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Susan J-Enyenihi: Borrowers, Lenders & the Shakara Gene



Something signaled her arrival. Not a word said but her aura. It did not matter that she was late. That seemed trivial at the moment.
I watched her walk down the aisle. For a brief moment, the document I was working on, seemed less important compared to soaking in her presence.
Her perfume assailed our noses. Paco Rabanne? YSL? Elizabeth Arden? Gucci? CK? What was it?
My male colleagues whistled and cooed like pigeons. Only heaven knew, if some of them had a hard-on.
I could not take my eyes off her. She looked like someone just pulled out of a cosmopolitan magazine ad.
Her shoes glistened. Her shoes, Lord! Her shoes! My heart skipped a zillion times.
Her bag? I could swear it was made of snake skin.
The dress, short enough to reveal her well-toned brown skin. Her makeup was light. I could tell from where I sat.
The bra was definitely working wonders. The cleavage was a testimony. Her curly brown hair bounced as she walked. It seemed I could hear her Cartier watch tick as she took every step. Oh boy! Was I having a hard-on too?
Jeez. I stared. Like a moron, I looked curiously till she finally got to our table.
‘How far? Sorry, I kept you guys waiting. I am sick of Lagos and traffic wahala’. She said
I smiled. It was the only thing I was capable of doing at the moment.
‘I love your shoes’. I finally said with the look of a covetous woman.
‘Thanks’. She replied.
Then the expected happened, she drew her chair closely to mine and spilled the secret, some smart women have known for years.
‘I borrowed it from my sister’. The shoes and the bag. It is fine abi? I like it too but I can’t afford it right now. So,I will borrow for now biko’. She said amidst our laughter.
‘Please, ask for the price’. I requested.
‘Ok, I will’.
Case settled. I moved on to finishing my document.
Whilst growing up, I shared some stuff with my siblings. On rare occasions, I had to borrow one or two things from them. Then, I moved to the university and I could not fathom the magnitude of sharing and borrowing, I witnessed in the different hostels I lived.
From silicon bras to condoms, synthetic eyelashes, the list was rich and endless. The girls, I lived with at different times will borrow or share anything. In actual fact,everything. Sometimes, I sat on my top floor aka for the top bunk and bore witness to girls fitting themselves into undersized blouses or pants, all in the name of fashion and style sake.
Occasionally, I heard stories of how, shoes borrowed were so tight, the borrower could barely walk but had to put on a fake smile and treat swollen feet later. How about the story of how one lady borrowed a designer bag, only to have it stolen and the owner almost ripped her apart for misplacing a bag whose price could pay a student’s total fees for a four year course! So the owner of the bag claimed.
Or about the lady whose blouse got ripped at a party as she could no longer suck belle in a bid to hold her fashion apparel together?
In as much as I am one to borrow a few things from my sister and mother. I was schooled right from childhood on the limitations of my ‘share voucher’.
Items like underwear and personal hygiene materials are off limits. I am a bit of a germaphobe, so life was easy. No time to catch shank.
Growing up, my mother taught my siblings and I, to possess the spirit of contentment. Maybe, that is the reason for my ability to manage whatever I have.
You had one shoe, you managed it. I only shared stuff with my siblings or borrowed, based on my parents’ terms. Except of course, text books. That one was a constant on the ‘share voucher’.
I must confess that as I grow older, my shakara gene forces me to pick a few things from my mother, sisters, aunts and my close friend on few occasions.
My ‘share voucher’ records show the items I borrow in desperate situations. Bags, accessories and head-ties (my mom has every color, a wardrobe full of different and colorful head-ties!).
My hostel experience made me realize that some of the ‘big girls’ I had seen prior to my matriculation day and whom I had admired endlessly were ‘professional borrowers and sharers’.
‘Why are you packing the shoes?’ I asked, as we packed our bags at closing time.
‘I can’t wear the shoe to waka Lagos roads o. Susan! Shoes wey no be my own! I am taking the bus this afternoon’.
‘Now this is a smart borrower’. I thought.
She was making sure that the items loaned her were returned in good condition. Earlier in the day, she had captured our hearts and now the show was over. I couldn’t help but relay the story to my kid sister and she asked me a simple question; ‘Do you own what you are wearing?
At that moment, I could answer in the affirmative. Then again, I remembered other situations where it was a case of something borrowed, something fapped.
So I pose the same question (unedited) to you: ’Do you own what you are wearing?’ and oh, lest I forget: ’What items are on your ‘share voucher’?
I’d love to hear tales of your shakara gene.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Elkeflorida

Susan Johnson-Enyenihi is a marketing communications professional. Call her,a self-proclaimed shoe addict and a happiness enthusiast. She believes in ‘doing the do’ and ‘living life’.


