Friday, September 16, 2005

The rise and rise of the Janded babe (First published in July 2005)

16/05/05 - A report published by the World Economic Forum, entitled “Women’s Empowerment: Measuring the Global Gender Gap” ranks the UK 8th out of 58 countries with the smallest differences between the economic equality of both sexes. -
www.weforum.org

Disclaimer

By Janded babe (or babe for short), I am referring to that breed of Naija female that doesn’t need to rely solely on men as her source of security (financial or otherwise). My strict definition excludes the following:

·those Naija babes who arrived in Jand (or continental Europe) by boat rather than by plane,

·those who purposely failed to complete their secondary school education (they’ll be included in our article exploring the virtues of house girls),

·those who go to church religiously in search of a suitable husband rather than a deeper understanding of God’s love for man,

·those who view marriage as an “Exit Strategy” ,

·those resident in the UK illegally.

In addition, I would like to point out that the author is definitely not a male chauvinist pig, and has exaggerated (slightly) in this article for the purpose of emphasis and humour. As Kahlil Gibrain once said “An exaggeration is a truth that has lost its temper”. So consider this article as the perspective of an angry yet ambitious Janded guy desperate for the success which constantly eludes him but would appear to be so readily available to his female contemporary.

Finally, in discussing the various business enterprises at which Nigerians have applied themselves to, I have refused to consider successful yet illegal antics like plastic surgery (i.e. credit card fraud), benefit fraud or anything involving sexual favours of any kind.
----

Of the many words used to describe Naija society I doubt egalitarian is one of them. The best jobs in Nigeria still go to the men even though women can now be found in small numbers at all levels of management, in all respected professions and a few not so respected ones for that matter. In Jand however things couldn’t be more different.

Whenever I meet a Naija babe in London and enquire who she works for it’s amazing how the often the same names keep on coming up: Accenture, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, Barclays Capital, UBS, Citigroup and most annoyingly of all Goldman Sachs (GS for short) and also known as the "McDonalds of Investment banking". Off the top of my head I can think of at least ten Janded babes who are either GS alumni, currently working for GS or are set to jet off for training in New York with GS in the summer. And how many guys do I know? THREE, and one of them I’m sure works in the mail room. I found this apparent disparity at GS to be most peculiar until an enlightened friend said to me “Alaye what do you expect? Of course you’ll always find a lot of babes wherever you see the words “Gold” and “Man”. Duh.

The sour grapes chomping Janded guy would say that things really aren’t that bad and at least these babes are being confined to purely back and middle office operations. WRONG. Think again. They're in the front handling things like M&A, Fixed Income, Commodities, or serious client engagement type stuff. And you best believe they’re being well compensated regardless of which part of the office they are sitting in.

The rise is not just confined to the business world either. I know of several babes working as doctors for the NHS, many of whom are based in London (which is apparently the most competitive place in the UK to get a position), Of all the guys I know only two are doctors and one of them had to go all the way to bucolic England to get his posting even though the academic institutions he’s attended would impress Tony Blair. I would offer his name were it not for the fact that our Janded community is rather small and I can’t afford to lose this guy’s friendship, generous as he is with all the so called NHS funding that ends up in his bank account.

I know five babes working for magic circle (i.e. the most prestigious) law firms, about 11 working for the big four accountancy firms and so on and so bloody forth. And then there are all the girls working for other blue chip organisations like IBM, BBC, LogicaCMG, BP, Unilever, Shell, P&G, and a whole host of other top notch firms. And I’ve not mentioned all the architects, pharmacists, and PhDs out there. This is not to say that there aren’t guys working for some of these firms, cos there are, but they seriously outnumber the guys. Even when you allow for the fact that there are more girls than guys in Jand (as I alluded to in an earlier article) I am convinced that there are disproportionately more doing well professionally than guys. I think the only thing they are content to see us guys outnumber them in is IT, club promos or deejaying.

And its getting worse.

Have you been to any of the Universities recently? From Oxbridge to Durham, the several in between and especially any of the London Unis (yes even South Bank). These notorious feeder institutions for all the companies mentioned are being overrun by Nigerians and an ever increasing number are babes. Imperial College is an interesting example. Historically dominated by Naija guys, given its exclusive focus on engineering and the sciences, you will now find Naija babes in substantial numbers in the medical school and various engineering departments. Another example is The London School of Economics (LSE). All the people I know who attended LSE have one thing in common. You guessed it. All babes. I’m not even messing with you. One works for GS (typical), another is a corporate lawyer, another’s an investment banker, another’s with the UN, yet another is a Barrister defending some of London’s dumbest petty criminals (I’m too scared to ask how many are Naija guys) and so on and so bloody forth. This is indeed ominous cos LSE, it may surprise some to know, has produced around thirty-three past and present heads of state or heads of government (Yep, I’ve done the research). A fertile breeding ground for future leaders, we would agree, and like everywhere else it would seem, is being over run by Naija babes. YAWA.

