abeg make he park well. Can’t remember any of my favorite convo starts right now. But I definitely love the complimentary kinds 😀

  12. Seyi

    November 18, 2013 at 10:45 am

    That are you a Nigerian question annoys the heck out of me because people automatically get comfortable with you and start feeling fresh. At the beginning I used to answer Yes, but after some very uncomfortable encounters, I now say No. Many of which involve people start speaking Yoruba to you the minute you say your name. Errrrrr over familiarity much. I make it a point of personal conviction not to speak Yoruba with total strangers. The last uncomfortable encounter that stuck was how a guy on a train started regaling his woes to me on a 1hour train ride after which he asked me for money and my number. Bro, Please. Do I know you? Do I look like the Nigerian Embassy. It got worse, he got off the train when I got off and started following me. Considering it was getting dark, I was scared out of my mind, I ran into Burger King and I told him I will call the police if he doesn’t leave me alone. I stayed in Burger King bought a mela by force and waited for a while before I left the building. Are you a Nigerian? No is now my default answer. The funny ones is when you are on holiday outside the UK and someone approaches you asking if you are a Nigerian. You can’t escape us anywhere you go. We are like MTN.

    • Berry Dakara

      November 18, 2013 at 11:06 am

      OMG, that’s not even funny!

    • whocares

      November 18, 2013 at 11:57 am

      lmaoooooooooooooooooooooooooo. you have made my morning. thank you! ok back to work!

    • slice

      November 18, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      lol it can be good not to “look” or “be” Nigerian at a
      naija party. young lady at a naija party frequently means instant
      errand girl for all the so called grown ups lol

  13. BNatwork

    November 18, 2013 at 10:51 am

    I met a guy , and after he asked for my name and told me his, next question was , what is your genotype?
    I was dumb founded. Who does that?!

    • iba

      November 18, 2013 at 11:15 am

      Wants to check if you are compatible with his for marriage purposes (i think don’t take my word for it though)

      People have asked me this question and perhaps i may have done (although not right away certainly not). Personally ive gotten so used to it, that it has lost its very essence. It rolls right off my tongue and the next thing i hear is ”wow you dont like blablabla more like someone from the North”. I think most people especially Nigerians ask this question because for some weird reason they feel if you come from the same state or tribe as them, the bond is stronger. I personally try to stay away from such people. There are bad news.

    • iba

      November 18, 2013 at 11:16 am

      They*

    • Ekwitosi

      November 18, 2013 at 5:31 pm

      @BNatwork I can’t stop laughing maybe he has had experience
      with sickle cell anaemia but then that is no way to approach a
      lady!

    • ij

      November 18, 2013 at 10:03 pm

      one asked me how many siblings i have, i screamed PISS OFF!!!

  14. FunkyW

    November 18, 2013 at 10:53 am

    The best conversation starters for me are anything funny and intelligent, the guy can kick right off with any question on earth as long as he has a witty and funny way of taking up from there.

  15. eniola

    November 18, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Usually, when a stranger who on his own accord decides to get to know me and in the course of doing so, decides to interview me instead of making it a proper conversation of we getting to know each other. I politely explain to him that, How about you tell me whatever you want to know about me first, I feel you should tell me your name before asking of my name, at least you’re the one interested in knowing me. And I playfully add – it’s a scary world we live in now, you know. 😀
    PS- that’s for people I like though. 🙂

  16. Dolapo

    November 18, 2013 at 11:22 am

    I think some people feel safer relating to people from certain tribes. On my lufthansa flight two months ago, I sat beside an elderly woman. I unconsciously assisted her a couple of times and she thought that was a good gesture on my part. Well, seeing as we both flew from Lagos, my nationality was already established. Anyway, that didn’t stop her from asking what my state of origin is and where I was going to and why (21 questions indeed). Well, she asked all these questions because she wanted to hook me up with her son. Woman gave me her US number and asked that I call when I get a sim so she can hook me with her son. Lol, people ask questions for different reasons and some are utterly offensive questions . Starting conversation is such a task!

    • Abana

      November 18, 2013 at 9:51 pm

      Please kindly keep us updated on the hook up. We love love stories (here’s hoping everything turns out great!)

