Navigating life as a woman in the world today is interesting. From Nigeria to Timbuktu, it’ll amaze you how similar all our experiences are. Every Wednesday, women the world over will share their experiences on everything from sex to politics right here. This is Zikoko’s What She Said.
The woman in this week’s What She Said is in her late 30s. When she emailed me, the topic of our conversation was supposed to be about how she discovered her sexuality. However, as we spoke, we unearthed a bunch of different things around being a ‘young’ sugar mummy and I found this interesting because we rarely get to hear from the glucose guardian’s end.
How long have you been married?
Almost 7 years now.
And you’re married to a man?
Haha. Is there any other way to be married in Nigeria?
In your mail, you said you woke up one day and realised you weren’t ‘straight’.
That’s the abridged version. Here’s the short story: I had my first kiss with a girl the night before this and like with the Katy Perry song, I loved it and woke up thinking about it.
What’s the long story?
I had been single for so long, that my mother was starting to worry. In fact, everyone was worried. Me self I was worried, as per, am I okay? Am I smelling? My last boyfriend before my husband cheated on me and it really broke my spirit — I was so trusting and TOO generous with my funds.
For example, I would send him money when he was broke, pay his electricity bills, buy him gifts — and I’m not talking boxers and singlets. I’m talking about phones, games, trips. There was a time he was so broke that I put him on an allowance and even after paying him on a weekly basis, he’d still come and ask me for money.
I discovered he was cheating during one of this his really broke periods. I had sent him a chunk of my salary. Imagine, my shock when I overheard him telling someone that he had sent her the money. WHAT? My money? The money I was sending, he was spending it on another woman. I almost killed him that day but for the saving grace of a neighbour. I never went back and I guess I just stopped being interested in men after then.
The other reason I switched off was that my entire family knew him and they knew of our relationship, so everyone was expecting us to get married, na so garri turn sand. Shame catch me eh. I didn’t date anyone for years, but I kept telling myself it was because I wasn’t interested. When I think about it, it was probably because inside my heart of hearts, I realised men weren’t for me. I kept pushing advances, deliberately ruining my chances with hot men that my friends set me up with. A few years later, I met my husband. We started off as friends to be honest. He was getting the heat from his family too, so we decided to get married. It was now after that we fell in love properly and it made sense because the mutual respect and trust was already there.
Sha, it was just before my wedding that my friends organised an outing of sorts. It wasn’t a bridal shower per se. We were just club hopping and having fun because it was ‘my last night of freedom’. We went to this joint with strippers and that was where it happened.
Yeah, the kiss. But even before the kiss, I felt such a powerful attraction to her. It was like love at first sight. That was what made me tell my friends (shyly) that we should pay for strippers. If I’m being honest, it wasn’t even a real kiss. It was more of a peck. And that was all. I didn’t even think too much about it till the next day.
Do you remember what she was like?
She was young — at least 10 years younger — and she was dark. Her skin was very shiny. That’s all I remember. I can’t even remember her face.
What made you think about it the next day?
I could still feel her mouth on my mouth. Wedding day, I didn’t really want my fiance to kiss me. I didn’t brush. I just wanted to stay in bed thinking about her.
Did you tell anyone about how you felt?
Nah. Ah you want them to kill me ni? Even though we were club hopping and had strippers grind on us, my close friend are so deeply homophobic and not one bit liberal.
Yeah, and I can’t cut them off because I’ve known them forever. I’m not good with people like that.
What happened during the wedding?
Omo, I was confused. But it passed. I just knew I liked the kiss and it started to make sense that I didn’t date anyone for years after I was cheated on by that bastard.
Fair. When did you eventually realise you were definitely not heterosexual?
Just last year. I actually continued to live with the mystery and mostly forgot about it, but last year, I met this young girl that instantly took an interest in me. At first I was like wait, what does she want from me? And then we became friends and started to hang out. I didn’t even realise that I liked her. I just knew that I was always buying her things — which is my own love language. One day, when we were hanging out, she said, “you’re lesbian, bisexual or you’re not straight.” And I was like what does this small girl know? She told me about her own sexuality journey — she’s always known she was lesbian, but always tried to force herself on boys so she can ‘become normal’.
And it hit me. From childhood, I’d always liked women. The memories came back as she was talking. For the first time, I made out with a woman and I was smiling like a fool for the rest of the day.
How was your relationship with your husband at this time?
Omo, e dey as e day. It was okay — it is okay. I am in love with him, but the other parts no too tap. So maybe I’m more in love with the idea of him? It’s more cordial than anything else. We have children, we respect each other. In fact, we’re the perfect family on the surface. I actually love the stability of family life. But I also love moonlighting as a sugar mummy.
To that young woman?
To multiple women. I hate to say it out loud, but there’s literally nothing money can’t get you. I work hard for my money so I spend it how I want — on women. I’m bad at moving to women, even to become friends with them. Like I said I’m generally bad at making friends with people. So I typically go the money route. Is it paying for my love? Maybe. But I also like it. I’m a kind person, I like buying people stuff. So if you tell me you need this, I’ll get it for you before you can say anything else.
How many women are you seeing?
Right now 3. I have a main babe who hooks me up.
What’s it like generally?
I don’t have much to compare it with. But if I’m going by that one boyfriend I had that cheated on me a while ago, then it’s less stressful. I have schedules for everybody and they all know even if they don’t know each other except for my main babe. The schedule is important because I have to maintain my home and go to work.
You give them money and they give you what?
Sugar. Hahaha. It’s not just the sex. It’s the company too. It’s reliving my younger years when I didn’t have anybody at all. It’s refreshing.
Also it’s not always money. It’s like, I see a nice thing and I buy it for them. That’s just it. To add to that, these women don’t need foolish men, they need real women that can take care of them.
How young are they?
Mid 20s ish.
How do you feel about living this double life?
Lol. If you know who and who are living a double life in this city, you won’t be asking that. But I get you, I can’t just afford to get caught. I can see my husband understanding. Not my kids. Not my friends. Not my workplace.
This seems like a radical shift from the person you were maybe less than a decade ago?
I don’t think so oh. E don dey my body tey tey.
If you’d like to share your experience as a Nigerian woman, send me an email.