The ChatChe Dress Code

I’ve always wanted to write about this for some time now but you know how life can get sometimes but thankfully not today. Today I have time. Well, I’m actually ignoring like ten thousand other things I should be doing but hey, I’m typing already and I might as well finish.

…so school gave us a little break at the end of last semester and like a good (and very, very broke) girl, I went home to the fam. First weekend back, they decided we should all just go chill at the pool in one of those luxury hotels in the neighborhood. We packed a picnic basket like a proper posh family (but really, you should hear how much these guys charge for food and drinks. On top wetin abeg!). The swim gang packed all their paraphernalia but me that I knew that I wasn’t going anywhere near that water – not that I was not scared o – and I didn’t want to roast in the heat, I decided to dress for “summer”. I got out my favourite pair of knee length shorts, one very fine, white ‘three quarter’, with some random top and slippers and I was good to go. Then I remembered the ten thousand things that I had to do and because my afternoon cannot come and go and waste, I packed up my laptop and its charger. Ready I was.

 

See, the problem didn’t start immediately. We got there, fine, the Swim Gang got their passes, changed clothes, slipped into the water. And as a sharp girl that I am, I waited for them to dive before I brought out my plate to serve my own food. Thus settled in, it was time to get stuff done.

So I plugged in my laptop, powered it up and got on the Internet. In no time, I was typing away! Just before you start wondering, I was filling out an application which I had no idea would take forever. My mum, the second half of the Sit Down and Eat Gang, gave me the side eye and asked what I was doing and I gave her some vague response, turning the screen briefly in her direction. She ran her eyes quickly over it and went back to eating. Peace, or so I thought.

Swim Gang came out for a breather and mum jokingly told them I was now part of the growing Chatche Squad, judging by how quickly my hands were flying over the keys. We all had a quick laugh about it. She said she had caught me in the middle of the night the previous day and I had quickly shut the system down the minute I saw her. Actually, I had just finished a movie and was preparing to go to sleep. She woke up as I was closing the lid. See pure coincidence o.

Now, in case you don’t know, let me tell you what Chatche is. Chatche is the streets! Chatche are the boys in sagging knee-length sweatpants ( or jeans) that are supposed to look funky with the Gucci or Armani slippers and the short-sleeved tops with wild prints, occasionally paired with designer sunglasses, a glittery Rolex, a gold chain – or 5 – around the neck and the spiky haircut. If you follow them on social media, you see the evidence in their usernames and the pictures of gold chains and dollars and iPhones littered all over their timelines.

The ultimate finisher is the key to the brand new Audi or Muscle or basically a shiny car with tinted windows. Chatche are the boys who operate in different time zones, ‘working’ all night till the Maga pays up in foreign currency. If you still don’t get it, Chatche is code for 419, yahoo-yahoo, Internet fraud.

It is generally believed that the term ‘ Chatche’ (alternative form – ‘Sashe’) gained popularity after being used successively in several hip-hop numbers just like Trump brought us ‘covfefe’ which went on to become popular hits and acclaimed street anthems. P.s. I typed that in my music professor Wikipedia voice. Now, picture me sitting by a poolside, back arched, eyes trained on-screen, fingers flying maniacal over keys, three-quarters clad legs crossed under table. You see it, don’t you?

I didn’t think too much of it until the Swimming Instructor walked past and jokingly, that is what I choose to think, commented “ Ah Aunty, you have to teach me o”. My mother joked right back and went “She’s just typing her assignment”. This young man nodded and said “Ah, girls too can chatche o. It doesn’t matter” and walked away. My mother immediately told me I had to show him what I was typing the next time he walked past. I was stunned. I looked around and a group of men a few tables away were glancing surreptitiously in our direction, probably thinking “look at this small girl typing in public, seated right next to her mother too. Hmph!’

Why did I have to prove anything to this stranger, to all these strangers? When did owning a laptop and using it in public become a crime? And what is wrong with wearing three-quarters?!

I have friends who have been stopped by law enforcement agents. The only query they ever received was “give me your phone” or “ let me see your laptop”. The rejoinder would usually be “Where is it?” I learnt that ‘it’ refers to your secret stash of pictures of beautiful white girls and all your international chats. Even when they find nothing, you would still have to ‘bail’ your device out.

I will still wear my fine, white three-quarters on hot days, and if I ever have to use my laptop in public while I wear them, I will do so without restraint or hesitation. I’m in my house, come and beat me (LOL, don’t! That was just small play o).

Image credits: Shutterstock

 

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