Am I the only one that sometimes finds herself wishing that life had some sort of manual? I mean, something of sorts detailing everything we ought to do if ever a certain situation presented itself before us. Continue reading
The world can be so cruel sometimes.
Hold your horses, I am not feeling suicidal at all…at least not at this particular point in my life. But there was a time when I entertained the thought.
I was crushed yesterday when I came across the news of the death of a Kpop star, the frontman for the Korean boy band SHINee by the name of Kim Jonghyung. He was beautiful, talented, famous and appeared to have everything going well in his life…until he took his own life and left a very sorrowful letter behind explaining why he felt he had to take his dear life. For me this was the second death of a celebrity in 2017 that broke my heart to the core, the first being that of Linkin Park’s frontman Chester Bennington. Continue reading
Is it love that changes…or it is the person that changes?
I encountered this question when I was watching a certain drama recently. I had pressed pause and pondered the question for a little while. I had never really thought much about it before until I heard someone ask the question out loud.
It has been said that the only constant thing in life is change. Unfortunately, it is not always that when change occurs, we are prepared for it or willing to adjust to it. Thus, when we look back into our past…when we look back at all the failed relationships and all the broken marriages we wonder – what or who had really changed? Does love remain constant? Can love change? If so, what causes it to change? Do people change? What causes people to change? Is it something that can be prevented or it’s simply nature running its course?
How many times have you felt like you were so in love you would lay down your life if it meant protecting your love? Those moments…when our eyes see no one else but the one…when we feel nothing in the world can pull us apart…when we love without a reason except for our feelings…when together-forever is not just a promise but fact and part of our reality. Do you think you would be asking too much if you wanted things to remain like that, if not better than that forever?
The first time I fell in love, I did not picture myself having those feelings for any other person but that one. Loving another person at that time was not even a possibility! Yet today in my life, I am so in love with one man believing for a fact that I have never felt like this for any other person before. I look at how this man loves me and I cannot imagine him loving another like he loves me. This is my present reality…a reality I do not ever want to see change, ever. But the question is, is that even possible? Can you spend a lifetime loving the same person with your feelings intact to the very end? I want to believe so!
But the question still remains, what causes relationships to end; is it their love that changed or it is the people that changed? Firstly, I want to admit that it is very possible for love to change and by this I am referring to the many stages that psychologists have argued intimate relationships have to go through in their journey of love. That first time feeling you have…all those emotions you wish you could bottle up and take a sip from for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, because we are human beings packed with red blood cells, hormones and senses, we cannot help undergoing emotional changes in our relationships.
At the start of every relationship, there is excitement and expectation. There are things we want and things we expect. As time goes by, we get to discover all of this…the ideas we had in our minds start turning into reality or lack thereof. Sometimes we are disappointed and sometimes we are surprised when our loved ones deliver beyond our expectations. And sometimes we simply choose to be content with the life we have despite it not being up to standard. As always…time is forever moving and we are forever learning, discovering and going through numerous experiences. These too can change us as individuals and also change our feelings towards each other either for the better or worst.
The problem that most people make is never to expect change or refusing to adjust to it when it occurs. Using a very practical example – when a man starts sleeping around after his wife has given birth because he believes her body has changed or that she has been distant since giving birth. A little patience with her and support as she adjusts to her physiological and emotional changes is all it takes to make their love flourish. Any deviation from this is what will lead to a failed relationship. In this case, it would be the husbands inability to adjust to change, to live up to his spouse’s expectation to be there for her in her most trying times and to be understanding…it is these things that would make her believe he has changed and this will ultimately have an effect on her feelings for him. Likewise, if the man strongly believes that she is being unfair to him by not fulfilling her marital duties in bed (not taking into account any possibility of posttraumatic stress), from his point of view, it would be the woman who has changed. This too, if not properly communicated can result in a failed relationship.
Yes, we all want perfect relationships but the truth is that they don’t exist. The only thing we can do all throughout our relationships is to strive for perfection in what we do but never to expect it. We love abundantly, we give abundantly, we forgive abundantly, that we be understanding and all the while expecting the same from our partners. It is foolishness to expect things to remain constant. Of course this does not mean that we should love less or expect less. It simply means that we should keep in mind that how we felt about each other when we were strangers can no longer be the same once we become friends and family.
