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Odera Okakpu: Not That Kind of Girl

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They are everywhere. In fact if there were ever a truthful advert of the popular things in Abuja, “runz girls” would be one of them. ‘Runz’ , a word which does not exist in any dictionary, is the Nigerian slang that refers to exchanging sexual favors for financial lifestyle changes.

Since I started visiting the FCT, and now that I live here as a member of the National Youth Corps Service, more often than not, someone does or says something to insinuate that I am one of the runz girls.

Initially I was offended, downright insulted. What was it about my carriage and composure that would have anyone assume I was into exchanging my body for money? Although, to be fair, there is nothing obvious to the eye about this form of prostitution; it is more like corporate prostitution. Some of these girls are aptly educated and properly cultured. Close observation finally led me to realize that the prettier, fresher, more taken care of you looked, the more people felt it wasn’t of your own doing. Sometimes, the insinuations come as a compliment considering the deplorable conditions of my life as a “bloody corper”.

Like a friend of mine recently joked, the only way they won’t think you are that kind of girl is if you are ugly or deformed. No one is safe and it’s not as if I can blame them. Abuja is tough and overpriced; no young university graduate or youth corps member can afford much on their own without some form of assistance, even if from family. At the end of the day the average Nigerian believes that money is most likely obtained from politics so if you are not connected to politics you must be sleeping with it.

These inferences, of course, are for young girls alone. Older ladies are categorized as salary earners or married. While they may not suffer the judgment now, it’s possible that they did at one point.

It appears there is no way to avoid the assumptions. There is hardly any way I can start explaining to every cab driver that asks to keep my change that the money is truly mine. There was one instance that I tried and as soon as I managed to convince him he said, “Well at least you get boyfriend wey go pay”. At that point it dawned on me that the judgmental stares and suggestive comments were not just because they thought I was involved in corporate prostitution but also because they felt some wealthy person must be paying for me to look good.

I have heard young men joke that keeping a girlfriend is expensive and now I understand why. Society has given them the notion that a girlfriend is also a responsibility. But even at that, there are still so many girls out there that do not share that idea. If a guy wants to spend his money it should be of his own volition, shouldn’t it? Why is it so hard for people to believe that a young pretty girl can actually work hard to hold her own? It feels like society is indirectly telling us that pretty girls deserve to have it easy. What a messed up notion. But it’s not going anywhere. For whatever reason it came into play, it’s like a stain that just can’t be removed.

Even in that kind of situation, I am still not that kind of girl. While I do believe in traditional male courting roles – that a gentleman pays when he takes a lady out or buys her gifts, I do find it odd for an ordinary boyfriend to take up my bills. And I certainly won’t ask. Being completely honest, of course I would be thrilled if a boyfriend takes care of me, but I would prefer that my mother and my meager corper stipend are recognized in the effort as well.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Bevan Goldswain

My name is Odera, some call me Deedee, some call me Odie. I am the only child but I have not been spoiled materially only with lots of love. I believe I’m very opportuned. I graduated in 2013 with a BSc in Journalism from the American University of Nigeria, Yola.

30 Comments

  1. kenny

    July 23, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    lovely piece. keep it up

  2. Gorgeous

    July 23, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Any girl still doing runs with the amount of diseases in town, is a big fool. Who probably has mental problems and no regard for her life, or the life of other innocent people she will infect. The married men alsoo sleeping with these girls, all i can say to their wives is, i am very sorry for you.

  3. eesha

    July 23, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    @Gorgeous and the thing is most of the so called runz girls have very plush jobs but it seems they cant keep their skirts on. They just want that additional “income” to buy loubs, bleach and weaves.
    Some of these new generation banks have also turned their female marketers into corporate prostitutes to meet the targets set for them, its so sad.

  4. Aibee

    July 23, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Society assumes every girl must have a man somewhere footing her bills. I’ve got this colleague who usually asks to borrow money whenever I say I don’t have spare cash he says ” a fine girl like you shouldn’t be broke, there should be a maga out there willing to spend on you.” or words to that effect. Or is it the day he noticed my watch was Swatch, Sawtch oh not Rolex or something, he argued that it must have been bought for me by a man. Because I can’t vex and enter IKCM to buy myself a nice watch, even though I’ll drink the garri later. He expects that even though I work hard and earn a decent salary, I should have a bobo on the side footing some bills.

