Diary Of A Shy College Kid – Episode 5
The First Party
One of the reasons why I had wanted to get into Unilag all those years was because of the stories I had heard of how fun the school could be. At the time, I would say it was the most fun school in Nigeria. A lot had been going on since I resumed- different kinds of shows, freshers night, beauty pageants, club parties, but I hadn’t really attended any. One day during school, I saw one of my course mates, Ladokun walking around with a stack of paper, talking to most of the cool kids. It looked like he was sharing test scripts, but he was the last person to do such, so I was curious to find out what exactly he was up to.
In Unilag at the time, to be in the upper echelon of cool kids, you had to be a member of a club. The most popular clubs were ON, ABC, Dynamic, and Papas Club. Yes, their names were funny, but to be there was the dream of most University of Lagos students that wanted to hang with the popular crowd. They had the freshest girls, threw the wildest parties, and had the most fun.
When Ladokun walked up to me, I found out he had been assigned by his Club Chiefo to get the word out about a party On Club was having on the island that night, and the pieces of paper in his hand were data collection papers about the music people that would attend the party wanted to hear. He handed me one, and as I filled the form, he told me about how crazy the party was going to be. He was one of the first friends I had made when I first got into school and was wearing my dad’s gold watch, but I had to slowly detach myself from his crowd because I couldn’t keep up. Ladokun had joined the On Club almost immediately he got admission because his elder brother who was in 300 Level stood for him. One of the rules of being a club member was never to be caught taking public transportation. My parents were middle class, and I sure couldn’t keep up with that, which was one of the reasons I stopped hanging around him. But we were still cool, as he respected my taste in music and fashion.
The paper had space for ten songs, and I remember making sure the last song was a very hard song to get- I needed to know if they took things like this serious. After feeling out the form and handing it back to Ladokun, I went in search of my ride or die friend, Sope. The rest of my friends were still coming from home at the time, and couldn’t think of what to tell their parents about going for an all night party. But Sope was already squatting with someone on campus, and I had a lot of freedom at my guardian’s place.
Very few people had phones back then, so if you were looking for someone, you had to actually look for him. It’s hard to explain if you never experienced living in that era. Anyway, after about an hour of combing through campus, I finally found Sope when I returned to class. We started out discussing how we were going to get to the party venue on the island, and I remembered two of my old friends were coming over to see me later that day around 5pm, and they both had cars. Although I hadn’t discussed it with them, I was sure I could convince them to tag along with us. Then we got to the issue of gate fee. It was seven hundred and fifty Naira for most club parties at the time- that was half of the weekly allowance my parents gave me, and I had just a thousand left in my wallet. Sope always had money back then as he was into fish farming at a very early age and used to set up fishponds for other people for a fee. This was 2002, when fish farming was relatively new in the country, so he made a lot of cash from it. He volunteered to give me two hundred and fifty Naira to support my gate fee and also pay for drinks when we got in.
After lectures, I headed back to my apartment off campus. Back then you had to keep to meetings as there were no phones. My friends were coming to see me, and I had to wait for them to come around. I remember my room in Jibowu had a great view of the road and bridge that led straight to Yaba. Most of the buildings on the road were used for transporters going to the east, so it was always busy. Sometimes, luxurious buses would take off at night, and some would arrive at 3-4 in the morning, from the eastern part of Nigeria. It was never a dull moment.
At about 6:15pm, my friend Fola, arrived in his rare, diesel engine white Mercedes Benz 200. Minutes later, Stephen came in his silver coloured Nissan Blue Bird. I got into the Benz, and we headed down to University of Lagos. There was a little traffic along Herbert Macaulay road, and it was already dark by the time we got into Unilag.
The years I spent at home before getting into Unilag, I had become famous in my neighbourhood for throwing the best parties. The parties were famous for having a lot of girls at them, and having great music, two areas I personally handled. My brother and our friends handled drinks and security. I had a cousin living with me back then who had a lot of friends, who automatically became my friends after she travelled out of the country. So there was never shortage of girls at our parties. Most of those girls had also just got into Unilag, and it was some of those girls my friends had come to see that day.
