Growing up with a strict father was no fun.
The man used to wake up on the dot of 5.30am and then the drill would begin for us, kids.
Back then, my dad had an old, beat up but well maintained turquoise blue Peugeot 404 with plate number LAA 3717 that he drove for more than 10 years. We used to call the car, ‘peejot or peejoo’, nobody told us it was a French name and that pohjou was the more appropriate way to pronounce Peugeot.
Every morning my dad would assemble all of us, three girls and a boy around the bonnet of his 404. We would pay acute attention as he checked the engine oil, the radiator- if it needed water, the ignition- if it kicked at first turn, tyres… everything. I’m quite surprised I didn’t turn out to be a mechanic after all, knowing the things I know about cars. This is why I keep catching Gafar, my current mechanic, in his lies.
Anyway, beyond basic motoring know-how, my dad taught me to keep clean. He never missed an evening bath. Even if he was home all day, which was very rare, he always took an evening bath. He made us do same. He told us kids that the human body always had a tendency to smell, no matter the number of times you washed. So after scrubbing himself white in the bathroom twice a day, he doused himself lavishly with Aramis and Old Spice. The man knew how to smell nice, so that hours after he left the house, we would still be ‘smelling’ him. It was from him we caught the bug to wear roll-on and cheap perfume as we grew to become teenagers.
My dad always had a party to attend every Friday night. I remember us kids, waiting impatiently as he prepared to go out because we wanted the house to ourselves. First his bath, then he would put on his native attire and sweep out of the house in a flourish with his agbada bellowing behind him like a parachute, his perfume swirling behind to tease our nostrils.
But these days, this nose of mine has been smelling bad things. You sit in church next to a lovely young girl who has spent close to N80k acquiring and fixing a Peruvian/Brazilian weave, has on a nice enough dress but as she raises her arms to the pastor’s, ‘Somebody shout halleluiah’, the odour that hits you from her pits immediately makes your eyes water. Is there a poultry under those armpits?
The cheapest brands of deodorant or anti-perspirant go for N250.00 Very cheap” Girls like you can afford great smelling perfumes at just N1000. So someday, your boyfriend dumps you for smelling like a broiler and goes for a nicer smelling chick. Don’t go shedding crocodile tears and telling me some bitch stole your man. C’mon!
You are stopped by this handsome looking young man you’ve always known in the neighbourhood. He has a job. Yes, it doesn’t pay much but he has P-O-T-E-N-T-I-A-L. And as a single and searching young lady you stop to answer his greetings and hear him out. Then he opens his mouth and you wilt from the stench coming from that fine looking mouth. Is this a case of halitosis or is he fasting?
Even if you are fasting, haven’t you heard of mouth wash? Haven’t you heard of gum? These all go for less than N500. Throw something in that mouth of yours and don’t go killing people every time you open your soak-away pit.
Then you, an auntie like me, meet yet another promising young man in church. He tells you Lagos girls are just full of sh$t, they don’t want to give struggling guys like him a chance, he says but rather than empathise, all you wanna do is run as far as you can from his awful smell. My guy, how far!
Why won’t girls give you a wide berth? You smell like the morgue! Go wash that shirt. Even if you have just two, it’s no excuse to smell like a dead body. Wash one and dry the other until you can get as many shirts as you like.
I heard the story of Ali Baba, the comedian, who said he came to Lagos with just a few trousers and two shirts, yet you’d never have guessed as you would always see him clean with ironed shirts every time.
Biko guy, you don’t have any excuse, go buy soap it’s one of the cheapest commodities in the market today and wash those stinking shirts!
The truth is, only those who truly love you will tell you your mouth stinks and when you are told, my advice is; take no offence, buy tom-tom, pop it in your mouth to clean it up, buy deodorants and keep in your bag…just in case you forget to use one before stepping out of the house.
Many times, the only reason people don’t attend to us is because we just stink the hell outta them.