    You take a cab home from work and the driver automatically thinks you should pay more than the usual fare because you are certainly going to see your boyfriend and he will “settle you”.

    I could go on and on. At the end, I just put it on the society that expects women to be weak and need help from men. Pschew

  5. you know

    July 23, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    @alibee you are right

  6. latty

    July 23, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Am an independent lady am 23 and I can vow,apart 4rm my parents who trained me through university I hv never taken anything 4rm a guy even my own bf I just want to d an independent lady nw am living well paying my fees myself so nt all girls are d same.

  7. So true

    July 23, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    I love this so much! one of the reasons that i’m dreading moving back to Nigeria. I find it sooo rude when people make statements like the ones you mentioned just because of the way I look. I feel like God has blessed my parents abundantly and so obviously it reflects on me. But how insulting to suggest that I had to sleep with someone to get nice things. So what did my dad work so hard for all his life for!? From the age of 14 my dad told me “if any guy ever says that he’ll buy you a bag or pay for your bills just tell him that its ok, your dad can afford it”, and I’ve done that till date! My boyfriend can buy me gifts, take me out to dinner etc. But my bills, education, money for petrol etc. Thats all taken care of by myself or my parents.

    I also find it annoying when people assume that my dad must be in politics because he has money. Especially since I don’t hold Nigerian politicians in high regard. I cant tell you how many “your papa na politician?”s i’ve heard. It gets on my nerves. But I always hit them back with “no he doesn’t steal. He works for his money”

  8. preston

    July 23, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Good read dear…. Just to stir things up, do men always have to pay when he takes a lady out ?Can’t a woman also foot the bill…… I went on a date with a woman who invited me out to dinner. I enjoyed the meal and the whole evening until the waiter brought the bill. The waiter placed the bill between the two of us, so as not to imply that I should automatically pay it. This was a crucial moment; who would make the first move and reach for the bill ? Do bear in mind, it wasn’t a first date.
    This was the perfect opportunity for me to see if this woman was worth dating again. I slid the bill to her side of the table and said, “Thank you for dinner.” I was only trying to be funny and fully intended to pay…… especially if I wanted to sleep with her that night (this may sound cold, but it is most guys’ mentality).
    The first words out of her mouth were, “You have got to be kidding, right?” Her reaction did not surprise me at all. I should have expected that from a high maintenance, good looking woman who is accustomed to having everything served to her on a silver platter.

    • Yvonne

      July 23, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      I’ve paid for lunch/dinner with a guy several times, but only because I invited the guy out on those occasions. If you ask someone out to a meal, it’s only common courtesy that you pay. The other person may offer to split out of sheer goodwill, but they are certainly not obligated to. So don’t be so quick to judge your female companion. If you look at it that way, she was fully justified in balking at the audacity and rudeness of you asking her to pay for a meal you probably invited her out to.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      July 23, 2014 at 9:50 pm

      But the woman invited him out for dinner… I think she should have paid.

      @Preston, I seriously hope you were joking about the paying-if-you-intend-to sleep-with-her-that-night side bar. This dating of a sumtin is starting to become more transactional than ever before….

    • tunmi

      July 23, 2014 at 9:18 pm

      My policy is that the person who invites the other out should be the one paying for both. The invitee should be gracious enough to offer a significant amount for the food they ate and/or cover the tip

    • preston

      July 23, 2014 at 10:44 pm

      @ Mz Socially Awkward… although I was joking, I did have a reason for saying what I did. Before I opened my mouth, I evaluated my chances, since she invited me out for dinner.

    • Mademoiselle

      July 24, 2014 at 12:52 am

      My policy is, if you call me to come out, you are paying for the meal. However, if we’ve had a few dates, I would offer to pay for a random one, cause I don’t want it to come across as me just being a sponge! And I do understand why you would want to pay if you expect her to agree to sleep with you. Not that it’s transactional, but I would understand why a girl would get turned off if she’s made to pay.

