LOUD WHISPERS: Adults And Good Manners

Recently, I was in a cosmetics shop to buy some items. As I was browsing through the merchandise, I could hear a woman talking on her cell phone. It took me approximately twenty minutes to make up my mind about what to put into my shopping cart. All this time, the woman was still on her phone. She was speaking rather loudly and animatedly, and at some point, she got emotional. For a while there were only two of us in the shop, and it seemed that she had convinced herself that even if people around could hear her, they could not understand what she was saying. You see, the shop was in Atlanta, USA, and she was speaking in Yoruba. You might be wondering why she did not think about the fact that I could be another Nigerian, but I have been told my dreadlocks fool some people into thinking I could not be African. A few years ago, when I was in a shop in Liverpool Street, London, a guy was on the phone to someone, raving about the two women he was currently ‘banging’, and how hot they were.  He said enough for me to know he was also married!  The details were so explicit and juicy, I lingered longer than I needed to in the shop.  When the guy finished, I decided to teach him a lesson in discretion, so I walked up to him and said ‘Good afternoon’ in Yoruba. He reacted as if he had received an electric shock. I did not know you are a Nigerian he said. It should not have mattered if I was a Nigerian or not. He should not have been having that kind of conversation over the phone in public.

Fast forward to my co-shopper in Atlanta. When I was ready to pay for my items, I went to the payment counter and queued behind my Naija sister. She was still on her phone. She was so engrossed in her conversation that it did not seem to bother her that there was no one to attend to us, she kept on talking. After a few minutes, I called out to get the attention of a shop attendant, and someone came forward to assist us. All through the process of payment, the sister kept her phone glued to her ear. As she turned to go, still on her phone, I looked at her and said in Yoruba, ‘It is well’. She too panicked for a second, then smiled and thanked me. I hope she got the message. In the twenty minutes or so I spent listening to this sister, I learnt a) She is married b) Her mother-in-law lives in Nigeria but looms very large in her marriage, c) Due to the insatiable demands of her mother-in-law, her marriage is in jeopardy and d) if her husband does not keep his mother in check, she will leave him and take her children with her. I fully sympathise with this distressed sister, but this is an awful lot of information to learn about a total stranger in a public place.

Full Reading in Loud Whispers cover final


Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com



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11 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: Adults And Good Manners

  1. Joyce Ita April 8, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    thank you for this. I was still complaining about some these things to a friend and was very angry when he said it was a nigerian thing. I dont who why anyone will enter a public space like resturant or mall and feel the need to dominate the place with your conversation. Another issue that i have also being a victim is online trolls. social media is now a place that has lost all forms of decency. people think they can just say anything anyhow. There is nothing african about throwing derogatory words at people that are old enough to be your father/mother all because the internet has leveled all of us.

  2. Kimora April 8, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    I could not agree more .

  3. oluwatobiloba April 8, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    it’s better to learn manners than become ill-mannered adults that roam about the streets, social media and make nonsense out of themselves. That’s how someone abused Waje when she took a pics of herself and her mum. Can you beat that? Claiming that the female artiste is as ugly as her mother. May God help some Nigerians to really grow up and learn.

    Though the most painful part is that, most of these peeps won’t read something like this o. They will just be moving about with their hands and mouth faster than their brain. This is just but a timely write up.

  4. gracie April 8, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    The social media has become a breeding space for all sorts of things and unfortunately, we are picking the negatives. Speaking about the waje thing as pointed out by @oluwatobiloba, i mean, how would someone say such? It’s annoying that some people take to act just because they feel they are somewhere and can do anything.

    I hope we would really learn manners. So many of such is on the media now but come to think of it, It’s mostly about the female gender., why?

  5. michelle April 8, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    HMMMMMM…. This is a great piece and a medium of awareness, this is exactly what social media should be. A place to learn and be positive. Thanks for this piece. Speaking about the social media menace, i don’t know why the women are mostly shot at. Someone abused Uche jombo too of her body shape and the first thing i said was, pls, is it your body? what is your business with another person’s world?

    I believe that, our women shouldn’t take it likely with such comments, if someone speaks trash, deal with the person adequately like our very own Kate Henshaw did and i think Uche dealt with the person adequately… When you see the ones who were properly made up from home, their contributions to everything would reflect.

  6. zasie April 8, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    In my candid opinion concerning that social media thing, Let me say this o.. Not everyone using a smartphone is Smart! and my candid advice is, if you are out there using a smart phone and you are not smart? Please come on board and read this article. This will sharpen that mechanism upstairs, to work accordingly. Thanks.

  7. Mark April 8, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    This is a great piece i must confess, I could remember the phone thing on my way home from work… This woman was settling a dispute between her younger brother and his wife. she was obviously talking to the wife and mehn! all the secrets of the family was opened on phone.

    Her voice was so audible and in my mind i was like, why wouldn’t you just get home and do this? I wish people like that would read this and know that some things should be private, and verrrrrryyyyy private!

  8. Tutu April 11, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Let everyone mind his/her business. Leave everyone to be themselves, if someone is big, it’s not your business, small, none of your business.. Haba! I really thank the writer for this great piece

  9. Utibe May 13, 2016 at 6:49 am

    Thank you Ma for this piece. Manners are gradually fading out amongst the young & old. People need to be reminded about the right way to behave.

  10. Adekemi Balogun May 17, 2016 at 11:33 am

    Things like this needs to be taken seriously, we tend to conveniently drop these manners and interestingly playing out on our young adults.

  11. THERESA Okon May 19, 2016 at 2:48 am

    Great article. You ask yourself, what were these folks doing before the invention of cell phones.


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