“Female folks, your dress code are strictly black skirt and white shirt or black gown or black suit. However, know that there is no woman at the bar, you are gentlemen on skirts …”
Those were the only words that stuck that day. My former Faculty Dean, a formidable character, makes up for what he lacks in height through eloquence. That day however, I wasn’t listening until he said those words. In my mind I was like “Yepa! Gobe o! Black ke? Strictly skirt? Oh no!” I do not like black and worst of all, skirts! For all the wealth in Dubai, I can’t wear skirt except it is extremely important and the only thing appropriate for that occasion. The issue is not the skirt, I am a tomboy! Personally, I find that word offensive. I like to think of myself as a person who successfully enjoys a balance most people find hard to create; I live comfortably in a man’s world, inside a woman’s body. I’m the hybrid human.
The rest of that day was a blur; nobody told me it would be skirt from year one till final year and even in law school! Gown wasn’t even an option for me. I do not know which of the two I love less. However, I found solace in being referred to as a “gentleman”, a “learned gentleman”. The thrill of the word banished every fear of having to wear skirt for at least five hours a day, five days a week for six years (law school inclusive). My coping mechanism? I made up my mind to see it as what it is – school uniform! In two months, it will be five academic years of wearing black skirt; I made it!
Being a tomboy law student has had its blessings so far. I’ve never been charged for contravention of the dress code, I’ve never been “noticed” by any lecturer, I’ve never had to worry about new gowns or skirts – I just shop once per session and I maintain a very modest wardrobe. I only get to wear a gown once every session – at the annual dinner. I have actual male friends from whom I’ve learnt a lot about law in particular and life in general.
Having the heart of a man and the soul of a woman, I was able to navigate the murky waters of student politics in my bid to become the first female faculty president; a bid which didn’t come to fruition but nonetheless made me a better person.
This is not to say I’ve not had some rough patches. Imagine having the courage to say how you feel and after your well-prepared speech, you’re laughed off and your speech termed “joke of the century”, only to end up playing match-maker for your crush. Worse is when I decide to crawl out of my comfort zone and try some makeup (usually during the annual dinner). Then, someone who cannot even draw half-perfect eyebrows decides to use my face for practical and I end up looking like the canvas of an insane version of Picasso!
That’s not all; since I know next to nothing about the art of making up, it looks beautiful to me and I step out only to be turned into the butt of silly girly jokes … “Hahahaha! Who did this make up for you? The person no try o! She didn’t use the correct shade of foundation (like seriously?) *More laughter* Well, for you sha it’s fine *Smiling hypocritically* You’re okay like this sha *laughter*”
In all, life is good and I hope it gets better. Looking forward to law school and all it holds. #ProudHybrid
Glory Uloma Ejike is a Final Year Student of the Prestigious Faculty of Law, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka Anambra State, Nigeria. She could be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org.