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Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter: Now We’re Dating… So What?



When we were in UNILAG, my friend, Soprieye, had a boyfriend in Port Harcourt. She would dash down there every time we had a holiday or even when there was anything as little as the rumour of a strike – fiam… she has reached Port Harcourt. She was quite committed to the relationship.

At some point, school got really busy – there was no ASUU strike, no ULSU rebellion; even the NASU people were behaving themselves. She had this niggling urge to go visit her Boo – a spur of the moment visit. You probably know that these things never end well … She got to the flat and Boo had another Bae entwined around him. Preye then dropped her bag calmly and went to the kitchen. She came back to the bedroom to meet Boo and the Bae stuffing their sweaty bodies into their recently discarded clothes. Giving Boo a once-over, she turned to the chic and said, “As you dey follow me nack am, why you no follow me clean house na? I no suppose come from Lagos con begin wash plate and clean house. Abeg before you comot, try clean up eh?”

That story is unrelated to what I planned to write about today, but I randomly remembered it because relationships can be very weird. One minute you’re talking to a guy you like, and he likes you back; the next minute you’re worrying about when you’re transitioning to the next level, or if you’ve even transitioned and you don’t even know. {Click here to read “Are We Dating Now?”} It’s crazy – these matters of the heart.

Then, you are in the relationship and you find yourself asking ‘now what?’ I’m not talking about changing your Facebook status to ‘In a relationship’, or interspersing every other sentence with ‘My girlfriend said…’. No, I mean, what does actual dating entail?

In UNILAG, it was about having one person who would camp out in your ‘corner’ for hours, till the porter’s voice came over the public address system: “All male men, it is now 10 o’clock. Please vacate the hostel.”

At other times, a relationship was about having someone to call your own – sex and smooching on speed dial, because ‘not every time talk, talk talk. Some time, press body’. This was the crux of my friend’s complaint when she started dating her ex boyfriend. She lived with her Uncle, and they were not allowed to take visitors to the bedroom. So she and her man would sit in his car for hours after work – talking. When they first started ‘talking’, she used to invite the guy into the house, but her Aunty saw the guy’s presence as a cue to make conversation. One time, she asked him to help them change the bulb in the guest bathroom. Another time, he was asked to help them stack bags of beans in the upper level of the store shelf. It was the last time Nifemi brought a man into the living room. Their relationship was limited to the confines of his car, and frequent trips to Ikeja City Mall. The times when he was a little down on cash, he wouldn’t visit. They had nothing to do, and they didn’t have any kind of privacy for getting Nookie. There was only so much “I want you soo much right now” that the car could take – he became an Ex!

The nuances of dating in Nigeria are quite interesting. There are few places to go on dates that don’t involve food. There’s only so much of Galleria visits that your salary can take. Then, imagine if you’re taking things slow and you are not quite ready for the intrusion of family and friends, where do you go to just oil the wheels of the relationship?

The Thought Catalog had some fun suggestions. I’m not sure they’ll work well in Nigeria or with Nigerians, but hey… they’re worth a try.

Go to the Nature Conservatory
If you live in Lagos, there’s one in Lekki. Please wear comfortable shoes, you can’t be massaging swollen feet inside the car.

Read to Each Other
Actual books and comics! Tweets don’t count, before fight will start from there.

Play Board Games at a Coffee Shop
Ignore that last bit about coffee shop, but board games are good. If Scrabble and Chess are too boring for you, try Cluedo or Mastermind.Atoke Cheerios

Go to an Author’s Book Reading
There are plenty opportunities for this in Lagos; plus it’s a chance to go and brown nose with artsy fartsy people!

Take a Private Jet to a Different Country
What is wrong with these Thought Catalog people? If we had money for private jet and didn’t have visa problems do you think we won’t have rented a place for a cosy time? Please behave! Next?

Go to the Woods
Oyinbo people like looking for trouble. Please, don’t go into the woods oh!

