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On the Disrespect of the Nigerian Single Woman

A woman should be respected not because she is married but because she is a human being, just as you, a man should be respected as a human being.

The disrespect for the Nigerian single women among Nigerians is too much! Our different cultures seem to think that a single woman is less of a human being compared to her married counterpart.

Ok… we know that generally, on the social totem pole in Nigeria, women are at the bottom, probably even after baby boys.

So, imagine how low a single lady is on that pole when even her married friend is low and the society places such importance on marriage, whether the marriage is happy or not

A few days ago, I went out with my sister and I saw a guy walking towards us. I was thinking ‘this guy has an uncanny resemblance to Dino Melaye’.

Then, I realised I knew him. He a ‘toaster’ before I met ‘lawyerman’, my husband. As I was about to look away, he looked at me and instantly recognised me.

Bunmi! Bawo ni (Bunmi! How are you!?)! He exclaimed. He remembered my name. I did not remember his.

However, I greeted him in a friendly way. He looked at my sister standing next to me so I told him that she was my sister but I could not say her name as that would have meant saying his own name too. I skipped that part as they say in downloading or registration sites.

Anyway, he said hello to my sister, then asked for my number. You know how someone asks for your number and you politely give it to them because you are too polite to say you have no intentions of calling them? That is what happened.

I told him I could not remember my number so, he told me to let him dial his number on my phone. Well… he did. And as I was putting my phone back in my bag, he dropped the clanger.

‘Your backside is still big’, he told me in Yoruba.

I was shocked! How dared he? Then I realised it must have been because I was not wearing my wedding ring (story for another day. It is lost).

I asked him, ‘how dare you?’ he and walked off. I knew that he must have assumed I was still single. I am sure that if I had my wedding ring on, he would not have said that rubbish to me.

One of my single friends told me about how a guy she was not dating and had never dated, told her in the midst of a conversation that he was ‘very horny’. Just like that.

They were not talking about sex or even anything sexual. He just dropped it in the middle of the conversation – I’m very horny. Like he was saying, ‘I’m very tired’. My friend blocked him.


Another friend recounted how on her first day back at work after her wedding, her colleagues suddenly started treating with a deference that she had not been treated with as a single lady. Suddenly, everyone was calling her Madam.

Anyway, the next day after I saw that guy, I sent him a text message telling him off. He called to apologise and he said what he meant was that I had not changed.

Really? And you had to use the unchanged size of my big derriere to say that? How about, ‘your face has not changed Bunmi’? I asked him if he was married. He said yes he was. I asked him how he would feel if a man had said that to his wife. He said he would see it as them complimenting his wife.

Really? A Nigerian man? Which Nigerian man would be happy that another man said his wife’s backside was still big?

I told him I was now married and that my husband would not appreciate his wife being spoken to like in that manner and that even if I was not married, I also would not appreciate being spoken to like that and even as I was married, I didn’t appreciate being spoken to like that. He apologised.

Dear Nigerians, a woman’s worth is not tied to marriage. A woman should be respected not because she is married but because she is a human being, just as you, a man should be respected as a human being.

If she has not done anything worthy of disrespect, please do not wait for her to get married before respecting her.

If she has done anything that makes her not qualified to be respected; for instance, if she does not respect others, (respect is not a one way street; It is reciprocal), then, she may be disrespected. But disrespecting a woman just because she is not married is a not honourable.

Written by Bunmi Ajai Layode

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