In the Nigerian society that’s so fixated on marriage, we might wonder why some of the good girls who are “wife material” stay single longer than the “bad girls”.
You know, that guy who does everything by the book: kind, quiet, shy, gentle and maybe a little socially awkward sometimes?
That guy is usually viewed as lukewarm and “lacking in game”; the type that women would typically prefer to keep in the friend zone. On the other hand, the bad guys: confident, aggressive, adventurous; are more sought-after in relationships.
The female equivalent of the statement is becoming more popular “Good girls finish last”. Good girls are those who also do everything by the book in their careers and personal lives. By nature and in our culture, women are expected to be diligent and gentle in their approaches to many aspects of life. So it becomes very easy to ostracise those who don’t follow suit, and label them as bad girls.
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From my experience in Lagos, it seems like the statement “Good girls finish last” might not be far fetched when it comes to dating and relationships. Sometimes, when we hear about someone or the other getting married, we wonder…”How in the world did that happen?”.
Wasn’t that the same girl who, while at school, snuck to the bathroom with pretty much all the boys in class and added a few from both the year above and below, and then took this behaviour beyond school and became “a girl in town”? Then we look at the men in the said relationships and wonder, “How could he even consider her? He must have pretty low standards.”
Good girls are the types who focused on their studies and all other extracurricular activities in school and always tried to be taken seriously, in hopes of a well-deserved bright light at the end of the tunnel with a knight in shining armour waiting patiently to crown them with a tiara.
Look, just because Cinderella laboured endlessly within the confines of her home and village until Prince Charming found her, swept her off her feet and married her doesn’t mean that all good girls would follow suit just like that. Disney lied to us anyway… it is all just a fantasy.
In her book, Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg gives a very apt explanation of this interesting concept called the “Tiara Syndrome”, where women expect that if they keep doing their job well, someone will notice them and place a tiara on their heads.
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This extends from the workplace to relationships and should make us wonder, “Isn’t there some element of pride or sense of entitlement in thinking that you are more deserving of something than others just because you are supposedly good?”
It is important to remember that bad girls are not necessarily bad people and those good people who judge them should take a sip of humble juice and remove the chip of pride from their shoulders because that’s not how life really works.
So good girls (as described above) really need to start rethinking their and reinventing their ways.
Oyin Egbeyemi is an engineer-turned-consultant-turned-educationist, runner and writer.