Draw each other naked
This is where all the sermons Glory Edozien has been preaching about self-love comes in. When LeBoo draws you, and your pouch, remember, love keeps record of no wrong (cellulite)

Sweat it Out
If the previous suggestion doesn’t end well, you guys can join a gym together. FitFam is in vogue anyway!

With which money biko? These people should stop rough play please!

If you want to see more of the fun dates Thought Catalog has check them out here

Have a fantastic week ahead. Live, love & laugh. Oh and share some of the elements of your dating experiences.

Peace, love & cabbage strips.


Photo CreditMichaeljung |

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 for more information.


  1. jefka

    March 9, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Atoke i honestly couldnt understand what your write up meant, because…….the header is kinda confusing.
    anyways i stay in lagos, i vnt dated since i muved here but typically in naija when u start dating it simply means, muvies, beer parlours or eateries.
    when i started dating my bf in ikot ekpene it meant going to fetch water from the borehole together, having to share with all his sisters and going to hs church (he didnt understand ow i cld go to church by 6am and be back by 7am).

    • Bleed Blue

      March 9, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      Atoke…what’s wrong? 🙁

  2. Gia

    March 9, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Mamma mia…!
    Do faithfull nigerian men even exist? xD
    *runs away*

  3. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    March 9, 2015 at 10:37 am

    “All male men?!”

    • aurora

      March 9, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      its a UNILAG lingo. somehow thats what the porters used to say to drive men out of the female hostels.
      good ol’ days

    • TA

      March 9, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      As in, when I saw that line I burst out laughing because e resemble the kain thing wey porters for my Uni dat time fit talk too. Lool! Maybe they say it for laffs.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      March 9, 2015 at 2:15 pm

      Well, I think we can all agree that Denrele’s recent fashion choices may be proof enough that “female men” also exist…

      *holds out knuckles to be rapped* I know I’ve been bad and so deserve to be disciplined 🙂

    • Bobosteke & Lara Bian

      March 9, 2015 at 3:07 pm

      Oh, Mz. S. A., You is bad!

    • Carliforniabawlar

      March 9, 2015 at 4:59 pm

      Hahaha…you havestarted learning bad bad things….okay o!!

  4. rasheedah

    March 9, 2015 at 10:41 am

    nice one atoke. in situations when you are still trying to keep the relationship on the low key. no hiding place for real.. i find the cellulite part tricky, i guess its #fitfam

  5. Fossil

    March 9, 2015 at 10:45 am

    U can as well be jogging / walking partner for the main time as this won’t cost u a dime.

  6. Berry Dakara

    March 9, 2015 at 10:50 am

    #1. All Male Men out of the hostel… LOL!!! As opposed to Female Men or Male Women, right?

    #2. DON”T go to the conservatory if you’re zoophobic like I am. Monkeys running around you is NOT romantic.

    #3. Other options for dates – go to the beach (not a rowdy one like Elegushi though), go and watch a play at Terra Kulture, go jetskiing at Lekki Leisure Lakes; go to one of the Paint the Night events; Freedom Park on Friday nights; cooking class (I can’t remember the company that hosts this); do like Cakes and I did and go on a Naija Treks tour/excursion (see some photos in my latest blog post); and there’s so much more!!!

    Peace, love, and suya shrimp eggs to you too Atoke 🙂

  7. Chinaza

    March 9, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Hahaha what woods??

  8. blah blah

    March 9, 2015 at 10:59 am

    I was just talking about this on Saturday. I was supposed to go on a date but I couldn’t be bothered to go for dinner cos I am hardly hungry in the evenings anyway. And I couldn’t be arsed to look at a screen for 120 mins. So I cancelled. Got comfy and slept!!!!

  9. sussy

    March 9, 2015 at 11:01 am

    funny as this topic is, i actually had this problem with my ex, nowhere to go as we were staying at extreme opposites in lagos, like it almost seemed like a LDR before we even reach the agreed venue i am already tired, nice suggestions though, because the cinema is really not a good place for quality time. have an amazing week guys.

  10. Scared homosapien

    March 9, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Lmao @ all male men.
    We are really constrained when you come to activities during relationships, in this country.
    For me, dating means hiking together, church activities, sleep ins (not sleep over), and whatever else catches his fancy or mine. I try so much to avoid restaurants and eateries date (could happen once in a while).

  11. madman

    March 9, 2015 at 11:19 am


  12. LOLS

    March 9, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Unilag memories! Lol ‘all male men…’

  13. elvissaysso

    March 9, 2015 at 11:32 am

    ATOKE gooday.I must say, ever since I’ve started reading ur articles dis is d worst so far.ur message is not even clear,d whole article doesn’t just 4low.Pleeeeeeaaaassss can u kindly writ anoda article 2day again so dat I wld knw I read an article by atoke dis doesn’t befit ur standing as a writer.#Tanks

    • Pretenseslayer

      March 9, 2015 at 12:58 pm

      @ elvissaywhatever, This message is not clear enough? Really? It is Monday morning , where exactly are you that your brain cannot process this article? Can you at least learn to write and spell first?

    • Atoke

      March 9, 2015 at 5:29 pm

      Ah please you people should not quarrel abeg! It’s not that serious please. You might like something and someone else won’t like it.

      Me sef too, not everytime full throttle. Sometimes the juices dry up. You also have to realise I been doing this column for a long ass time (Every week for the last 30 months), it’s humanly impossible to have 100% all the time.

      Thank you for reading, guys. You make my Mondays worth it.

      Oya kiss and make up. No fighting biko!

    • Like

      March 9, 2015 at 7:31 pm

      Let me be Atoke helper – the first part she narrated a story of her friend whose le Boo was cheating on. Incase you missed it, she stated that this part had nothing to do with the topic of the day

      The topic of the day is – where do people in a relationship hang out in Lagos – Imagine if the guy and girl do not own an apartment or a private corner, .. so she summarised or retold an article that helps this dilemma..

      I am naturally nice on social media but i will give you a very straight criticism – Try not to follow the crowd, learn to read and be your own person. When i saw the first comment, i didnt want to read because i thought it will be boring alas, i could relate with her post – maybe you dont leave in Lagos – sorry ehn.. I was too forward.. When you read, be open minded, digest what is important and dont let other’s opnion influence what you simulate..

      Peace, love & Puffpuff ….

    • like

      March 9, 2015 at 10:52 pm

      I have gbaguaned defending Atoke..
      *live in Lagos ni o

  14. fossil

    March 9, 2015 at 11:37 am

    u can make do with taking a walk or jogging togethet 4 d main tome as this wont cost a dime

  15. Hafsat Blacksoap, Oils, Body & Hair Butter

    March 9, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    lol at what the main chick said to the side chick!!! But seriously we are date places challenged in our lovely Obodo Nigeria! No museums, bird watching, gigantic aquarium( I plan to build one once I’m a zillionaire ) etc. it always revolve around food and too many peopl around. Of course going to his place might break your resolve not to have sex too soon or yet or by at all till after marriage. Other ideas that come to mind, picnics without agberos coming to harass you, long walks at nights like we used to do in Ife…. I totally get your article Atoke!!!!

    • Ybbil

      March 10, 2015 at 7:43 pm

      Ife was really great for lovers, you know. Lots of low-money hangout spots and places to spend quality night time together without necessarily involving sex. I miss Ife, Lagos is hard!

  16. pinkie

    March 9, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    ‘all male men’..moremi days..hahahah..hmmmm!! this are we dating yet matter tire person seriously!! nobody asks anybody out these days.. u just find yourself liking, and then doing stuff.. and mebbe getting dumped. just so tired of the same kinda thing.

