Tag Archives: Teenagers

My Grouse with the word ‘SINGLE’


My passion for words is legendary. Go ask my girlfriend, most of our quarrels starts and ends with her choice of words. I have a deep seated aversion for improper word usage. And I have little tolerance for poor diction.

One word that I dislike the most is the word: ‘Single’ in the marriage context.

Now, don’t go thinking it has anything to do with the fact that I a jobless 29-going-to-30-years-old-mateless individual. Rather, think of my revulsion as a result of its negative effects in our community.

It is ungrammatical

Your grammar is bad

The designation of an unmated person as ‘Single’ is a big grammatical blunder; funny enough, it has escaped the British throne for this long. Question, what is the opposite of Single? Is it Double, Couple or married?

Now, people will answer me, depending on their age, level of desperation and occupation (Pastors seem to operate a different corpus of grammar than the laity). Single takes the antonym Double; Couple goes with One; Married is simply Unmarried. However,some mischief makers decided to make Single the opposite of couple—for god knows why? Pastors proclaim that the two shall become one, but still refer to them as couple.

It’s Creepy

There’s something about the singlehood. It creeps in on you. Every age has a milestone and we cheerfully look forward, to attaining them. Children look forward to teenage years, as teenagers look forward to adulthood; even fools look forward to age forty to affirm their foolishness. Somewhere along the timeline comes the word ‘Single’ without a milestone! Is that not fraudulent?single life

Mother used to drop me off, at the children’s church until I became thirteen and the church took me to the teenagers’ class. Father proudly ushered me into the adult cathedral when I turned twenty-one, and introduced me as his son, now in the university.

The pastor asked me to wait after service on a certain Sunday after my graduation from college, I was to start attending singles’ fellowship—just like that?! ‘Who are they?!’ ‘People, just like you!’

It is conspiratorial

At this imaginary status, the society gangs up against you, even your immediate family are in the game. Their aim: to get you married. Your mother suddenly starts asking about the pact between you and a certain girl, your father drops off names of random individuals who are doing well and well mannered—as if that affects the price of shoelaces.

cupidYour neighbours, those ones?! They become emergency matchmakers. Some funny thing is how Mama Bukola, the grocery seller down the street, loans out her daughter to help carry your purchases to the house, and other random antics of other neighbours’ children.

Mama Ngozi, the igbo food restaurant, will conveniently allow Ngozi, a new graduate like you, take your order for Garri and Ofe-onugbu and she graciously fill your portion to the brim.

It is left to you to fall into their antics—experience says a lot have fallen that way.

It’s not Representational

The height of discrimination is when an official document requests you to fill either “Single/Married”. My brain cells cry out in desperation.  The fact that I am not married doesn’t make me a “Singular being.”Hello! My name is Single

As a matter of belief, every being is at least three-in-one—spirit, body and soul; of course, with the exception of those who are said to have murdered their souls. Curiously, marriage does not connote any notion of twoness. If every being is at least 3-in-1, then there are at least 6 people in a marriage. That’s why, it aims at oneness: the process of becoming one or at most two—coupling!

I am just an Individual

The truth of the matter is those people were just unlike me—in so many ways! I don’t crave the pitiable desire to mingle; I have enough confusion in my head than to worry about how some people think of me. Everyone wants to tag you with some prefixes to your name and every girl trips on her heels to get your attention.

The men are straining their necks to catch a glimpse at the ring-finger of the ladies—okay, I am hopelessly guilty here, too. For some unexplainable reasons, I spy at ladies’ ring-fingers during worship sessions in the church. A particular chorister has a trademark ‘lift up your hands as we worship the lord, this morning.’ It’s not surprising most unmated men enjoy his sessions better.

A story is told of a passenger who got into a scuffle with another passenger at a Lagos bus-stop.

The said man had wanted to join another at the front seats beside the driver, but the first passenger on board had simply alighted and asked the new man to go in, which Mr. Somebody took exceptions to. He felt, by some rights, entitled to the vacant seat and started ranting like a typical Nigerian does:

‘Do you know who I am? I will deal with you…’An Individual

‘Who are you? You’re just an individual!’

‘What, did you just call me an individual?

That’s where the crisis started!

But, in all honesty, I am just an individual. I feel comfortable in my skin.

A Wink in the Dark

The siren went at 7:45am at Carter Hill School. Students trickled out from various classrooms towards the assembly ground where a prefect was standing barking out orders.

“Double up! Double up!! If you’re standing, you’re wrong!”

Two kids picked up their paces, from across the yard clutching their backpacks tightly with excitement dangling on their faces.

“Are you serious, someone beat-up Tosan in this school? Unbelievable!”

“Yes, I saw it! The bully was humiliated.”

“Where? Who? I bet he won’t be able to come to school today.”

“I saw it in my dreams”

“Ha! Dreams, no wonder. Who can dare?”

“You did, am serious.”

“Well, you said so; it can only be in your dreams.”

“Who are those scrawny little badgers there? Double up here or I’d get fifty laps from you this morning!?”

The prefect’s voice jarred the boys to quickly join the lines on the assembly.

The assembly started for the early comers with songs, drills and a pep talk from the prefect on duty. Soon, the lines grew with the arriving students. At 8:00am, the Vice-Principal administration came and gave an exhortation to the students.

“Today, like other days, we expect you to maintain decorum at all times. If you have a free period, find your way to the library. We shall not tolerate, the loitering and idling around. You’re all born to be great; so, I charge you, go and contribute to that greatness with all your activities.”

As the students dispersed to their classes, Dale noticed the excitement all around the JSS 3 boys. Andrews has obviously been giving them one of his legendary tales.

Soon eyes were glancing his way as if they were sizing him up. Then those set of eyes went the way of Tosan, who was being spanked for turning up late by a Man ‘o’ war cadet.

Suddenly, Dale connected the dots. Andrew has been feeding them in on the dreams he had. Dale had enough worries on his mind than add Tosan’s. He ran to them shouting,

“It’s a lie!”

Everyone in Andrew’s company burst into a laugh.

“So, who thinks it’s true?” a lanky kid asked

“Dave, I swear it’s a lie. How can I beat Tosan?

Dale looked, nervously, the way of Tosan, who was swaggering near having chested the spanking of the cadet. Ladies looked on in admiration and boys in envy. Tosan could withstand any stroke of the cane with showing any pain.

“Dreams are foolish we know. But it would interest our friend Tosan to know the news about his imminent defeat.” Someone suggested from the crowd

“Leke, please don’t do that. Common Andrew, tell them it’s a mere dream, please!”

Leke ran to Tosan as he swaggered into his class. He murmured some things to him and told turn around to look in the direction of Dale and his company.

“We shall decide that at closing, boy!” a bass voice rumbled out to Dale.


Now, over to you, what do you think will happen? Take a guess, it’s safe on me and not a damn lottery!