LOUD WHISPERS: Lori Iro – It Is All Lies

‘You are the only sugar in my tea’

Lori iro

You are the only cream in my coffee

Lori Iro

You are the only pepper in my sauce

Lori iro

You are the only honey in my beehive

Lori iro

There is this viral video of a preacher going around ringing a bell, preaching about false declarations of love and lies. It is so hilarious. I have not used his exact words, but all his admonitions definitely end with ‘Lori Iro – it is all lies’. This inspired a #Loriiro challenge online. It sounded quite timely considering it was just shortly before February 14th, Valentine’s Day.

Last week, I spent some time thinking about love and relationships. On Friday February 12th, I attended an event for young people to commemorate Valentine’s Day. I had an interesting time with them and it was nice to learn more about how young people think about love these days. The event was planned around them asking questions and me responding, with the support of two other friends who had accompanied me. When I was answering one of the questions, I referred to the conventional wedding vows of ‘For better for worse, for richer for poorer’ and there was a refrain of ‘For richer for richer o!’. When I asked them why, they said that is what their Pastors are telling them to ‘claim’ now, that ‘For Richer for Poorer’ will never be their portion when they get married. Really? Lori iro. I was also told that young women these days do not have time for poor young men anyway, they all want to jump on the bus going to ‘Ikoyi’ (Where life is ready-made and sweet) and not ‘Surulere’ (A life of patience and delayed gratification).

I told the group that there are many young women who are quite happy to say Yes to the proposals of struggling young men, but such men should have something to offer. If you are just starting out in the world and you are kind, pleasant, hard-working and loving, I am sure there are many young women who will appreciate this and be prepared to board the ‘Surulere bus’ with you. I did, and it has been an extremely fulfilling journey. If as a young man you are always in denial, disloyal, looking for short-cuts, lazy, living beyond your means just to show off and wasting all opportunities that come your way, then you will attract the same shallow entities as yourself, those whose first investment is not a piece of land or shares, but, tresses of ‘Bone Straight Human Hair’. The lori iros will always attract lori iros

Another theme that ran through the conversations I had with the young people was the obsession with the ‘Submission’ of women. I got at least four questions on this. Why is it so important to reduce a successful woman to a simpering, cowering shadow of herself so that she can be deemed virtuous and worthy enough to share a life with? Why do we need to confuse good breeding, politeness, respect and compassion with the desperate need for ‘Submission’? Every woman who enters into a life-long partnership with a man is expected to be kind, respectful, supportive and attentive to the needs of her husband. Yet, she is entitled to exactly the same in return. Why do we then need to unbalance the scales in favour of one person? My father was as old school as they come. I never saw my mother grovel for him. I never saw him disrespect her in our presence. When he displeased her, he knew, and he would make hilarious attempts to get her attention because she would simply zone him out. When she displeased him, he would state his case and she would glare at him but keep quiet. Those were my first lessons in mutual respect and restraint in a relationship. If I was to describe what I witnessed of their relationship, it would be that the word ‘Submission’ applied to both of them.

My group of young friends also wanted to know what I felt about the rate at which relationships collapse these days. I told them it is because there are unrealistic expectations on both sides in a world that keeps changing. The institution of marriage as we know it will have to accommodate the pressures and the times we live in. For those who choose to be married, we cannot keep fueling a narrative of one partner being superior to the other, regardless of which religious verses we quote to support this. Any relationship that is not grounded in trust, friendship, support and most importantly, respect will not last, no matter how many texts you recite and regardless of the number of counselling sessions they attend. A few weeks ago, one of the most appalling cases of domestic violence was brought to my attention. The details are so disturbing, it stills sends shivers down my spine. All in the name of submission, this wife became a sex slave in her own marital home for eleven years because her husband has a thing for watching her have sex with other men. Yes, you read that right. And she attends one of the top churches around. Lori iro.

Those of us who want to prepare our daughters or wards for marriage, make sure she knows her worth and value. Make sure she knows how to look after herself.  Make sure she knows that marriage has hills and valleys. Those of us who have sons should prepare them for what marriage looks like in the 21st Century.  A real man is kind, protective, generous, respectful and supportive. A real man earns his wife’s devotion, what those who have a retrogressive agenda term ‘Submission’. Real men do not need their wives to submit to them, they simply need their wives to love them and be there for them For Better for Worse, For Richer for Poorer, and women expect the same too. Women are not pets who need to be tamed or trained to dance for treats.

Today, we are all celebrating the iconic Professor Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the first woman and African to serve as Director-General of the World Trade Organisation. We want great women, but we do not want to invest in the education of girls and keep them safe from violence and exploitation. We want to share in Madam Ngozi’s glory, but we do not want to hear about the struggles of millions of women who have to fight every step of the way before there is a breakthrough. We want to keep marrying our children off but we cut and paste norms of a hundred years ago and we hope it will work. We want our daughters to be the next Ngozi, but how many husbands are prepared to support their wives as they balance their obligations? Hopefully, the next generation will see the Ngozis of this world as the norm and not the exception. We will not get there till we all agree that we should stop the lies, deceit and denial. Men need and deserve love. Women need and deserve love.  The same way we all deserve to be successful and celebrated, regardless of our gender. Let us all adjust our vocabulary. Still on Madam Ngozi, there was the creep who said no woman should be more prominent than the husband whose name she bears. #Lori iro.

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

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6 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: Lori Iro – It Is All Lies

  1. Oluwaseyi Sofola February 18, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    Lori iro – all I can say is that life is a psychedelic experience because foundations are usually layed on perception not reality. To quote Kanye West, ‘Love is cursed by monogamy’ – we need to get back to village life once again, so that the people we love all live on the same street or at least in the same neighbourhood – even if we can’t get back to communal sexual activities, at least we can pick and choose whose bed we want to end up in for the evening

    • Femi February 19, 2021 at 12:40 pm

      I’ll wish to get a better clarification on this comment

  2. Femi Diipo February 19, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    I’ve always thought submission is a two way street, a man submits to a woman as she submits to him. True love simply can’t work without this and as rightly said there has to be an atmosphere of trust and honesty where there’s simply no “lori iro”.

    Most men leverage on this line of submission because of their own insecurities and insensitivity, they want a wife who who’ll submit to their lori iro life and stories without questioning them, and sadly alot of women are victims of this. We need to do better and that starts with me as a man

  3. Oluwabusayo February 19, 2021 at 4:01 pm

    Your words sinks always.

    We are replicating what you represent.

    Our own LIVING MOREMI.

  4. DSEED February 25, 2021 at 5:39 pm

    I’m always eager to read mama side of the story of every situation. Always on point, deep and helpful.

  5. Olakunle Olajide March 2, 2021 at 9:18 am

    HE BAF.. This is 100% spot on. There is no love without mutual respect.. I pray for the woman I marry to be great, her dreams realised, because that is the joy of me being her husband. Thank you for your insights.


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