    • somtoo

      March 9, 2015 at 4:17 pm

      my sister ehh. these dudes aint loyal no more oooo. Where are ,my old school mehn ehn??social media has eradicated the way things used to be done..Dont even know what to do again

  17. deb

    March 9, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    Atoke, u forgo 2 include SHOPPING!!!! Dats my fave &maybe food testing

  18. TA

    March 9, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    As for dating ideas, I have heard several. One of the most intriguing I ever heard was from my friend who dated this latte-sipping, golf playing gentleman (now her husband 🙂 ) who suggested they go on a road trip around places of Nigeria. They set out from Lagos, Benin, another stop in Enugu, Calabar another and lots of other cities before heading back to Abuja. She came back with souvenirs, tons of pictures, and a certain school girl glee. Hehehe. She had been reluctant about it but she loved it so much that they now do road trips in different parts of the world, Lagos to Sekondi-Takoradi, Belgrade to Sarajevo, from Sicily to Paris. You get the picture. Her husband has certain eclectic tastes and the guy can afford it so away they fly to drive around the world. lol!

    • Bobosteke & Lara Bian

      March 9, 2015 at 3:51 pm

      I looovveeee road trips. Don’t care if its just a trip to the mall sef; so long as we are in an automobile and its moving. You can just sit quietly together or sing along to songs on the radio. Loudly and off key often works best.

      Which brings to mind, one game I can never get tired of: Name of boys, girls, countries beginning with V (learnt that on “The Spot” courtesy Toolz) etc. Played it one time with my family. It was going quite well until my bible loving mother after running out of names for boys started mentioning such names as Zechariah, Habakkuk, Zerubabel. We nearly died from laughter.

    • TA

      March 9, 2015 at 5:09 pm

      Dead @ your mum going Zerubabel, Z, z, on you guys. Lool. Please how does the game work, pray tell. Never heard of it and I do love word games whether board or verbal. 🙂

  19. Chinma Eke

    March 9, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    All male men!!!!!!
    Oh I enjoyed this article, it has me in stitches, lol at all those oyibo date suggestions. Truth is, in Naija, after the first few dates out (if you’re lucky), subsequent ones are about the couple meeting at a location for ‘privacy’, most often the guys house, and that’s it. We really need more budget friendly places for dates.
    So, I recently helped a dear friend plan a date with this babe he was introduced to. I eliminated eateries, ‘cos I felt its too noisy, they needed somewhere more quiet, I suggested a hotel restaurant; guy put it forward to babe, babe knocked it out. Okay, you say babe likes pastry; do Araba café, and maybe, a movie after or so. Again, not good enough.
    Oya, guy, ask the babe where she wants to go.
    He asked, after irritating I don’t know’s she said ‘cart racing’!
    I’m like on a first date? But lest I be seen as a ‘hater’, I said, ok, that’s ok.
    They went on date, guy that drives 3MB twice everyday didn’t find it interesting, girl suggested a restaurant; food was crappy and expensive.
    Girl that suggested they go there, na she complain pass.
    Anyways, according to my friend; there wont be a second date.

    There are few date options in Naija, or maybe we just aren’t the ‘dating’ type. Considering our traditional idea of courting is meeting at ‘the mango tree’, or a stream, or a deserted partway. Not sure if our courtship and dating is captured in our tradition. I stand to be educated anyways.
    And yes Atoke, our grandparents did the “Go to the woods’ kind of dating. lool.

  20. Ann

    March 9, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Hmmm, all these people going to the Lekki conservative have opened the eyes of those guys oo, first time i went there was in Feb. 2014, where bf asked me out oo lols, all for us to plan going back there feb,2015 and babe there asked us to pay N10, 000 cos we had a camera oo, meanwhile it used to be 1k, thats how we entered car and left, date ended….maybe i should still call them on the number i found on google…i still dey vex…

    • SLA

      March 9, 2015 at 4:20 pm

      true oo, I used to frequent the place till their eyes suddenly opened and the rates became rather ridiculous. I blame those guys using the place for all kinds of video and photo shoot.

  21. chy

    March 9, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    the wood thing reminds me of criminal minds and finding corpses in the wood. private jet ke, hmm still thinking of answer to that one.

  22. Tosin

    March 9, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    what is a date? good question.

