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Gidi in Heels with ‘Layemi: The ‘How Much Did You Buy it?’ Question & Other Conversational Faux Pas

'Layemi Olusoga

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dreamstime_l_4749908Have you ever had one of those epic moments when you walk into a room feeling like a million bucks? Everything is on fleek…your dress fits like a glove, your make-up is flawless and even your pout is a perfect pink.

You are utterly convinced about how awesome you are and as you mingle with people, you try not to make the chip on your shoulder visible…and then it happens. Somebody puts their foot in their mouth and says something to you that makes you feel like Cinderella felt when the clock struck midnight. The “carriage” you rode up in now feels like a “pumpkin” and you are almost compelled to turn your six inch heels (which are thankfully not made of glass) into a weapon to defend your honour.

It is amazing how some people really do not know that some questions are simply impolite and embarrassing and should not be considered as icebreakers, silent moment fillers or even jokes in public places. As my contribution to ensuring the art of decent conversation is preserved, here are five questions I consider as major conversational faux pas.

These are questions you should never ask a lady in public/in front of strangers and some of the comebacks that I think are just perfect for these questions:

How much did you buy it?
Really??? If someone is wearing a dress, weave or a pair of shoes you admire; it is perfectly okay to just compliment the person and move on. The only circumstance under which you should ask how much someone’s outfit cost is if the person is more than a mere acquaintance and if the person is comfortable enough to divulge this information to everyone within earshot.

Question: How much did you buy it?

Perfect Comeback: Would you like to give me refund if I tell? 

Have you gained weight?
There are two statistics women do not like to give out unless it is their doctor asking: their age and their weight! Asking a lady about her weight (whether she has gained or lost some) is not an icebreaker. It is very unnecessary to ask this question, except the conversation was already centered on weight management and the person voluntarily offers this information.

Question: Have you gained weight?

Perfect Comeback: Wow! I had absolutely no idea I had gained weight, you are so observant/smart! *insert eye rolling smiley*.

Is that a wig/ Is this your hair?
So we are currently witnessing the natural hair movement and a lot of women are now confidently rocking their natural hair. However, it is not completely strange for members of team natural to own a wig or two that they wear when going for weddings or other similar events. Having said that, if you suspect that a lady is wearing a wig/weave and would like to confirm this, you can ask with a quiet whisper. It is not polite or nice to ask a woman if she is wearing a wig/weave from across the table! Please!

Question: Is this your hair?

Perfect Comeback: Are you looking for your own?

Are you wearing Body Magic?
Please we are all on the FitFam high and yes we occasionally need the support of the waist trainers/body magic to give us the perfect look for the red carpet moments and Instagram posts.

Nobody has been assigned the role of waist trainer police by the Federal Government to fish-out all waist trainer ‘offenders’.

It is extremely impolite for anyone to ask a lady if she is wearing a waist trainer/body magic in front of strangers. It is also not fair to pass the “she is wearing body magic” sentence on an innocent lady passing by. If a lady looks nice then compliment her, if you feel she doesn’t then please just look away!

Question: Are you wearing body magic?

Perfect Comeback: Of course not! My body itself is magic.

When are you calling us?
This is the Nigerian version of the “When are you getting married”

A lot people consider the wedding/marriage/relationship subject as an icebreaker when they don’t have much to talk about. However, it is very awkward to ask a lady when she is getting married!

If there is no ring on her middle finger, please stay off the marriage topic! It is not an icebreaker and it is not a conversation for social gatherings.

Question: When are you calling us?

Perfect Comeback: Oh, I already sent out the invites. Thank you for asking.

Please these questions are not icebreakers and they are not topics that can be used to fill the awkward silence at social gatherings!

What are the conversational faux pas that get to you the most? Please share them with us.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Layemi is a career woman, a writer and a relentless dreamer. She is an eternal optimist, hopeless romantic and an advocate for equity. She wants to be remembered for impacting the world and inspiring billions through her writing which she hopes will someday earn her a Nobel Prize in Literature. She occasionally tweets with the handle @luola12

21 Comments

  1. aja

    June 15, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    these questions are spot on!!! Nigerians can be very rude with their so called well meaning questions

  2. observe much

    June 15, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    The worst and most consistent one people love to use to “break the ice” with me is the “have you gained weight ” question. Sometimes it ruins my mood especially when the said person knows I’m on a diet or have been working out vigorously, other times I just come back with a witty comment.
    The worst one I’ve heard so far was when someone asked my friend “when was the last time time you visited a dentist ” .Till date my friend has no love for this man’s tribe.

  3. Lola

    June 15, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    This got me laughing out loud cos its so true!!! You left out the “Are you pregnant”? question.
    I don’t understand why people even ask these questions in public, its so awkward especially when there are strangers present.

  4. oom

    June 15, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Very nice piece Layemi, I enjoyed every bit of it.
    The piece was sublime, all lines blended well into the other and how true were the instances? Spot on!

    “Is this your hair?”, “Are you looking for yours?” ==> SUPERB (gets all marks from me) But of course it’s mine. It’s not stolen and whatever country it travelled to Nigeria from, I paid for it, got a receipt to seal the deal. Who goes about for instance asking someone if the make-up she’s wearing for the day is hers?