As time goes by, we will become too familiar with each other, never pretending and ever showing our true colours. However, although a familiar feeling is something that happens naturally, having a boring or less exciting life as a result of it is a decision we make consciously. Yes, it is very boring when every aspect of your life becomes routine and predictable – knowing that today when I go home she will welcome me by the door, take my bag, ask me how my day was, serve me dinner, go to bed, make love the missionary way, sleep, and when morning comes repeat steps 1-2-3, etc. As long as one does not strive to keep things exciting despite being familiar with each other, do not expect a happily-ever-after. The tendency to believe that just because a piece of paper was signed and the deal’s done then we no longer have to work hard is what leads our loved ones to walk away from us.
Personally, I refuse an ordinary love. I rebuke it in the name of Jesus! I want an extraordinary love and nothing less! I do not expect a happily ever after, I am neither a Cinderella nor he a prince in shining armor. But I expect my life to be filled with happiness MOST of the times. I want to be extremely in love even in old age. Therefore, I should…no, we should both work hard to have that because it doesn’t come easy. I should be aware that change is inevitable and change in itself has the potential to alter my feelings. I should be aware that one day my spouse will not be as energetic as he is today no matter how many times he hits the gym, that his head full of black hair will not always be like that, that he also makes mistakes, and that we will not always share the same views.
How will you feel if the man you love suddenly stopped buying you flowers or taking you to fancy restaurants because he either lost his job or because you both made a bad investment and lost out financially? Does it mean that he has changed as a person or that he doesn’t love you anymore? Or perhaps, does that mean you should change the way you feel towards him? I should prepare myself for the unexpected, to not always expect perfection and to be understanding when my spouse falls short of my expectations. And if I am not pleased, I should communicate this in the most respectable manner. It is a learning process, one I am willing to undertake for the rest of my life. Right now I believe I am falling short.
If ever love should change, it should be for the better – from stranger to infatuation, from hate to love, from mere love to a meaningful love. I want to love like that. I expect to be loved like that. So far, I am loved like that. And in the future, I hope to love more and be loved more, not less. Is that possible?
There is this beautiful woman I know. I will call her Mary.
Mary is a vivacious 30 year old lawyer who recently made partner at one of the most respected local law firms. Her salary is fatter than the waist size of her 10 year old overweight daughter and she drives one of those fancy vehicles with a name she can hardly pronounce. Mary is the ultimate working woman.
Unfortunately, Mary’s husband Joe has been jobless for over three years now, a fact that has caused a dramatic shift in the power dynamics in her marriage.
He still expects me to treat him like a man when he hasn’t been able to act like one for over two years now.” I have heard Mary say this many times.
Mary has even gone further to withdraw sex from her relationship because she feels her husband does not deserve it; a move that she’s paid for in more ways than the obvious. Ever since Joe lost his job, he has come to hate the word ‘man’ because his wife tends to use it quite a lot in most of their conversations…and it always carries with it a negative connotation.
These words: Man….Woman
I have always been of the belief that people are born either male or female… (or sometimes both) not by choice but because a group of chromosomes somewhere decided that it was best for this particular individual to be born that way. However, one does not become either a woman or man by default; this one is a conscious decision that one makes and to do so, they need to meet certain requirements. It is never just a matter of what lies below the belt and I think this is what Mary is always referring to.
Nevertheless, Mary’s attitude towards her husband left me thinking; why are the relationship dynamics so different when the woman is the breadwinner and the man isn’t? Isn’t Mary just being an ungrateful and disrespectful woman now that she has become such a hot shot lawyer? Human nature…eh? Always quick to judge. But as I listened to Mary’s reasoning, I couldn’t help feeling a little sympathetic towards her.