  23. Jagbajantis

    March 9, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    There are loads of things you can do, trust me:

    1. Play video games together. Most girls love Mario Kart. Or Word Mole. Or scabble. Who ever loses has to give up something, they cannot take back. Haha
    2. Get a massage together. Or give her one with Mentolethum.
    3. Role-playing dates. You can dress up like Prince 2000 from Sunday Rendevouz and say “hit, me, hit me, hit me!” while she dances for you like one of Fela’s back up dancers.
    4. Go wine-tasting. Do you know there are subtle difference between different kinds of palmwine. The sweeter, the less intoxicating? Ogogoro and Push-me-I-push-you are produced from different kinds of palm trees and are fermented differently. Discover this together. Drink up too
    5. Go to the Museum at Onikan. If you can make it to Umuahia, the Biafra museum has artifacts and relics for days. Do you know that Igbo scientists manufactured their own armored tanks and submarines? Do you know that it is ridiculous that Nigeria still imports cars?
    6. Have a cook off. Bake alcohol flavored cookies together. Show her to make “mass-production” rice which includes all the ingredients one can find (we made those in Uni when we were broke).
    7. Park in the mall car-park, play music, gist and laugh at people’s dress sense. You dont need to pay a dime to do this.

    • D

      March 9, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      lmso @ Mentholethum…gosh my dad believes that isssh is the cure for all ailment, eye problem…everything. Ok the sitting in the mall and laughing at people’s dress sense is something I do with certain GFs not my partner.

    • rehanat

      March 11, 2015 at 9:42 pm

      Hahaaaa, jagbajantis, ur 7th point makes Loadzzzz of sense. I have tried it a couple of times and it’s mad fun, I must say…

  24. tunmi

    March 9, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    This is another market oh: date venues such as museums and aquariums like @Hafsat Blacksoap, Oils, Body & Hair Butter said.

    Also parks & bike trails, arts&craft stores with offered activities, indoor sports and events (rock climbing), sports complexes for dates and events (school, club), gym & dance classes, arcade, comedy shows, canoeing,, fishing, cooking class, drive-in films, cultural festivals (in season)

  25. oj

    March 9, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    atoke, don’t keep us hanging na. what happened next? did the side chick join her in cleaning? did she fight the guy? tell us na….

  26. D

    March 9, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    So I have to ask what did side chic and bf do after that statement??? I have quite never understood why people say it is not good to drop by your partner’s unexpectedly?? (recent conversation with a co-worker who was trying to be romantic and surprise GF only to find GF entangled with another dude) I would rather know so if I need to get out I can and if not you know what you are dealing with. For dates, ok so when I was in high school and we drove past National theater, i used to see people hanging out on the lawn as in couples, then i thought it ludicrous but now i understand better, so maybe a picnic, I am not out “doorsy” so bugs and things like that get to me. But one thing beau and I used to do while dating was take a city we both wanted to visit but had never had the opportunity to and just visit and ask around what was there to see, it does not have to be seychelles or Malta. We visited Abuja, PH, just places where Aero-contractors and co flew to, highest expense came from accommodation but we split up the cost and each bought our own flight ticket.

  27. MzChizzy

    March 9, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    LOL! @ Draw each other naked. Biko, don’t o…when somebody is Rose. That’s how somebody will have ‘shaaaepu’ like Eku and Le Boo will start drawing…drawing and drawing. When he’s done, somebody will look at the drawing, look at Le Boo, look at the drawing, look at Le Boo again and ask where the uku came from….it will now become a case of “are you trying to tell me something…so you love girls with uku…you gotta love me the way I am or forget it” From fun date to no date. Never!


      March 9, 2015 at 7:51 pm

      My belly oooooooooo. MzChizzy has killed me.

    • luckycharm

      April 2, 2015 at 12:46 am

      *I can’t breathe* lwkmd!!!!

