This time I want to talk about something that baffles both men and women. I remember a few years back when Zambia had a female presidential candidate and there was a lot of talk about women coming together to give her support so that she could win the elections. Of course it was ‘naturally’ expected that just because a woman was standing, fellow women should give her support irrespective of her qualifications for the post. But that is not my issue here. The issue is about the actual reasons some women gave as to why they would not be voting for her. At first, I never really thought much about it until a few years later when reality and the wisdom that comes with experience happened to me.
Why is it that it is common for men to provide alibi’s for each other when they have been up to no good and their wives/girlfriends start suspecting that something is amiss? I have a group of male friends who have a code, ‘together’. All one has to do when in trouble or about to do something that he might regret is simply call his buddy and just say or text one word, ‘together’, and the friend will know exactly what to do from there. Should the suspicious wife or girlfriend call, this man who might lack any conversational skills or whose skills in marketing leave much to be desire, you should hear him deliver the testimony of his life just to protect a friend who is about to be laid on the chopping board! But this is not mostly the case for women.
A woman can be involved in a long term extra marital affair or juggling two or three boyfriends and her friends will not know about it! Yes it’s possible they might have their suspicions but she will not validate them directly to them yet she will still use her friends as her alibi’s when she is about to get busted without even giving them a heads up expecting that they will cover for her. Unfortunately, the outcome is not always the desired one. The backup female friend might not necessarily reveal that she knows nothing about the situation she’s being asked about, but it’ll be in the way she responds…she will either respond immediately without giving a thought as to why she is being asked such a question and inevitably render anything else she says afterwards void, or she will just take too long trying to build the perfect impromptu cover for her friend. Worse, others will just laugh their way through the conversation whilst saying, “Yes she was with me… (Laugh)…we actually did… (more laughter)…” and she continues chuckling through the rest of that conversation. Is she serious?
I am not sure if this is simply because women are terrible liars by nature or that they just can’t fathom the gravity of not providing the perfect cover even if it’s for a friend they feel deserves to pay for her mistakes. It is either men have somehow managed to perfect the art of lying or they really know how to protect their fellow species from being annihilated by the opposite sex. Or could it be that women simply cannot lie unless the lie has been rehearsed or that they just love it when their friends are faring worse than them be it in life or relationships? Or could it be that they just don’t trust each other enough??
Consider for a moment how a group of women going out whether it’s clubbing or just hanging out…consider how they dress. Haven’t you ever experienced a moment where you looked at the group and immediately could tell who the leader of the pack was, who was a follower and who was a ‘wanna be’? It is not often that you will see a group of friends who share a good eye for fashion or style. Once I heard someone say, ‘I don’t like hanging out with people that are hotter than me.’ There have been times when I’ve found myself wondering silently…’why couldn’t she tell her friend to wear a different outfit or coordinate her colors when she looks so fine herself?’ well, it is always easy to judge simply based on what we see but I might not have known whether the friend had tried to help and was turned down or the poorly dressed one simply does not have the natural flare to pull off sexy in any way possible…if there is even such a thing! I certainly wouldn’t tell for sure but I know that I have seen enough of these situations to warrant my concerns.
Personally, there have been times when I had to think long and hard about whether to tell a friend who confidently thought that they looked fine for a particular outing that they actually didn’t because I was afraid I might offend them or bruise their confidence. But over the years I have learnt that there are way more subtle ways of delivering ‘bad news’ without making it sound as bad as it should. I know because I have friends and sisters who can be so brutal at times in their delivery of ‘truth’ that it can shake the very core of your being. I can recall numerous times when my sisters have told me to my face that I look an old woman or my that my make-up and clothes make me look like something that fell from a horror movie. But that could be because we are very close and comfortable with each other. Unfortunately, this is not always the case with everyone.
When I got my first job and I realized that my overall supervisor was a woman, I had this sinking feeling in me. Up to now I cannot clearly explain why I felt like that but the feeling was so strong that I immediately put myself in defense mode only to realize that she was the coolest boss I could ever ask for. Why did I take the idea of having a female boss to be so daunting and not feel the same about the possibility of a male boss? What is it about women that frightens and threatens the life out of women? If we cannot even stand for each other, do we expect to fight for equality of the sexes in the long run? In fact, how can we expect to be treated with respect by the male folk when we harbor vicious thoughts towards each other?
Numerous times I have heard…and I have even said it myself that I prefer having males friends to female friends because women cannot be trusted and they just talk too much. I remember the last time I said it, I was so full of it as if I was saying something that would win me a Nobel Prize. Right now I am not sure if my opinion has changed or if it’s still the same…but it is something that I am not proud of.
I remember watching a certain comedian who said that it is typical to find that in every group of women who call themselves friends, there will always be that one friend they cannot trust with their man and they all know it. And at times you will find that they all don’t trust each other around their men! I remember clearly a male friend I was watching the comedy with turn around to ask me, ‘is that true?’ and my response was a definite, ‘yes.’ The truth is that at that time there really was a ‘friend’ like that in my circles and all of us knew her to be like that because she really loved things that belonged to other people, and that included their men. Her situation was so fatal any psychologist would have said she was born like that and she couldn’t help herself. But there is a word society coined to call people like that. But it still scares the vitamins out of me thinking that there are more people or should I say women like her out there. This is why some women would rather stay quite with their problems, never confiding in their friends all because they fear their friends might steal their loved ones from them.