  17. Dolapo

    November 18, 2013 at 11:35 am

    I agree with you. While it’s a bit annoying asking totally unrelated questions, I think he was only trying to start a conversation and Atoke should have helped me. On the other hand, perhaps he looked creepy & unattractive O_o

  18. Sir Farouk

    November 18, 2013 at 11:37 am

    I am sure the man meant no offence but it is a sad commentary on what a typical Nigerian finds important, you see people feel more of a kinship with people of the same ethnic group or state and this for many people trumps our national identity. To paraphrase what Soyinka once said, people identify themselves as Fulani/Tiv/Urhobo first before Nigerian. It is an indictment on the failure of our founding fathers and subsequent regimes to foster a national identity. The only time we identify as Nigerians is when we are supporting our football team or if someone insults Nigerians, then everyone forgets what state they are from and fight as one.

  19. whocares

    November 18, 2013 at 11:40 am

    lmaooooo. you are a woman after my heart. I have gotten the “are you a Nigerian” so much one day I looked in the mirror and thought maybe its my face. its mostly Nigerians that do this by the way. other people I can talk to all night long and nationality may not/ does not come up till the end of the night! speaking of other inappropriate questions. one time I was on the bus, and this man first asked if I was Nigerian, then he asked “how long how you been in the country”, then “where do you live”. after the first question to which I responded a while, but he third one I had to ask him if it was an inquisition, abi ewo de ni questioning me like immigration. some people have no boundaries.

  20. dami

    November 18, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Lol @ Toke you should have just given the guy a little chance and see where the conversation might have ended that you might have not given him your number at all

  21. PP

    November 18, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    This is why some girls will stay single for years ! kilode a guy walks up to you and tries to start a conversation the polite thing is to give him the benefit of doubt and carry on conversation! Atoke u are already correcting the english from his lips!. I know some people can be very tribalistic, like a guy i met at the airport and we had a great conversation till he asked so wat part in the east are u from? i was like sorry am from delta state, u needed to see the way “his face fell”, and that was the end of the conversation. Should i judge him No!. My cousin wanted to marry his igbo girlfrd of four years and her parents turned him down, he was so heart broken…. so the first thing he would ask a potential girlfrd is ” WHERE ARE U FROM?’

    • ms lala

      November 18, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      LOL…please what part of Delta state are you from..in the spirit of asking questions…lwkmd..but truly people are tribalistic ..is that even a word

    • PP

      November 18, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      The urhobo speaking part oh! Dont mind the guy thinking every fair girl is igbo

      trib·al·ism (trb-lzm)
      n.
      1. The organization, culture, or beliefs of a tribe.
      2. A strong feeling of identity with and loyalty to one’s tribe or group.

      ——————————————————————————–

      tribal·ist n.
      tribal·istic adj.

  22. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    November 18, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Its probably when people see me and for some unfathomable reason start rapping Igbo.

    • PP

      November 18, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      same here oh.. for the sake of been good natured i learnt the igbo word for |”i am not igbo i am urhobo”… to hush the torrent of igbo words flying from thier mouth NICELY!!

    • Colour Purple

      November 18, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      Lol! They start rapping in Yoruba and when i say “Mi ogbo Yoruba” they look at me like one spoilt pikin that cannot speak her native language until I say my name and you see their pupils dilate….tooo funny!!

  23. Que

    November 18, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    O Atoke pleasee I don’t see the big deal, I choose to believe it was d Gidodo hunger that was making u over think all these…. Anyone can be a creep regardless of the questions/comments they used to strike a conversation with u. Everything is so overblown these days, simple intentions misconstrued even before the person is given a chance to be discovered…I don’t even know if to blame this iranu over analysis on political correctness too.. If ur version of Tyson Beckford or Mr Percy approached with the same opening line will u be offended? -Hardly….cos many people (plus some commenters here) have offered their family members for much less on d platter of love/lust/like/getting ahead. It helps to be open minded till you have a reason not to. Nothing wrong with giving him a stern telling-off if he reveals dodgy traits… Kilo tie de gaan no? Personally if u ain’t digging into my family/personal history at first convo…we’ll be cool n i’ll be happy to educate u about my village history if u bring it up. If a conversation is what he really wants, u can direct the conversation, if it ain’t werking by all means cut em loose. If the questions r too many- say so n keep it moving….no point getting ur pants in any unnecessary iro!