    While on the issue of “How much did you buy it?”, how about an incident where instead of someone to even use this foul icebreaker, she actually walks up to you and tries checking the label you have on.

    And I’m right now checking to remember the instances I’ve been guilty of this crime…oops!

  5. A

    June 15, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    But why are Nigerians so uncouth? So ill-mannered and unnecessarily rude? No one has tolerance or the ability to mind his own business. Gosh
    Everyone is weight police, marriage police, tolerate your husband police, pregnancy police, male child police, sexuality police. Ahahn!

  6. Cee

    June 15, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    Lmao???We Nigerians can ask questions for the World…

  7. chinnie

    June 15, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Oh my, this topic is a good one………..us girls shudnt be dissing ourselves nah, how we see am? You don baff? who :is that your hair” don hep? Y’ll should be free to express yourselves without fear of our fellow girls asking JAMB questions.

  8. Sabifok

    June 15, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Nice article and excellent suggestions for come-backs.

    As a dude, not all the examples apply, but the particular one that gets my goat is when peo[ple admire something you own and then proceed to ask you how much you purchased said item for. Then when you, against your better judgement or in an attempt to indulge their crass behaviour, provides the cost sum, their reply usually has an idiotic color. Let me give an example:

    Idiot: That is a nice “jean” you are “putting on”. I like colour and fitting

    Me: Cheers bruv. I admire its qualities too.

    Idiot: Men what is the make? How much did you buy it for?

    Me: Emmmm….These are just Levis. Got them at the Levis flagship store for $27

    Idiot: What?!!!! You said how much?!! $27 for ordinary Levis jean? For wetin na? They cheated you na. Yesterday, Marshalls had Seven for all Mankind jean for $20!!!

    Me: *Bewilderment pesonified*

    • Lucinda

      June 15, 2016 at 8:04 pm

      That “They cheated you” sometimes makes me want to elbow the person in the neck. I have a friend who is unemployed and is always buying takeout. Me that is doing overtime and budgeting £13.50 per week on cooking food, do I have 2 heads? My comeback is usually giving them a very high price. Watch their bp rise up as they analyse the degree of “cheatation”. When they finish ranting I’ll give them a very low price and watch the embarrassment on their face. When I’m not in the mood, I’ll just say I got it as a gift.

    • comment

      June 15, 2016 at 10:27 pm

      The flip side experience is that sometimes you say the price of the item and they say something like: wow you mean it’s so cheap? Or ” are you sure it’s not fake?…..Bad manners…

  9. Las

    June 15, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    Too funny!

    To the question – is that your hair?, I always answer “Yes, I still have the receipt”

  10. Roma

    June 15, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    Nigerians are not the only ones that ask such questions. A lot of other people from other countries ask same questions too.
    My white friends, sister in-law and neighbours ask similar questions, and they are all white people. Though you are spot on about your lists, but you should know that white people ask some of the most annoying questions too.

    • mango

      June 16, 2016 at 12:00 am

      Exactly! Like, why do you want to know how old I am? It is unnecessary any many oyibos keep asking smh!

  11. Abuja Bored Girl

    June 15, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Mine is what happened to your face? I’ve being battling with pimples for a while now and almost everywhere I go people keep asking. Imagine someone now saying she’s on her period that’s why.

    • Lucinda

      June 15, 2016 at 11:28 pm

      Use Clinique anti blemish set.

  12. Ms. B.

    June 15, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Question: Is this your hair?

    Perfect Comeback: Yes it’s my hair, I bought it.

  13. temi

    June 16, 2016 at 7:07 am

    Question: when are you calling us?

    Perfect Comeback: calling is out of fashion, I’d text you.

  14. Bcga

    June 16, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Scenario with a stranger during the last Thanksgiving service in church

    Our eyes met briefly as we were dancing even though we were like 3 seats apart

    Him : signalle to me and made inaudible noise
    Me : made a gesture that I can’t hear him ?
    Him : disrupted pple dancing, came to my row, leaned over couple of guys and shouted ‘nice dress’
    Me : thank you ☺
    Him : can you give me your tailor’s number
    Me : I bought it ready made ?
    Him : Where
    Me : Kola Kuddus store
    Him : Where is that
    Me : Adeniran Ogunsanya Shopping mall
    Him : you mean shoprite
    Me : yeah (every mall na shoprite) ?
    Him : how much
    Me : ? ignored him and got my grove on

    All this while evebody was grooving to some good tunes from the choir. We are just who we are.

  15. Demmie

    June 16, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    This questions are not only asked in niaja. got this everytime in london before i dont ve ready made answer but now am always ready…

    Them:: demmie when are you getting marry?
    Me:: is your husband looking for 2nd wife
    Me:: walk away rolling eyes..LOL

  16. Ada

    June 17, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    looollll Layemi, When am asked ” When are you guys calling us”” ….. I break into the song” If you ask meeeeee”,,,,

    Nice article Layemi,,, keep it up,

  17. Ur Sugarmama

    June 23, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    Yemi!!! I read your post last week and didn’t think i will be needing one of the comebacks so soon!

    A “male” colleague asked me (with a funny face) today, “what kind of hair style are you wearing? why is it not the same color with you hair? what kind of extensions are these? three in one question !!! well i simply responded … Do u wanna pay for it??? Gosh! it felt so gooooooooooooood, thanks Babe.

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