    • Ivy

      July 24, 2014 at 9:33 am

      Not everyone knows the unspoken rules of “asking out”. I mean i ve been asked to dinner & told hope you don’t eat much? I was like huh? Made sure i ordered enough, ordered take away & paid for our meal. Never took his calls again too.

    • Ivy

      July 24, 2014 at 9:36 am

      Just realised i didnt make my point…lol. Point is the “asker” pays for the meal but the “askee” should make an effort to pay or split the bill.

    • beebee

      July 24, 2014 at 10:14 am

      i disagree, askeee owes no such obligation.

    • Personal Concern

      July 25, 2014 at 8:41 am

      So you blocked him cos of his sincerity about the bill
      What if he only had small on him and wanted to please you by taking you out. Its just worthy of you that you be considerate and eat what you can, unlike some that will order for their whole family as take away.

      What if he was your man-to-be? So because of that incident you blocked him out of your life. Clap for yourself. We see reason why some of us are still praying for the man to come. We send away potential ones who are being sincere and portraying themselves just as they are not trying to form who they are not.

    • MC

      July 24, 2014 at 10:02 am

      And she was the one that invited you out for dinner!?….how odd!

    • pretty

      July 24, 2014 at 10:07 am

      For me, i think one needs to strike a balance. A lady can pay for lunch and dinner sometimes but you shldnt over do it cos these our naija guys will gets so comfortable and refuse to take responsibility. Na so you go pay for all the lunch and dinner, marry am begin pay for all the bills. Nothing wrong being an independent babe but let the guy do most of the paying when you go out and you can pay the bills sometimes when he least expects.

    • beebee

      July 24, 2014 at 10:11 am

      If you called for the date, you should have paid. simple

  9. Gtouch

    July 23, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    i like this piece. To understand that it is a stain that just isn’t coming off is a great approach. Creating awareness is certainly needful but the saying that the poor will always be among us. i don’t mean the absence of material thing but a state of mind of a lot of my country folk.

  10. Mademoiselle

    July 24, 2014 at 12:57 am

    I’ve been waiting for someone to write on this topic. I share your exact sentiments. With all modesty, I am not a bad looking woman, I am educated, well travelled and generally not a bad person to be around. But most of the time this translates to “ohh she has a man” or “ah ahn babe like you no get bf” “you are lying, you must have one for every need”. And I’m just like can’t I be awesome for myself?? Lool. Funny enough, most of the time, I am single. So I am always baffled and annoyed by that “you are the way you are because you have a man” mentality!

  11. Uche

    July 24, 2014 at 9:20 am

    LOL! Maybe I take life too lightly. I laugh it off when people say things like that because only I know the reality of my struggle. When I go out with the bf and people start hiking prices because woman dey with am, na me dey even haggle the price ehn… They’ll be like what life is this? (I digress) Well, even the bf seems to think that the man has to provide to be/feel like a man.

  12. ik

    July 24, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Nice piece… Tell em

  13. Annabel

    July 24, 2014 at 11:38 am

    The first time I experienced this sort of judgement from a cab guy I was offended. I figured at some point that that’s what a lot of people believe… It’s very sad though… Nice piece dear…

  14. sum1special

    July 24, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Every girl is a suspect of doing runs until proven otherwise.

  15. AMAKA

    July 24, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Odera, words of wisdom.
    It feels like society is indirectly telling us that pretty girls deserve to have it easy.
    That might explain why some girls would do anything humanly possible to be pretty. Peace!!!

  16. Tiki

    July 25, 2014 at 10:59 am

    lol in the end i’m confused. when the guy pays, they say you are easy. When you pay, you are scaring the guys away. I give up.

    About being thought of as a runs girl, I don’t even pay attention anymore. Every a**hole has an opinion and expresses it nowadays.

  17. Ralu

    August 14, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Really nice piece .

  18. AMAKA

    August 25, 2014 at 9:45 am

    I love Tiki “Every ***hole has an opinion and expresses it nowadays.”

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