A week later, while waiting in the reception hall for an appointment with the Ceo of an Ict firm, I saw a copy of RIPPLES, a popular soft sell and lifestyle magazine on the leather couch. I picked it up and skimmed through the pages. A column on the center page caught my eyes.
LIFESTYLE WITH Vera Adeola
The article was titled “THE ALLURE OF PINK LIPS”
“Pink lips are becoming the most attractive feature young Nigerian women find in the opposite sex. According to a survey conducted by me, 80% of the women I interviewed on the streets Lagos say they will date a guy who has pink lips while 20 % are of the opinion that the colour of a man’s lips is not an important feature for consideration when making dating choices. Prisca a pretty Unilag undergraduate told me that, “Pinks lips on a guy are cute and as sexy AF! Bunmi a hair dresser at Ikeja simply said; “Pink lips turns me on every time”.
From the foregoing, it is advisable for young men to get pinks lips and increase their chances of success with the ladies. Their mantra should be get pink lips or die trying!”
I stared at the article and nodded my head slowly in agreement. I have once heard that ladies drool over guys with pink lips. Pink lips is it! I would get pink lips and Ella my crush will say yes to me. If my beards scared her, my pink lips will bring her into my arms. I will get pinks lips!
I made enquiries on where and how to get pink lips. I discretely inquired from the trendy and fashionable men around me on the best place to get pink lips in Lagos. One of them directed to Allen end of Ikeja bus stop. He said that various shops around that area offer pink lips therapy treatment. I moved almost immediately and made my way there.
“Fine boy, come and do pink lips”, “oga pink lips go good for your body o”, “Instant pink lips! E no cost at all”. Those were the chants I heard immediately I reached the place. Young men in their late teens and early twenties were calling out and cajoling customers like me to patronize them. I beckoned on one of the boys and he ran to me.
“You do pink lips?”
“Yes sah! I go give you fine pink lips wey go make all the girls for dis Eko trip for you!”
“Na tachere moni, N2500 only”
“2500? Isn’t that too much?”
“No sir, de moni dey okay. Dis one na permanent pink lips wey go last forever!”
We bargained and finally settled on N2000. He led me to his shop; which was one of the shops located in a maze of decrepit looking buildings.
A tall man with a bat-like face and big afro hair was in the shop. I looked at his lips, they were brightly pink colored. He introduced himself as Lanre and immediately began the process of changing the colour of my lips.
Lanre was obviously the skilled worker while the other guy was the marketer who hustled in the customers. The marketer was soon off to find more customers.
I sat on the white plastic chair in front of a big mirror attached to the wall. Lanre brought out a small plastic container that contained a reddish looking substance. He said that it was the pink lips cream. He opened it and asked me to rub the cream on my lips which I did dutifully.
As I rubbed the cream on my lips, Lanre began regaling me with tales of how dark his lips were in the past and how he struggled to get the girls. He said it was only when he changed the colour of his lips that the girls began noticing and fighting over him.
“Oga, I tell you when we finish, all the girls wey dey do shakara for you now go suffer for your hand. You go deal with them wella!” he said in a conspiratorial tone.
I was elated, if pink lips worked for him, it will work for me. Ella will fall!
Lanre then brought out a small object shaped like a clipper with a long cord. He plugged the cord into the electric wall socket and turned on the switch. He brought the rotating circular bladelike head close to me and pressed it against my lips. As the hot blade touched my lips, a sharp tremor of pain ran through my body. I jumped up from the chair.
“I don’t want pink lips anymore” I said.
“Oga, siddon, make I finish this work, why you dey fear like small pikin?” He queried.
“You didn’t tell me that it is going to be painful!” I sharply replied.
“E no too painful, na because dis na de first time. Just relax, I go do am softly, in a short time we go dey through”
“I’ll give you love, I will do anything for you because I love you! This pain better be worth it at the end. I am going through all this because of Ella” Random thoughts flooded my mind.
I sat down on the chair and Lanre got to work. He slowly pressed the hot blade against my lips and I endured the pain. The outer skin of my lips was peeling off as he ran the instrument on them. After fifteen minutes elapsed, he was done.
I looked at the mirror and saw pinkish looking lips on my face! I was overjoyed.
“Shebi you don see am? That girl go fall down jakata for you o” Lanre said with a smile while rubbing his palms together in a jovial manner.
“I hope this will last” I said.
