By Joseph Kabuleta
(From the archives)
First posted on Feb 6th 2015
I asked why girls who are not looking for marriage are stumbling on it while those who are desperate for it can’t find it. Here in so many words is why I think that is the case. Every analogy presented here is from my own observation and every phrase employed is coined by me.
Generally speaking, ladies in our society divide their adult lives into four distinct phases.
PHASE ONE: Play time (Age 19-22)
This is a period where, as Cyndi Lauper’s famous song says, “girls just wanna have fun”.
When a guy asks her out, she comes along with three of her roomies and wonders why he was frowning throughout the evening and drinking only water. She shares almost all her mischief with her friends and they have a good laugh over it. At this stage of their lives, girls see guys as playthings; as a lamentable, pitiable species of people that must continually prove their worth. During this phase, any suggestion of a serious relationship is dismissed with the contempt reserved for fun-spoilers.
PHASE TWO: Open time (Age 23-28).
In this period, girls still wanna have fun, but not just fun. They want to have fun with a purpose. They are looking to fall in love and get married (in that order). At this stage, her ideal man is no longer a set of qualities written on a piece of paper or a guy on a magazine cover, but a workmate, a churchmate, a gymmate…in other words, someone within her realistic grasp. She knows him, she sees him, she frequents the places he usually goes to and she hopes he makes a move.
As she gets dangerously close to 28 and the guy of her fantasies is not any closer to making a move, she widens her net. The bidding process is now open. She imagines that just because she flung herself open, bidders are going to come flocking in by their tens.
If only life was that straightforward.
Her open bidding process lasts a year without a single bid, then reality hits. She looks back at all the bidders she threw out without as much as a consideration and none of them looks particularly jilted. In fact, most of them are probably happily married or inviting her to their wedding meetings.
Tick, tack, tick, tack….
PHASE THREE: Desperation time (Age 29-33)
She is now 29, which means 30 is just 365 days away.So many things have to happen before the fourth decade of her life begins.
As the days go by, she forgets that marriage involves two people. She tries to take the bull by the horns, so to speak. Now she can only date ‘serious’ people. Anyone deemed to be unserious is not granted half an audience.
That creates three discernible dangers for her.
1. Her definition of a serious man is one who is willing to have the second date at her parent’s home, and the third date at their wedding reception. Any man who can be rushed like that is either a very old man or a conman. So her definition of a serious man inadvertently excludes all serious men.
2. At this stage, a girl has lost the ability to fall in love, all she wants is to fall in marriage. Men notice this attitude from a distance and take off. Men want to be the star in their own movie, not to be enrolled as support cast in a woman’s movie.
3. The third problem is; desperation doesn’t sell. And it doesn’t hide either. The harder you try to suppress it the more it sticks out, like a cockroach on a wedding cake. Like a wet stain on the fry of a trouser, desperation can never be hidden.
PHASE FOUR: Single motherhood (Ages 33 –)
When the prospect of marriage seems to be vanishing with the horizon, it’s time to look for a prospective baby papa. He must be responsible (not the kind who will switch off the phone when school fees time arrives). Good looks are an added advantage.
Remember those distinct phases; Play time, Open time, Desperation time and Single motherhood.
Anyone who has been through campus knows all about the nightmare of registration. You get to the faculty and there is a queue of students waiting to enlist. Exams are around the corner and you must complete the process in time or you miss out. But the lady in charge of the registration process looks tired, bored, demotivated and desperate to milk that moment for self-importance.
Hanging above her desk is a notice that reads: “A delay on your part does not constitute an emergency on ours.”
And so she remains oblivious to the haste around her. Yet, in spite of her apparent callousness, she has a point. The office was open throughout the semester but no one showed up to register until the final few days. And now we expected her to jump up and down at our whims.
Back to the subject of marriage.
From my observation, girls who end up in stable marriages are those who use their Open Time wisely. But so many girls tend to abuse their Open Time in one of the following ways.
1. The dream man
In every grouping or confluence of bachelors and spinsters (church, club, workplace etc) there is often one suave, smooth, seemingly accomplished guy who is seen as the ideal husband for most girls. He is the man of their fantasies.
The trouble is; that prize man is being eyed by twenty girls; all of whom are hoping to win the race. If only the dude would make his choice early enough and free the girls from the prison of their fantasies, but such guys are never in a hurry. He plays ‘good friend’ to all the girls and keeps them hanging on the cross of hope.
When he eventually proposes to one, he leaves nineteen others flat on their faces. By the time they get over the disappointment, and try to look elsewhere, their Open Time is coming to an end and Desperation Time is knocking on the door.
2. Ideal vs Available
Then they wake up to the realisation that they wasted their Open Time eyeing that prize man. While they were at it, other guys came and expressed interest but they were roundly rejected because the belle was determined to land the trophy guy.
So when she wakes up from her disappointment, all the guys who were interested in her, the guys whose proposals she threw out, have moved on and they seem happy. Many of them are dating or married. If only one of them would come back she would gladly take him in, but none of them returns.
3. Extended Play Time
Many belles choose to prolong their Play Time and eat up all their Open Time. So they move straight from Play Time to Desperation Time. One day they are singing “girls just wanna have fun”, the next day they are desperate for a proposal. A few of them might get away with it, but most don’t.
4. A delay on your part…
Like those women at campus would say, a delay on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency elsewhere. Just because you are running late doesn’t mean menfolk are going to change their behaviour. Guys don’t want to talk about marriage or the ideal family size on the first or fourth date. They don’t want to meet your parents before they are well acquainted with you. Don’t expect the world to align itself to your desperation. There are certain things you cannot push; the only pushing you will do is pushing prospective husbands away from you.
Now for some advice
* Even if you have entered desperation age, never act desperate. It can only work against you.
* Don’t waste your open time pursuing a so-called dream guy. He is probably not worth it. A dream guy today might turn out to be a loser tomorrow. That’s usually the case. Remember those guys whom we celebrated in Secondary School? Where are they now? Don’t be surprised to find them riding boda bodas. The guy you turn down today because he doesn’t meet your lofty aspirations might turn out as the dream guy tomorrow. If you cannot catch a buffalo, settle for an antelope.
* Don’t put the necessity for marriage ahead of the person you are marrying; that is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse.
* Remember, the people who are desperate did not end up that way because they didn’t have opportunities; they ended up that way because they spurned their opportunities.
* God doesn’t see us for what we are, He sees us for what we can be. How I wish girls held the same attitude when considering prospective husbands.
If you have read this to the end it means you have enjoyed it. Now share it with your friends (especially young ladies). It might just make a big difference in their lives.