by Joy Isi Bewaji
There’s nothing real about being crass, raucous, offensive, and a pain in the butt
I was having drinks with friends last weekend, when a celebrity walked into the bar in all her clatter! It was clearly a case of letting the dogs out. She rambled around the place like a trouble-free landlady, cracking up every waiter, hi-fives, very loud jokes, attracting the stares, nods and smiles of everyone. Except me.
“She’s so real. I really like her,” one of my friends said.
Now that is something I never understand – this outrageous ‘realness’ that we love so damn much.
“She’s loud, way too loud for comfort,” I argued.
“Yes nah,” my friends admitted, “she’s being her true self – she’s being real.”
As much as we cannot stand the lady with the bad inflection, drawling on her ‘R’s ‘TH’s and any other letter that has had the misfortune of passing through her tongue, and false posturing; the guy with borrowed swag, borrowed car, and no personality; and the general attitude that we pick up from regular visits here, there and across the seas that totally erase our own individuality, I still believe the other extreme (way of behaving) is just as horrendous.
For instance, if a lady barks and slaps people’s backs at a cream dinner party, she is not being ‘real’. Don’t patronise her – the word is ‘loud’, ‘uncivilised’, ‘uncouth’, or in simple terms, ‘razz’. There’s nothing ‘real’ about losing your manners or not following to simple etiquettes.
It’s shocking how people who make an attempt, these days, to live with a certain level of finesse or tact are considered ‘fake’. So what we indirectly say to ourselves is: don’t try to act refined. If you do, you are fake!
Little wonder in life’s dealings, we are always so quick to give a piece of our minds because, “that’s just me oh, I’m being real.”
Sorry to burst your bubble, you are not ‘real’. The real word is: impatient, insensitive or maybe, foolish.
For instance I can’t, for the love of mango juice, understand what makes a modern day individual, with a decent level of education, unable to speak plain English: “Good moring (sic) she have (sic) left for market.” We laugh and console him/her, “hey it’s ok. English is not our mother tongue. Just be real, be you.”
Nah! He/she is lacking in intelligence; period! That goes for the next person who claims he/she cannot speak his/her mother tongue even while all-the-English is laced with rural intonation.
Our conversation at the restaurant heats up a little, as I am able to convince two out of three of my friends how so unreal this whole naija I-do-not-care-jor-I-am-being-myself attitude is unbecoming. The reason why we cannot forgive the girl who goes for a first date and orders the whole menu plus food she cannot pronounce is because she is thoughtless, not real!
So we turn our gaze to another lady sitting all alone at the corner of the restaurant. She had one leg crossed over the other; she was very careful not to smear her lipstick on the glass she was sipping from, her back was upright almost like she was sculpted and she asked for a napkin across her pants.
And I asked: ‘is she fake or real?’
And my friends go: ‘sooooo fake.’
It seems to me we are struggling with a sense of inferiority that affects our judgement, making it impossible for us to identify with anything that remotely tries to be ‘better’. If the lady probably had a piece of meat stuck in between her teeth and lipstick stain all over her glass, napkin tossed to one end of her chair, and screaming above the music, then maybe we would consider her real!
There’s nothing real about being crass, raucous, offensive, and a pain in the butt; unless we can justify other things like: when you are hot and standing at the bus stop, is it ok to take off your top? Hey, you are just being ‘real’.
If that sounds outrageous, then for no reason should we define anyone who lacks certain manners, protocol, and decorum as ‘real’.
Joy Bewaji, I laugh, I write, I love. There are few things DEEPER than the mind of a curious woman. Follow me on Twitter @joybewaji