Husbands & Handbags


No. I ain’t talking about the latest Gucci or Chloe purse.
Let me refer you to Naija Dictionary for beginners
Handbag (hănd’băg’) pronunciation
1. A woman that a man picks up at a party or wherever
2. A woman that a man takes to a party or wherever
NOTE: This woman is never one’s spouse or steady girlfriend just a girl on the side.
I mean the whole thing is getting annoying. You see a man enter a club and he leaves with a handbag for an unknown destination. The more stories I hear the more disgusted I get. Recently, I heard about an Abuja “big boy” (that’s what they call popular guys) who went to a club with 2 handbags, I guess he was planning a menage a trois (lol! I know I spelt it wrong), anyway, his fiancee’s sister was also there and called her sister to come and see how her husband to be was fooling around with these young girls.
The fiancee who is also a “big girl” stormed into the club and asked her husband to be what he was doing with these whores, as soon as she said that one of the girls got up and gave the girl a hot slap. “who you calling a whore you bitch”.
You could have heard a pin drop in the club. The whole club grew quiet and everyone waited to see what the assaulted lady’s man would do. The guy stood up and told his handbag to take it easy and then looked at the girl he was going to marry in about a month and said “why did you come here to allow yourself be messed up? Go home and wait for me”. They exchanged a few words but eventually she left with her head tucked under her wing. Guess what? They still got married and the pictures where all over several naija mags.

A few years ago “big mans” son and “big mans” daughter got married it was a massive wedding. The next week thieves went to the house and beat up the new bride, where was her husband? Rocking a popular Lagos club.

I know several couples who rocked with their husbands while they were still dating but once they marry they sneak out and leave madam at home. Why? I mean, some of these wives are hot (although some men give the daft excuse that their wives have added too much weight and so on) and anyone would be proud to take them anywhere but they must stay at home while oga looks for another babe to rock. A friend of mine tried clubbing with her husband and he kept on giving her excuse after excuse until one day he blurted out “I can’t do it; you’re my wife. The mother of my kids! I cant take you to a club”.  “But we always went clubbing together” she asked in shock. “It was different then, you were my babe now you’re my wife” he said. Me I don’t get that, do you?

Just recently, another friend in the States told me what happened to one of the Nigerian big boys in her area. He was one of the upwardly mobile guys in town and quite popular. He got married to a quiet girl he met in church, after a few weeks of marriage she took in and that was the beginning of the end. He stopped spending time with her and never took her out his excuse being that “I don’t want you to go out because it may affect the babies (they were expecting multiples)”. When the babies were born it was even worse. He complained about their incessant crying and would go out at night to have some “peace”. One night he never came home.  You see, he was in bed with his Jamaican girlfriend when a guy who claimed to be her boyfriend stormed in and killed him right there. As if that wasn’t bad enough, his wife found out the jamo girl was pregnant for her late husband.

Another guy I know was sleeping with his wife’s friend right under their roof. No one suspected anything because the girl was pretty close to his wife and at a point had even lived with the couple.

I could go on and on, the stories are just to much. Some of them just have flings with these girls, while some of them get hooked and have long term affairs. Like my family friend who was in the habit of changing handbags. He always told the girls that he loved his wife and daughter to bits and was just looking for fun. A few years ago he met Moni* now this girl knew he was a good catch and went to her juju man for some help. Today, Moni is pregnant and his wife who just found out is threatening to leave with their daughter.

The average Nigerian woman expects her husband to cheat. Just before I got married, a male family friend told me to accept that my husband would have affairs. “Chioma, you women expect us to have affairs but get angry when we do, just accept it because every normal man will have flings”. I don’t agree and I don’t accept infidelity. As far as I am concerned it is very possible (maybe hard, but possible) not to cheat on your wife. Just last week we were talking about polygamy in my office when someone said it was better for men to marry their girlfriends rather than keep them outside. Mr. Acha, a born- again christian said he disagreed as he personally hadn’t slept with anyone apart from his wife in their 12 marriage. According to him “she doesn’t quite believe me, but I am not doing it just for her I am also protecting myself (spiritually and physically). From the moment I got married, I made up my mind to remain faithful to her. After all, what can anyone else give me that she can’t?”
However, the number of ‘born-again” men (and women) having affairs is astounding. At a couples retreat a few years ago, one married man who came alone asked the pastor “please sir, can you tell me practically how I can stay faithful to my wife, because I just can’t seem to stay away from these small girls”. Another young man complained how an elderly client of his (works in a bank) was offering him a large amount money to start an affair with her, meanwhile him and his wife were having accommodation problems.
A lot of people talk about the 10 year itch when men start to stray. Today, what we have is the one week itch. People have parties and if you bring your wife there you will look foolish because everyone has a handbag. So the next time there’s a party, you’ll tell your missus you’re just going to watch a match at *Diran’s house, but as soon as you step out of the house, you give your latest acquisition a call “hello babes, will pick you up in 10 mins”.
…husbands and handbags!
*not real names

