Thursday, October 21, 2021

Monday Musings: Why Wigs Are The Bane Of The Nigerian Economy

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There is a new sound in town and it is the swishing of flowing hair by our beautiful women. The hair has always been referred as the natural crown conferred by God on woman but the crown has undergone much remodelling in recent years. Ever since the primitive man discovered that the skins of their hunting bounties need not be thrown away but can be modified into a fashion item, it was only a matter of time before further discovery thirst found its way into beauty.Now I’m not knocking the primitive man for discovering clothes. I have him to thank that I’m not walking down the cold streets of Lagos this morning stark naked with everything hanging out for the world to see. And you know the rhetorics about cold weathers distorting sizes but that is an argument for another day. But a probable scene is that right after our male ancestor discovered fashion, the woman – always looking for a way to improve upon absolutely everything – invented the art of beauty enhancement and convinced the man that his fashion discovery could not hold water without her own discovery.Quite naturally, the man refused to bite and the discovery of beauty enhancements was left for the feminine only and millennia later, her compulsive urge to improve on everything has led us to this musing today. Millenia later, her beauty overtures has evolved from affecting the finances of her husband into partly dictating the economy of a nation.I had dinner with a former female colleague of mine last week and I complemented on her feisty hairstyle, commenting that this was the hair she had on her Snapchat story the previous day. She quickly quipped in that it was just a wig as was the Snapchat’s and the ensuing conversation went on like:
Me: “I notice that wigs have suddenly become the trendy thing for ladies. When did we make the jump from Brazilian, Malaysian, Bohemian and other “ian” hair into wigs?
Friend: *chuckles* “Since Nigerian women became wise”
Me: “Nigerian women were always the wisest. They’ve been telling their sons and brothers and lovers since 1960”
Friend: *sarcastic chuckle this time* “Wigs actually make more sense. They might cost a lot to buy but it is like an investment. Brazilian hair costs about 200,000 Naira to make but I can get 5 different wigs with different styles with that amount. Plus I don’t have to spend both money and time on fixing a wig, with the five enough to carry me through a year. It actually makes financial sense in this Nigerian economy where you have to be a financial genius to thrive. Plus these wigs obey the “Buy Nigeria” policy”.My lecture on Nigerian economy was complete. The Matlock in me immediately jumped out and I wanted to raise a few objections. But experience has taught me that this was not a battle I would win. But then again, maybe she had a point. According to statistics, there are about 44,000,000 million women in Nigeria between the ages 15 and 55, the age where women are usually obsessed with fashion. Averagely, a woman spends 120,000 Naira on hair extensions per year, adding up to a national expense of five billion, two hundred and eighty thousand Naira per year. This is more than 10% of proposed allocation to Ministry of Education in the 2017 budget.If we go by my friend’s calculations, wigs should be able to save the nation about 2.5 billion Naira. 2.5 billion Naira sounds like a drop in the ocean for an oil-rich nation like Nigeria but that is enough money to buy 17,241,379 litres of petrol in Nigeria. For context, wearing wigs can save enough to buy 575 tankers of fuel.So we have the wigs to thank for saving us a ton of money. But what if the primitive woman never bothered with proving herself by making her own discovery? What if the woman was not so fixated on beauty enhancements? What if the woman knew that men would still love her and pursue her even if her hair was short, curly and thick? What if she never had to spend any part of that five billion, two hundred and eighty thousand Naira on hair wigs? Would a Nigeria of extra 1,150 tankers of fuel be better? Would empowering 10,000 promising entrepreneurs with fifty thousand Naira benefit our nation? If five billion Naira is pumped into the ministry of health, how many baby lives would be saved?This is not a musing against women’s beauty agenda. I am not against the school of thought that preaches women look better with beauty enhancements. I know that it is truly here to stay. But once in a while, I do wonder what a world without hairstylists would look like. And yes I admit that the only times I get these thoughts are when I whip out my wallet to pay for my woman’s trip to the salon. At the end of the day, I only blame the primitive woman.Photo Credit: Getty

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