“If any boy/man walks up to you, tell him ‘Get thee behind me Satan” (My mother to me, when I was 13. Now she hounds me for a husband. I still love her though.)
Get thee behind me? It’s not everyday I get to hear that I’m beautiful, even if it is a half-hearted and tongue-in-the-cheek compliment from someone who is just as naive as I am.
“If you don’t learn how to cook and clean now, your husband’s people will send you back after you get married. And it will be your own disgrace. Not mine”
But I can pay a cook or a cleaning lady.
“If any man starts telling you are beautiful, it is because he wants to sleep with you and ruin your life.”
What if it’s just an honest compliment? What are you afraid of? The fact that someone else told me when you wouldn’t?
“Don’t let it get into your head.”
Which of the “its”? That I’m beautiful? That I have a head that thinks? That I know who I am? That I’m proud of the woman I’m becoming?
“All my friend’s daughters married as virgins. Their husbands worship her (their mother)”
My purpose in life is not to make my mother proud. And the husbands, did they marry as virgins too? Who issues these virginity plaques?
“Time is not on your side”
Nah! I have nothing but time. You’re the one who is in a hurry for grandchildren. I still have a long way to go.
“A man is a woman’s crowning glory. If you have everything and you don’t have a husband, you’re incomplete.”
Women like Oprah? I am whole, on my own. Not an appendage to anyone.
“Don’t tell him you won’t cook. He won’t stay”
Bait and switch? But I hate cooking. Along with many other women duties.
“What do you mean you’re not sure you want children? Have you lost your mind?”
I’m not sure I have the “mother gene”. Besides, there are millions of children who have no home. I can adopt.
“The way to a man’s heart is his stomach. If you don’t take care of him, someone who knows his value will snatch him from you.”
Let them take him. I don’t want a man who lives by bread alone.
“Wait. What will you people be eating?”
Sometimes I buy soups from Ebe-Ano. Or I get take-out from the office cafeteria.
“So tell me, if you don’t cook, what will you be doing at home with your husband?”
We’ll have conversations about making the world a better place, and sustainable energy, and depression. We’ll argue about politics. And if Chance the Rapper is a gospel artiste or not. There are many other things we could be doing.
“You have no home training, how do you want to live in your husband’s house?”
Does my husband have any home training? Is he learning to live with his wife?
“You are not changing your last name? What has gotten into this child?”
How does keeping my name make me any less his wife? Why can’t he change his last name too?
“You are too opinionated. I don’t think any man will want to spend the rest of his life with you. A woman should be submissive.”
I think, therefore I am. (After all of these years you still don’t know I can’t be silenced.)
“This dress! What is your mission in this dress?”
Don’t tell me what to wear. Tell your sons and husbands not to stare.
“Don’t show your laps!”
Just go home and pray against strange women.
“A well brought-up woman does not live alone. She should stay with her parents or guardians till she is ready for marriage. Society frowns at it.”
Who is this society you speak of?
“Always better when he loves you more than you love him”
LOL! Yeah. And when he stops loving me?
“Are you being mean to men?”
Nah! I just want what I want. And I’m not very good at pretending.
“Don’t be too picky.”
I see why you ended up with your … uhm, never mind.
“A woman’s beauty fades quickly. Like a flower”
Ha! I don’t think so. I’ve been getting better with age.
“What exactly is wrong with him? You just don’t like him.”
He types like a three year-old, and he has a sense of entitlement. And I just don’t like him.
“Did you ever read the Urhobo folk tale about a girl named Oyeghe? She was so picky and ended up marrying a goblin.”
If I marry a goblin I’ll divorce him.
“The problem with you is you think too much. There is nothing to think about. Just let’s make this work”
Are you afraid that if I make a logical decision I won’t pick you?
“Anyone you see, just bring him home. Let us meet him.”
I am not anyone-ing my life.
“You’re looking at the body when you should be looking at the engine”
At least I’m looking at something. What did you look at in your time?
“You’re getting closer to thirty. Don’t become an old maid like Mrs. Lagbaja’s daughter”
Who made thirty the cut-off age for women?
“When I was your age, I already had you and your younger brother.”
When you were my age, you didn’t know about finding yourself, and purpose and all the things we care about now.
“You’re now a veteran single girl”
At least I’m good at something.
“So there is this vigil on Friday for the singles in church. We have to break every yoke that’s preventing our sisters of marriageable age from getting married”
I think our sisters just know what they want now.
“What of the other man they introduced you to after service last Sunday?”
We’re an obvious mismatch. I told him I was a Writer and he said “Wow! You do work with computer?”
Why did you say your last date went terribly wrong?
He said he doesn’t believe women should work.
I thought you met someone? Have you chased this one away too?
He went away by himself. Was I supposed to chase after him?
What is a girl like you looking for on Tinder?
Options. A larger dating pool.
Latest posts by Gbemi Ero-Phillips (see all)
- Conversations: A Single African Woman’s Clap-Back Guide - August 15, 2016