My favourite Kinyarwanda saying is “Ubeshya aribeshya” or whoever lies is firstly lying to their own conscience.
There are so many lies we tell ourselves everyday, some are to get through the day, others go much deeper to who we are. An evening in Kigali is a constant diatribe of single men and women complaining about the lack of good partners in this small town.
I was always struck by the lies told by women but I soon realised that for every female lie there is a male equivalent.
So this mutual game of denial is fascinating to watch. When I first arrived to live here, women couldn’t wait to tell me about the weaknesses in Kigali men.
They were inadvertently talking about their own weaknesses instead.
Here are the top 10 lies with both male and female versions
10 – All men are unfaithful
In this fairly small town, that is small not in numbers but social circles make it small, your linen is there on display. A few prominent men justify this belief and even embrace it.
The truth is all those men are cheating because of deep psychological insecurities not because of testosterone and male chromosomes.
9 – My partner has to get on with my friends because they will always be there for me.
Again another lie, it is hard enough for two people to get along without complicating it further. You have to get on with your partner not your friends. It is easier if they get on but not essential.
I would even prefer it if my wife didn’t get on with my friends, it would mean she’s a better judge of character than I am. Staying in these tight social circles limits your chances of finding happiness, plus all your faults multiply.
8 – They will want to change my lifestyle.
It is human to want change but at the same time routine. There are things we do to fill the void but even after we find the real component to plug the void, we still want to keep the plug.
So partying and socialising can be used to fill the loneliness void but when you find a partner, you still want to party like before. So you have most coupled people acting single, thinking single but wanting partnership.
7 – I will always be like this.
You can get so used to a particular lifestyle that you think you will always be that way. Most people try to change so much that they give up trying to change. A young man can convince himself that he will always be unfaithful until it sticks. His younger brother then follows the same route. This leads to another lie.
6 – Whoever it is will have to accept me the way I am.
It is ironic that we want to be accepted the way we are but also want to change. A player will say “she knew I was a player before she married me.” Even though he promised her 100 times that he’d change.
5 – Girls only want money
This is prevalent about men in particular, they often say women are gold-diggers. Then most women complain that men only talk about their money trying to impress them. Then there is a class element, often if a man marries into a lower economic bracket there is a suspicion from fellow women as to her motives. Money is the biggest issue that affects couples.
4 – Men are threaten by my money
This is common among professional women in Kigali, their job becomes their primary identity that they assume no man will even approach them. The thought of dating a junior manager in another firm would be like dating a taxi-driver.
This limits their pool to a handful of CEO’s. Most men would prefer a more successful wife, if only for the extra money in the household.
3 – Men just want kibrownbrowns
Our culture has such a defined essence of beauty that is somewhat limited. Our word for – beauty, kindness, goodness are all the same. We tend to equate outer beauty with inner beauty.
There is often a race among the young men in Kigali to marry the most beautiful girl within a narrow definition – Kibrown-brown. Girls who do not fit this narrow ideal are cast aside for the new younger beauties. This leads to my favourite lie
2 – I am just too “dominant” for Kigali men to handle!!!!!!!
I was asked a loaded question by a friend, who was herself being prompted by a cabal of Kigali “high society” friends. Do you want a dominant or submissive girl? I was forced to answer yes or no. It was like being asked “are you an idiot or a moron?” Like all people can be neatly packed in a box.
The issue was the word “submissive” which they meant as an insult. All upper class girls see themselves as dominant yet that isn’t possible.
I said both can be bad, a “submissive” woman can quietly frustrate you in everything you do. A “Dominant” woman can also drive you mad with nagging. The truth is people are dominant and submissive at different times to different people.
This lie is a combination of lies 6,7,8, so it is very dangerous. The truth is that a couple have to submit to each other, a man to a woman, and a woman to a man.
If there is one lie that galls me it is this one. To attribute all the faults in your human character as “Dominance” is delusional nonsense. What they call dominance is actually selfishness, they want others to bend to their will without giving back.
1 – It will never last anyway
Most people these days enter relationships expecting it not to last, this lie combines all the previous nine. So you are doomed before you even start. Expect forever, they say a cynic is never disappointed unless things turn out OK. Being cynical will never dampen the pain, in fact you will only feel worse. Forever is a day at a time.