When women get married, they are meant to believe – directly or indirectly that the man will take care of them, provide for them financially whether he likes it or not, protect them, and love them eternally. Men too enter marriage with their own set of expectations from the woman; she will care for him, tend to his every need whether she likes it or not, take care of their kids, make a home for the family and love him eternally. These expectations are not necessarily written in print but they are there. And once these expectations are not met, problems will surely arise. Let’s for a moment put issues of gender equality and feminism in a little box we will open later. For now, let’s focus on what happens when there is a shift in expectations and the woman takes up the role of the man and becomes the breadwinner of the family.
I have heard people say that a man does not stop being a man just because he cannot provide for his family. What they should be staying instead is that a male does not stop being a male just because he is not in a position to be the kind of man that his woman expects him to be. A wise King will feel uncomfortable wearing the crown when he has found himself in a position where he cannot be the kind of King that his people want – when he cannot deliver. He might still wear the crown yes, but that won’t change the fact that he has failed somewhere. However, irrespective of all these issues, it is commonly accepted and rightly so that a man shall be the head of the house. Now I don’t know if that statement still applies when the man is incapable of providing for his family over a prolonged period of time or not. I am guessing issues of religion will have a lot to say about the answer to that.
But here’s what am thinking:
The vows – for better or worse, through thick and thin. What do these words actually mean?
Naturally, it is expected that when a man is down on his luck, the woman will be patient enough and trust that he will soon rise again and be the kind of man she expects him to be. But what if that never happens for say, two, three, four, and sometimes even five years or more? What happens to the power dynamics in the relationship? Because I am woman, I tend to see things clearly from the point of view of a woman…but I can try to imagine that of a man’s.
When two people get married, they become equals…well, not necessarily since the man we are told is the head of the house. But whatever either of them does, it should be for the interest of the family and should never be about “I, me, myself, you…” If the man is not in a position to provide for his family, what is wrong with a woman taking up that role? Why should it be a big deal when she is the one holding the financial realms of the family and not when it is the man? Why is it that women are so selfish with their money – the money they make is theirs but the money the man makes is for the family? I have heard most of my male friends ask that question quite often!
My answer to that question usually is that because we were socialized to believe that the man is the financial provider of the family. The woman is simply a helper. Just like a man expects that his wife will wash his dirty boxers, clean the house, carter to the children and to his every need, cook for him, iron…the list is endless, a woman has only one expectation – that the man will provide for the family financially. To use words that might lead to my crucification, I will say, the woman agrees to act like his maid with benefits and the man lives to pay his dues.
It is hard for women like Mary to continue playing both roles of the sexes and it is foolish of men to believe the power dynamics will remain unshaken if such a development occurs. While the woman works to earn an income for the family and then gets back home to play the role of the dotting wife and mother, what is the man doing to seal his role as head of the family? Just because it is written somewhere that by virtue of him being a man he is head of the house does not mean he should expect to be treated as such even when he has not done much to earn that title. And don’t get me wrong, it is not always a matter of financial responsibilities. There are other responsibilities that men have towards their families that make them head of the family. But right now I am mostly interested in the financial aspect.
Additionally, I feel I should mention that I am not assuming that jobless men are in that position by choice or that they are not doing enough to change that situation. I know of a number of men that strive every day to make ends meet because they know exactly who they ought to be for their families. However, the reason I found myself sympathizing with Mary is because her situation was quite peculiar.
During the first month of her husband’s joblessness, Mary understood his position and what he must have been going through. Here was a man who was once used to being on top of his game career wise and now he had no job. They both kept hoping for the best as days went by and the applications kept being written. However, after eight months or so, Joe became frustrated and depression slowly kicked in. Joe began to change. To Mary, he became nothing like the man she had married. The late nights, the rude responses, the phone calls from different women during the early hours of the morning…how his ever sombre face would suddenly light up when he received calls from those women. Why was he treating her like that? Was it her fault that things had turned out like that for him? Why was he taking it out on her?
Mary had done her best to become both man and woman of the house. Initially, Joe would try his best to help out his wife but as time went by; he completely gave up and stopped trying. Mary was human enough to understand his frustrations but just because she understood does not mean it made everything okay. Being human also meant she could get frustrated at times too. And the stress was killing her. She would come back home to find a dirty house, dirty kids, dirty plates, no cooked food, a drunk husband dead asleep on the living room floor…a complete mess. Here’s a woman who had just spend the whole day in a verbal war trying to convince a group of corporate giants to surrender their money and she comes home to this mess. Of course she was not pleased and she made that fact known in very precise terms.