“Yes, this one na pink lips for life! You suppose do small tattoo join”
“Yes, girls dey fall for guys wey get tattoo for their bodi, see my own” Lanre rolled up his sleeves to reveal a bluish image on his right shoulder, he continued “dem dey go gaga wen I show them this tattoo. Tattoo no cost, na small moni”
“Should I get a tattoo? Does Ella love tattoos? Will she say Yes to me if she sees a tattoo on my body? I questioned myself silently. I shrugged my shoulders, “No worri, I go come back another time”
I got up to my feet and pulled out my wallet from my pocket to pay him. The marketer who brought me there had come back into the room. I wondered if he had been timing us. I wondered if his share of the money was 50%.
I pulled out N2000 and handed it over to Lanre. He looked at the money in my hands and asked me how much I was paying. The smile on his face and that of his colleague had disappeared, and was replaced by a cold calculating look.
“Na, 2k na, no be so we agree?” I asked in an exasperated tone.
“Your moni na N4000” Lanre said in a loud voice.
“What! Why 4k?” I asked.
Lanre held a small bottle in front of me, it was the same bottle that contained the red stuff he had given me to rub on my lips, “this na de lip balm wey you go use rub your lips evri morning for one month, so that de pink colour no go comot. The price na N2500 but I go give am to you for N2000, so when you add evriting up, your money na N4000”
“You didn’t tell me that I need to buy the lip balm. I no wan buy am abeg” I said in a raised voice.
“You must buy am, give me 4k make I go hustle for another customer” the marketer said.
“I am not giving you a dime other than 2k we agreed upon. You think you can rip me off? This is gross wickedness and criminal self aggrandizement, take your money or leave it” I said and dropped the N2000 on the floor. I made a move to leave the room.
“You dey talk grammer now abi?” Lanre shouted and roughly shoved me against the wall. I staggered as I tried to maintain my balance. The two guys had cornered me and were ready to pounce on me. I stood no chance against them.
I had N2500 left in my wallet but I had no option but to give them N4000 and go home with the lip balm.
I left the room angrily, while hoping that my new pink lips were not a scam. As I walked on the street, I seemed to notice that young ladies were glancing much more and staring much longer at me than they would have normally done. Were my pink lips becoming very seductive and effective? I wondered.
I was in an upbeat mood as I waited for Ella outside the gates of her house on Saturday morning. It was a week after I had done the pink lips therapy. My lips were a bright hue of pink and I looked charming with a bright smile on my face. I was fully confident that Ella would fall for me when she sees me.
The time went past 12 noon and Ella didn’t show up as expected. I became very worried when the time clocked and Ella wasn’t out. Wasn’t she going to the market any longer today? I was tired of standing and also of pacing up and down. I needed to make a bold move.
I walked up to the gate and knocked twice on it.
There was no reply. I pushed it open and peered in cautiously, expecting to see the dogs but I didn’t hear anything. I boldly walked in. Her dad’s Lexus jeep wasn’t parked in the garage, the Toyota camry her mum drove around town wasn’t there.
“Hello, who is here” I called out loudly and clapped my palms. There was no reply.
I walked on moving to the front door to knock on it when a voice rang out from behind.
“Stop there! Who are you?”
I swiftly turned round to see a thickset man in a mobile police uniform staring intensely at me.
“Sorry sir…good day sir, I came to see Ella”
“Yes, Dr Harry’s daughter”
“Dr Harry and his family does not live here anymore” he said flatly.
“Sir, you mean they are not living here?” I inquired in an alarmed tone with my mouth ajar.
“They relocated to England two days. I am guarding this house for them until it is rented out to tenants”
“But…but…how come? I haven’t seen them pack anything. I live in the opposite house and I would have seen them if they moved out”
“It was an urgent move on their part. They had to leave at nighttime for reasons I cannot disclose to you. Young man I think I have given you more than enough information. It’s time to leave!” he ordered me sternly while putting one arm on his gun.
I slowly turned and walked away in sorrow while he shut the gate with a loud clang.
For three good days, I kept vigil and watched over the building, there was no sign of life. No one came in or went out. It was true that no one was living there anymore.
Pain and regret fills my heart. Please if you know where Ella is, tell her that I am here waiting and dying of love for her. Tell her that I joined the beard gang and underwent pink lips therapy treatment just to gain her love and trust. Tell her to come back to Nigeria for me…
All you pretty young ladies reading this, please come and console me. Please don’t allow my pink lips to go to waste.
By Iniobong Umoh
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