Nigerians are happy people; from the stink hawker on the turbulent streets of Lagos, bellowing her way to the daily staple Eba and watery Okro to the penniless servant of the country’s civil whose meager 30 days wages have piled and mounted into months and years of starvation, every Nigerian still affords to wear the posh fabric of smile –habitually at that. But to think that as a result of their smiley facades, Nigerians will approve of just any uncouth tongue from strangers or even kinship will be fallacious. Nigerians are no nonsense people! Even when it comes to well-intended pleasantries, one has to be careful when dealing with Nigerians. To be on the safer side, exactly what sort of talks would Nigerians consider unacceptable argot? Well, there are a whole lot of them but to start with, let cogitate some queries Nigerians will frown at that may not necessarily annoy non-Nigerians.
WHAT’S THE SEX OF YOUR BABY?
You don’t want to ask a woman who has just been delivered of a baby this question; it doesn’t only exasperate the woman who carries the baby for nine months, it also makes the inquirer seem presumptuous. And to make things worse, if she’s been having a particular sex for babies previously, you don’t want to dare ask her “what sex is it this time?” ; she may never forgive you especially, if it turned out to be the same sex again. And seriously speaking, why would you be so forward? If you know what’s good for you, wait till the baby is grown enough for you to see for what sex it is.
NICE MATERIAL; HOW MUCH DID YOU BUY IT?
Many Nigerians like to keep it coded and off-the-record; to them wanting to know how much their stuff costs is not only sassy but nosy. I am not so sure of what the guys will do but I certainly do know that she’ll probably give you that impish eye that you’re never going to forget in a hurry or she just says –if she is an extrovert – am sure you want to pay for it right? So, if you like what that Nigerian is wearing and you really want to get it, just admire her splendidly and she will find it easy to let out the rest of the details, otherwise, if you are lucky to get an answer, its either the price is exaggerated or the person tells some serious lie – to impress you- like, “my uncle bought it from New York last summer” (laughs).
WHAT KILLED HIM/HER?
You heard about somebody’s death and the next thing you naturally want to inquire is how come, what killed him? But wait, if you are sympathizing with a Nigerian, especially one who is not so close to you, its better you are not too fast to ask such a question. Nigerians don’t find it funny that people are so keen about knowing the cause of their loved one’s death. So just play along and don’t be too forward to ask; if he/she wants you to know, you will be told. It’s not as if you want to resurrect the deceased, so please show your sympathy and leave the inquiry; detail will unfold itself soonest.
SO, HOW OLD ARE YOU?
So you meet this young seemingly brilliant Nigerian in a commercial vehicle and the conversation had been flowing and exciting and then suddenly you ask: “so how old are you?” oh! What were you thinking? So you think you are that close now? Never do that again! Next time, just take a good look at him or her and minus or plus what you see by three or two years, and that will do. If at all you get an answer, you’ll still have to do same calculation, you are not going to get the right answer right away; that’s just how it works here; age is not something you come out with openly. So I think it’s better not to bother asking than to cause so much embarrassment and deception.
Picture from http://www.globalpost.com.