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      November 18, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      @Que, if Atoke’s version of Tyson Beckford or Mr. Darcy came up to her and used the same conversation starter, she’d have placed one finger on his lips and cut him off with “shhh, that’s okay, you had me at ‘hello’. Dont ruin this moment by saying anything else…”

      @Atoke, na so, abi? 😉 No mind people wey dey question your reaction, my silsta. After all, no be this same BN report say Akon & Wiz-Kid dey source oyibo gals for dem video? All man get their personal “choose”…

    • jcsgrl

      November 18, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      ROTFLMAO at shh you had me at hello…u no go kill me.
      Atoke chill joor…just roll with the convo and dismiss the person
      politely if you are not interested. You don’t have to analyze
      everything

    • slice

      November 18, 2013 at 3:24 pm

      lol @ shh you had me at hello
      yes o, cute guys do get more room for “error”

    • whocares

      November 18, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      lmaooooooooooo. you had me at hello. oh the scene in my head! it was fantastic. naturally atoke had to wear a white dress, she had a fan, gloves (white of course), and a sun umbrella. she and mr darcy met in a field on a nice sunny day (what she was doing at that field I don’t know o) but that’s where they were sha surrounded by greens *sigh* (her current location/ year be damned) my imagery must be perfect.

    • bNigerian

      November 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm

      I was thinking THIS exact same thing! If he was a hottie, tori go different ohhh, Atoke. 😉

    • Que

      November 18, 2013 at 6:08 pm

      *Correction- Mr Darcy (blame d mix up on Nikita)….. I
      actually left out my own weirdest first conversation…. So around
      one of London’s major corporate district, on a nice autumn
      afternoon, I’m walking to d train station in a bit of a haste-
      wearing wat i tot was a simple bright yellow blouse, nice ball
      skirt n heeled sandals, with earphones plugged into my ears, wen
      dis nicely suited oyibo dude walks by- stealing glances at me and
      afterwards did a u-turn to catch up with me…so post getting my
      attn n all d hi/hello, I gather that he is on his lunch break, I
      can’t walking stop cos I had a place to be, d easiest solution was
      giving him my no which I didnt mind as d package was appealing. So
      shortly after I get a txt sayin it was him, n I couln’t reply cos I
      was busy, eventually bout 3-4hrs later I’m home, settled n can have
      d first conversation n it went thus… Him: ‘…you were a gorgeous
      sight this afternoon…’ Me: very kind of u, thank you *insert
      smiley* Him: that was a lovely skirt you had on, Me: thanks
      *thinking skirt though….* Him: did u have panties on underneath?
      Me: SILENCE!!! *insert completely shocked face* Na dere tori end…
      I’ll skip my next reaction, he apologised, I hit delete, life went
      on.

    • hot mama

      November 18, 2013 at 7:36 pm

      WTH!!! chaii…if to say you fit konk that him head ehn!!!
      such nerve to ask that rubbish question…I’m pretty sure he
      wouldn’t have asked you that in person, na why he ask am for
      phone.

  24. rootwoo.com

    November 18, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    @atoke, he was just trying to toast you and maybe that was hw he was told to start a conversation. Guys learn from different people, books etc on how to toast a lady.

  25. AA

    November 18, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Mine is neither the Gizdodo nor the funny line about Ogbomoso/Ilorin oozing out of Atoke’s pores, this post further reaffirms something that was on my mind as i drove to work this morning. Is it me or does it feel like a job interview these days when people are about to establish a friendship that they hope will lead to a relationship? Have i gotten too old or or has it always felt like one is being drilled? *sigh*

  26. Mariaah

    November 18, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    The convo starter I get on the regular is “are you a model” Awoooooh!! HAaha M’toke after my very heart how are you? Hope your new location is treating you well?

  27. jinkelele

    November 18, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    It was a convo starter, I doubt there was any harm done. But i get you I’m not comfortable starting conversations with strangers when nothing has happened prior to that. It would have made sense if some circumstance like weather or a funny incident on the road or being stuck at a busstop led to a conversation. As opposed to this interrogation style abi na interview style

  28. culturebedamned

    November 18, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    At least you people guys irritated by such approach were interrogated in English. What of me that people that don’t know me from Adam start speaking in Ghanaian to me. I’ve lost count of the number of time this happened to me ever since I stepped into this country. When they speak and I stare blankly at them that’s when they now say in English (with Ghanaian accent) “oh sorry are you Ghanaian?” Duh! isn’t that what you should ask first before launching into your language. Some people say it is my hair and some say my face makes me look Ghanaian. Me I dunno o. Meanwhile I am a ‘bobo yen hanz gan… he’s very quit’ girl

    • Graziella

      November 18, 2013 at 5:19 pm

      I get this all the time. How do you just walk up to me and start speaking Ibo? Is every light-skinned chic living in an eastern state Ibo? Worse is when I say the short form of my name, they pronounce it as they would an Ibo name that sounds like mine. Now if anyone ever asks my name, “my name is Abasiama “. No more Ama. I mean, people like it when one makes an effort to say their names correctly, for whatever it’s worth. I have a huge problem with those who are so intolerant of other cultures. Not nice. Someone once called me “Omo Ibo” because “all of you from the East are omo Ibo now.” Really ? Abasi is now an Ibo word and Akwaibom state relocated from the South-south to the East, since when mbok?

