Happily ever after is what most girls set their eyes and hearts on. Right from when we know that you are still a girl without the frilly dresses and pink bows and ribbons, we begin the plan. Yeah, we know how to be coy, bat our eyelids and try not to swoon and faint at the feet our first crush.
The heart-melting smile comes naturally. We are born sweet, all of us girls. It is the men who ruin us.
Or why do you think pretty little things who once curtsied politely in pink become hard-faced big girls in black or worse still, red? Once you see a once nice girl become the reserved and cold bitch even her mum is afraid of, know that a man has done a number on her. The beauty of this piece is there is hardly a man reading this who can swear with a cutlass, bible or Koran that he did not turn a pretty pink into a cold black. Did I hear one of them say it is what is it is? Hmmm, good, just know that if your ruined somebody’s daughter’s pink, your daughter may be just the next on the queue. It is the way of the world. The law of harvest won’t be suspended for anybody.
As I was saying, most girls start out hoping for Mr. Right. For many, he arrives just in time. For most he arrives late and then there are those for who Mr. Right simply does not arrive. The last group leaves one with a lot of questions. Is it that God did not create partners for some women or they did not recognize and grab him when he showed up? There are also those whose happily ever after dance stop midway. The dance simply just don’t last. One year, everything is lovey-dovey and the next, you hear incredible stories of irreconcilable differences.
There are many reasons, and stories abound on why women miss out on marriage. All kinds of reasons and stories including very conk spiritual ones. Yes, the ones about spirit husbands and 37-year-old- virgins who have never found men who find them physical attractive even though they are beautiful. Things happen, my people. It does not matter whether you believe these stories or not, those who wear the shoes feel the pinch and won’t agree to your simple ‘oyinbo’ interpretations of why some women never achieve their happily ever after.
But what is a woman supposed to do when Mr. Right doesn’t show up? Should she just throw up her hands and surrender to a life of misery and loneliness? Does not having a husband mean that a woman should just curl up and die? Can she have children on her own, outside wedlock, as they say? Or should she continue to wait because the society will crucify her for daring to take her destiny in her hands?
Let me break it down in a way that all those who are preparing to get on their high horses and look down on those who are not as lucky as they are, will understand. Madam, if your successful, beautiful 42-year-old daughter is still single but you find out she’s pregnant, will you jump for joy or drag her off to the clinic for abortion to save your family name? Ah, you thought things like that happen to other people? Well, all mothers pray for their girls to meet Prince Charming early but does it always happen the way we script it? Who can really script life?
So, what is a mature single, getting-on-in-years do when she can’t find Mr. Right or Mr. Right has not found her? Me, I’m not averse to this short cut: if you cannot find a pigeon, make do with a chicken. If life does not give you a script with a happy ending, maybe you should grab a pen and do yourself a happy script. You think I’m being extreme?
The Nigerian society is not particularly kind to waiting mothers and waiting wives. It is always the fault of the woman who has not found a husband or brought forth children. She is not expected to be happy or display her happiness. Snide remarks and evil sneers are what she gets for daring to even continue to breathe the same air as her successful women.
‘How can Moyo buy a car when she is still looking for a husband?’
Note: She is the one looking for a husband. No man is looking for her.
‘Even if she is going to buy a car, she shouldn’t have bought an SUV. A small Toyota Corolla is enough.’
Note: Big cars are for women who have found husbands. It’s not as if they wouldn’t have come up with reasons why she shouldn’t have bought a car at all even if she had bought the smallest Toyota.
‘Did you see the jewelry (set) Alhaja wore to Wura’s wedding? What is her own? What’s she trying to prove?
‘That the rest of us don’t have gold now! Instead of her to be moving from prayer house to prayer house until her daughters find somewhere to ‘put their loads.’
Note again: Not even the mother of a single mature female is spared. She either did not bring her daughters up well or she is not a praying mother or she is simply a witch!
It is fine and expected for a single man to go ahead and build a house before he even gets married. He’s making money, right? Okay, what is his female colleague at work or in the same line of business supposed to do with her money when Mr. Right does not show up? Save it? For when? For after marriage? She is still going to be accused of having too much money if her husband does not have more. Head or tail, the Nigerian woman is not a winner in this money and marriage matter though there are a few unusual cases.
Okay, so the waiting wife can’t buy a new or big car. Her mother is a spiritual prime suspect. She has waited patiently and impatiently, please can she move on? Her biological clock is not just ticking nicely, it is on alarm mode. Her younger sisters, cousins, friends, colleagues all have children in secondary school. Should she continue to hope Mr. Right will arrive before menopause?
Bimbola’s son’s name sums up her resolve to move on. She named the three-month-old adorable little man Erimipe which in Yoruba means ‘my testimony is complete’. Bimbola is 38 and successful, an engineer with one of Nigeria’s oil majors.
‘If heartbreaks are as physically fatal as cardiac arrest, I would have died a long time ago. I have loved with my whole heart, devoted time, money and energy to my relationships but none led to the altar. I thought being successful in my career would make me a more attractive wife material but no, it didn’t. I work very hard and God has been very kind. I waited for Mr. Right but I’m not one to leave everything to chance and time. I’ve not ruled out love and marriage but trust me, my son is the best thing that ever happened to me. He’s God’s greatest gift and I have no regrets doing this without a wedding ring. Indeed when I told his father I was pregnant, he asked if I was sure he was responsible. Ten years ago, I would have given him the full length of my tongue but this time I just laughed and wished him well. Well, my little prince arrived with the birthmark behind his father’s ear in addition to his fair complexion. I sent him photos. His mum too. If they want to be in Eri’s life, they are welcome but if they think I wanted to trap someone with pregnancy, they are mistaken. I needed motherhood to feel complete and I’m complete now. Glory be to God.’
I wish I had more space because today’s woman is certainly miles ahead of her mother in the choices she makes. Her options are many. She can opt for a sperm donor. She can freeze her eggs. She has her own money and lives in her own flat so no irresponsible sex machine and human sperm bank can tell her: ‘go and get rid of that thing in your tummy because I’m not ready to be a father. I’m not responsible for it.’ My point exactly, he’s not responsible.
. Egbemode can be reached at: email@example.com.