A story is told of an old man who went to a local market and bought a pig at a handsome price. That night, the old man’s jealous neighbour stole his pig and replaced it with a dog. The following morning, the old man found a dog in his sty and his superstitious mind told him that the pig had turned into a dog. He wailed inconsolably.
He then went inside his house to dress up before going to the market to confront the seller about witchcraft. In the meantime, his neighbour got scared of getting caught so he sneaked into the sty, put the pig back and took the dog away. The old man was frustrated and bewildered to find that the dog had turned back into a pig. He said to the pig, “If you are going to be a dog, be a dog. And if you are going to be a pig, be a pig.”
And I feel that this is the problem with millennials, and one of the main reasons why their marriages are failing at an alarming rate. The millennials, especially African millennials, are neither dogs nor pigs. They are just confused ‘in-betweeners’.
They are confused between the trappings of the modern age and the norms of ancient traditions.
Here, we have women who claim to want independence and freedom and emancipation. They want nothing to do with traditional men who are imposing and patriarchal.
But these same women want to get married to a man who is ‘a man’ in the sense that he provides everything. A man who understands that a woman’s salary (if she decides to work) is hers alone.
On the other hand, there is a bunch of men urging the women in their lives to work and contribute to the family’s daily bread. Because this is the modern age and the onus to provide for the family is no longer on the man alone.
But then those men also want to find the dining table set with a full course meal every single day. And that meal should be prepared by or at least supervised by none other than their wives. Otherwise they feel neglected and emasculated. And they take it as a sign that their wives have chosen careers over ‘wifely’ duties.
And then the millennials wonder why they are so unhappy and unstable. And of course it is unlike their entitled selves to take responsibility for their behaviour. They take the easier way out by pointing fingers at each other.
Millennial women blame their unhappiness on their male counterparts being stuck in the old ways and the men blame women for being ‘too modern’.
But at the same time, millennial women blame their discontent on their male counterparts not being ‘manly’ like the men in their fathers’ generation, for trying to abscond from their traditional male roles. And millennial men point fingers at their female counterparts for not being ambitious enough.
And why do I, as a single person care about these things? Because I blame my lack of inspiration to get married on the behaviour of the confused ‘in-betweeners’.