NYSC graduates

    As my youth service draws to a close [thankfully] I eagerly count down to the October demise of my involvement with everything NYSC. Come October 7th [estimated date of checking out] there will be a bonefire at the back of my house. ‘Goodbye combats, goodbye orange boots, GOODBYE memory of hell on earth!’ But I exaggerate the small chops at the camp was quite good.
    After that I will finally be done with this whole NYSC business, that’s not counting all the hate mail I intend to write to all who wronged me [starting with the Lagos state coordinator down to every sleezy person in my office building who dared to say the words ‘corper sion’ to me]
    When I matriculated [such a pretentious word] decided to document my general experience as a Lagos State corper My observations, communications and general prejudices. [By publishing everything now, I get the benefit of my instant reaction to events as well as my afterthoughts.]
    I will post them under the following headings
  • • Fast Times at the Lagos NYSC camp: My 2 week camp diary.
  • • A breakdown of text messages to and from the Lag NYSC camp.
  • • Service outside the camp.
  • • The Youth corper’s style guide.
  • • Sad camp facts.
  • Cashmere Mafia

    If there were a Fashion mafia [mind that I didn’t say fashionable Mafia] I mean Mafia in the sense that they syndicate fashion crimes on a giant scale, their headquarters would be in Lagos Nigeria.

      Now we Nigerians pride ourselves in being the most fashionable Africans [ignore all that South African propaganda]. Everything that’s fashionably African is from us. Unfortunately we pay the price for our great style leaps in a currency of truly heinous fashion blunders.

    Even the fashion forward have on occasion been know to defy common sense. Take for example the guy I observed at an ATM cashing out while taking shelter from the rain. He was decked out in a truly awesome winter coat. Where to begin… I love a guy in trench and this was one fine, lean bobo. But what’s the worth of a guy when his IQ is in question?

      I though about taking his picture but as Nigerians and champions of suspicious behavior we are particularly weary about strangers taking our pictures and identity thief in general, even those without anything lose. Therefore I reconsidered; content enough to just gawk at him. Unfortunately, this earned me a smile and a better view of his GQ ensemble. By the time we parted ways he was probably convinced that I was in love with him. I for my part considered the dark forces that conspired to feed my eyes on that rainy day.

    Let’s consider the complexities of carrying such a bogus piece of clothing from anywhere were snow is prevalent [this was no ordinary snow flurry protection, but the real honest-to-god middle of a Russian winter type trench]

      Did he bring it all the way or did he buy it in the country, and which one of these options makes him a greater moron. I considered asking him but though better of it when he smiled at me, that last thing I need is some boy to watch over. For anyone in my salary range boy-toys are generally a downward spiral into further debt.

    As this is Lagos, generally speaking we don’t see rain until the rainy season and while we are prone to floods when it does rain, that is just down to dodgy city planning. The rain on its own isn’t that bad. So what would possess anyone to put on something so heavy? I mean I did once try to induce a heat stroke to get out of PE, but hello high school! As we cower together under the ATM roof I reconsider the possibility of his wearing it as a raincoat.

      Amazingly the only thing unique about this guy’s outfit was that it was well put together. While I boast about Nigeria being the most fashionable, it also manages to house the most unfashionable insane people on the planet. A nonsensical coat seems small compared to the winter boots and extravagant ball dresses some people wear daily on the streets of Lagos.

    Long before bend-down clothes gave lagosians access to these weird extravagance, our ancestors shrouded themselves in heavy native wear made up of layers of hot, itchy, prickly, sparkly, colourful fabric, which are making a comeback in modern styles today. These modern styles like their predecessors continue to be topped with an icing of expensive and heavy bling of the sordid history variety. [Sometimes I drive past clans of supposedly desperately poor beggar women and their kids wearing gold bracelets and nose rings]

      Yes, along with pride and gluttony, excess is one of our sins. Consider for your [and my] amusement, this smug girl on my [NYSC] volleyball team. Our coach adores her and why not— two weeks out of camp and she’s on the team. I’ve been out since December and am still a reserve. I can’t compete with her court aggression or her wicked spike [I can’t really hate her because what she lacks in style she makes up for in a lack of style]. The coach and I disagree with the way she dresses for practice but on the facts we disagree [he thinks she is overly girly and I think she is just wrong]

    She’s a fan of the tank over t-shirt layered look. Where to begin—even if we weren’t experiencing global warming, Nigeria is still to hot that this combo is like a car wreck waiting to happen. I keep watching for some heat related damage to befall her. So far I suspect brain damage in the form of her clothing options and her on court aggression.Also, I can’t tell if she is actually ugly because her use of makeup makes any conclusive analysis impossible. All I can tell is that she uses lot of any colour that matches her outfit…Indiscriminately.

      My favorite thing about her is her hair. I had seen girls around in this trend but until I met her I assumed it was accidental. Forget the weave [bulky and occasionally highlighted in blues and purples] she needs an alice-band [a big one at that] a huge clashing scrunch and a giant hair crab [that is out of proportionate to the hair/weave it is holding].

    While you may accuse me of volleyball envy, whenever I see her I want to point and giggle and that is what makes my weekly trips to practice hell liveable. To reiterate: Nigerians are stylish and love fashion but life under the sun has lead to the manifestation of midday madness in the form of bad fashion choices on a national scale. The scale of this behavior has forced the fashion police to consider the possibility of this being the work of a highly organized and devious underground group. But hey what do I know.