  29. KBB

    November 18, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    I think it’s absolutely normal, even here in the states u hear pple say I’m a New Yorker, or I’m from New Orleans etc! And people do ask where are u from?” Oh from the south, I could hear your southern accent. ” It just that for us Nigerians we try to hard to forget our identity. I don’t see anything bad in what he asked.

    • lol

      November 18, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      My thoughts exactly!!! People ask all the time where are you from? Lousiana, California. I met with a vendor at work last week and we spoke about where we both originate from and he is pure American, Caucasian and it had nothing to do with accent or anything we were just making conversation and it was our very first time meeting. Some may ask that question for the sake of tribalism but I don’t want to believe that, that is the intent. If a non-nigerian had asked that question would any offense be taken? and yes they do ask especially those that have worked as Expats in Nigeria before or know someone that did a stint in Nigeria or West Africa.

  30. Shona

    November 18, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    What about this??Met dis dude and after talking wit him for some minutes..dude says..can u tell me about ur sex life,he goes further to ask are you a V??

    • Seyi

      November 18, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      You know my default response to guys who don’t know me and
      ask that question. Guy: are you a V? Me: No but I am a lesbian. The
      look on their face afterwards. Priceless

    • nwanyi na aga aga

      November 19, 2013 at 9:12 am

      looooool! You ppl wont kill me

  31. Wale

    November 18, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Atoke forget the guy, please how you make gizdodo. I have ran to Publix to get plantain and gizzard early this morning-now tell me how do I prepare it?

  32. Wale

    November 18, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    The typo is the result of long throat hunger.

  33. Cherie

    November 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    So I’m not Nigerian but I also do ask what state you’re
    from when I meet a Nigerian for the first time. Just like I ask a
    Chinese what province he’s from. For me it’s really just a
    conversation starter. But I do get where y’all are coming from
    though because I do understand the “tribalism” issue that the
    question seems to bring up. I should probably start thinking of
    other conversation starters, didn’t know it annoyed people so
    much.

  34. Raindrops

    November 18, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    A couple of years ago, on my way home from work, I was at
    the pedestrain crossing waiting for the traffic light to change,
    this dude came beside me, (I knew he wanted to say something as I
    could see him from the corner of my eye looking at me and I was
    sooo not in the mood), then he opened his mouth and said, “ooo, you
    look under 16, but can I talk to you for a second”, I looked at him
    and said “you are right, if I look under 16, you shouldn’t be
    talking to me in the first place” and I carried on walking. (I felt
    so bad afterwards, as I am never that rude, but come on…

  35. Esco www.woahnigeria.wordpress.com

    November 18, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    When I came back to Nigeria, I discovered that I had left my game-face behind. At one of the first events I went to, I discovered the Babes Are Not Smiling brigade. I tried to make some conversation with a rather straight-faced chick who was sitting next to me in a really snug dress, with my lame starter: ‘Funny weather, eh? Almost 80 degrees Fahrenheit…’

    The babe screwed up her face, as she hissed ‘Ehen, and then?’

    I just creep up from behind/And ask what your interests are, “who you be with?”/Things to make you smile, what numbers to dial/

    Notorious B.I.G (Big Poppa, 1994)

    • bNigerian

      November 18, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      BUHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    • I Rock

      November 18, 2013 at 5:38 pm

      Bwahahahahaha. You need to blog more…I enjoy reading your
      blog.

    • Mrs Dangote (nee Anonymous)

      November 18, 2013 at 6:17 pm

      You gon be here for a while ? I’m gon call my crew, you go
      call your crew We can rendevouz at the bar around 😉

    • Ekwitosi

      November 18, 2013 at 6:37 pm

      @Esco Weather ko? Weather ni? Wetin concern me and weather!
      You berra up your game man! Just visited your blog loved it!!!!! Be
      sure to see more of me there!

