A few of the patrons turn to look at her. I push deeper into my seat, trying to disappear into the chair. I think it is embarrassing to be so obvious. No, it is not even the fact that she is celebrating Chelsea's victory six days late that is the problem. The problem started with her red dress, red lipstick and red earnings. And...lest I forget...her red car. Can you say too obvious? I knew you could.
"Ohhh..." Onome complains as a strike goes wrong and the ball ends in the expectant crowds. I am seriously nudging Esther now. Doesn't this friend of hers know that this is an old match? She shoots me an apologetic look and I glare at her. She understands me perfectly. I just told her. Tell your friend to get a grip. Now Esther might be anything but you can't take away the fact that she has a gift for body language or interpreting eye ball movement. Or maybe it is her embarrassment that causes her to tap her friend on the shoulder.
"Onome," she says, leaning towards her friend. "That match is old." Onome is looking perplexed now. "Stop shouting."
I pretend not to hear what Esther whispers. I pick up my can of power horse and draw a lazy sip. This is my first time of meeting Onome, I doubt I want to get off on a wrong foot with her, besides you looks like the loud type. When I decide to look in her direction, I find her smiling at Esther. She looks around at the dimly lit bar half full with well dressed older men and leans towards my friend. I can hear her whisper...
"That is how you do it." I want to ask, do what? but the conversation is not for me, so I take another sip of the energizer before me. I hear Onome add again. "When you are in a place where men like something, you have to act as if you like it to attract them."
I look around the bar, and realize that I am probably the only one who noticed that no man is paying us attention. It is on the tip of my tongue to ask Onome to check if her trick was working but hey, she is stocky and from Warri, the last thing I want to do is get beaten up.
So we nurse our drinks for one hour but no prospective date or should I say client walks up to us and asks if we even have names. By then Onome is no longer oblivious to our lack of appeal. I almost feel sorry for her as we walk back to the car park where her car is. She asks Esther for money to buy fuel. They drop me at the gate. Esther promises to call. I wave her and her friend goodnight and flag a private car at the gate. Luckily for me, the middle aged woman behind the wheel didn't seem to mind my smokey eye make up and low neck shirt.
When I got to the room, and wiped the mask of make up and took of my tight clothes, inspiration hit me. I realized that there were dos and donts of this profession that were worth sharing. Thank you Onome.
So dear friends, allow me take you on a short course. One which I shall call Runs 101. Here are the basics
a) Never ever be too obvious. Avoid over the top dressing and loud make up.
b) Survey your environment before you take any action
c) Always make sure that your head is not missing good weave. Good Brazilian or Peruvian weaves are a must if you have to impress high class clientèle. (Yes, I bought the weave from Ann the weave seller yesterday. I could tell the difference the moment I stepped into the sports bar)
d) Buy yourself a blackberry abeg. You know cheap phones lower your value right? I mean, when you sit down with Lagos big boys and phones are displayed on the table, you don't want that old Nokia looking out of place, do you? Onome had one of those and had to hang her bag close to her ears every time she received a call. (Yes, she has a car.)
e) Perfumes anyone? Someone? I swear I can't understand why women do not know that the way they smell affects the way their clients treat them. In other words, smell the way you want to be addressed.
f) Always get a madam or dealer who knows her way around big fishes. These are the ones who will handle the whole pricing game if you are uncomfortable with it.
g) Then when you are out, take sometime to study and arm yourself of knowledge of the activities taking place where you are. That way you will be saved from Onomerisms. (You need my permission to use that word. I have a copyright on it :D.)
h) When in Rome, act like the Romans do. In order words, if the people around you are speaking in low tones, by all means lower your voice. If they are using complete cutlery for their meal, please copy their them wholeheartedly. Don't stick out like a sore thumb.
i) Just because you think soccer sells doesn't mean you should transform into a one man supporters club to catch the attention of would be clients.
j) Never ever, I repeat, never ever wear red dress, red lipstick and drive a red car. I swear that combination can only mean one thing - Bad luck. Colour blocking is now the in thing. If you want to match your clothes and bags, do it moderately.
And that is all for today. I hope to see you tomorrow. Esther was talking about a party at the island. She says it is one of those popular parties on the island where Fuji musicians play. Apparently, there will be spraying of money. I am already practising some killer dance moves. Thank God for my well rounded behind. I am going to do everything within my power to try to land free cash. Stay tuned to more lessons on the dos and donts of runs. Goodnight friends.