Even outside of the professional environment, Naija babes are representing. They’re demonstrating tremendous entrepreneurial flair whilst us guys are still struggling to spell entrepreneurial (thank God for MS Words Autocorrect function). I know some who, complete with their university degrees, have decided to start up their own fashion houses (JustNibi, Zingara, UrbanKnit), interior decorating companies (Inu Designs) and derive a living from such. Others are making money from catering, hairdressing (up to £80 pounds a pop - TAX BLOODY FREE!!), and wedding and event planning. Adding insult to injury, most of them have got the jobs that many of us Naija guys would sell our souls to the devil to get work for, decided they didn’t fancy it and quit to do their own thing. Like all entrepreneurs I’m sure that doing their own thing isn’t easy but hey they’re sticking at it and I admire and applaud them for that.

Another curious observation is how they are making wonderful use of the “Trickle down” and “Network” effects, spreading the wealth amongst themselves and leaving us guys high and dry. They’ll braid each other’s hair, organise each other’s weddings, and annoyingly insist that we, their unsuspecting boyfriends, buy them fashion items produced by their fellow babe (or we ain’t getting any for three months). Across the whole spectrum of UK PLC, Naija babes are recognising that the game is theirs to be had and they are going about conquering it mercilessly. And what are they leaving for us guys? Yep you guessed it: IT, club promo’s and Deejaying.

So what factors have contributed to the success of the Naija babe in UK PLC? I propose the following as the main contributing factors (though others no doubt exist)

1)Breasts – Say what you like about it but I’m convinced the fact that the possession of breasts definitely plays a part in the rise of the babe. In my somewhat limited professional career I’ve interviewed job applicants and I can easily state that the ones with breasts automatically stood a better chance of getting the job.

2)The “2 birds with 1 stone” factor – Basically affirmative action/ diversity/ whatever you want to call it is a bitch. They have more to offer than us guys. Being black AND female, they are more employable because of the effect they have on a company’s diversity stats. We’ve all seen the literature “Our Company is composed of X% Ethnic minorities, Y% women, etc”. It’s all good. Don’t worry, in my next life I’m coming back as a disabled, homosexual, black, and female. Then I’ll get any job I want or it’s straight to my nearest employment Tribunal screaming “DISCRIMINATION”.

3)F*** Me Boots – a variation on the breasts theme but essentially the same point. In the boring professional work environment, nothing cheers up what could be an otherwise dull and dreary day than a nice mini skirt and jacket ensemble (think Ally McBeal) suitably accentuated by a nice pair of knee length boots (or F*** Me Boots - FMBs). Another reason to separate this out from the first reason is to acknowledge the fact that the Naija babes who look hot in FMBs aren’t necessarily the ones with the most remarkable breasts (apparently).

4)The Chameleon effect – Put simply the educated babe would appear to be better at being a chameleon in the work place than the educated guy. Put another way, you can take the guy out of Naija but you sure as hell can’t take the Naija out of the guy, and his attitude just doesn’t go down as well with the powers that be in UK PLC. For a further explanation of the chameleon effect please see the “chameleon” article by my esteemed colleague on www.Janded.com

5)Breasts – For the sake of emphasis.

6)Discipline – In my humble opinion and for reasons that I fail to grasp the typical Naija babe is just more disciplined and organised than the typical Naija guy. They’ve already proven that they are skilled multi-taskers which for the record we guys are just plain rubbish at. Not only are they great at this, they can also tell very easily when someone else is failing miserably when trying to do the same. I am yet to simultaneously yan with a babe on the phone whilst playing my PS2 without her figuring it out (My girlfriend’s record, by the way, is 3 seconds- scary).

So finally what does the unending rise of the Janded babe mean for the struggling Janded guy?

OK guys, I’ll be frank, in my analysis, the future is bleak for the guy. The babe has proven that she is more than equal to us. She has shown a relentless and ruthless desire for excellence that is being nurtured by UK PLC and which can only be momentarily halted whilst she worries about two things: who the hell is going to marry her over achieving ass and her period that’s 4 weeks late (LOL, sorry I couldn’t resist).

