I am wary of calling people friends. The whole electronic thing, plus the rise and rise of social media, has proven to us how little we actually know of people. I like to think of people as acquaintances. Depending on my further observations of their actions and inactions, opinions and utterances, they may now be upgraded to friends. And no, my awareness of your existence does not mean I know you well, or can vouch for you.
This concerns someone whose existence I am aware of. I won’t go so far as to call him a friend, since our interactions are few and far between, and usually limited to inbox messages to ask or confirm something. I like to see myself as an easily approachable person, something I am not yet sure if it is a blessing or a curse, since it often sees me at the receiving end of all sorts of interlocutions, such as the one I am about to relate to you presently.
So this individual showed up in my inbox to present a scenario to me, which is going to be familiar to you only if you have lived or are living in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre and economic hub.
Lanre (which of course is not his real name, but which we will adopt for the purpose of this conversation) is in a relationship with Lydia, his girlfriend of two years. Lanre lives in a two bedroom flat at Ojota, while Lydia lives at Iyana-Oworo, just after the Third Mainland Bridge. Both Lanre and Lydia work on the island, though in two different fields. Lydia has often complained about how far Lanre’s house is, and how it takes her much longer to get to work on the Mondays following a weekend spent at his place. Lydia’s place is a two bedroom flat as well, though not as big as Lanre’s crib, which is more spacious.
Ideally, none of this would be a problem, but Lanre is convinced that Lydia is the one for him, and as such, he has bought a ring, and proposed marriage to her. All well and good, but then, this is where the problems arise.
Lydia believes that due to proximity to work, and ease of accessibility to public transport, they should give up Lanre’s house, and move into her house, since it is nearer to the Island where they both work, and there is no car yet. Lanre says he would rather stay at his Ojota apartment and be paying exorbitant transport fares to and from the office than move into a “woman’s house”. Lydia thinks that as a new couple, they need to start saving for the family, and moving into her house will help them save the much needed cash and be able to build a home faster. Lanre says he will not be housed by a woman, and they must move into his place.
To put things in perspective, Lagos is broadly divided into two sections, the Island and the Mainland. The island consists of the Victoria Island, Lekki, Ajah, Epe, and so on, while the mainland is erm… the rest. So someone who works on the island but has to stay on the mainland is better off as close to the island as possible, which makes Lydia’s apartment a more economically viable choice. The Ojota area, where Lanre’s apartment is, can almost be called the outskirts of Lagos, compared to the Iyana-Oworo axis where Lydia lives. Apparently, Lanre’s problem is that people will say he moved in with his babe when they got married, such that his babe would appear to be the one housing him. I calmly explained to him that he was being silly and needlessly egotistical if he believed that staying in a more accessible location made him less of a man.
He stood his ground, expressing disappointment in me that I didn’t back him up, and that he was thinking I was going to support him, so that he would ask me to talk to his girlfriend. I told him that he should consider himself fortunate that his intended lived closer to work, and in a comfortable apartment that they could move into and stay comfortably.
So at this point, let me stop and ask, what I told him, was it good or not? Should he stand his ground, or should he capitulate and move in with her? What if the lady actually owned a house? Let’s say she inherited it from her parents, or she had worked hard and built or bought it, would he still have to move in with her? I need your opinions on this, because this may be what will break their relationship.