  28. MzChizzy

    March 9, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    LOL! @ Draw each other naked. Biko, don’t o…when somebody is not Rose. That’s how somebody will have ‘shaaaepu’ like Eku and Le Boo will start drawing…drawing and drawing. When he’s done, somebody will look at the drawing, look at Le Boo, look at the drawing, look at Le Boo again and ask where the uku came from….it will now become a case of “are you trying to tell me something…so you love girls with uku…you gotta love me the way I am or forget it” From fun date to no date. Never!

    • frances

      March 11, 2015 at 10:35 pm

      Hahahahaha I laughed sotey I hit my head for wall. You r sooo funny

    • IndianBravo

      March 18, 2015 at 7:52 pm

      *dead @ le boo will start drawing, drawing and drawing

  29. somtoo

    March 9, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    my first time reading this atoke banter, i must say freaking hilarious..bwahahahaha…now will be a weekly must read

  30. elvissaysso

    March 9, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    @pretenseeslayer or wateva rubbish u call urself,my comment wasn’t directed 2 u but 2 atoke the writer.take note’THE WRITER’ nd since I don’t knw hw 2 spell mayb I shld cum 2 u 4 coachin even though u are so daft dat u do not realize dat I am jes usin txtin lang#Very big daft

    • Carliforniabawlar

      March 9, 2015 at 6:36 pm

      lol….I would love love love to get a dictionary of this awesome text language.

  31. TA

    March 9, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    @ Berry Dakara, #3, I love the beach so that is always in my books. Takwa bay is a nice clean beach, only a boat ride away. In addition to watching a play at Terra Kulture, date nights are also fun for attending musical recitals/ opera performances at Muson centre, Onikan. I don’t know o, but I find book readings fun too, call me boring. 🙂 watching documentaries and sit-coms are fun too.

  32. miss rouge

    March 9, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    not trying to be overly spiritual but i do love church dates- its got to be my favorite. then sight seeing. i prefere going to eatries with my girlfriends, lots of girltalk n gossip…lol

    style lovers join this amazing channel on BBM C001AEBEF

  33. Akissi

    March 9, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    LMAO @ jagbajantis!!! Abeg you too funny. I dey hide for office to type dis for obodo oyinbo and you all make my day to be hearing and seeing pidgin! hahahahahahahahha

  34. misspee

    March 9, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    I don’t have issues travelling with my date but we have to know where the relationship is headed to first, I don’t want to fill my head with memories of you that I’ll be scared to venture into that in another relationship if we part ways, so to be on a safer side, let’s have a convo in church, eatries in my papa’s house or yours.

  35. miss max

    March 9, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Today’s gist got me in stitches. ‘All male men’ in Zaria we had ‘yaro boy(s)’

  36. Like

    March 9, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    Yesterday, i was playing some old Nigerian songs – and i told myself apart from my future boyfriend being spiritual – atleast 4 out of the 5 pillars of Islam, the boy must like Nigerian old school music ( i am not that old o, 88-89 pikin).. those are fun things to do.. as opposed to cuddling and going to eatries all over Lagos..

  37. wendy

    March 9, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    Lol,’all male men’,gud old Moremi days.

  38. DOO

    March 9, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    ‘World people’ and their comments lmao

  39. adorable

    March 30, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Its my first time tho but I enjoyed Atoke’s monday. She is a good writer. No one can be 100percent at his or her best everytime,especially when u do it over and over again. The message is quit straight foward. It an advice on where couples can spend quality time together other than the regular places they go to and I also think they can also draw insperations fron all this places suggested.

  40. Tn

    April 2, 2015 at 9:05 am

    Atoke,well written! I do have to say it’s a big problem we don’t have affordable hang out places in Lagos which eventually makes the relationship boring at some point. Not everytime eat in, sometimes go out Eat roadside suya flush it down with palm wine or water as the spirit leads, hehehe.
    We need to be more creative, I love board games but the Bae refused to be an initiate of board games. So I sulk while he listens to his country music,Boring, super boring!

  41. delacreme

    April 7, 2015 at 7:28 am

    Am a first timer @Atoke’s where do I go to collect my gift please?

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