Ever attended a family wedding when you are of ‘marriageable age’ and still single? Trust me, not a fun experience (Am sure most people can relate, especially, Africans). It’s like being locked inside a hen cage (That’s the best analogy I can come up with, so manage it). The well-meaning aunties and uncles (in my case, add brother to the list), all in one place, making sly comments about coming together again to ‘eat your rice’ and celebrate with you’ (Don’t I wish the comments were about making financial contribution towards the imaginary wedding). Heaven forbids that you tell them, there isn’t even a significant man in your life.
I had a bitter-sweet experience of attending one of my dearest cousin’s wedding about a month back. Sweet, because I am a sentimentalist, who enjoys seeing two people, who are obviously in love, promise themselves to each other forever. Bitter, because I spent the entire event working my ass off, and, of course, dealing with family members, who care more about my marital status than I do (Sarcasm fully intended).
I had quickly run out to buy some few items from down the street, when I ran into my oldest brother, who offered to go with me and help with the bags. A good big brother, you would think but, of course, he wasn’t just being helpful without an agenda. It started with ‘How far na?’ Being totally clueless, I gave the generic answer ‘I dey o’ meaning ‘am fine’. So, he decided to take it one step further, ‘where the guy na?’ meaning ‘where is the man in your life?’ Because, I have come to expect these interrogations from him, I attempted to dissuade the conversation with my usual ‘please, please, just leave me alone’, but sadly, he wasn’t having any of it. I am not sure if he actually believes that these conversations would produce me a husband faster or … (To be honest, I can’t pretend to know what he thinks). He continued with his monologue because there wasn’t any way I was going to participate in the conversation; ‘you have to tell us (by us, I think he met my family) on time so we can prepare properly’. ‘Don’t bring any yeye (meaning, useless) man o (I take it, he was impressed by my cousin’s choice). ‘This one, you are living in Abuja, don’t go and bring a Hausa man o! I don’t want a non-native at all!’ I was so determined not to participate in the conversation but at that point, I couldn’t help the laughter, not only am I to hurry along with finding a man, but there are also conditions attached to it, including a man that is of the same tribe as myself! My pragmatic mind went, are you serious or what? Do you even realise the odds of that happening? The Itsekiri Kingdom (My tribe) is a small portion of Delta state, which also happens to be only one state of the 36 states in Nigeria. If there were 5,000 people in Nigeria, the Itsekiris would likely make approximately 20 of that number. But somehow, I am supposed to make sure the man I marry is Itsekiri? *hehehehehe* ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS!
As if the task of finding someone to spend the REST of one’s life with isn’t hard enough, we just have to make it harder, by adding one more insignificant and ridiculous parameter to it. Shouldn’t the primary focus be on the person, how you interact and how he/she feels about you and vice versa? My mother and brother (I will go out on a limp and say a lot of African parents), will say that is a childish way of seeing things. As much as I love and respect the opinions of my family, I thank God every day that my childish self is the one with the ultimate decision. But most importantly, I can’t even hear the music, so why in heaven’s name, are we dancing? Maybe, so I know I am not allowed to dance to all type of songs *hehehehe*. I swear, family makes the world more interesting, at least my family does.