What was worse for Mary is that on several occasions, she had to deal with confrontations from her in-laws who naturally assumed that she had lost respect for her husband now that he was jobless when all the while she had been ‘chewing’ his money with impunity. Mary had not changed except her husband’s family had gone into defensive mode thinking she was going to leave him. They were expecting her to leave him. At some point their frustrations towards her had become a matter of her not living up to their expectations of leaving.
Mary believes it was not her fault that her husband changed but it’s his guilt over his failure to get back to being the man he used to be that led to him turning out this way. And I agree with her. The trouble with such a development is that the one that has to deal with all of this is Mary and I find that very unfair. Love is based on feelings and feelings as we all know are fickle. If they are not nurtured, they tend to die. While Mary insists she is still in-love with her husband, it is very clear her perception of him has greatly changed over the past few years. He is no longer the man she married and whether that has something to do with him being jobless or not is still a matter of debate. What is clear however is that she cannot look at Joe the same way she used to.
Always, people will assume women are ‘unloyal’ especially towards a husband who is jobless. A man being jobless for a year or so isn’t a matter to cry over. Women understand that the world of employment is unfriendly. The problem most women have is if for over a prolonged period of time, a man is still jobless yet he does not help out around the house. He still expects his wife to do the home work and to work a job at the same time. What’s worse, he expects her to give it to him in bed with as much vigour as she used to when he used to have a job. Unlike men, women tend to associate sex with feelings. They don’t just respond just because something naked is standing in front of them. This means that if she is feeling tired, stressed, frustrated and very pissed, she won’t give it to you the way you want it. It is not that she doesn’t love you anymore; it is because you have done enough to consider her feelings.
Yes there are certain types of women who will lose interest in their men once they become jobless and those women are what we call gold diggers. But not every woman who gets frustrated over her husband’s joblessness is a gold digger. It is the circumstances that arise from such a development that might lead one to change completely. I wish we would not be quick to judge.
Now to open the Feminism and Gender Equality box, I think it is only fair that if a husband or man is jobless and the woman is the breadwinner, let him at least take up certain responsibilities around the home to ease the wife’s work load. And I think it is because this is rarely done that women get frustrated. Do you think a working woman would complain about her husband’s joblessness if he did his best to meet her half-way despite his situation instead of leading himself into a depressive state and trying to rediscover his fading masculinity by sleeping around with any woman that can scream his name in ecstasy?
Not every woman who can take care of herself financially wants a rich or working man. They just want a man who can meet them half-way. Personally I think it’s unfair for such a man to expect his hard working woman to still carter to his every need and do all the chores around the house while he does nothing. He was the first to cause the power shift in the home whether by his own doing or by nature’s doing. And once that happens, other things around the home will change too.
This excuse of ‘I was out all day hustling and trying to find a job so am tired too,’ does not cut it. Just don’t let the woman do both your job and hers at the same time and still expect her to treat you the same way. Just because she understands your predicament does not mean she will not feel frustrated every now and then. If she is doing your role as provider of the family, why can’t you do her role as home maker instead? If she is man enough to step up to the challenge, what can’t you?
There I was. My legs spread apart like a heavily pregnant woman trying to induce labour unsuccessfully. I could feel every bone in my body become lighter and lighter as the seconds trickled by. This was the day I had been looking forward to. I felt starved, I felt wronged for having gone without it for such a long time. I wanted it…I was craving it…then that moment came, finally…I could feel my blood become warmer, lighter and relief oozed from every inch of my body. Finally, I murmured, “release.” I was on top of the moon! The pleasure kept coming and coming…I was on a roll. But just as I was about to let out another sigh of relief, my phone rang. For a few seconds I looked at the phone and saw the caller ID. It was an old friend of mine I hadn’t seen in over ten years! However, thanks to Mark Zuckerberg, we got to meet each other again on Facebook. It was exciting catching up on the good old times on Facebook Messenger. We exchanged contact details and promised to keep in touch frequently. It was only after I answered the call that I remembered the exact nature of our relationship back then. And it finally made sense why I kept feeling a little uncomfortable during the first chat on Facebook after all these years.