  1. mrs chidukane

    July 1, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Hahahahaha. If you borrow from my younger sister, just be ready for insults. The thing about borrowing is it makes you not have anything. I used to use my mom’s jewelry a lot when I was single. When I got married, I realized I didn’t have jewelry and I didn’t know how to buy nice ones like the ones my mom had. It was not easy oh but we’re getting there.

  2. chy

    July 1, 2015 at 9:47 am

    sometime in 2010 i wore a friends shirt and shoe for a job interview,infact on getting back home in the evening she reminded me on how the price of the shirt and shoe can feed my generation,i stood there for some minutes shocked and pinned to the ground,i cudnt move,i later cried and poured out my heart to was a heartbreaking moment!since then till today,i hv never in my entire life borrowed anytin frm anybody again.i make sure i hv those tins available and even buy excess of it so i wont hv to ask or borrow.I hv learnt to be contented and never to be carried away by what people have.

  3. Ade

    July 1, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Funny article. I use to have a freind who would borrow from me and it fits her so well everyone would think it was hers even when i wore it. Looking back now it’s all fun.

  4. mz_daniels

    July 1, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Nne, I have just 1 elder sister an woebetide me to borrow her stuff. (Ara on gabm?) but she ‘colonizes’ mine shamelessly. ( perks of being an Ada).

    I never borrow clothes, I just can’t. So I have a lot of clothes and shoes.

    In Uni, girls will go from IsaKaita to Zik’s flat for a Shoe, drive to Onuiyi for a beret, back to Bello for belt and slessor for Earrings and finally to Okpara to use their friend’s make up.

    At least they were better than those who stole your clothes.

    I never borrowed nne, was afraid of someone saying to me in public, ‘return that my bra, borrow borrow’.

    I also didn’t borrow anyone clothes I couldn’t afford to dash them.

    I have that rule with everything’;never borrow to friends and family what you can’t afford to forget.’

  5. Ephi

    July 1, 2015 at 10:19 am

    It happens a loooottt in Nigerian hostels.
    The thing though is before you know it, it becomes a habit that goes way beyond hostel days, and from a habit then it becomes a lifestyle. It’s one thing to borrow because you are truly in need, it is another thing to borrow because you want to “feel among” – in the case of option 2, I would rather live within my means. I won’t die if I don’t use the items afterall.

    I personally would feel uncomfortable wearing anyone’s clothing, no way.

  6. larz

    July 1, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Mum- jewellries, shoes and bag for owambe functions. For young people’s function I wear my own but for impressive (hubby’s family etc) that my mum worries that I might disgrace her lolz, I borrow her nice accessories. Why do I borrow from her, because I dont use them often, in fact 3/4 times in the past 5 yrs. So no I wont invest in them, at least not yet.
    Sister- slippers. When I was younger, we share shoes and bags.
    I lived with a frn that wanted to borrow a dress and I gave her the dress, She never asked me after that.

  7. Uju

    July 1, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Haha, this is a lovely piece. Never really used to like the act of borrowing but I attended an all girls’ secondary school and to a large extent it seemed like a way of life. But now I can’t even think of borrowing from any of my siblings because they are all bigger than me. Another secret to avoid borrowing is to create your own style. I grew to love long ball skirts and I think rather than get a pair of jeans from you I would rather rock my ball skirt over and over again. Nice write up Susan.

  8. Grace

    July 1, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Borrow? it has never been part of my style since growing up(My momma may her soul rest in peace?will never tolerate it. One day i went to a friends house just down my street on my way back i decided to take her slippers mine was very good o buh i liked hers more.,on getting home my mum noticed and was like Grace whose slippers is this i said Theresa ma,she was like what happened to yours i said nothing i like hers(the rest is story)beating LoL#smh. She was like is it that what you have isnt ok for you at your age? This is so bad. Learn to be contented with what you got. Na so my life change for the better,yeah with my siblings i can borrow buh not toiletries sha 🙂 from friends NO,if you give me as dash OK not even when i was in the University NO

  9. mo

    July 1, 2015 at 10:37 am

    maybe because I am the only girl in my family I’ve never really had to borrow from anyone including my mom as we are hardly the same size. Also, I lived in a small flat in uni so I have had to make do with whatever I have. I however can only wonder and wish I had sisters whom I could fight to ‘borrow’ their stuff or share all those girly gossip with. moral: you would never know the value of what you have until you see someone who never had it. even if its borrowing your sisters stuff

    • debbie

      July 3, 2015 at 7:26 am

      I understand what you mean, I have four brothers no sister, am taller, slimmer than my mum, so no borrowing and yeah I wish I ave sisters to borrow from, it’s quite painful watching your friends with sisters take theirs for granted, while am fasting n praying for me to have One, or God should borrow me one firsr

  10. nammy

    July 1, 2015 at 10:49 am

    I own what I am wearing! But not always. I may occasionally need to borrow a shoe, bag, necklace, to match my outfit but I don’t borrow from just anybody oh, can’t tk no insult from no one.

    • Dee

      July 1, 2015 at 11:23 am

      Of all the 10 comments above, you, my dear sister, is the only person telling the truth. Una well done, you hear. if only we must use our name and surname before posting a comment. Half of the peeps here wont say piim.

  11. Bella

    July 1, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Oh this is such a good write up, I enjoyed reading it and found myself laughing inside from my own family share vouchers. To answer first question, yes I own what I am wearing today and most days but I know that every-time I travel back home, I always leave with a head wrap, or a wrapper from my mothers closet and she always threatens me to bring them back, though we all know that never happens. My sister always has a share voucher with me whenever she comes home, she will leave with something, and even if I tell her to sternly brick it back, babe, forget that one. its gone like the wind! When its over the family holidays, suitcases whether packed early or late for returning to our individual bases, you can be guaranteed to return with less or more than you came it, unfortunately the share voucher raid is real and most of the times, those sharing don’t know it! shout out to elder sisters , best cousins and mums 🙂

  12. desireayomi

    July 1, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    I own all am wearing,glory be to God. H e created me unique from birth that i grew up(as a chubby baby) owning my own stuffs and being contented(as a unique plus size). I f you say fine,i cant borrow or share clothing items..what of accessories? Well,i use what i have and save towards buying what i dont cos i will rather be the Lord 🙂 than to go face borrowing. In all I thank God.

  13. Nonye

    July 1, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    I’m not really a fan of borrowing. But growing up as the last girl whenever I requested to buy stuffs my mum & sister will be like use ours why do you wanna buy. It was when I got into uni I realised I practically had nothing. So then the buying started….. My mum was shocked when I moved back after grad that I even had more than my sister who’s already working. Lol…..

  14. Tomisin Magz

    July 1, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Nice piece!

    Sometimes i borrow stuff like purses or shoes. Shoes cos most of my shoes are high, so if I feel like wearing a low-heeled sandal, i can borrow it. And that has only happened like twice & it was just one friend of mine i did the borrowing from. I have no desire to be insulted so i try to stay on my lane.

    Also, i have no issues with people borrowing my stuff (tho there are some things i cannot share), please just ask. Nothing pisses me off like people who just take my stuff without asking, it is annoying

  15. the generous economist

    July 1, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    So I cringe at the thought of sharing anything at all…..mumsy never even allowed me and my sister share anything…so the thought of sharing wiv any oda person neva crosses my mind….also..i neva lend any1 anitiin….it upsets me dt sme1 will evn thnk of borrowing my clothes….if I am not dashing u the clothes…I cnt give u….bt then again…guess it’s cos God has been faithful and sisters can afford wateva dey wnt to buy so borrowing is neva really needed….

  16. ta

    July 1, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    lol funny article,no I don’t own evrythng I have sm belong to my sistrs n my mom,dey r d only ones I borrow from sha,am d first girl so of course my sistrs ‘borrow’ my stuff(though dey r all bigger dan me bt since I hv sm ‘large’ clothes dey tk dem n squeeze demslvs in d ones too small),dey borrow smtyms wit my knowledge oda tyms witout(dose few tyms I jst see dem wearin d item n whn I stare dey give me dis smile,i jst shake my head n let dem b). Lending to outsiders is dash,dts in d aspect of clothes,as for shoes I cnt dash dose ones. Anyways,borrowwn n lendin is fun esp whn it’s wit ur sistrs n mom(mine give me endless supply of jewelries by d way)if I dnt borrow frm dem,who will? 🙂

  17. red

    July 1, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    i’m not a fan of borrowing either, but I can never say never. I have borrowed in times past. now maybe slippers or make up things..i try to buy stuff I need and be content with all I have

  18. Ceecee

    July 2, 2015 at 11:51 am

    @chy while I sympathise with you….I believe it moved you to tears because deep down you believed it. No friend of mine can lend me something and then tell me that for a number of reasons. The point you should have taken is that the person was not a real friend and you’re better off!

  19. Violet

    July 9, 2015 at 8:44 am

    lmaooooo. borrow pose is allowed, my sisteh! but too much of it is alarming!

    Nice piece, egbon . Keep doing me proud. *Shines teeth*

    p.s – mumsy’s wardrobe should b turned to a “gele museum”. LOL!

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