‘That girl at the office is rude,’ I say.
‘Yes,’ the others echo, very certain.
‘Which girl?’ you wonder.
‘The new girl at the office,’ I say.
‘You no dey come office again naa,’ one say.
‘Engineer don get new secretary,’ another offer.
‘Why is it it’s mostly girls who are employed as secretaries?’ you wonder. ‘It’s injustice.’
‘When you get your own office, employ a guy.’
‘And sales girls?’ you continue. ‘Everywhere, every advert: Sales girl wanted. Why not leave it open for both guys and girls alike?’
‘Imagine all those Igbos wey dey sell building materials along Jattu Road employing boys as their sales persons,’ I try to make you see.
‘Haa,’ one laughs. ‘Na im be say business don spoil naa.’
‘But those businessmen get umu boy, boy apprentices.’ You’re the only Igbo here. ‘Why business never spoil?’
One faces his PC, the last vestiges of his laugh yet to fade from his countenance.
‘Nooo, you don’t understand,’ I try harder, in that my characteristic manner of dismissing any dissent with me as misunderstanding. ‘The point is: many girls have just enough education for those kinds of jobs. You don’t expect a guy with all his university education to become your secretary or sales man.’
‘But in my place girls are as educated. Yet the injustice is still there.’
‘Na for your place naa. Girls are investments there.’
‘Cheeiii!’ another exclaims. ‘To marry an Igbo girl no be here oo!’
But you’ve stopped listening, talking, to them. You’re thinking, instead, how you must be at the office tomorrow to swoop on the new girl. And in your place, you’re thinking too, these kinds of jobs are not lifelong jobs. They are jobs one does, mostly secondary school leavers, as one awaits a better thing, a university admission. So why can’t guys be considered, too? But maybe it’s only fair; hardly do girls go for ‘boy’.