Deep breath now. Doesn’t that title make you want to wretch?
I bumped into Oprah two Sundays ago, and saw a clip of these three gorgeous women [not the ones pictured above] saying how they love being married to one man. Two of the wives are twins, and between the three wives, they have 21 and a half children. Wife Number 1 was 7 months pregnant during filming.
I don’t know how old this episode was, but the women weren’t wearing prudish gowns and poofy hair. They were supermodel gorgeous and looked like an ad for hair colours by Revlon.
The wives admitted that they sometimes feel bad about sharing their man, especially when he picks a number for a one-on-one date. But they also have group dates, and their kids get along perfectly.
Well it’s not for me to judge. I mean as long as they’re happy. But despite my assertions in this post, I would not willingly share my man. I just might let him cheat, but only if he’s respectful enough to keep i discreet. Polygamy just would not work for me.
The Oprah thing led to a heated discussion with workmates. The guys, of course, were advocating polygamy. One girl accepted it as fact, because she comes from a multiple family.
I was attacked because many of ‘my people’ demand polygamy, and as a proud daughter, I should acquiesce. I explained that I was raised to believe that men from my father’s tribe need to have more than one woman, and I accept that. Which is why I’ve never dated one. That, and I love multicoloured babies.
My workmate wondered why I refuse to share, especially when I said I accept my male relatives having many women. He challenged me to prove that I wasn’t already sharing my man. How could I be sure that he was faithful?
My answer to this is simple – what I don’t know can’t hurt me, and what I don’t want to know is that he’s cheating. Let him keep it quiet. The premise of polygamy is that it’s all out in the open. Hence, I can stand the unseen mistress, but I will not share my man’s last name [with women who are not his sisters].
My two cents on the matter is that polygamy would not work today – at least not with women like me. Polygamy in the past worked for the same reason that marriage worked in the past; there was no choice.
If a man brought home 15 other wives, you said, ‘Yes boss,’ because unless you had enough cows to pay back your dowry [and a father who adored you almost to the point of incest] then you could not leave the home. Women ran off after abuse only for their families to drag them right back.
Divorce was rarely an option because marriage was communal, and a failed marriage showed a failed community. Nobody wants to admit to being a failed community.
As a woman, you couldn’t go running to mum, so you grinned and bore it. In fact, you were grateful if your man was progressive enough to let you pick your cowives – that way, you could pick girls that you could boss around get along with.
AND, in some communities, a woman was allowed to keep a lover, so her other needs were met despite sharing a man. As long as you kept it discreet. I don’t know how the lover boys liked this arrangement, or if they had other wives as well; folklore is suspiciously silent on that.
Some tribes even encouraged women to have kids outside of their husbands, you know, just in case the dude pissed someone off, his lineage was cursed and his biological kids dropped like flies. If this happened, the woman [and the family] would still have progeny by way of the kids from a different father.
Professor Wambui Mwangi [brilliant woman!] feels that we look at tradition through modern eyes, so my opinion on these facts may be ‘tainted’. But the facts themselves are not. Marriage – polygamous or otherwise – worked because there was no other choice. You lived with your cowives because there was no other way to live. You had never heard of a one-man-one-wife family unless the man was ridiculously poor.
But today, women are ’emancipated’. I know that if my man brings head – no gutter intended – then I can walk out. For that reason, I cannot be forced to accept his other wives … unless I want to.
A discussion on Matatu FM this week was on mistresses. Maina asked – if you met your man’s mistress and discovered she was hotter than fire you, would you let it go? Sometimes, I see a girl go after my man, and I feel that I can’t possibly compete, so I don’t bother. If your man is your man, you shouldn’t have to.
So if dude has let you meet his mistress, you might want to ditch him for someone discreet. A man who loves and respects you, yet somehow can’t keep it in his pants, will make sure you’re satisfied and that you don’t know about his other women. Unless of course you’ve hired a Private Eye, in which case I can’t help you. In my experience, if you go looking for dirt, you’ll find it, so don’t look. Leave his cellphone alone already!
This assumes, of course, that your man loves and respects you. If you have a man that makes out with random women while you watch, and hits on everyone from your kid sister to your mom, slam the door on your way out; he’s an idiot.
Now on to the colonialism angle. For westernisation to be successful, we had to be convinced that everything we believed was wrong, including African names and polygamy.
So, am I the only who’s amused that the modern societies now want plural families? And while we’re at it, why does no one push for polyandry?
In essence, I have no beef with plural marriages as long as:
(a) the bride is over 21 [18 is way too naïve]
(b) it’s all voluntary – no forced marriages or rape here
(c) the man involved is not my husband
Beyond that, do whatever you want.
But I am still immensely tickled that the very things we were taught are backward and uncivilised are now finding their way into modern society. Tsk tak. For shame!
I wonder how long before we ditch the microscopic skirts [that are a lot closer to loin cloth than we realise] and just walk around toting spears and birthday suits…
♫ Schitzophrenic psycho ♫ Puddle of Mudd ♫