Here’s a story of how I once made the grave mistake of trying to enjoy the pleasures of a Yoruba wedding party all by myself.
I’d gotten a personal invite to the ceremony held in June 2017, alright, but I should have known better than trying to go all by myself.
I really should have known better than pressuring myself to attend, especially after my two friends, with whom I’d been planning to mash up the place, slied me just a week to the big day.
Mind you, we had been planning this gig for two months.
But hey, I wasn’t going to let that deter me. What was a little disappointment to someone determined to get something done?
So what did I do? I called up one babe I had just begun being friendly with. I mean, there’s meant to be a silver lining after every dark cloud, right?
I chose to see my friend’s pulling-out of the plan as an opportunity to chill with the light-skin, curvy igbo babe.
She actually loved the idea. She was eager to go and I was really excited that everything had finally gelled and I’d spend time with her, gist, eat good food and maybe even take her back to my place afterwards.
Dreams do come true, don’t they?
Well, apparently not.
On the morning of the wedding, my phone rang and it was her.
You know those hand-falling moments when your phone rings and you’re hoping it’s an alert you’ve been expecting, only for it to turn out to be your network provider letting the devil use them to bring more agony to your raggedy soul?
That was it.
Brothers and sisters, imagine my despair when she apologetically called to say she was cancelling. She said she’d tried to make it happen, but there was no way she could force it.
Damned menstrual cramps!
When there’s a will…
But then, because my village people had planned and were so hell-bent on getting me that day, instead of seeing everything that already went wrong as a sign to just relax myself and sit home, my mind still wouldn’t let go of this wedding.
Maybe because I had just made this nice native attire – one well-tailored beauty like that – and the wedding was just the perfect opportunity to show it off. My body was legit doing me gish gish to just wear the clothe. I wasn’t going to let my guys and menstrual cramps rain on my party.
So off I went.
By the time I had my seat at 2:30pm or thereabouts, the bride and the groom were just dancing into the hall.
I mean, this was a reception that should have begun at 1pm but hey, I thought to myself, “they’re less than two hours late. I like these guys.”
That’s one lesson I’d learnt after being at enough Yoruba weddings. If the couple were not four hours late, you better be grateful.
And I was. In fact, I gave them a mental pass mark. On one hand for their early arrival and on the other because, just as the couple and its squads entered with all the fanfare, jollof rice and its divine smell followed.
Let the party begin as the Lord intended, I thought to myself as I fiddled with my phone, trying to be as cool as possible.
You know how you have to be composed while food is being served at these things so you won’t look like you are actually interested in their food. Smh.
20 minutes after and the smell of jollof had well and truly filled the whole room but none was coming my way. So I stylishly looked around me.
People of God, food was flowing everywhere around me o. Jollof was being murdered en-masse, beer and juice and other drinks were being used to flush the crushed grains further down but I was getting none of the action.
Another look around and I realized what the problem was – I had somehow managed to sit myself in the uncool side of the setting.
Oh my Jesus.
You know all those cool kids in American high school movies always getting their way and getting away with literally anything? Exactly!
My table was the opposite of that. We were three. An elderly man and one woman who looked like she gatecrashed completed the miserable trio.
We were three at a table meant for eight. Quiet, looking morose and – it actually still breaks my heart to admit this part – very, very hungry.
Yet there was no food coming from anywhere. And it was increasingly looking like none would.
For some reason, it was only the tables where groups of people were gisting that had food. Banter was alive and gist was just flowing. So did food and drinks there.
The loudmouthed and really pretty babes who all wore matching outfits to our right had it all. I hungrily eyed a petite one and somehow our eyes met and held for the briefest moment.
Wait, lemme eat first, I thought and filed the thought of getting her number to a part of my worried mind.
The yuppy mummies directly in front of us had loads of food as well – as in, everything.
Those ones bullied the servers to get most of the food anyway; literally dragging the servers by the clothes whenever they passed till everyone at their table was served everything they wanted.
Then I realized that’s the thing about these Yoruba weddings and maybe about servers – you have to call their attention most times and it is the force with which you call them that they respond to.
It is often the case that they attend to a number of people calling at once rather than just one person or two. The larger the group and the loudness of their approach, the better for the group.
You know, there’s this thing about misbehaving in groups that takes attention away from individuals. Now I had the option to continue being posh and expect them to do normal, or go solo at harassing them to bring the party to my side.
“Please give me food na”
So I just sat there humbly, pressing my phone and trying my damnedest best to show a nonchalance I wasn’t feeling at all.
“Haa God, I never chop since morning oooooo!”
Gosh, can this people just serve us without having to call out to them, please? I was screaming internally at this stage.
Hello. Hello? Is anyone out there? Can you hear me?
Ok, you can leave the moimoi out. Just gimme rice, salad and chicken.
No? Oh my Jesus.
I suddenly realized how alone I was in this world.
Lesson: If you ever hope to eat at a Yoruba wedding, be ready to call out, maybe even drag the servers by their clothes.
Dishes were being cleared and mounds of rice and chicken were being brought down to broken bones. I was getting none of the action. My soul was paining me, my stomach was aching. It had been filled all day with nothing but the aroma of jollof.
One whole hour after, I reached a conclusion in my mind that if they didn’t bring anything in the next 30 minutes, I’d be out of there.
Then it happened. Finally!
A ray of hope
One of the servers had one last juice in his little basket and saw us at our table looking depressed.
He must have seen the misery in our eyes when he scanned the table and found nothing but table water. Mine was untouched.
“Ahahn, bros, they never serve una anything for here?”
“No o,” I replied, and the two other people joined in with their voice for good measure.
My voice actually came out a little too strongly than I hoped.
Wow. Where did that flash of anger come from?
Baba, the things wey hunger dey cause for this life ehn…
The serving guy quickly offered us juice and promised to come back with a serving lady – and a tray of all the goodies, of course.
I let the two other people have the juice. More was coming. No lele.
False dawns & unhappy endings
You people, that’s why I’m actually writing this article oooo.
See, that promise was made in 2017. It’s 2018 already and I’m still screaming internally, waiting for the serving guy that served me drink and told me to wait on him for food.
Please if you know that guy that served me drink at Abule Egba and told me to chillax for him, please tell him to come and serve me my food o, I use God to beg him.
I’m in Lekki as I write this.
Can you guys actually believe, there was still small chops served to people; and I think there must have been asun too, because as at the time I and my sunken, shattered, bleeding heart, dry mouth and empty stomach were leaving that wedding, I saw them preparing something that looked like the end product would be asun.
And I had nothing to eat in the midst of all that.
Zilch. Zero. Nada. Not even a grain of rice or morsel of semo.
Fam, the painment!
I have attended three more weddings since then and cancelled two more because there was no one to go with.
It’s crazy that I had to go so far and wait so long to learn a lesson everyone apparently knows in this Lagos – never go to a Yoruba wedding alone.
Even if you are lucky and you get food, enjoy and do all sorts that are done there, the experience is never the same.
I attended a Yoruba wedding alone and it was one of the worst mistakes of my life for that year.
Don’t be like me, people. Do better.