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  1. In the words of Gandhi (I may be wrong here):

    You cannot take away our freedom if we do not give it to you

    Women have been conditioned in one way or the other to accept cheating. Relationships work via compromises. If a woman never allows a man to boss her around, he never will. If a man gives in to a woman’s demands the first time she cries he definitely will the second time.

    I think being strict about it would go a long way in curing the so-called inbuilt ‘cheating gene’ most men claim to have.

  2. Hmmmm… very interesting and ‘real’ post. Definite food for thought about what we find in relationships and marriages. Chioma, you write really well, I’m so glad you started blogging.

  3. You’d be surprised how many women out there have their ‘manbags’ – what’s good for the goose is good for the gander right? I think the nigerian system is a hotbed for polygamy and infidelity. There is so much pride in having a handbag… do we blame the so called ‘handbags’? certainly not as they surely did not take vows at the altar… the bride to be who was slapped and her fiance’s lack of intervention coupled with their subsequent wedding a month after speaks volumes – we women allow men to get away with murder. I’m sure the marriage will not last. It’s all an image problem – A sad one at that!

  4. Baby girl, this is a good post; na wa for people sha; handbag? peoples idea of what marriage is about is pretty messed up though. If you want to be footloose and fancy free then why marry now? no be by force.

  5. Thanks for this post Chioma.
    I dont know what to say about the state of marriage in Nigeria. With the way people are getting married in droves, they are getting divorced and/or settling for degrading situations like accepting that their husbands have handbags.
    I dont know what it is refective of, is it our culture: as per our forefathers were polygamous or is it the demographics – as per maybe there are more women than men?
    I just dont get it….something to ponder upon for the weekend!
    luv luv your blog!

  6. This is a hot topic oh! Only Jesus can keep a man faithful to the “wife of his youth”. Women can’t rely anymore on their looks, their cooking or the children to keep their man at home. Stay close to your husband and pray!

  7. I’m back! My battery was dying( my sister, no light for 2 days straight, we had to let the gen rest after a while) and I wanted to leave a comment. It is riddled with typos so let me do it again:

    Chioma, no vex but I get question: You buy laptop? Because I’ve gone from waiting months for a post to you blogging every week and sometimes several times within a week. Loves it.

    I will be back to comment on the handbags that are annoying you.


    Ok: I just have this to say. I must be more than average because I do not accept that a man will cheat and hell yeah, i will get annoyed because my health is being put on the line (STI, STD, HIV-wise). The one I do not particulary get is guys that will sleep with the help. I am a woman and can not imagine myself being attracted to the gardener or houseboy so what gives these so-called “tush” guys the liver to sleep with their househelps and of course continue sleeping with their “tush” wives? I know I have strayed from the handbag subject. This subject just gets me so riled up..

  8. @azuka-you are so right.thanks for coming by
    @dg-thanks dear
    @unmarried- true its increasingly becoming a man and woman thing..some women say since my man does it i might well.makes no sense
    @nanya-abi oh? the thing is taht the naija society puts enormous pressure on people to get married,so some just marry to please family..meanwhile they ahve no biz being married
    @calabar girl-true,its been so accepted
    @ugo- glad u like it, hopefully when you and nkem get married you will be handbag free!
    @imham@ lol.. have had a laptop for a while,its just taht i have much more time on my hands and have just decided to be more diligent with my posting.the housegirl one confounds me…makes no sense and its applaing that so many men are doing that, some even marry them! shame.I agre with you about the sti’s and all.its very upsetting that sopme men put their spouses life on the line for moments of pleasure.
    @bella naija- oh i have blogland royalty visiting today lol.glad u liked teh post.really men give that excuse of us being polygamous in nature and too many women..and in a way its true.It also doesnt help taht most women have accepted u know your woman wont take it you wont do it so brazenly.It actually takes an extra disciplined man to be faithful,its not easy but it can be done. like @ omara said only Jesus can keep a man faithful, and nothing else.

    maybe we will do the househelp one another time..have quite a few stories about that one.

    God bless and lets pray that our men don’t stray.

