WE LOOKED at them as they walked hand-in-hand into the basketball arena at Amahoro stadium in Remera and the bond between them was even stronger than one between husband and wife.
I kept showing my female companion every time a pair of girls walked in, but a few minutes later it was clear that she was getting irritated with by my finger-pointing.
Then it just occurred to me that my friend and I were almost the only heterosexual couple out to enjoy the game of basketball that evening, with a majority being girls hanging out with fellow girls while men too appeared happy in their own circles.
“If girls no longer want to date, it is because we are tired of getting hurt by good-for-nothing men. We don’t have time to waste with men who fear commitment, are uncaring and unfaithful. Girls are tired of men who can’t keep their word and can’t be trusted with themselves let alone with another person’s heart,” she said.
This was not the first time I had heard such a comment from a female friend or relative. Neither was it the first time I had witnessed the growing trend of girls shunning male company.
Visit Papyrus, a bar and restaurant in Kimihurura, on any evening and you are bound to find ladies in their own ‘cocoons’ enjoying their drinks. “It’s better to keep in the company of my girlfriends since they are the only people with whom I share similar experiences—about being heartbroken by immature, selfish men who looked at us as eye-candy or sex objects. Rather than hang out with guys, we prefer to stick and hang-out together because that way, we have more fun,” said Agnes.
It is common these days for men and women to use each other or even cheat on each other. But what happens when someone lures your heart without a shred of truth anywhere? Umwali Vanessa still agonizes about a former boy friend who deceived her for three months.
She met Francis in 2012 and he acted nice to her, caring, mature and responsible. “He told me that he wanted me to be his girlfriend and since I was single, I decided to give it a shot. He would pick me from work, take me out, and I would occasionally spend the weekend at his house.”
Everything was bliss and even though her friends urged caution, Vanessa says she was so much in love that she would not listen. “After three months of dating, one day he told me that he was going to pick up a friend at the airport and I decided to tag along. That’s when the bomb was dropped. My boyfriend’s friend started thanking him for safely looking after his car and house. I felt so small, very embarrassed, I just jumped out of the car and spent the whole night crying on my pillow.”
Vanessa told me that she can never trust a man again and she is on a revenge mission. “I’ll show a guy that I am in for him and when he starts to develop deep feelings for me, I dump him and continue with my next mission.”
It’s a pity that relationships have deteriorated to such lows. Now, you can tell someone’s class by where they hangout.
I encountered another group of ladies at KGL Fast Foods. These ladies call themselves independent women and their reasons are somewhat different from those above.
Umwiza Sharlyn who runs a beauty parlour in town says: “I love the female spirit. If I was to date, I would want to treat the man as if he were me; basically I would want to be the head in the relationship and no man would ever agree to that. Dating a man makes me feel like I am giving up my freedom.
Truth be told, women don’t want to be viewed as docile sex objects, submissive creatures put on earth to act as beautiful flowers, but rather as equal partners. They like to be treated with respect. On the contrary, men also no longer want to be judged as inanimate success objects.
Relationships have turned into some sort of ‘auction sale’ where men feel they have to prove themselves—that they are ‘a good investment.’
The pressure put on men to prove that they are worth every girl’s dream has steered them away from the whole dating experience. From proving themselves at work, to the society, men would rather step back and chill with members of the same sex rather than get bound in thorns trying to prove their upward mobility to doubting women.
Brian Marcus says “nowadays, women believe in the media’s portrayal of a suitable partner. Waiting for a man who owns a $500 million company, has a billion bucks in the bank…” It’s a general feeling that the “we-grow-old together” innocent love has been kicked to the sidelines in favour of the “I am-a-good-investment” mentality. “Unless a man scores an A in the audition and demonstrate that he is the best quality under the girl’s eagle eye, no girl will give him a chance,” he added.
Whereas some guys are afraid of the unrealistic demands that girls have, for Ignatius it’s all about social freedom. “Some girls monitor your movements and inquire about every step you make out of their vicinity like someone under surveillance. I once had a girl who always came with me everywhere I went as long as it wasn’t at work. She reached at a point of sitting through 90 minutes of soccer yet it was obvious she wasn’t interested and it was irritating.”
Yet Ignatius has a simple problem compared to what Rwigyema went through. He experienced every man’s worst nightmare. “I met this innocent looking girl in 2007, not long we became close friends and she told me about her life experiences. In 2008, we started dating and moved in together but that’s when everything went haywire. She started being indifferent and acting strange towards me but I thought it was a reaction to the adjustments of living with a new person,” he said.
Two years down the road, the two had a beautiful son and Rwigyema says he tried to be a good father but his fiancée was just getting difficult to deal with. “In 2010, I got the shock of my life—the one I might never recover from or be able to forgive and trust women again. After a business-trip upcountry, I came back to an empty house. She took everything including our child.”
This gives us insight into the demise of the dating game. Both men and women have taken to false generalisations and impractical expectations more than anything else.
People have lost track of qualities to look for in a mate. It shouldn’t be about the size of his wallet or her figure. Neither should it be about being a CEO nor how she blows your mind. Genuine love should be about the inside more than the outside. It should not be about what’s in his heart not his wallet.
Realising the qualities you need in your partner begins with a search for the same in yourself. It starts by asking yourself if you are good enough for the partner you are looking for. Probably we need to lower our expectations—have moderate expectations about our partners that could probably prevent us from just enjoying them for who they are and be patient enough to forgive them, not run away and hide.
At the end of it all, “it takes two to tango”, no one should sit on the fence and expect things to work automatically. It takes courage, patience, compromise and understanding one another.Follow https://twitter.com/KaremeraDean