Saturday, 31 August 2013

Does every Miss wish to be a Mrs?

THIRTY-FOUR year old Enitan works in the corporate affairs unit of a telecommunications company. She lives in Surulere, Lagos in a two bedroom flat and drives a modest Japanese car that takes her to work and gets her around the emerging mega-city.

     On the side, she does a bit of trading - selling all sorts of commodities like clothes, bags and cosmetics, which her Yoruba-speaking Igbo neighbor imports from Turkey, to friends and colleagues.
  In a way, she could be called a 'big girl', a term used to refer to ladies of marriageable age (above 30), who don't yet have the 'r' between their 'Ms' But while she is the envy of some of her 'taken' friends, Enitan is not so proud of her single status.

      With her two younger sisters married with children, Enitan the pressure on her is like an open sore as aunts take every opportunity to subtly remind Enitan about her single status.
     Though she longs to 'settle down' and have kids like many of her friends and even her younger sisters, but if it's not happening, "I cannot kill myself; I'll just make myself happy and focus on my work. If the good guy comes along, fine, and if he doesn't, life goes on," Enitan would privately muse to herself.

     In the same boat is Adanma, 33, the first daughter of her family. And her mother has for long been expecting a man to come ask for her hand in marriage - a hope that has so far remained unfulfilled. Each time her mother came back to announce that her women's group would  attend the traditional wedding ceremony of a member's daughter, the news always felt like another needle stuck in her heart like a voodoo doctor trying to kill a victim.
    For Adanma, life has been like the biblical case of eating the bread of sorrow. What makes Adanma's case unpleasant is that her job is not paying well, leaving her in the uncomfortable situation  of being a 'tenant' in her 'parents' home.

     At the other end of the spectrum is Madam Bola Adeyinka, an unwed mother of two children. Now almost 60, Adeyinka's singular regret is that she never  got properly married to the father of her children, who died in a ghastly car accident - a very sad incident that threw her into a 30-year stretch of raising their two children alone. Though her children are both married now and have given her grandchildren, the  elegant granny all through the years harbored a desire to marry.
   Now retired after a civil service career that spanned 40 years, starting as a typist, being 'Mrs Somebody' would definitely have been ideal for her.

     Asked if she would have loved to be married, madam Adeyinka's prompt response was: "I wish I was married, but to the right man."
   For a woman who lived most of her marriageable life without a 'lord', and made a success of 'single mother-hood', the average observer would have thought the idea of being 'Mrs' should have long been erased from her mind. But the dainty granny counters with a riposte: "In our African setting, having a husband gives you some sort of social or cultural security.

When you are married, you are more respected. But as a single woman, a lot of insults tend to come your way." Ayo Ibiyemi, a secretary, who is still single (and frantically searching) concurs, sharing her own experience: "Because I live alone, there are times my neighbors just take some decisions that will affect me, without consulting me. Take for instance, the issue power supply to the block of flats where I live. They will disconnect me at will or even come and tap from my line if they got disconnected for not paying their bills. They just take advantage of the fact that I'm not living with a man who could come and stand  up to them. If I was married, they wouldn't try that.

    Aside that, she says there is a form of stigma attached to being a Miss: "For instance, before I could get my present accommodation, a couple of places I saw and liked, the owners didn't want a single lady living in their house. I don't know why, maybe because they believe a single lady has the tendency to be promiscuous, I think that's the general belief.''
  Despite the many challenges pf being a spinster, she says she is no hurry to just jump into any train that comes along. ''It has to be the right man. I've seen too many examples of failed marriages around me, and I don't want mine to be added t be statistics."

   Though with a lot of room to roam, and do your thing as a 'Mrs' or 'Ms' as the case maybe, Madam Bola summits that marriage is still desirable and  a prospect. Her argument is that being with the right man will not reduce or curtail you.

      "Like I said, if you are married to the right man, your independence or freedom may not be so curtailed, it all boils down to understanding between you and your partner, That is why you have to get the right guy, otherwise, it's not worth it!"

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