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Chidinma Eke: Being Single Doesn’t Mean My Finances are Your Concern!

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One day, I needed to process a benefit for a colleague. The company, recognizing the difficult economic terrain, had amended the rules to indicate that an employee could either get that particular benefit as an immediate cash or a deferred benefit.

I reached out to my colleague, asked what his preference was, and he gave the response 99% of Nigerians (myself included) would give in the same circumstance – he preferred cash.

Because we had a friendly relationship, I teased him, asked why he wasn’t deferring since it wasn’t a lot of money. He insisted that it be paid out immediately. Then he went on to list pressing needs the money could sort, ending with: Shey you don’t have responsibilities yet, and you have a sponsor!

This question/assumption, along with, When are you getting married, is one of the most frequently asked questions I get. In the workplace, at social events, among friends; it’s like everyone not-single keeps asking this question. The ones not asking are thinking it and will ask it one day.

I find it exhausting. Every time it comes up I get tired. Why? Because every time I get asked, I scream a mental, Not you too! Or, Another one bites the foolishness dust! And then I sigh. Deeply.

I find it sad and irritating that someone would believe that any sane person, in this Lagos (regardless of marital status), would choose to put his or herself through the torture of waking up at an ungodly hour every day, every blessed work day, and navigate Lagos traffic, endure shitty annoying bosses and colleagues, just because of fulfilment or to keep busy. Doesn’t make a lick of sense. It calls into question your sense of judgement if you hold that opinion.

Maybe if I worked in another city I could better understand the logic behind that question and belief, but because we (my interrogators and I) work in Lagos, I cannot understand it. No matter how much I try. The logic is: because you are single you don’t have any responsibility, abi? Single working-class folks are just piling up the money, no responsibilities. Yeah right!

It’s even worse when you are female. Guys are given a somewhat free pass because it’s believed they probably have a girlfriend(s) whose bills they pay.

The belief that men foot their lady’s bill is just bullshit. Where are the men who supposedly foot all of their woman’s bills or even like 50% of the bills? [And I’m not referring to transactional relationships.] I haven’t met them and no one around me has. But that’s a rant for another day.

There are also the ones who will come to borrow money from you and get upset when you decline. That one is just plain ol’ bad behaviour. But then, you’re single; what do you do with your money? Why don’t you have money when I need to borrow it?

Let’s take a step back before I totally go off.

While I agree married folks have more responsibilities because the family is bigger (current nuclear and previous nuclear family), do we stop to think, just for a moment, that perhaps the reason the single person is still single is that current responsibilities will not allow for added responsibilities? Possible? That’s a thought, though.

So, you ask the married person for his/her responsibilities and always without fail they mention their parents and/or siblings in addition to their spouse and children. The question now is: did you only start to care for your parents and siblings after you got married? If no, then perhaps you shouldn’t be asking the single person what he/she does with his/her money. Shouldn’t the answer to that be very easily derived?

A thought does occur to me, though. Maybe I shouldn’t be looking at this lapse in memory as a single event but should look at it from the perspective that we Nigerians have very short memories and can believe the most outrageous things. All it takes for something to become authentic is for us to hear it repeated often or by someone we believe knows better (an influencer off and online).

Even when someone is trying to re-jig our memory and remind us of past events that negate our current beliefs, or to logically point out another perspective, we adamantly refuse to reason because it is said or Lagbaja said so. Case in point: before and during the 2015 elections. It’s 2018 and some of us have still not regained our reasoning.

Or perhaps I should situate this question in terms of the fact that we are naturally nosy people who never mind our business. Maybe if I did, I wouldn’t find it sad or irritating. With us, if it isn’t this one thing, it’s another. we are always all up in other people’s businesses to the detriment of ours.

It’s a proven fact that Nigerians are very good at putting out fires in other people’s fields while our kitchen is on fire.

Dramatic eye roll!

To avoid being on the giving or receiving end of offence, we should all learn to mind our business. Might be difficult, particularly for those of us for which it would be like learning a new skill in old age. But it must be done.

It isn’t your business what I do with my pay. The company that pays me doesn’t ask me what I do with the money they pay me. Because I’ve worked for the money. Same way you shouldn’t ask me why I am yet to marry or have a child, or get a masters degree, or go bungee jumping, or get a plastic surgery.

