So I went to Yaba to braid my hair.
After I found a woman with a nice smiling face, we started haggling over price. Why do traders do this thing where they start at a ridiculous price? Anyone ever fall for this trick? Like we all know how much it costs to braid hair?
Anyways, after this Yaba boy I fell in love with took my coke away I settled down and we started braiding. I was sitting by a group of UNILAG girls, all dolled up, nails and fake eyelashes in place. They looked beautiful, but it was what they were talking about that left my mouth open.
Girl one looked like the madam of the group, she was light skinned. Girl 2 was dark skinned and the most beautiful of the three. Girl 3 was red, ‘toning’ red.
Girl one: “That guy is a fool, he is pricing, I told him 100k, he is asking for 50k”.
Girl two: “Upon that fine car, 50k? na wa”.
Girl 3: “Tell am N70/80 if he agrees, go, remember say you never pay for that hair and bag”.
Girl one: “(sighs) Let me try”.
So she picks up her phone, after several minutes of hitting the keyboards she beams. “He will give me the N100k.” Then she turns the screen to show the others and they clap their hands together mid-air in glee.
Next minute the conversation had changed to talk about someone who hit the jackpot.
Girl one: “The guy gave her N500k!”
N500k? who is paying N500k for sex in this economy!!!
Girl two: “But you don’t know what she did na”.
Girl three: “Leave that thing, whatever she did I can do it”.
I blinked several times. I wanted to turn my seat to face them, but I continued nodding my head like I was listening to music from the earphones still plugged into my ears.
A few feet away a woman called Alhaja was shouting at the top of her voice, and dragging a boy along by his collar. Too bad I had no idea what it was about. I need to learn Yoruba to up my Amebo skills. This elderly woman continued dragging along and hitting this boy. The boy remained calm while other women made feeble attempts to stop her.
Besides me, Girl one was singing happy birthday to someone in a very sultry Barbie-like voice, sounding like something was stuck in her nose. Girl two and three looked on with big eyes. When she finished, she answered their unspoken questions. He said he will be in the country next month. “Hey, Thank God!”
This person is a son of, or shares the same surname with a former governor of Edo State.
Again, Alhaja started a shouting match with another woman. Alhaja tied her wrapper and exposed knee length shorts. She looked like someone always ready for a fight. This time nobody bothered to restrain her. They all looked on, minding the hair they were braiding. After plenty back and forth shouting there was no actual fight. What a disappointment.
Light skinned madam by me was almost done with her hair. She was on the phone. “Yes, yes, we are almost done. Where should I meet you? Ok, I am coming with two of them. Tell your friends, yes, the same price.”
From the faces of the hair braiders, this was very normal. I was the only person who seemed startled.
The women continued working. Fixing weave-ons, and nails, braiding hair, glueing lashes to eyes, making wigs on the heads of mannequins.
Just another day in Yaba.
One week after I went back to the market. After haggling back and forth with two men selling clothes, one of them said, “This na why I no like to do market with all these natural girls, we know our customers.’’