by Eyiamoni Apeji
This is the beginning of a terrible joke
so, brace yourselves.
Relax, it’s not a knock knock joke.
In that I am kind.
This is the beginning of one of those terrible jokes
where the funny isn’t lost in the telling.
The telling is poetic if anything,
it’s one of those jokes that dies when the story ends,
it’s a joke so honest, so funny that it is impossible to laugh at.
a girl, a boy, an awful pickup line, the painful truth, and the reader’s sense of humour
A girl, her knee-high socks and insecurity walk onto the streets.
They are approached by a preying boy.
And so, the boy says to the girl
I really like the way your knee-high socks bring out the sexy in your personality.
Do you… maybe wanna get together and discuss….
spoken word poetry?
I’ll…. Show you all my metaphors?
It’s fine if you don’t get down like that.
In fact, you look like the kind of mind
That’s turned on by facts.
She says no, please leave me alone I don’t know you
The boy leaves.
All is well
That’s the end
I told you it was terrible
What makes it bad is.
The story is incomplete.
That’s an alternative end
Because we all know the painful truth.
How these conversations usually go
How crude these jokes actually are.
I’ll retell it to you
This time uncensored
Because maybe you find humour in the vulgar
And maybe this time
I can get you to laugh
A girl, her knee-high socks and insecurity walk onto the streets
They are approached by a preying boy
He is flanked by two of his most awful friends
They are armed to the teeth with compliments
The boy says to the knee-high socks
I really love the way you look in those, sexy
The socks are mute
After all, they are socks
But insecurity is loud when she stutters a response
Leave me alone
He doesn’t hear her and so he screams when he says
I SAID YOU LOOK GOOD TODAY!
Would it kill you to acknowledge a compliment?
The girl is furious
But insecurity is embarrassed
Maybe I’m wrong she thinks
Through a muttered thank you
Maybe it was an honest to God compliment
One of those mythical moments
Where compliments are compliments
Where they do not demand payment
Insecurity is wrong these words intend to rape
The girl answers
I already told you, thank you
What more do you want from me
The boy and his colleagues
Grab her by her distress
Drag her through uncomfortable scenarios
She sees the compliments morph into jeers
It’s not like you’re all that pretty anyways
She tries to laugh
To be superior
Unaffected by their haunting words
But the girl is gone hidden inside her insecurity
And so there is no defence when
She screams at the knee-high socks
This is all your fault
You, who have wrapped yourself so provocatively around my legs
You, I should have left you at home
I should have taken up less space
I should have known
That when a girl and insecurity take their knee-high socks
Onto the streets of Lagos
They return without the girl.
There you go
The painful truth
Concealed in a terrible joke
Its ok if you don’t laugh
Its ok if this is not for you
But it’s not ok not to know
What’s not ok is when the joke’s on you
When you have to try
To exist less
Because oppression is not only physical
Little girls in knee-high socks should
Have the right to laugh at what they think is funny
Not at terrible jokes
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija