. What they mean to different people
I thought I had seen it all until the day I closed from work after a long stressful day. I checked my google map and discovered it wasn’t my lucky day to do a ride home either by bolt or Uber; the surge was half of my salary and I decided to find my way to Lekki gate, join a bus heading to Costain and maybe catch-up with madness that often characterised Lagos Danfo.
“Yes! Your money from the back”, the conductor said with his smelling cigarette breath coupled with alcohol. Soon, I sighted the waist beads underneath his shirt and I really couldn’t believe my eyes.
Why on earth will a guy be wearing waist beads? Who are men trying to beautify their waist for? Or are ladies not telling their guys to enhance their waistline with waist beads? These are questions that heap around my neck like ants surrounding cubes of sugar. Till now, I am yet to get any response to my rhetorical questions.
Emergence of Waistbeads
In the early 15th century, many believed waist beads were worn to serve many celebratory purposes, including rites and passage. While many believed and traced the use of waist beads to Egypt, waist beads are majorly worn in Africa, the reason why some refer to it as African waist beads.
The Yorubas’ in Nigeria and Ghana are majorly the West African countries that make the use of waist beads popular to symbolise womanhood, femininity, sensuality, fertility, protection, class, spirituality, wealth and body shaping. Some also use it as an object for healing.
Either waist bead, or waist chain, they are mere adornment ladies use to beautify their waistline by making it more attractive and display of womanhood. Waist beads are personal and for all women of different shade and body size. However, these waist beads represent different things according to the background interpretation.
As part of our belief, culturally, African waist beads can have a sensual significance as well, for potential male suitors.
What Different Waist Bead Colours Depict
Black – power and protection
Blue – loyalty and truth
Brown – Earth and stability
Gold – good health, power and wealth
Green – abundance, fertility and nature
Orange – Courage, self-confidence and vitality
Pink – care, beauty, love and kindness
Purple – royalty, spirituality and wisdom
Red – confidence and vitality
Turquoise – communication and self-awareness
White – light, truth and purity
Yellow – energy, joy and happiness
Reasons You See Those beautiful Things around their waist
Cultural heritage is my first reason because it gives birth to the existence of these beautiful adornments. I remember how the Yorubas’ in Nigeria and other tribes in the country wear it for some display during cultural performances to show the richness of their cultural heritage while in other cultures, the use of waist beads is mandatory. There are certain cultures among some communities in Nigeria, Ghana and Sudan where their women were brought up wearing waist beads. And they passed the baton on to the next generation.
Some ladies use the beads to control the amount and food quantity they consume. Wearing a waist bead could make them tell if they are eating beyond the size of the beautiful thing around their waists. Also some mothers wear beads for their infant to check weight gain or weight loss as they grow.
I couldn’t believe it when I met a man and the first thing he asked was if I wear waist beads. One part of me felt all awkward about the date, like, ‘Bros!’. This is our first date. Why not take it easy. I said “No” politely that “I don’t”, without any expression that I would even love to have one. A man offered to get me some because waist beads turned him on naturally. There is a feeling that men get when they see a lady with waist beads on.
Most men get sexually aroused when they see a lady with waist beads on. This is where the seduction part comes in. I would even suggest wearing waist beads wherever you go on vacation to the beach with your boo, rocking the same colour of bikini and waist beads to complement one another is the best way to catch his attention.
Some women who are deeply rooted in spiritual things also wear these beads for good luck. This brings us to my short story at the beginning of this article. Some men also wear waist beads to protect them from external attacks which could harm them
Act of pleasing men can also be the reason why some women wear waist beads. It is definitely impossible for a man to wear a waist bead because his woman asked him to. On the other end, a cross dresser or LBTQ can decide to wear it basically because they believe it makes them belong and part of the gender they claim to be.
Belief attached to Leg Chain (Anklet)
Leg chain is another adornment people attach meaning to based on someone’s definition of what it represents and make some men and women see ladies wearing it as wayward beings. Rather than cutting corners, I am going to call out Nigerian men to change their perspectives about ladies wearing leg chains to be a prostitute or going into the act when they start to wear an anklet. I remember when I mentioned getting an anklet to a male friend, I got discouraged with the response and lecturing that followed what I proposed.
Types of anklets
According to Wikipedia “Metal anklets are of two types: “flexible” and “inflexible”. Flexible anklets, often called paayal, pajeb or jhanjhar in India, are made by tying links in a chain. Subsequently, sonorous bells can be attached to the chain, so that the wearer can make pleasing sounds while walking. Inflexible anklets are usually created by shaping flat metal sheet to the ankle.”
Anklet is a thing of Class
Anklets can be made of silver, gold, and other less precious metals as well as leather, beads, and other materials available to craft what one needs. In the ancient days, many believed the type of metallic object of the ornament is worn to tell the class the wearer belongs to; a gold metal anklet is worn by the rich man’s wife while silver and iron are more habitual among the lower social classes.
Left Foot or Right Foot: The decision is yours
Although many believe wearing your anklet on any leg you choose to wear is your decision without connoting any meaning,
Left foot: wearing an anklet on the left foot symbolizes that a woman is married or in a relationship.
Right foot: wearing the ornament on the right foot connotes that a woman is single and in need of a lover.
Well not a surprise to have seen some ladies wear an anklet on both feet ‘smiles’ not too good that sort of confusion for men.
This trend has also been attributed to an act of being promiscuous when seen with multiple piercings.
People should normalize minding their business and thinking towards fashion and trends when they see ladies with anything they (people) believe to be unusual. Making ladies uncomfortable with name calling when they appear with the way they choose should be frowned at and folks should stop demoralizing women with their fashion style.
I really can’t express how I felt the day I saw a ‘beautiful man’ during a visit to University of Lagos with a nose piercing. I remember walking up to him to give him a warm compliment about how he looks. Life can be that easy when we tend to look beyond negativity attached to something..
Popular Types of Piercings
Helix piercings: just the upper part of the earlobe. Typically, this is done so that smaller studs or loops can be placed in the area, along with the traditional earlobe piercing. This piercing is simply a great way to create more space for your own personal expression and have more options for jewelry and change of look.
Nose piercings: one of the oldest and most widely recognized forms of body art which has refused to go into extinction.
Tragus Piercing: is close to the helix area. A tragus piercing is mainly the outward facing part of the inner ear and close to the ear canal.
Tongue piercing is categorized under the oral showcase of Jewelry. Tongue piercing is usually done through the center of the tongue to accommodate a small stud or bar piece of jewelry.
Among other forms of piercings are bellybutton piercings, nipple, genital part, eyebrow piercings and lips piercings.
Waist beads, anklet or leg chain, multiple piercings are just mere fashion sense ladies choose to explore without the society cliche of what it symbolizes. Life becomes easy when we tend to look beyond negativity attached to something rather than how fulfilled and users are when they use them.