Sometimes when I hear the cliche, women being their own worst enemy, the more I try to defend that there are great and exceptional women, the more I’m forced to step back and re-examine myself. I have come across some many women who just wouldn’t turn a new coat, no matter what. So, I was at a party hosted by a few weeks back. It was the burial of Molade’s mother-in-law. The party had been the talk of the moment amongst many of our close friends, promising to be loaded with an A list guest attendance, A top musical act on the band stand and choice foods from all kinds on vendors for the catering. Mama had been a successful fabric merchant during her life time and all her six children, five boys and a girl have turned out equally successful in their callings too. Niyi, my friend’s husband, the youngest son and last born, was also no doubt his mother’s favourite. He was determined to give his mother the best exit party anyone could, same for his older siblings. So, it was not the party to miss by Naija standards if you know what I mean. And truly, no one was disappointed. Mama’s children, grandchildren and great grandchildren came in from all the corners of the world to pay their last respect, and they left nothing to chance to ensure that guests had a great time. But for a small hitch that left a very sour taste in my mouth and one that I have not been able to shake off ever since, I probably would have ticked this party off as the best I’ve attended so far this year.
For those who have not attended a typical large Owambe party of this nature, the setting is such that the tables are marked with the names of the hosts and placed in a way that all the guests of a particular host will eventually be seated together to ensure that no one misses out on attention and other goodies for the day. Right behind the table I shared with my group of friends, sat a group of very lovely looking ladies. All of them were extremely fair complexioned except one. They also had two gun bearing Police men in uniform standing right behind them. Their heavy commercial makeover and headtie all added to make them stand out a bit conspicuously from most of the other tables around. They did not appear so young, but they knew by heart, almost all the lyrics of the Naija hip hop songs blended with every genre of Nigeria music that was being dished out by another young musician in attendance, gyrating their bodies to the beats from the instruments. It was obvious they were regular party jammers, probably members of a club or society. They painted the picture of the typical ‘omo eko’ where I come from.
I was still trying to place my friend in their group when it struck me that they were not Molade’s friends but her husband’s guests. It wasn’t long before I identified who was in charge of the group. She weaved around the floor of the party like someone on a mission. Her mission was not really to ensure the success of the party but to impress herself upon the guests, to force some kind of recognition for herself. I couldn’t help myself anymore and nudged Tudun beside me in her direction. I did not need to voice the question before she answered, “that’s her, Niyi’s girlfriend”. Niyi’s girlfriend? At a family function? Where his wife and children are? What is his excuse for such a shameful act? It quickly dawned on me why Molade had that forlorn, sad look on her face. She was obviously struggling to manage her embarrassment from what was happening which was beyond her control.
It was obvious the woman came prepared, any negative move from Molade could turn into something unwholesome, ruining the party for her family. My heart sank and a large chunk of the respect I had for Niyi dropped a few notches. Only a selfish, uncaring dick of a man would stoop so low and allow such a woman at that kind of family gathering. It was bad enough that he had a long standing extra marital affair kept not so secret, but sticking same in his wife’s face and showcasing his infidelity to the world in that manner was the height of it for me. What was so important about her or the party that she had to show her face there? Would she die or the party not hold if she did not attend? Would attending elevate her to the status of a wife or force his children and family members to embrace her with open arms? Exactly what was the point?
So this woman I learnt is called Shade and her troop became the main attraction of the party for me. I had an eyeful of their shenanigans. I soon realised that they were all of a kind when another member of their group whom I knew from another circle walked in. At that point, everything became clear. The lady happened to be a side chick of a family friend and had wittingly positioned herself permanently in his life by giving him a child, nearly wreaking his marriage and relationship between him and his already grown up children. Eventually, he’d accepted the child and has been duly responsible for it, but there was nothing between them. However, her friends hailed her as ‘olori’ (queen) of the man’s name and she took her pretences to the heights as if she were truly his wife. I concluded that the other ‘ayaba’, (queen or princess) emi ……(the heart of ….) all the big names they were calling each other were side chicks of those men too, and not necessarily their lawfully wedded wives. They were a bunch of women out to pitch their tent with the biggest pockets, or is it muguns.
Later, some funny looking guys walked in bearing boxes of party souvenirs on their hefty shoulders. Shade quickly got up and began directing them on how to share them. For reasons known to her, she ensured we got all her expensive gifts, returning to our table severally to ask if we were alright. I started getting angry at her. It was obvious that she was aware of our hostility and wanted to impress us by all means. Finally, I couldn’t help but clap my hands in disgust when it was time for Niyi and his wife to take to the dance floor. As we were dancing and milling around the couple, this woman had the effrontery to join them and even steal the show right before our very eyes. She sprayed Niyi several wads of N1,000 notes and he too started doing so to her. Then, she turned to Molade and wanted to do same but she politely walked off the stage. Then she turned to the musician and began spraying him. All her friends were on the dance floor, gyrating their bums to the music. Honestly, I felt like puking. What sort of women would do this to another? Many of us returned to the table to gather our things and left the party. Molade was not in sight, so there was no need to ask her for excuse. Niyi and his girlfriend were still engaged in their show of shame as I called it.
Gist on phone with friends about the party lasted way into the night. I leant that though no one knew when the relationship started, Niyi went public with Shade about five years earlier. She has two children from a failed relationship and has not been able to have any for Niyi, unlike her friend who’d had a child for our family friend. Niyi is however very much involved in her children’s education and welfare. I have no problems with anyone trying to make a nest for herself anywhere she deems suitable. But I have a problem with women who come in to disrupt the peace and tranquillity of other women’s homes and relationships. I have a problem with women who believe they are on a rescue mission, saving their catch from the clutches of his ‘unsophisticated’ wife and unexciting lover. I have a problem with women who think they are capable of birthing children better than those already fathered by their lovers, therefore manipulating the man and using their child(ren) to destroy the lives of other children. I have a problem with women who fail to empathise with the women they are hurting by disrupting their marriages and stealing their lives and peace away from them.
Some people may argue that polygamy is allowed in our society and that the women are not to blame since it was the so called married men who approached them first. Yes, but I doubt that this is polygamy, definitely the same as practised by our fathers. You will hardly find a junior wife walking rudely all over her seniors in the bed hierarchy. Even where they do, it is usually discreet and not the glaring show of banality as displayed by those women. Baffling to mind is the fact that Shade and some of her friends are coming from failed relationships, caused either by themselves, their spouses of some other reasons. They have been through the roller coaster emotions attached, they have witnessed its effects on their children, they’ve seen how the dissolution has affected many other relationships in their lives, yet, they are willing and ready to inflict same on another human being and fellow woman.
I’m told all is fair in love and war, but even at that, I insist that there must be rules of engagement. Some also say that since another woman destroyed their relationship, then, they cannot be blamed for destroying another woman’s too. But I say the world would be a jungle if we all go around with that destructive notion and attitude. Women must put an end to this vicious cycle.
Whether we accept it or not, men are weak when it comes to the opposite sex. So weak that even the Holy books acknowledge their challenges. It will take great discipline and the grace of God for a man to walk the straight path in their sexual journey. These women must know that it is not all the time a man strays with you that he loves his wife less, or wants to leave her for you. Be content that you have his attention and help him stay rooted and committed to those who truly love and need him in their lives, knowing that they might not have the luxury of frolicking around like you. Men must understand that these women are not the saints they desire them to believe. If they were, why could they not use those good virtues and sexy moves to hold down their previous men?
Do have a wonderful weekend!!