  36. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    November 18, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    @whocares
    Left a message for you at last week’s Banter. I hope BN would have posted it.

    • whocares

      November 19, 2013 at 9:57 am

      oooh I am going to look for it now 🙂

  37. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    November 18, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    No TA today? That’s a bit unusual.

  38. TA

    November 18, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    @ Bobos Lol! I dey here o! I am late to the party though. Work full ground remain for my office. No chance to even sneak at BN. Yeah,one of those days…
    @ Topic,hmmm Atoke of life,se owa pa? Now,guess who made Gizdodo this weekend? He!he he!.. Me thinks the fair complexioned guy you met was just trying to start a conversation,maybe he was very timid and ended up saying the first thing that came to his mind. Lol!

    • TA

      November 18, 2013 at 9:45 pm

      And how come we all forgot the most popular conversation starter for guys,Once upon a time (also the lamest by the way,IMO) .
      Here goes, Random Guy: ‘Your face looks familiar’… Are you so and so
      Me: Yes o, we met at the airport in Kabul!
      Random Guy: (puzzled and with a frown) Where’s that? …the smart guys at this point usually can tell am clearly fooling them will burst out laughing and say ‘Ok,my name is so and so… 🙂
      PS: But wait o,sis Atoke,one of these days,you should do an article on deal breakers e.g ‘A guy that cannot speak good English/bad tenses etc, a guy or babe that has no table manners. I swear,I know a chic who won’ t have anything to do with a guy who can’t tell a dessert sppon from soup spoon. ha! ha! ha! Atoke abeg write the article,abeg.

    • Atoke

      Atoke

      November 19, 2013 at 10:09 am

      Hiya… I think I did something like that here: http://www.bellanaija.com/2012/06/13/an-absolute-must-have-or-else/

      Thanks for being a regular. xo

    • TA

      November 19, 2013 at 4:52 pm

      @ Atoke,Can’t imagine how I would have missed such an
      article. 🙂 Been on BN for a while,just never left
      comments…Now,off to look for it. THANKS!

    • bNigerian

      November 19, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      Babe, I used to be so irritated by that line “you look familiar” but not anymore. LOL. I almost embarrassed my self recently, since then I’ve changed my ways.

      I was at a wedding and a guy next to me said I looked familiar. Slightly irritated (I didn’t show it oh), I said “oh really? I’m not from here”. He too said “I’m not from here”. Hian! I probed further and turns out we were both at a wedding in a different country a few months prior to our conversation so he was being honest, not just giving me a corny pick-up line. LOL!

      I was glad I didn’t act rude or anything (that line IRRITATES me!!) else I would’ve eaten my shoe and felt bad.

  39. frances

    November 18, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    I actually ask where one is from too but only after I’ve gotten to know them for a while or chatted for a while.its a normal convo topic to me as whereever u r from doesn’t stop me from chatting with u as normal.
    Btw,I hate,hate d “ur face looks familiar” conversation starter.BOYS need 2take lessons on how to start up conversations with ladies.u don’t need 2seem fake or come up as a liar.just say hi,how r u,smile,and use normal convo starters,if she’s game,she’ll reply well,if she’s not,u’ll know too.either ways nothing spoil.but stop d “familiar,familiar whatever.

    http://imperfectlyperfect92.wordpress.com

  40. Nmadiuto

    November 19, 2013 at 3:22 am

    I am irritated by the “what tribe are you from question”
    because the fact that you are from a particular state of origin
    should not be automatically equated with you are conversant with
    the language, customs, people, places etc. It would be a different
    situation if the question asked is related to the state a person
    was brought up. Now that answer would reveal more accurately,
    similarities and possibly shared interests rather than the which
    tribe are you from question. I had a frank conversation with a
    friend (African- American) about not revealing my tribe to other
    Nigerians as a conversation starter. The conversation ends either
    way after the person finds out I am from a different tribe or I am
    from the same tribe and cannot relate with them on “tribal levels.”
    I try not act too annoyed because the same friend in question finds
    it fascinating that Africans can trace their tribal origins and she
    cannot. If this question was only part of a genealogical quest,
    then all is well and good. However it is the tribal and
    discriminatory undertones it portends that bother me. There are
    countless alternatives to starting a conversation than which side
    of the Nigerian Civil War did your dead/alive kinsmen fight
    on?