  9. It’s also the atmosphere in those clubs/parties- even if you want to take your wife, most of the other guys there will bring their “handbags” and most men will not want their wives friends to see them with a handbag and your husband will look like he’s pouring sand in the other guys’ garri

  10. Nigerians/Africans/men/women/mothers/fathers/friends/countrypeople we all need to do better. The handbag phenomenon has simply gotten out of control, and our morals and value shave been chucked out the window and replaced with vileness. Seriously there used to be a day when men who were cheating had to do it secretly away from the eyes of others. Now everyone encourages it, i’ve even heard of even worse situations were these harlots are openly accepted by his friends, family, business associates and staff; whats the point of getting married if you want to be gbenshing every ngozi, ronke and halima? Why put someone else life, health and happiness on the line because you’re too weak minded to control yourself?

    And people are rushing to get married? With all this wahala? for what bikonu, I can do bad by myself.

  11. Damn! As for me, I am not afraid of being single nor am I afraid of being a single mother, my life will be complete with or without a man. Finding the love of my life would be an unexpected “bonus” and I will be forever grateful for that, but, if my man decides to cheat, misbehave, nothing would ever make me stay. I have better things to do in life than worrying where he is, who he is sleeping with, etc, me, I love peace of mind oh! I am sick like that, my mind can not handle that kind of crap! I can not understand how women manage oh! I rather eat my own fingers!

  12. Nice post!A lady preacher once said that there are only two kinds of men that don’t cheat.
    1)A man with the fear of God
    2)An impotent man.
    She said that no matter the level of education a man(apart from the two classes mentioned)attains,his &#!(&#$ remains illiterate.See,just like CG said,the society accepts it.

  13. Great post…very interesting! Followed Bella’s reccomendation and checked ur blog. I agree, I think infidelity is almost accepted as normal in Nige…which adds to the problem. Well done…more more!

  14. Hi,
    i just read your blog for the first time and i couldn’t stop reading.
    i liked your post on speaking one’s mother tongue, and i think its a thing of choice.
    i live in England and i ve got two children.Both understand Igbo perfectly and i just pray they become fluent.I make sure i praise them in Igbo and take time to explain words to them,luckily i left london as a kid and grew up in Enugu so my Igbo is good.
    if one puts in some effort,the result is there for you to see.
    I give them rewards when they successfully make a sentence in IGBO and this is quite an incentive to them.
    well done Chioma

  15. @uknaija- hello! exactly,but why should it be so?I mean why should they care what the other guy thinks..I am always happy when i see a couple out together esp when madam is looking “madamish” and the husband is proud to be with thats a man!
    @sitacross- hello! the part about friends knowing the handbag ..sad.a friends dad once took her to meet his mistress..for what?Or some who take handbags around and introduce them to friends..and the silly friends will be like “nice to meet you” rubbish!. I applaud a society lady in lagos who disgraced her familyfriend when he introduced his handbag to her.The whole phenomenon annoys me too much.
    @waffarian- girl I am with you 90%(because i am anti-divorce) but if i hear some kind things..I am out.I pray such never happens cus I really can not take it.Like my friend says “even if he dey do and I no know no problem, but once i find out I am out!”I think Nigerians are so into sticking with a man no matter what..I know of men who have gotten househelps pregnant and the woman will be told by all and sundry to stay and forgive her husband (esp our long suffering igbo women)Howeve rif a man is truly repentant i believe wifey should give him a chance.
    @fineboy- I am so angry that so many people accept it. Pls fineboy dont answer those handbags offering you free wares.
    @mrs somebody- isn’t that sad?even some that claim to fear God are still missing around..imagine a deacon in church having an affair with a woman he was counselling with her husband.God is just to kind!
    @anonymous- well done! I am glad you know the importance of speaking ones tongue.Thanks for your comment and keep it up.

  16. Man it’s a sad situation on Marriage in Nigeria i tell you i dont know why they get married in the first place and why oh why do wives accept marriages where there are these so called hand bags..

    Chioma i love your post very very real and also scary as a woman who is about to embark on marriage all these things do come in my head.

    Let me give you guys one jist..

    Over Easter my friend died in a car crash in Abuja he was one of my first friends i made when i started visiting Abuja i have known him for over 10 yrs..

    This man is a very succesfull young man as so called “Abuja Big Boy”
    He got Married a few years ago to his fiance who was living abroad she came back to Nigeria to live with her husband. They have one child.

