By Bunmi Sofola
KOREDE was raised in a polygamous home and confessed he experienced none of the emotional trauma a lot of children who grew up in polygamous settings claimed they went through. “My dad had three wives who bore him 13 children and my own mum is the middle wife. All the children wanted for nothing and the last two wives respected the first wife as if she were their own mother.
“I was impressed by the way dad handled domestic problems and no one had the feeling they were being marginalised. Right from the time I started dating girls, 1’d made up my mind to have at least two wives. So when I met Mercy at the Ministry we both worked for after graduation, I let her know my stand on marriage before things got too serious. ‘Are you telling me if we got married, you might have a second wife?’, she wanted to know. ‘That’s right,’ I told her, ‘and I’ll understand completely if you don’t want to see me again because of that. But I hope it’s not a deal breaker, because I really fancy you.’
“I was gobsmacked,” Mercy said. “I’d never entertained the idea of having more than one life partner. Even the mere thought of sharing Korede with another woman – or worse, women – made me wild with jealousy. When I asked him why, he said he’d always believed it’s possible to love more than one person. I listened to his reasoning, but it still didn’t make sense. So over the next few years, I tried to push his bombshell to the back of my mind. Then I got pregnant and we were both over the moon. We discussed getting married and Korede balked at any registry do. He wanted a traditional marriage. He quietly reminded me I knew what I was getting into when we first met.
“We were married six years with two children when he took the new baby in his arms and told me: ‘You know I love you with all my heart, but there’s another woman I love too.’ I froze. He continued: ‘In fact, I’m just off to meet her,’ and with that he returned the baby to me and as he left, he explained he had to tell me first before I heard it on the grapevine.
“I was so shocked I felt as if I’d been punched in the stomach. Of course he’d warned me about this happening, yet I’d buried my head in the sand. And now I had to face the fact that my husband would never be totally mine. It felt as if he was cheating – with my permission.
“He didn’t come home that night. I tossed and turned, alone in our double bed, conjuring up vivid images of intimate acts he was doing with her. By the time he rolled in next morning which was a Saturday, I was a wreck, ‘Is all you want of me is have your children and warm your bed, do the housework at the same time while you go out with your fancy women?’ I yelled at him. ‘Taking another lover doesn’t mean I love you any less,’ he explained, as if 1 were a child. ‘I see you as my first wife.’
“He continued to see this other woman and I was afraid to tell him to stop in case I drove him completely to her. ‘How would you feel if I saw other men?’ I asked him, still furious. He told me that would be entirely up to me but that polygamy didn’t quite work out that way. It was inevitable that Zenab, my husband’s new interest and I met. Korede casually asked if he could bring her over to the house. Part of me was aghast. ‘I don’t want to hear about your other woman,’ I fumed. ‘I don’t want to see her in this house either.’
But the other part of me was curious. I could see Korede was enamoured by this woman. How could I not meet her? Eventually he invited her round. ‘Good evening Mama Junior,’ she greeted me politely. ‘I have heard so many lovely things about you from uncle … ‘ Uncle?! That was a new one. She was a few years younger than me, which was a bit off- putting. But she was warm and polite. I was surprised I even liked her. And from then on, she visited the house occasionally.
“Nine months after he first brought her home, Korede had a question for me… ‘How would you feel about Zenab moving in with us? he said. ‘Isn’t that a big step?’ I asked him. ‘And what about the children?’ ‘Well, let’s give it a try. It’s best the children grow up as a polygamous family and Zenab is expecting. If you’re not happy, she could continue to live in her flat.’ And I knew what that would entail- sleepless night of wondering what he was up to if he slept over. I grudgingly agreed and before long, Zenab and her belongings arrived.
“We soon fell into a pattern. I’d cook and she’ll-wash up and clean the house – with the help of house-helps of course. We had two. But there was one area no one wanted to discuss – we both tiptoed round the issue of sleeping arrangements. Finally, Korede came up with an idea. Afterall, he was the polygamy expert. ‘Would it be ok if I drew up a rota?’ he asked both of us. ‘Every night, or every other night, I’ll alternate whose room I’ll sleep in to keep things fair.’ ‘A sex rota?’ I asked, bemused. ‘Well, if you want to call it that,’ he replied.
“I wasn’t too sure. ‘How do I know you won’t prefer Zenab in bed?’ I asked. ‘I love you unconditionally and that won’t change,’ he said. I felt reassured. So a rota was drawn up. Only, months later, it became apparent that Korede ended up in Zenab’s bedroom more than mine.
He had an answer for that. ‘It’s your snoring!’ he told me. ‘At least I get some rest when I’m with Zenab.’ I told him I didn’t believe him. ‘I’m sure she wants you awake, not sleeping!’
Now, years later, we’ve more or less gotten used to being one big family. I never bargained I would live under the same roof with a woman who also has a stake in my husband. Most modern day polygamists would rather live with a woman and bed-hop amongst the others. I only hope Zenab would be the last one, I don’t think Korede even has the spunk to put more than two women under the same roof in the name of being fair to the women. There’s so much a wife can take .. “
See No Evil? (Humour)
A woman prepares for her wedding. She asks her mum to buy a long black negligee and carefully put it in her suitcase so it won’t wrinkle. Her mum forgets all the last minutes and dashes out to get it. But she can only find a short, brown nightie. So she buys it and throws it in the suitcase. After the wedding, the couple enter the hotel room. The groom is self-conscious, so he asks his bride to change in the bathroom and – tells her not to peek as he gets ready for bed. In the bathroom, she opens the suitcase and sees the nightie. “ Oh no!” she exclaims, “It’s short, brown and wrinkled!” “Hey,” cries the groom. “I told you not to peek!”