So it turned out she was the first one to call me…and she couldn’t have done it at such a convenient time! For a couple of months I was struck by what doctors like to call Chronic Constipation which was a result of all the self-meds I had been taking for my personally diagnosed illness. After a visit to the doctor’s office, it finally turned out that I actually had a serious case of ulcers and that some weird staff in my system was playing a number on my stomach walls. I was given the proper meds for it…hence, the relief. I rarely carry my mobile phone with me once I have scheduled an appointment with the little white seat. However, due to the nature of my situation for the past months, I could not predict how long it would take for me to negotiate with nature to take my call. Most of the times I would receive a page from nature, and then go into a certain private room to call back, only nature wouldn’t take my call. I would hit redial over and over again using every muscle in my system but still nothing would happen. By the time I realised it, I would have spent about 30 minutes trying to make reception. Nada. But thanks to some medical attention here and there, I finally found a way to deal with nature. I sat on that little white seat, got in perfect position and dialled number two. The rest is history.
Unbeknownst to the Airtel and MTN telecommunications service providers, they connived and allowed someone to get through to me at that particular moment. It didn’t help that my ringtone was set to SIA’s ‘Chandelier’ because that really took the ‘ish’ right out of me, literally. That song has such an effect on me. An internal debate occurred in my head; to take or not to take the call? If I took the call, then I might need to put my other call with nature on hold and I couldn’t risk having to hit redial. I had already been through that before and it never went in my favour. But then again if I don’t pick up her call, she might think that I was ignoring her. And then it occurred to me…why was I so concerned about her misinterpreting this? I could easily come up with an excuse as to why I could not attend to her call, it’s very normal to miss certain calls but still call them back…as in contrary to telling her the actual truth (I mean, it is after all the polite thing to do in this case – to lie.)
I weighed my options, did some risk management here and there and settled for letting the call go unattended. But oh no…it rang again, and again, and again. There was no way I was gonna be able to maintain a working network with nature with all the disruptions to the signal. So I took the other kind of call, the telecommunications one. I was so mad that to this day I suspect I was the reason behind my whole neighbourhood going on loading shedding mode that evening. But I didn’t want it to be so obvious and so I put on a smile as I cheerfully said hello to my old friend. She was so excited to be in touch. On any other day I probably would have been excited too but my circumstances would not allow me the pleasure. It was because of these very circumstances that I was forced to remember that I was never really close to this person who seemed so excited to be in touch with me.
I remembered that the last time we had spoken, some ten or so years ago, it was during a school function and I was asking her to move a bit so we could all fit comfortably on the bench. We were from the same class and even though we rarely spoke to each other, there were things we knew about each other just from the mere fact that we were found on and in the same spaces most of the time. It’s a feeling of familiarity, like the kind tourists from the same country feel towards each other in a foreign country; you know nothing about each other and would most probably hate each other’s guts if you did but you still share something that is strong enough to enable you get along…for the time being. We both never liked each other back then and it was so obvious because we never even tried to hide it. She was George Clooney and I was a marriage ring…until now.
It should be that as the years went back, we somehow managed to either get over all that childish drama and matured or we had just forgotten about it all. Unfortunately, like an epiphany, my predicament when I received that call from her gave rise to all those memories. As my brain was busy updating its memory feed, my friend kept the conversation going. She talked and asked questions excitedly and I responded in kind. My voice was smiling but my facial expression looked as exactly as it had a few minutes ago when I smelled the results of the previous call I had abandoned to take this one. I finally resigned to get over myself and got a little more involved in the conversation. We had been chatting for close to half an hour when she finally broached the subject of the call…the actual reason why she had called. “I put your name on the list of committee members for my kitchen party and contributions are K500 each. You don’t necessarily need to attend the meetings since you are obviously a busy person but as long as you make the contributions, its fine with me.”
