Ifemelu goes with Doris to the Nigerpolitan meeting. Everyone there has some kind of “self-styled quirkiness” to show how chic they are. They discuss hair salons, and how ridiculous it is that African hairdressers always assume you want to relax your hair. They discuss things they miss about America, and Ifemelu says “Low-fat soy milk, NPR, fast Internet.” They talk about restaurants in Nigeria, and someone says of one that “they have the kinds of things we can eat.” Ifemelu feels uneasy about how comfortable she is in this crowd.
Adichie now observes the traits of this particular social group—the “Americanahs,” or the Nigerians who have returned from living in Western countries and now find themselves strangers in their own country. Ifemelu is critical of them, but also finds herself relating all too easily to them.
One of the club members is a man named Fred, who went to Harvard, and he discusses how silly Nollywood (the Nigerian film industry) is. Ifemelu declares that she likes Nollywood—she doesn’t really, she just doesn’t want to be the kind of person who mocks it from afar. Fred talks and flirts with Ifemelu, putting on a practiced act of referencing classical composers and artists to prove how cultured and Western he is. Ifemelu finds it exhausting, but she gives him her number.
Fred is a new potential romantic interest for Ifemelu, but she finds his posturing off-putting. Ifemelu doesn’t want to be like a typical Americanah, and so she purposefully says things she doesn’t mean just to distance herself from the rest of the group.