We drove straight to a place called Newest Hall, where all the 100 Level students resided. My friends and I walked into the hall, and I swear, I have never seen so many beautiful girls in one place till that night. We located our friend, Laura’s room and after greeting my friends and accusing me of not looking for her since we got into Unilag, she took us to our other friend’s room. We came out with five girls, and went to hang around were we had parked. I went off with one of my friends and to get drinks- the drinks came in large white cups and were sold just opposite the female halls at the time. It was a Punch drink that had a little alcohol in it. The drinks loosened everyone up, and we had a great time talking and catching up, while we waited for Sope to find us. When he did come around, the place got lively. Around 9pm, we walked the girls back to their rooms, and it was time to plan how the party would go.
My friends, Fola and Stephen said the timing was too impromptu and they couldn’t go for the party, but they dropped us at the school gate, where we took a bus going to Obalande, and another one going to Awolowo Way, where the party venue was. Sope was wearing a brown Rocawear jacket, blue jeans and butter colour Timberland boots. I had on a brown fitted Timberland T Shirt with the tree logo in the middle, black jeans, and Sope’s coffee brown Timberland boots. The name of the nightclub was 11:45; the hottest club on the island at the time.
After strict security checks at the door and getting our hands stamped after paying the gate fee, we walked into the club like gods. The place was ice cold, and the speakers boomed so loud it hastened my heartbeat for a minute, before I adjusted to the atmosphere. The Jagged Edge and Nas song I had requested came on just as I was stepping on to the dance floor and it got me really hyped. I had already started getting down on the dance floor by myself when I saw Ladokun heading towards me with a seductively dressed girl by his side. He greeted Sope and I with quick hand slaps, handed me the girl, and walked off with Sope to the bar. The girl was really in the mood to dance, and when she saw how hyped I was about the song that was playing, she turned around and started grinding up on me. I had a little liquor in my system from earlier, so I wasn’t as shy as always. I immediately started rocking the girl and rapping along to the song. The girl looked back and smiled at me; that got me even more hyped.
You have to understand that back then, there were rarely ‘Oloshos’ at clubs- at least not at clubs of high repute like 11:45. So, dancing with a girl who was happy to dance with me, not because she sees me as a potential customer but because she is naturally having fun made me feel good.
Unfortunately, when the song ended, the hype was gone and another guy took the girl from me. Ladokun came back and asked where the girl was as he handed me a chilled bottle of small stout. When I told him some other guy took her, he said I should have held on tight to her while dancing. This was something a 19 year old me feared the most at the time; holding onto a girl in a sexually provocative manner.
Ladokun excused himself and headed towards the VIP section upstairs as Sope and I went deeper into the dance floor; bobbing our heads to the loud music, and sipping from our beer bottles. We hadn’t gone far when a petite girl in dungarees thrust herself onto me. I was shocked, but when I pulled back from her, I realized she was one of Laura’s friends I had hung out with at Newest Hall earlier on in the day. She was drunk, and two of her apologetic friends came to get her off me. They headed out the club with her, not wanting her to cause a scene.
A few minutes later, one of the drunk girl’s friends came to apologize to me. I didn’t hear what she said at first, and when she leaned in closer, I caught her a whiff of her sweet smelling perfume. On impulse, I grabbed her hand and pulled her back when she turned around to leave. I started dancing. She stood still for a few seconds, and smiled at my unexpected reaction, and then went on to dance with me. She wore glasses, was about my height, and had jeans and denim shirt on. We didn’t talk much, but danced for a while before she said she had to go check on her friend.
When it was time to leave, I asked for her room number. That was the most you could get back then. She was really like me, an introvert who had a little party spirit in her, and I really wanted to see if something could grow from that night of dancing.
Over the weekend, I ran into my friend, Laura who was her roommate and got the full details on the girl. She turned out to be the twin sister of a guy in my class. The thought of dating her now seemed weird, and before the end of the weekend, I had made up my mind not to pursue the thought any further.
To be continued