Our residence seldom receives visitors thanks to my Dearest Datililiva’s preference for friends who are either rich or politically powerful. We do not have many friends who fit this category and the rich and politically powerful are by habit unhappy. So visitors to our place of abode are few.
It is Datiliva’s sister who once in a while together with her University friends who visit. And when they do they compensate for the absence of other visitors in terms of noise levels and costs.
The other day they visited and like they always do, they started by putting on a show of saints in a silent prayer which they upgraded to higher levels and by the time we parted, one would be forgiven for saying, they were turbo-charged, literally speaking.
Before the verbal turbo charger had been engaged, thanks to emptied beer bottles, I had taken the liberty to say to my sister in-law, of course with Datiliva’s prodding, that there is a decent young man I know who takes interest in whatever she did and I thought would make a good suitor.
The group of friends burst into laughter which left me at a loss of what to say or do until the youngest of the group, who had led the merciless attack on alcoholic drinks, looked at me and finally said that my sister-in-law was not interested in getting married.
“Not ‘now’ of course”, I said apologetically and trying to recover my composure, “when she graduates from University and possibly finds a job; you know you could hopefully start a family”.
“Not even then,” said the young woman with finality. “But it is the dream of every young woman to study for a profession and then start a family,” I said hoping I had used the right word, “why would she say no? And what would be the alternative to a good suitor after accomplishing one’s studies?”
“That was the life and expectations of women of long ago,” said another friend of my sister-in-law, giggling “today’s woman wants independence”.
“Independence!” I said, “Who said marriage is about colonization and the loss of independence?”
“Marriage is the loss of a woman’s freedom and depositing her rights with a man,” said another friend of theirs.
“We do not believe in marriage; we will be independent of men, get employment, earn our money and spend it the way we find fit not as our husbands think.”
“Listen young ladies”, I said, “I think you have been listening to a lot to stories of alcoholic women who failed to get or stay with husbands and the stories have poisoned your minds. Marriage is a God-ordained and natural institution for the fullness of a human being.”
“We have heard that trash for long,” said one of the visiting friends, “we want to be like the women of Sweden so that we can also control men, make them baby-sit at home when we go out and have fun, have them do the home chores and ‘dish’ them when we want.”
This made the other friends burst into laughter and applause which brought my Datiliva from wherever she had been.
“Ladies, I am afraid you are wrong about men and the Institution of marriage,” I said.
“The institution of marriage is built on mutual respect; love and a sense of support to and from each of the two consenting adults. Your views about marriage are premised on the wrong, crooked and unfortunate experiences of people who were unlucky. Marriage can be bliss and it is …”
“We do not want men!” said the friend almost with finality. I was about to say something when Datiliva tapped me on the back and said “you people are adults, do what makes you happy.”
Later when the visitors had left I asked her what had gone into the heads of the young ladies who had visited us earlier and all the wrong ideas about marriage.
She said there were a myriad of reasons for the young ladies’ attitude towards “men”: “some are gay like my sister while to others it is youthful bravado, fear of going through what they saw their mother go through, the desire to prove that women can ‘make it on their own’ while to others just the feeling of rebellion and challenging accepted social norms.”
“But your sister is not gay,” I interjected, “she cannot be.” Datiliva assured me that her sister really is not gay but rebellious and was being influenced even by her group.
“Why did you not tell me earlier? I might have hurt her feelings or those of her friends,” I said.
“I thought you might be able to convince her to change her attitude but it seems you specialized in changing and influencing me,” said Datiliva standing up.
I have decided to start a place where such women can find a listening friend and hold meaningful discussions about the real values of marriage. Pioneers are hereby invited to register.