My friend was getting married and though I couldn’t be there, I was following the event closely on social media. I was beside myself with joy about the union, therefore, I updated my status with the beautiful pictures from the wedding.
Boy, boy! The number of…
“Awww… Cute couple! Bolaji, when are you getting married?”
“Gelax, you sef no wan marry?”
“My sister, hope you know you are not getting any younger? You better stop pursuing career and settle down before it’s too late o”.
…and other annoying comments I got that day almost drove me insane.
Oh, let me introduce you to how phone conversations between my mother and I go these days.
Phone call with my mother:
“Hello, omo Bee, bawo ni? (Hello, child, how are you?)
“Mo fine ma?” (I’m fine ma)
“Shey Alafia ni gbogbo nko?” (Is everything okay?)
“Beeni ma”. (Yes ma)
“Tooo… oro wa nko? Bawo ni tibi, awon brother nko?” (What about our discussion? What about the brother?)
“Aunty… won wa”. (Aunty, he’s fine).
For some weird reason, I call my mother aunty.
“Ah, kini oruko won ka le ma gbadura”. (What’s his name so I can start praying about him)
BTW, I stopped telling my mothers about my partners because they never forget them and they literally now count for me. That’s when you hear things like,
“What’s up with X, is he married now?”
“How many kids does Y have now?”
“If Z isn’t married after all these years, do you still think maybe you guys can get back together?”
Shoot me already! 🤦 Ain’t no spilling again until I’m certain the next one is the ONE ONE. Thank you!
Back to the call:
“Aunty, e sha ma gbadura funmi”. (Aunty, just keep praying for me)
“Haba, omo Bee, kiloshele? Ojo maa ti n lo…” (Ah child, what’s the problem? Time is of the essence…)
And thus goes our conversation every single time with her launching into a monologue about how old I am and why I need to get married fast so I can start giving birth before it’s too late.
You see, the passion with which my mothers ask me about the man in my life is not on the same level with which they ask about other things that concern me. I don’t get it. When did that even start? When did I become so ‘adult’ that they assume I can handle every other aspects of my life by myself, but they need to intervene as regards marriage?
Ah, if I open the cooler about my father’s strategy, na here we go sleep today, Olorun n gbo!
Late last year was a really tough time for me. I was under a lot of pressure at work, I was swimming in debt, my bills were mounting, plus my head was in a very messy space. To crown it all, my Bobo was seriously misbehaving. Gosh! It was such a difficult time. All I wanted to do was fly away like a butterfly that I am, to a place where I didn’t have to worry about a thing, relax and be pampered. I would have given up eating spaghetti for the rest of my life for that. No jokes.
Man, adulthood is the biggest scam!
I was barely keeping my head above water and my tolerance level for BS was on minus. But, of course, a lot of people didn’t know what I was going through. It was yuletide, a season when marriage talks are usually on the high and I knew I couldn’t handle any emotionally draining conversations. I simply shut certain people out of my life that period. “Oosa too ba le gbe ni, ko seni bo se bani”. (If you can’t proffer a solution to my predicament, the least you can do is not to worsen it).
Ideally, my mother was supposed to make this list, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Y’all know how African mothers can be, right?
She had been on my case incessantly for a while to come home as she hadn’t seen me in a long time. I wanted to see her too, I missed her, but I couldn’t afford it -not financially, and definitely not emotionally. When I made it clear to her I wouldn’t be coming home, she thought she’d better remind me of the marriage talk over the phone.
Eh Lord, I felt like sending her a heavyweight punch! I had too much going on in my life, I didn’t need her singing the, “When are you bringing a man home” song in my ears. It legit drove me nuts.
I decided I was going to call and give her a piece of my mind. I needed to pass my message across clearly without insulting or disrespecting her, so, I prayed to God for strength and the grace to remain calm.
I called my mama one morning and begged her not to say anything until I was done talking. I spoke for about fifteen minutes and by the time I was done, I made her promise to only ask me about ‘my husband’ after asking and receiving response about other issues.