Allow me to illustrate what the future might hold by providing the following anecdotes.

SCRUB A lost his job during the 2001 dot.gone fiasco. He had a babe flying high in her job with an Investment bank. She basically supported his broke ass. Now SCRUB A was no slouch but clearly some cosmic powers had conspired against him such that even with his impressive 1st class degree he suffered through numerous fruitless interviews, assessment centres, numeracy and psychometric tests whilst she sorted out a mortgage and bought a car (even though she couldn’t drive at this point).

SCRUB B, who was also a victim of the dot.gone plague, used his prolonged jobless phase to hook up with a rather cool babe who would pick him up in her brand new car, pay for dinner and drop him off at his aunt’s house where he’d moved into in order to save on the rent he clearly couldn’t afford.

SCRUB C would actually feel rather secure in his IT job if it weren’t for the fact that he has to bus it to work whilst his girlfriend is able to pay cash for her spanking new BMW (which, by virtue of her demanding city job, she only really drives at the weekend)

SCRUB D was actually feeling pretty good about his situation until the bloody February bonus round in the city. His girlfriend not only got a bonus that he would willingly suck another guy’s one eyed snake for, but she also got a pay rise that quite frankly allows her salary to dwarf his the same way, er, well the same way her breasts dwarf his. SCRUB D has this to say in his defence “Men my guy its not easy oh, I’ve dropped subtle hints for my oga at work to give me the pay increase that my promotion at the beginning of the year commands but the guy is messing me around, so in the meantime whenever my babe spends the night at my place I’m waking up earlier than her just to make sure she doesn’t wear my trousers before I do.”

And then there’s SCRUB E. Now this guy I really feel for. He was forced to vacate his rent free accommodation due to essential maintenance whilst still searching for a new job since his last employer informed him that he was “surplus to requirements”. SCRUB E was left with no option but to acquiesce to his babe’s two year old request to move in with her as they embarked on that journey towards marriage. He now does most of the housework in between attending job interviews and protecting the little manhood he has left. When I called him the other day to ask how he was holding up he said “This guy, I’ve suffered, can u believe what Sade just asked me to do?” I said “what?” fearing she was about to kick his broke ass out. He replied “She’s asked me to start making packed lunches for her to take to work!” Deep down, I’m sure the guy would have preferred she just tossed him out.

I will say this though; all these guys took their humbling like men and were able to appreciate the humour of their respective situations. More commendably, their girlfriends stood by their men through thick and thicker. Babes are good like that. They can destroy the competition brutally and still manage to appear very caring and affectionate. I’m sure that these guys would grudgingly admit that they’re proud of their babes, and will continue to support them wholeheartedly. That I think is the most sensible approach. Guys, lets support our babes completely, after all their success is our success (yeah right) and so what if we now have to pay for the sins of our forefathers? We can stay at home, play the PS2 that our babes bought for us, and begin to think about careers as home makers.

Guys, if you’re not man enough to take the high road then you can take drastic action. Pack your bags, and head back to Naija where things are still somewhat stacked in our favour and the babes are probably more willing to massage our egos the way we like (although that apparently is changing too). Or damn the consequences and get her pregnant (assuming she allows your broke ass anywhere near her desirables).

To the babes I say this, thank you. Thank you for giving me the motivation to wake up in the morning rather than toss my phone across the room when the alarm goes off. Thanks for teaching us to cook óbé the way you like it, Thanks for using your job as a recruitment consultant in the city to get our broke ass a temp job that helped us stem the financial bleeding, and most of all thanks for sticking by us rather than trading us in for some Oyinbo guy who is probably more on your level.

Words by Alaye Scoro

3 Comments:

Anonymous ti said...

good job

Friday, September 30, 2005 9:38:00 pm  
Blogger Through these eyes said...

Wow! Nice blog. I agree with a lot of points you mentioned. However, I think you over emphasized the janded babe's positives. Just remember, she's human too and makes mistakes.

Lol at marriage being "an exit strategy". That one really got me rolling.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 9:36:00 pm  
Blogger NaijaBloke said...

Men nice blog bro...I was actually reeling while reading ur blog.
It seems u like breast too much sha.haba,almost every paragraph has embedded into it the word "Breast" directly or indirectly.
Well am with u jere,breast r damn essential in all aspects,at work,at home while playing and even just for sight seeing sef.
Will be back man

Friday, July 28, 2006 10:01:00 pm  

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