The year I turned 28. Quit my job. Got a better one. Started earning real money. Started saving some money. Decided to join a gym and actually use my membership. Made some awesome new friends. Lost some crappy ones. Finished my first screenplay. Decided to stop letting boys be mean to me. 2016; in a nutshell?—?the year I finally became an adult.
However, 2016 also became the year most people I know got their shit together. All of a sudden, I am surrounded by adults. Friends with high paying jobs, friends in stable relationships. But, you know what comes with stable relationships? Wedding bells. Much to my mother’s despair; I have not been fortunate enough to join the ‘stable relationship’ gang. However, I have been lucky enough to have been invited to at least 6 weddings this year. This is a good thing, this means that I know real adults who have made some real commitments. But you know what else has been real? My depleting bank account. In 2016, I have bought at least 5 asoebi’s to the 6 weddings I have been invited to.
For the non-Nigerians reading this article (or rant); asoebi is fabric you buy specifically for weddings so you can match with people on the day to blend in. It is part of our tradition and it is something that has become quite the fad. There are style blogs dedicated to asoebi trends, featuring the best fashion moments from wedding guests across Nigeria. It seems like a pretty cool concept in theory, but in reality it is an expensive and in my opinion, unnecessary cost.
Asoebi usually ranges from 25k and can go up to a whopping 100k depending on how fancy smancy the couple to be are. Now, I already know if your asoebi is going to cost me more than 30k?—?you can be guaranteed that I will not be wearing it because I know my limits. But even if your asoebi is 20k?—?5 x 20 is 100 and we haven’t even gone to the tailor to actually sew said fabric.
I have 3 outstanding asoebi payments right now?—?from 3 people i genuinely love. But you know what I love more? Myself. I can’t stop wondering about the point of it all. Why do I have to match with other people? Why do I have to pay to match with other people? What if I don’t like your fabric? What if I don’t have the money? The pressure these days to keep up with the Joneses is quite frankly, too much for me.
These days, women (including myself) pay for professional makeup to go for these weddings. So, we pay for the fabric, the tailor, our faces?—?and you (the bride and groom) ride off into lala land with your soulmate and leave us with a beautiful dress that we can probably never wear ever again. Oh haven’t you heard? Its a complete faux pas to wear someone else’s asoebi to a different wedding. Madness.
These days people tell me they are getting married and I secretly dread getting the email?—?you know the one. ‘Please pay X amount in our bank account by X date. There is a deadline on the payment like it is some kind of court subpoena. Answer or forever be dammed.
Another thing that irks me about such emails is the fact that men don’t have to buy asoebi. Oh no, all they have to buy is this stupid little fabric called fila so they can make a stupid little hat. So, men spend about 1 to 2k for their ‘asoebi’ and women pay between 20k to 100k. Who came up with this so called tradition? Where is the logic? Where is the equality?
I have paid for asoebi grudgingly for far too long. They say give with an open heart but my heart towards asoebi has and probably will forever be closed. I know what some of you may be thinking?—?‘who will buy your own?’ Here’s a concept?—?I WON’T HAVE ANY BECAUSE I HAVE NEVER UNDERSTOOD THE CONCEPT TO BEGIN WITH.
Listen, I get it?—?it looks nice in pictures. Its part of our culture. It’s fun, some people might think. But you know what else it is? Expensive. I do not think it fair for people to just expect everyone to happily pay sometimes insane amounts for something so seemingly insignificant. What is significant is that you found your partner, your person, your love.
Credit: A Medium Corporation