That night I was torn between two films. There was Mandela: A fantastic epic about the life of the great Nelson Mandela starring Idris Elba and Naomi Harris. Naomi's hands down one of the hottest women in the world. And there was Half of a Yellow Sun: The not very good film about love in middle of the Biafran War starring Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Thandie too is one of the best looking women on the planet.
The thing that synched my decision was that Chimamanda was on the red carpet for Half of a Yellow Sun. I was in love with her words at the time and I would not be swayed. Not even by the promise of being mere feet away from the probable woman of my dreams. As beautiful as Thandie Newton is, she's married. There's no use dreaming a dream that's dead at first wink.
The second time I met Idris, things weren't as great. For one, it was at a bar called RSVP in Lagos. RSVP is alright as far as bars and restaurants go. Nothing that exciting happens there. The food is a little above average. The drinks are more expensive than average. It's on the right side of nice which is still somewhere left of great.
The waiters there were so thrilled with the idea of Idris being there that they tried to strip my table of its chairs. I resented that. I didn't care that my party was late. I had personally called and reserved that table and those chairs so I was going to hog them until the end of my booking Idris be damned. They should have known that my friends would probably be late. If people can't make it on time when there's money involved, how can you expect them to be punctual for drinks?
Idris lurked somewhere in the corner. I was aware of him without looking at him. The Lagos big boy code dictates that you should not worship at the crown of celebrity. There was no way I was going to walk up to him and ask for a selfie, so I watched his moves from the corner of my eye, hoping that he'd do something that would make for a great story.
When I realised that the night wasn't going anywhere, I gathered the bros, and left for Scarlet lodge, a somewhat underused bar in Lagos. The drive there was odd because we were being tailed by a sirened convoy. Being tailed by a pick up truck with garish mobile police officers is never a good sign. I drove a little faster, but to no avail. They took every turn I took, and ploughed through every pothole I did. It was the most disconcerting thing.
I got to Scarlet Lodge and the whole affair made sense. Idris wasn't in Lagos to chill. He was here to promote his new film, Beasts of no Nation. The bar I thought would be a quiet place to end the night had turned into a fan filled nightmare, complete with a red carpet, and movie posters.
I could have gone somewhere else but I didn't. If the plan was to drink at Scarlet Lodge, then we would drink at Scarlet Lodge guest list be damned.
To get in, I lied mightily. When they told me that I wasn't on the list, I fake called Jenny, the woman in charge of the event, then I demanded to see their manager. You should have seen the evil smile on my face when I saw that she was petite and hot. Turning on the charm wouldn't be a problem. I smirked, winked and smiled with so much enthusiasm that I doubted that I'd be able to move my face properly for a few days after. I can't remember what I said, but I'll tell you that all my words were honeyed falsehoods made convincing by my too expressive face. That's something I've learned since I moved here: when in doubt around a woman, ask yourself, "what would a Yoruba-demon do?" I call it the WWYD.
We got in to find that it was exactly the same as any old Lagos party. Everyone was trying to out cool everyone else. No one was talking. The lesser celebrities in attendance were darting around the place pretending to be morbidly afraid of their fans, while seeking their attention and affection.
That all changed when Idris came out to do his dj set. He was instantly surrounded by girls who would be hot if hotness was determined by how much skin was on display. I was only happy that the bar was open. I'd save my cash for some other night.
I wondered if I would have been more excited if I'd seen this when I'd just arrived in Lagos. If I'd have gone up to him and told him how much I liked him in Thor, or if I'd have cared even remotely that he was there.
This is what life in Lagos does to you. You're so embroiled in your hustle that you don't have the energy for minor concerns. It's like drinking a cup of apathy slowly. You can only watch, as all the fucks bleed out of you.
Words by Afam. Story by Obi.