I was shell shocked. First of all, I didn’t know whether I was being asked or forced into the committee. Secondly, …K500????? WTH??? There I was thinking I had given up on my call of nature in futility only to receive a whole number 2 from this one. Was she trying to start a Franchise business? She must be nutts. But of course that’s what my head was thinking but my mouth was saying, “wow, why K500?” I asked, trying to sound unperturbed. “My fiancé and I are running a little short on funds,” she replied. “We are hoping that the extra money from the kitchen party can be used to finance the wedding.” She sounded like Mother Theresa…granted, I have never heard the great woman speak, but I have always imagined she must have been the calmest of all souls. My friend was like that on the phone, talking as if there was absolutely nothing wrong with what she had just delivered into my ears.
But I had a huge problem with everything. Yes I might have entered the conversation on the wrong foot but at this stage, my reasoning was not at all biased because of that, if it was at all biased. I was very uncomfortable with the amount of money she was requesting, or rather, demanding from me and all of her other unfortunate friends. From experience, a maximum of K300 is expected as a contribution from all members that a ‘bride to be’ puts in her kitchen party committee. And most of the times, the amount is not put in stone until such a time that all the members come together and reach an agreement. The bride might have her own figure in mind but she still has to present it to the group for them to either accept or settle for something they can all manage. At least this is how it has been from my experience. Once this money has been given, it should work towards meeting the needs of the kitchen party…and only if something remains should the committee agree to let it go towards the wedding expenses.
If a bride feels she cannot afford to hold either the kitchen party or wedding, she will call up all her friends and ask if they might be willing to help. In response, each friend will say how much they might be willing to contribute…if at all they can. It has never been and it should never be that someone should impose on anyone that they have to help willy-nilly. If this was the case, then am afraid that the cost of friendship is becoming too expensive for me. Many times I have been put in committees, and I have also put people that I didn’t even know in committees for such events. On average, I have found myself in 5 committees at once to which I have to make contributions. At this rate, if everyone starts making requests of K500, I wonder what will be left from my little salary to take care of the needs of my family.
The one thing that people don’t seem to understand is that people have a choice to either be or not be in a committee and that it is not the job of the committee to raise money for you to hold your wedding functions. A committee is a group of your friends and well-wishers that come together to “assist” you plan your function and not to “sponsor” your functions. It is only proper and polite to let your friends know in advance if you can’t afford to hold both functions and they can advise you on certain alternatives. Remember they are not your family. Your family might to some extent be responsible towards you financially but your friends aren’t. Why would you want to have extravagant functions at the expense of your friends when you obviously cannot afford them yourself?
A kitchen party is not even a necessity; it’s a luxury that we as African women want to indulge in in order to show the world that we have certain traditional skills and most importantly, to receive gifts from people. For others, it’s simply an event that comes before a wedding…whether it is necessary or not is not a matter of concern. Looking back, I regret having had put my family and friends through all that drama because at the end of the day, it turned out to have been a liability both emotionally and financially instead of what it was intended to be. To this day I go into my kitchen and ask myself, “WTH??” I might have a 21st century looking kitchen but I will always remember the tears I shed and the family relations that got broken during that period. That day for me might have been a success (and indeed it was well delivered by my family and friends)…but the question still remains, “was it necessary to even have it in the first place?” …. “If I needed something traditional, did I have other options that might not have costed me so much emotionally and financially?” Because of that day I lost a number of friends and I still have relatives I feel like pouring hot oil on when or if I ever see them standing in front of my door. The whole experience to me brings about a feeling of a well scented sin.
I am still not sure if I should be in my friends committee and pay the amount of money she has requested from everyone or if I should express my concerns to her. However, there is still something in me that tells me that had she used a different approach in raising money for her events, I probably would have been a little more receptive instead of what I am feeling right now. If only she had said, “Anne, I have a little problem…my fiancé and I are running a little low on cash and we were wondering if you would be able to help us financially…anything you can manage…we would really appreciate it. It’s always been our dream to have a kitchen party and wedding but we cannot afford it. We are hoping to see how much money we can raise…” I think anything in those lines would have helped…emphasis on would. Remember, my memory feed was fully loaded by the time our phone conversation ended.
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!