Mind your business! It isn’t that difficult. Abi? How difficult can it be to mind your own business?

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Chinma Eke is a story teller with a hyperactive imagination, who gets inspiration from most everything; from events, to Lagos traffic to bath water temperature. She’s passionate about writing, children education, and buying and selling (in no particular order). She writes at www.chinmaeke.wordpress.com, and is @chinmaeke across all social media.

8 Comments

  1. B.S

    July 26, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Me,i dont know o,asking ludicrous questions upandan,
    Thank you for echoing my very thought as i was asked one of those already today and its not mid- day yet!

    • Tunde

      July 26, 2018 at 1:21 pm

      Funny that your name is actually BS. I don’t know what that stands for though!!!

    • didi

      July 27, 2018 at 8:33 am

      We have to come to terms with the truth of the environment we live in, how many do you want to caution? You have to build and carry around an invisible armour that protects your mind from comments that may put you in a negative mood. The truth is thatonly few single poeple have much bills to pay compared to the married, whats there to be angry about? Its how you see yourself and carry yourself that matters ohhh, dont give anyone power over you. Am single and very happy, poeple ask me those questions and for the one’s not asking they are in the pity zone for me but guess what? It dont make any difference to me because deep down i feel very happy and goal driven. When i meet married, bill paying poeple am the one to pity them ohh aahh no baby crying no body waiting for me to come home at a particular time, i even refused staying with my married sisters so i can really know more about my self, serve God, learn new languages, stay up late at night researching etc its fun. No married person is better than a single person they both have their advantages and disadvantages. Cheers yall single.

  2. Olori

    July 26, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    I cry! LOL. O ti sun mi gaaaan!!! I’m single. I’m lucky to be living at home still, no rent but I contribute to foodstuff, fuel etc. At least 30% of my monthly salary goes to house upkeep. I am in the process of starting a business so I got billssssss. I am the first child so I have “younger” responsibilities. It is silly thinking because we are single we have no financial responsibilities. Don’t let me konk you. Thanks for his piece Chi. We shall overcome.

  3. Roses

    July 26, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    Don’t mind them.

    I am single but my responsibilities are more than SOME married people sef. I’m covering the bills of virtually everyone in my family for some years now, including school fees and allowances for those in the university, not to talk of household bills. Zero helper. To the extent that i can barely save for myself.

    Maybe that’s why i’m not even married sef. Once a guy gets to hear or see my responsibilities, his calls reduce until they disappear together. No, i’m not exaggerating. It has happened. I know guys who told me they run away from firstborn girls who don’t have rich parents. lol

    Funny how the same people who abuse us to go and marry now turn around to beg for money because they believe you have lots of cash to spare or one-plus boyfriends that would spend on you.

    Forget the slay queens you all see on Instagram. Many single women don’t have “helpers” o.

  4. B.S

    July 26, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    Initials,Tunde,Initials!!!

  5. Nana

    July 26, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    You spoke my mind, Chidinma. Well done and thank you for writing this. We Nigerians really need to learn when and how to mind our business. It’s one thing when nosy strangers ask you what you’re doing with your money like it’s any of their business. But when the monitoring spirit who keeps asking these silly questions is supposedly a “friend” as it was in my own case? No. Just no. Anyway, the monitoring spirit is no longer my “friend”. I cut her off and cast her back to wherever she came from. I don’t need any toxic energy in my life abeg.

  6. Liz Bennet

    July 27, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    I started working at 21 and I immediately told my mum (single mum) that I’d take care of my younger brother’s education, which I’m still doing. I also helped her build a 6-apartment house where she could collect the rents so as to ease the burden on me in the future and upon her retirement. Now, people kept asking me for help and when I couldn’t help asked “what do you do with your money?” I owe no one any explanation on how I spend my money but I felt that was very disrespectful. I had a couple of older colleagues who asked the same questions and I had to tell them to stop because it was not their business.
    I’m 31 and it’s now I’m trying to save for my own house and pay for an MBA. I’m still single and my salary can barely afford me a few luxuries. Trust me, I earn well but the money goes to fees. I’m yet to meet a man that counts money and gives me at the end of every month too.
    Ms Eke, I completely agree with you.

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