Sho mo age mi ni?

I had a haircut.

But you know this already. Well, unless you are new here, and if this is the case, you’re welcome *insert ear-to-ear grin here*.
In fact, lemme do a brief introduction already, so my visitors won’t say I don’t have home training.

*clears throat*

So I’m Ife from a family of six, and one thing the women of my family have in common -no, two things- are a head full of long hair and conspicuous eyeballs that fill the face.

It isn’t uncommon to see people fawning over our heads, over how there is nearly no space between each strand of hair; and hairdressers adding to our hair fares, because well,”you cannot come and kill me, Ma.”

Then one afternoon, a few days ago, I went and cut off all that hair, and I have had all kinds of reactions from my audience since then. And while I am loving the mix of feedback with the feeling of the sun on my skull, I had a surprising reaction today, the most surprising and maybe infuriating of the lot, which is also the inspiration for the title of this post.

This morning, I set out as I usually do; red lipstick, big earrings (a must, now that my head is nearly bald), jeans and sneakers on point, and the hope of good things to come hanging on both my shoulders, giving them a lift fifty-fifty shoulder-pad style.

I got to the gate of my compound, saw a strange woman in front of the other flat tending to her baby. She seemed busy, so I swallowed my hello; she had to be one of the numerous guests that come to spend a few days with the landlady’s family downstairs.

At the gate, I realised that the slot through which one can lock the gate from outside was still unopened from last night, and assuming  it was intentional, I simply closed the gate and began walking briskly down the street. Then I heard “Come. Come.” Surely, that couldn’t be for me. So I kept walking.

“You, you. Come. Wa n bi*.”

I looked back, and staring at me with beet red wrath was the woman with the baby, now standing outside the gate with a hand to her waist, ‘summoning’ me like I was the baby’s younger sibling.

“Err…you mean me?”

“Come!” she ordered, her eyes daring me to defy her.

So I walked, slowly, unsure, towards her.

“Come inside, I want to show you something.”

“I’m in a hurry…”

“Come inside!”


Who is this woman ni tori Olorun*?

As I stepped inside the compound, she began to lecture me on how to lock the gate from outside and stop leaving it unlocked. I wanted to explain what I saw, Aunty did not let me land.

“So close it now as you are going.”

Sigh. “Okay.”

I stepped out and locked it.

I was about to turn when I heard it open. Ahn-ahn!

I saw the woman holding a dust pan in her hand, going to throw dirt away in the dustbin in front of the compound.

Wait first, wait first…so you were even planning to go out and you put me through this much stress? I was livid. I just kept walking away, doubtful there was any point arguing and wasting my own time. My appointment would not attend itself, you see.

It was while I was taking my ‘walk of shame’ that it occurred to me that this woman was talking to me that way BECAUSE OF MY HAIR!!!!

Like whaaat! Because I am on low-cut, look eighteen, have jeans and sneakers on and am 5’2? Sho mo age mi ni*? Who did you say you are again? I live here! I am a grown woman! Do you know who I am? SHO MO AGE MI NI?!!!


It took borrowed self-control not to go back and ask her these life-changing questions. But they can only be sweet when served hot. Breeze has already blown on this matter.

Move on, Ife.






*Wa n bi: Come here.

*Nitori Olorun: For God’s sake

*Sho mo age mi ni? : Do you know how old I am?