Remember when they told us, “You’ll grow into it”, and then your school uniform comes back from the seamstress and it is baggy? Bad thing is, the uniform sizes never caught up with our real sizes. (any witnesses here???) And the worse is, we already had fragile complexes as teenagers. But the worst? Some of us never actually grew into these sizes that were foretold with scientific certainty.
I went into the Nallem store at the Accra Mall today to get something nice for my sister since today was her birthday (Before today, I asked her what she wanted and she said she didn’t know- rolling my eyes). Anyway, I trouped into the swanky clothing store, optimistic that perhaps I would stumble on something she liked and find something I also fancied. Give myself a treat. Splurge a little. And here is what happened. I got something lovely for my sister. It was hard to choose, by the way. But for myself, – wait for it- there was only a single item in the entire store that was my size! I and the shop assistant combed through racks and racks of hangers but nothing. And I was like, you see this discrimination against small sizes.
I know I have readers from all over. Let me enlighten you about my country. The bigger, the better. It’s as simple as that. If you feel you are fat, just come to Ghana (once the borders are open). They’ll tell you, You look fresh. Or that you’re living well. Take your pick. Even if they tell you bluntly that you have become bigger, it is a compliment.
We can be blasé like that. Sorry for the unfortunate person who decides to take up adult obesity as a social cause in Ghana. You’ll really bump your head into a lot of cultural road blocks.
Just last night, my mum asked me whether I was eating well. It came from a very good place. She also likes me to wear clothing which makes me look “mature”.
Just this Monday, I went to register to vote in the coming December polls and as I waited, I observed the steps and processes so that I wouldn’t stumble or be awkward. I tend to be awkward. Anyway, I noted that the woman entering our biometric details would ask you to remove your face mask, then take your picture and then ask you to confirm that you looked okay (I thought that was a nice courtesy since the portraits of ID cards tend to make people look as if they have just been hauled out of bed and their mug shots taken). Then, it was all four fingers from the left hand on the biometric machine, then all four on the right, before both thumbs. And then you would call out your phone number and your details would print out.
It got to my turn. All protocols observed. But before printing, she asked me to come look on her screen again to check my details. So I did, perusing every section carefully. And then she got a bit impatient, pointed at the screen and said, just check your name and age. Oh, okaaayyyy. Yes, I said, it looks good.
So what just happened? Something that always happens to me. I looked too young for my age. All that check your details blah blah blah was just for me to check that I was really as old as I said I was.
So back to Nallem- which is a great Ghanaian store by the way. They sell ready-made clothing in local print material and I highly recommend it (No they’re not paying me to say this. Remember I haven’t been able to get anything for myself from there yet. I even got my mum and younger brother some pretty cool items a while back. Nothing for me yet. But I have got some really cool stuff from nlk!! Do check them out!) Back again to Nallem, I told the really helpful shop assistant that this is why I will go and shop at Mr Price and buy “foreign” clothes. So he should please tell their dress makers that the size 8ish women in Ghana are also there.