    Now Mr Big Boy when he was in London last year we went out for drinks and catching up as you do.. i have always know him to be a bit of a womaniser but i thought he wuld have cooled down as he was married now.
    We got jisting and he was telling me about his new babe oe young 21 yr old how she is soo cool and so down to earth just a lil live wire.. na him words oh..
    So i asked him.. my guy you still doing this rubbish.. i beg please dont let it interefere with your marriage these young girls can be a big distraction!!.

    Let me just get to the shocker..
    Over the easter weekend whilst doing Easter rcoking in The Capital.. He was out with his small girl and her sister and wife and child were at home .. He died in a car crash!! crashing into one of Abj’s numerous round about dying instantly whilst his small girl and sister are in National hospital with multiple injuries!

    When they phoned to tell me me i was sooo sad but most of all i am vex!
    Look at the circumstances of death it is not fair!
    The wife is in pieces what do u expect!.
    It’s sad but true..

    Ciao guys..xxxx

  17. i think the most annoying thing is the fact that the women accept for the men to cheat on them. Y? My solution is when you get married & you find out ur husband is cheating, cheat on him as well. But always make sure you look good so he won’t say you gained weight & that was his reasing for straying. As for those girls who go about with married men shame on them. How would they feel if someone did that with their own husbands. Money isn’t everything. i know someone who goes about with all this rich guyz who cheat on their wives. One day, she told me that she would set me up with some guy like that that just came into town. I asked her if he was married and she was like yes but his family lived in Canada. I was like no i’m not going to do it. This guy was like my father age. There are things that we humn beings do that later on we get the punishment for it. Then we would ask ourselves” why is this happening to me?”

  18. There is no such thing as a gene which makes men more like to cheat than women. That a load of crap! Men( especially naija men) cheat becuase society allows it. It’s even expected for a man to cheat. Women condone it and make lame excuses for the men. What’s sad is that they think they’re being “good christian” wives. The irony of it all is that GOD frowns on marital infidelity. He doesn’t have different expectations from the man and the woman. Faithfulness is something a MAN AND HIS WIFE should expect from each other. A “christain” woman who sees her husband committing adultery and looks the other way is sinning.There’s nothing moble about that


  19. Dis is such a sad situation. It’s not even a naija thing any longer. I think it’s black people’s problem. For example, look at these so-called black celebs these days. Michael Jordan has been married to his wife for over 18 years and now they’re divorcing, look at babyface, eddie Murphy(let’s assume dat one get his own demon) but for these sort of things to be happening to unsuspecting black people is so shocking.

  20. Chioma
    This post is so true. I wonder how one stops this nonsense

    Its not only Naija men in Nigeria. In the UK, as horny as hell

    Man A – has a daughter in university, a few years younger than me. He has promised me the world( a flat and a car etc). I mean I could take him for what he has. I told him that I felt insulted that he thought I was the kind of girl to sneak out with him or have him sneak in and out of my place…. he still does not get it.

    Man B – Married less the 5 years with 2 children…. Been after me for 3 years. Always wants to take me dancing etc – I have insulted him and questioned his morality and values. He believes he is so good looking and loaded and no woman turns him down.

    I know these 2 creatures from Voluntary work I do and our phone numbers are published for all to see.

    In my short life, I have been asked out by several married Naija men…at least 20 plus. Fortunately I have a tongue that stops them in thier tracks. What is wrong with these Men.

  21. I agree with @Waffarian 100%. Me, I am not afraid to be a single mom. And I will not tolerate any such rubbish from my husband. I know my self worth. And my worth is not in being Mrs. so and so.

    Nigerian men have really rubbed pepper in the eyes of some of their wives.

    Please.. please.. please… mothers …talk to your sons. Teach them how to treat a woman. Even if their father is not a good example, still, teach them. It is a source of pride to be with one woman to be satisfied by her for a lifetime.

  22. Lovely blog Chioma. This handbag phenomenon is really a problem. I will not tolorate a cheating man, I can fend for myself if it will bring peace in my life. And you are right all this rushing to get married is part of the problem.

  23. Thanks for all your wonderful comments; very insightful. Its true that alot of us have become prayer warriors because of this problem, sad becasue we should be prayerful whether or not we have the fear of philandering husbands.Pls I accidentally deleted a few comments Kpakpando and others please resend as your comments were very apt. Chidi don’t agree that women should cheat back..whats the point?and the reason you gave for not dating married men is exactly why some women do it..they reason that their future husbands will fool around so they might as well.sad

  24. abuja babe…just heard about your story from a friend yesterday.I feel so bad for his family just imagine that.God help us all.
    @nyb and tm–you go girls!
    wienna and anon in london i agree black men and naija men in particular really feel like studs. It really breaks my heart cus I believe and know it is possible for a man to stay true to his wife…I am away from my laptop so won’t be able to post for a while. God bless and like nyb lets ask for help to bring up God fearing sons who won’t cheat.