  41. unsocial~butterfly

    November 19, 2013 at 4:39 am

    i honestly dont see any thing wrong with someone asking for your state or nationality. it might not be the first convo starter because “Hi, how are you? What is your name” should comes first.
    i am actually fascinated by people who are from a different state/country than i presumed. weird, i know. but that is just me. Once I met a guy who said, “you are Nigerian?” i replied “yes”, he added “I thought you were Ghanian”. oh well! maybe because I am dark skinned he assumed I was a Ghanian but it didnt “marra”.
    Meanwhile, the cold wey dey here nor be small thing. I think of Nigeria weather and i rmb the days i complained of the hot weather. haaa! those sweet warm hot days, come back to me. Enough of my ramblings, off to finish my 101 assignments

  42. unsocial~butterfly

    November 19, 2013 at 4:42 am

    *should come first! *Nigerian
    My writing for public relations professor will be heartbroken at my previous comment. walking away in shame#

  43. memebaby

    November 19, 2013 at 5:48 am

    I get what atoke means.. I went to a MAC store and one of the sales rep was trying to help me get the perfect blush. I didn’t know what country she’s from coz her accent didn’t sound african, she later asked if I’m nigerian, I said yes.. then she said she was ghanaian and automatically switched to pidgin in the store and was yarning me to just buy the blush she picked for me..like I was in new bini market!! I was slightly irritated.. I dont know why.. I guess she would have just stopped after saying she was ghanaian, pidgin and acting like a market seller from new bini was uncalled for.
    A nigerian guy I just met (he was toasting my friend).. first question he asked me was how old I am. I asked him why he wanted to know and corrected him that “how old I am’ is not a good conversation starter for someone you just met, then the he-goat said he wants to know who he’s associating himself with ..lol I nearly died..Let just say he would not dare speak to me if he sees me next time. Some nigerians don’t know how to converse with strangers.. talk about general things and I really do not mind being asked if I’m nigerian but it all depends how I’m being asked..but if thats the only thing u want to know about me, my tribe, my village.. be ready to get the cold shoulder

    • PP (Warri Girl)

      November 19, 2013 at 11:16 am

      Meme baby you come across as a very proud person, speaking pidgin doesnt make u a market woman. arent we full of our selves Nigerians!! a french man meets a french man and they are holding a friendly coversation they wud speak english abi!. i would be really impressed when i walk into selfridges and the lovely nigerian girl at the clinque shop finds out am nigerian and she goes out of her way to speak pidgin to make me feel welcome. anyway maybe because am just a warri girl.

  44. Eve82

    November 19, 2013 at 6:11 am

    I really don’t see anything wrong with the question. We just tend to over-analyze things a lot. It is not that serious. I would say his timing was rather wrong. If he had meet you at a different time and place, you would not have placed so much emphasis on that.

  45. sugar

    November 19, 2013 at 11:15 am

    its no biggie to ask where you are from. i could ask you if you are nigerian and what state but that should be enough for a conversation starter…..me thinks people should know their boundaries and not ask some personal questions till you know them better….i sometimes guess where people are from not because it makes any diff but cos i like to pride myself on being able to guess peoples tribe sometimes cos of accents.

  46. psalma

    November 19, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Hahahahahahaha…………..My belle o. U pipo wee not kee me o. Well, i’ve had quite a no of this irritating supposedly conversation starters…… From hello u must be a Yoruba girl, what is ur genotype, hello excuse me, i want to marry to the most annoying…….”Hello Smallie”……and i’m lyk ur grandmother, nkita racha kwa gi ike.
    Imagine, Is that suppose to be a compliment? Mtschwww…………smh. Lol

  47. psalma

    November 19, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Hahahahahahaha…………..My belle o. U pipo wee not kee me o. Well, i’ve had quite a no of this irritating supposedly conversation starters…… From hello u must be a Yoruba girl, what is ur genotype, hello excuse me, i want to marry to the most annoying…….”Hello Smallie”……and i’m lyk ur grandmother, nkita racha kwa gi ike.
    Imagine, Is that suppose to be a compliment? Mtschwww…………smh. Lol

  48. LolaLove

    November 20, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    I actually don’t see anything wrong with asking if someone is Nigerian or even where they are from. I like meeting people and for me a lot of these things are just conversation starters. When I ask people’s tribe, religion, where they grew up etc…it’s not because I’m trying to annoy you, sometimes it’s my way of finding something in common with the person so I can connect.

    That said, I understand that not everyone likes small talk so I try to read the vibe before I continue.

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