Glory was only nine years married when the whole union came crashing round her ears. “I’d always had problems with my mother-in-law”, she said. “Lukman, my husband, wasn’t an only child, nor the first son. He must have been the only one his mother could easily wound round her scheming fingers.
“She took an instant dislike to me right from the moment we were introduced and sneered at the part of the country I came from. To put her down a peg by two, I told her how much my family had achieved in the past and the type of plum job I had. That sort of got her goat. She must have guessed that I earned more than her golden by did, and became even more resentful of what she called my extravagant taste.
She couldn’t stop the marriage as I was already pregnant but she used every opportunity she had to run me down. I felt like beating her up. Lukman was torn between the two of us and refused to take sides. My patience finally snapped the day she criticized my cooking. I’d just had my second son and she’d come to stay with us under the pretext of helping with the baby.
“I’d sent the maid to the market and her ladyship chose that time to demand for her food. I grudgingly made the amala she wanted, but she jabbed at the stuff and grumbled it was hard and lumpy. That was when I really lost it. I rounded on her and called her an interfering witch. The more shocked she was at my expletives, the more I tore into her. She looked really frightened at a point and I threatened that if she didn’t give me peace in my marital home, I would beat her up.
“When Lukman came home, she started ranting and it was my turn to look aghast. I completely denied her allegations. It was my word against hers and my husband didn’t know who to believe. In the end, I convinced her to go back to her husband’s home – that I was quite capable of looking after myself and the kids.”
“Her attack on me whenever she visited became so vitriolic that I got fed up with her and her son who was always making excuses for her. When I discovered she’d successfully convinced Lukman to take a second wife in their home town, I simply washed my hands off the whole family and moved to a flat with my two sons. Thanks to my mother-in-law, the break-up was really messy and Lukman disappeared from our lives.
The emotional trauma of the break-up of my marriage was hard enough, let alone having to look after two boisterous boys. Because I’d piled on the flab, my self-esteem took a nose-dive until Joy, my best friend, decided I had to have my life back. I started gong to the gym with her, lost a bit of weight and actually got promoted at work.
“My confidence came back in leaps and bounds – so did my libido. Lukman had always complimented me on being highly sexual and experimental in bed. Girls from my part of the country usually are, though when I’m in a relationship, I seldom stray. Now that I’d done without for close to a year, my sex-drive was back with a vengeance.
So when next a banker a the gym made a play for me, I encouraged him. He was married so we both knew what we would be in the relationship for. The day he paid me a visit at the flat, my two sons were fast asleep in their room. I let it slip that I would need a few things in the house – like a good freezer, a good air-conditioner and maybe a new set of furniture so I could throw away the cast-offs from my matrimonial home. That the least I was reminded of my disastrous marriage, the quicker it would be for me to move on”.
“A couple more visits later, he called the house to ask the items I regarded as priority so they could be delivered. I chose the freezer and the air-conditioners. They were delivered within a week. We’d kissed a few times but hadn’t gone all the way. After his gifts, I led him straight to my bedroom and lust took over. When he left, I felt elated – I’d finally broken the jinx with marital sex and my fling gave me the confidence that regardless of my being a divorcee, I was still an attractive woman who respectable men found sexy.
“In the meantime, in spite of my promotion, running a home alone wasn’t a breeze. It was an effort to get Lukman to pay the kids’ school fees, on top of which I had to put food on the table, maintain the car and a cranky generating set. That was when it dawned on me I could actually make the men in my life contribute to things needed in the house no matter in whatever shape.
So, I started socializing more and invested in trendy clothes. I looked out for men who had good jobs and weren’t bad looking. I’d discovered that asking a man outright for cash hand-outs could make you look cheap. But if you whine about going without vital fixtures in the house, they were always eager to help. It sort of brings out the chivalry in them.
“My next lover actually owned a furniture factory. He willingly gave me a posh suit of furniture but the mean fellow carted away my old ones. He was a nice man in his 40s. It was obvious he had great love and respect for his wife but after they’d had their fourth child, she’d lost interest in making love. He said he missed the sex and didn’t want to be made to feel like a money-machine. So I pampered him with good home cooking and he always brought lovely South African wine to go with the meals. The only problem about him is that he did his talking after sex, but I just shrugged and humoured him. I wasn’t on the lookout for a husband!
“Over the months, I’ve met quite a number of generous men – and one or two who thought they could take me for a ride. I will stop when I find a man I can really share my life with, after all, I’m not 40 yet. In the meantime, I’m not ashamed of what I’m doing. It never feels like prostitution – more like an amicable exchange between two consenting adults. You’d be surprised at how many women do what I do – and get away with it”.