With that, I could breathe a little.
I honestly wish I can have that same conversation with my precious grandmother, uncles, aunties, darling cousin (yes, Doris, catch your sub), friends, lecturers, neighbours, colleagues, bystanders, waka passes, 500MB-monthly social media users, and every other person who keep asking me this same question in variations.
You see, if you are not asking me questions that show you actually care about me, and waiting to hear me drop my baggage on you and perhaps, help me out, then I honestly don’t think you’ve earned the right to ask me when I’ll be getting married. And neither should you dish out unsolicited advice about my age, and how me choosing career over marriage might lead me to being single and childless for the rest of my successful life.
Yes, I said what I said.
Recently, I was on the phone with one of the men I respect the most, let’s call him Daddy S. He was catching up with me, asking what was going on in my life and all. Suddenly, he asked that I reminded him of how old I was. I told him and he proceeded to ask if I was seeing anyone. I told him there was someone I liked. He wanted to know if the feeling was mutual. Were we getting serious? What’s up with us, when were we getting married, he asked. I told him I was not mentally ready for marriage this year, next year, most likely, I replied him.
“Hmmm… are you still laying eggs?”
Confused, “Yes I am,” I said with a dry chuckle.
“What does that tell you?”
Ah ha! It took a second, but the bulb in my head finally came on, and I caught where the conversation was headed.
“It tells you that your eggs don’t know about your decision to wait”. Daddy S provided when I didn’t give an answer. “You are a woman. You won’t always be young…”
What the heck was that?! I was so disappointed. I wanted to be mad at him, but I couldn’t. Instead of playing back the conversation in my head, I decided to tuck it away. I’m good at doing that. It saves me a lot of headaches.
About two weeks after that, I was in the cook room at work when one of my colleagues jokingly asked another colleague if she had laid the eggs she was eating. We all laughed. But, what I thought I had tucked away came resurfacing. This time, it came with a bitter feeling. I still wasn’t angry, but the words made my heart sink.
I couldn’t get mad at Daddy S even though I didn’t like what he said because I knew without an iota of doubt that he loves and cares about me, and everything that concerns my life. This is someone who prays for me like he gets paid to do it. He would ask me about everything, from my finances to my spiritual life and how I am dealing with celibacy whilst in a relationship. What he said that day was harsh quite all right, but my heart couldn’t deny that it came from a good place and he did not mean to hurt me.
We can excuse him.
But who the flipping hell are you who have never shown genuine concern about my life, like what’s up with my mental health, career, job, love life or spirituality, to be asking me when am I getting married?”
How dare you? Who gave you that right? Are you done fixing your life that you and your big mouth are asking such question?
Oh, Sweet. Baby. Jesus. So help me Lord if I do not drag the next aproko to ask my single celibate ass that stupid question! You see, when I’m done with you, I’ll go ask God in His infinite mercy for forgiveness.
Na single I kuku single, I no snatch person husband and I no kill your pikin.
And to answer your question; I’ll get married on my wedding day. Now, go drink some water, and mind your damn business!
But seriously guys, why do people mount so much pressure on singles to get married? I get it when they say a woman’s biological clock is ticking, but what about men? Who even says it is everyone that wants to get married? Gbogbo eleyi o necessary mehn. It is wrong to assume that it is everyone that ‘refuses’ to get married because they are pursuing their careers. What about other issues like disappointments, broken hearts, incompatibility, “I’m not mentally, emotionally, or financially ready”, or simply choosing not to tie the knots at all?
The funny part is that the main reason our parents especially rush us to get married is because of reproduction. Meanwhile, there are persons who have no interest in having children. What about that, huh?
PS: I know this is more of a rant but heck, I’ve been looking for an avenue to pen this down and see how God made it happen on my Single Celibate Christian series.
PSS: My mother and I still fought this morning over this same marriage matter. I guess I could only hold her off for so long.