You trudge into a gathering of Nigerians (so either a church or a party*), trailing behind your Mama-popular mother.
Suddenly, she looks to the right and wonders aloud, "Is that not Bola Eleko?" Before you know what is happening, she has changed direction and you are rapidly approaching a table of strangers. You get to the table and then begin your own wondering, "Who at this table qualifies as Uncle/Aunty? Do I just curtsy for everyone? Or should I just form omo America and say hi to everyone?"
When we were 12, every woman who was old enough to wear a full face of makeup and carry her own purse was Aunty. And every guy who was old enough to have broad shoulders and facial hair was Uncle.
A decade later, the rules are not so simple anymore. Now that we are now agbalagba*** ourselves, who qualifies as Aunty and Uncle to us?
The people we've been calling Aunty and Uncle since we were 12 don't count. They've been grandfathered in.
But how about the cousins that you are meeting for the first time? Or that family friend who you've only spoken to once?
Some people use age difference as a guideline, but how-in-the-heck am I supposed to know your age if we met 5 minutes ago? The whole thing is just wahala.
If you have thoughts, please drop 'em below. I'd like to know
* If you know, you know. You know?
**agbalagba - Yoruba word for adult
All posts by Ronke (unless otherwise indicated)