How many of us women have gone to the salon and had our ears attached by a certain type of woman who just never seemed to stop bragging about her man? How many of us have silently thought…or in this case the moment such a woman leaves everyone in the salon starts gossiping about her? And the most uniting phrase is always; “she should chill with her bragging before another woman snaps her man up.” And there have been situations where some women have even gone as far as seducing the man in question just for the sake of it! Women…we can be nasty sometimes.
And how is it that amongst us women, if someone who lacks the looks, education or class finds herself a ‘good’ man, we feel she doesn’t deserve him? Funny enough, it just might be that she is educated, beautiful and all that and her man buys her, say a vehicle…to her face you will congratulate her but behind her you will say, ‘atase, after all she didn’t even work for it or buy it for herself’…or, ‘all she does is sleep around to get men to buy her vehicles.’ I have heard that so many times! I wonder if it’s the same case from the point of view of men. Back when I was at Uni, my boyfriend who I can safely say is now my husband bought me a vehicle as a gift. My friends were happy and excited for me but a few years later when one of them started working and bought herself a car, she came to me and said, “I am very proud of myself because I bought a car with my own money instead of relying on a man to buy it for me.” The truth is she actually wasn’t dating any man at that time who could afford to buy her a vehicle and I had just been fortunate enough to have a man who could. I was also proud of myself for having the ability to attract a man who was willing to make certain sacrifices for me and I was not ashamed of it. My friend’s statement was delivered with an intention to injure and everyone was surprised that she had carelessly uttered such words in my presence.
How many of us have heard of or even seen Hugh Hefner (think Playboy?) and the kind of women that keep him company? And he is not the only man like that. I have seen very old and sometimes ‘not so good looking’ men with extremely beautiful and intelligent and sometimes just young women on their arm. Amongst men it’s such an achievement. It’s an art. But not amongst women. A woman like that is seen as a gold digger, desperate or simply lacking the ability to find a ‘handsome’ man. Of course sometimes it might be true and sometimes it might not be. But what most people don’t realize is that women have numerous talents. Some women are book intelligent, some women are just men intelligent. Others are both. The intelligent one will have the ability to wow many with her intelligence but absolutely fail to attract the sort of man that would be deemed ‘fit’ for her standards. It is very common to hear men say they prefer a woman who earns less than them (again, it’s not always the case but it does exist and it is always being talked about), or that men feel threatened by women who hold more power than them career-wise. The fact still remains that we do live in a patriarchal society.
The other type of woman…the man-intelligent one…this one knows exactly what to do to attract the ‘right’ sort of man to herself and she will go all the way to get his attention. Frankly, I don’t think it should matter how one wins the affection of another provided those people are available for the taking and they are not being stalked or blackmailed into the relationship. We might not admit it out loud but apart from love, there are also other selfish reasons why we choose to be in relationships with certain people and not others…why despite being in love we would refuse to get married to certain people or have children with certain people. I know that apart from love, my husband had seen that I had the ability to take care of him and the family physically, emotionally…and all those things. He needed stability in his life and he wanted to start a family of his own. He also needed someone to cook for him, wash and iron his clothes, prepare him a bath in the morning and before he goes to bed…he also needed someone who loved him back as much, if not more than he loved her. Yes love is a major factor in all relationships, but it is not the only factor.
I had my own selfish reasons for choosing this particular man and not any other. Love is above them all but I also looked at his potential as someone I would want to spend the rest of my life with without feeling like waking up in the middle of the night and chopping him to bits. Those reasons were all looked at from my point of view and not his because the love part of it had covered that. So why should we judge others just because our reasons are different from theirs? And while you are calling a fellow woman a gold-digger just because she got married to an ugly or older man whose filthy rich, think about whether she forced him into the relationship or he willing got into it? Society might have its own standards about how much of a difference there should be between a man and woman for them to date but if the two have found some common grounds, so be it. Yes I might cringe at the idea of having to imagine an eighty year old man or woman in bed with a 20 year old someone but at the end of the day if the two feel strongly about their own interests they won’t care much about what you and I think. And there is certainly no law that forbids that.
If anything, instead of calling each other names, can’t we stop and look at things from other people’s point of view? instead of assuming that she must have fed him some herbs for him to love and treat her like that, can’t we also think about the possibility that the man might see something in her that others don’t see and simply wants to appreciate her? Would it be too much to hope for a world were women leaped to each other’s defense when necessary instead of always skipping with joy in our hearts whenever we see someone who was doing better than us suddenly fall down…or reeling with envy when someone we know or used to know has progressed in life, and perhaps even doing better than us? Instead of wishing for each other’s downfall, can’t we just support each other? We are not enemies so why should we behave as if we hate each other? For Pete’s sake let us support each other!