  25. I agree with Waffarian…I am married, I have a son, and I am not afraid of being alone. In fact I love my own time/space. However we all arent the same. We have numerous women who are timid, submissive and who are in Nigeria living without the freedom we have over here.
    Imagine trying to make a choice about infidelity and having the whole world come to your house convincing you that you have to take it like that as men would be men?? Imagine having so many children , youcouldnt think of leaving because you have no job or anything to fall back on…
    We are very lucky and we should all be thankful that we have choices…some women dont!
    Great post Chioma 🙂

  26. Thanks for this article. I know it’s possible for men not to cheat so we should stop condoning it and hold them to a higher standard that they are capable of. I know men who were virgins when they married and have been with only their wives and yes they are Nigerian men. S don’t let men fool you that it’s impossible and that’s how men are. That’s just bull.It may be hard but it’s possible if you really want to.

  27. Thanks anonymous and bluntremi. It’s true that a lot of women feel like they have no choice but to accept infidelity and like I’ve said I don’t support divorce but women do have to stand up for ourselves and speak out on this issue. Like anonymous I personally know a man who was a virgin till he got married so the truth is that self control is possible for both men and women and being faithful to your spouse is a choice that can be made even though it may be difficult.

  28. very impressive on point post… May God deliver us from men and their cheating ways…. but you know, there’s also a flip side… you need to hear the stories of wives who cheat! I did not go into marriage with the belief that my hubby must cheat o… call me naive, but that’s just my opinion… the issue is basicall about self control and contentment. Thanks Chi Chi 😉 for this brilliant piece

  29. Excellent post – just one question. Who or what is a Nigerian ‘big girl’. Forgive my ignorance on this one. I see a lot of it in the few Nigerian magazines I can get here….I have my own ideas…

  30. LUVLY BLOG!!!its stories lyk this that make me keep insisting that im an advocate of divorce…but my aunt keeps telln me its cos im young…hope i dont change for nobody…great writeup!

  31. @nyemoni- my dear i agree with you completely.
    @ababoy–according to julius agwu(comedian), ” a big girl is asingle woman who dates married men and owns a boutique”.lol..seriously they are single girls who have money (usually made through their men friends) and are well known on the social scene.
    @naija vixen- divorce is never a good thing but I feel you ..some men & women shouldn’t even be married. God bless

  32. Nne the things my eyes are continually exposed to in Naija is more than amazing. I spent an entire afternoon with a friend of mine only for her to break down about what her husband’s philandering is actually doing to her, when I tell you she is damaged emotionally, physically, mentally, kai… people don’t realize what they do can truly affect their future, na wa. We no dey shame in that naija, it’s has truly become a free for all Sodom and Gommorah. I now truly understand why all my married friend have become prayer warriors

  33. My sis,thats what the society,culture and we self turn marriage to.Girls want to marry,boys are not there and the few that are there are doing as if they are doing us a favour and treat us anyhow and bcos mama and papa dey cry wan see pikin-we mortgage our life to that nonsense.No matter how educated a nijaman is,he will still be primitive at heart and want you to behave like his grandmother who takes all rubbish including fetching water and making bed for girlfriends when they come visiting.The good lord will help us.

  34. My dear don’t be suprised by the number of bornagain men and few women who are in this sort of situation. I have been married for almost thirty years and i can tell from experience that, its not the nature of any man to have handbags. It takes a strong man to live with his wife faithfully.A weak man will always seek for pleasure outside his relationship to fulfil himself.If they trully like the lifestle, why don’t they do it openly.i love your blog and i always pray that you will never have any occassion to be cheated on, because it could be devastating

  35. “I have been married for almost thirty years and i can tell from experience that, its not the nature of any man to have handbags” truth pls clarify is it in their nature or not in their nature? We need to hear from people like you that have years of experience in marriage. Thanks for your prayers and a big AMEN.

  36. I think the problem is the fact women in Nigeria accept the fact that it is okay for their husband to have someoneelse. I totally agree with you Chioma. It is very unacceptable. There are men who do without cheating so can any guy. I think men who cheat on their wives are weak!!! I tell my boyfriend all the time that’s what I think. I don’t think he will cheat on me, but just incase he is planning too he’ll see himself as weak and you know how guys ego goes. a little bit of psyhological mind play. (hopefuly it works)

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