Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Being African and Single, in a Coupled World!

I am not sure if we all look forward to turning 30, but everyone (ok, well at least a whole lot of us) gets to turn 30 and 31, and 32 and so on. 

If you were born in the 70 and 80s, you were most likely raised with the expectation that you should be married or close to marriage by the time you reach age 30. Off course the world has changed; people marry later if ever they do, and being single in your 30s is no longer a big deal. Or is it really not?

About 75% of the kids born in the US in 2015 were born out of wedlock, and I am pretty much convinced that the stats are similar or if not higher in South Africa and probably other parts of Africa. So if this so, why are my mates, the thirty something-year-olds, under so much pressure to be attached?

At first, this was pretty evident particularly amongst females, but I have observed increased amounts of desperation amongst men in their late 30s too. If the world appears to no longer value marriage, family and attachment, then why is it that people still define their social status and self-worth on their ability to find and keep a mate?

We now live in an era where more than ever before, people feel the need to prove to the world that they are able to sustain a relationship by bombarding us with happy images of their union and sharing their relationship goals on social media. Relationship goals: has the world really come to this?

I don’t have answers to all the questions posed above, but I am going to share a bit of my experiences before and after I met “Bae” (what can I say, the world calls him Bae, might as well embrace this word), and give some of my thoughts around this matter.
Being African and Single, in a Coupled World!
A possible explanation of why so many women appear to be so desperate for love

It can be depressing to be single when everyone around you is attached, whether they are in a happy or semi dysfunctional relationship. It’s even soul-crushing when even the lame of the lamest people seem to find love before you do. When you turn 30, the misery of going to dinner parties alone, explaining to your colleagues why you can’t seem to find a man, getting invites to baby showers every weekend, getting excited about a wedding that is not yours and helping your best friend pick out a wedding dress- that misery is heightened even more than before. I don’t care how pretty, happy, confident, self-contained, enlightened and all the other stuff self-help books say you should be, when you are the only one or one of the few in your crew who can’t seem to get this love thing right, such can pretty much send you into a mini depression state.

I don’t care how pretty, happy, confident, self-contained, enlightened and all the other stuff self-help books say you should be- when you are the only one or one of the few in your crew who can’t seem to get this love thing right, this can pretty much send you into a mini depression state.

But what hurts the most, is not the inner turmoil stemming from the fact that none of your coupled friends seem to notice, and frankly in some cases seem not to even care; what hurts is how society views singlehood vs. being attached. It’s like the ability to be in a proper functioning relationship, and what I mean by proper functioning is that both parties involved acknowledge that they are a couple and none of this “It’s complicated” stuff that most people find themselves in. Now going back to my point, society sees the ability for a woman to keep a man as a step up in her social status. This is, as if being someone “Bae” is some form of achievement and all those that are still single are left to feel as under achievers.

I have been excluded on many dinner invites simply because it was a couple’s only event. Maybe it might explain why now that I am attached, all these couple date stuff bore me to death. I find it discriminatory towards your single friends. I don’t form friendships based on one’s ability to keep a man or not, that is actually immaterial in my world. So why the hell would I exclude my friends from some activities based on their relationship status? That is just a basic form of thinking and honestly such friendships need to be evaluated in my opinion.

I once gave a friend my piece of mind simply because he did not invite a couple of us to his daughter’s birthday party, citing because we do not have children? You are probably as astonished as I was. What does my womb have to do with the friendship? His reasons were that he only invited people who were parents as it was a kiddie’s party after all. As petty as the above might sound, to a single person who is constantly reminded of what a failure they are, such small things can mess with their self-esteem.

I once gave a friend my piece of mind simply because he did not invite a couple of us to his daughter’s birthday party, citing because we do not have children. You are probably as astonished as I was. What does my womb have to do with the friendship? His reasons were that he only invited people who were parents as it was a kiddie’s party after all. As petty as the above might sound, to a single person who is constantly reminded of what a failure they are, such small things can mess with their self-esteem.

Hence I understand why a lot of single people, especially women, end up doing the most absurd things in order to appear winning.

This is because in a coupled world, single means failure, and single in your 30s means a dismal fail. It’s almost like a bank account segmentation model, where silver is single and hopeless, gold is not married but in a relationship, prestige is married regardless of whether dude is a loser or not, platinum is happily married, and the black card, oh the black is for the select few who are happily married and married well!

Why couples only events bore me to death
First of all because they are superficial. Which normal functioning human being only has married friends? It’s also superficial because just because the men in our lives have stuff in common does not mean the women do.

Then people are going to talk about their kids, school fees, nannies, mother in-laws, family friendly destination….blah blah blah! What if you are not into all of that, what if appearing like you are super woman and dishing out food for your man is not the reason he is attracted to you in the first place? I mean the other day at a party I forgot to dish out for my dude, and some ladies gave me dirty looks as if what I did was absolutely taboo. I just kissed my boyfriend and we lived happily ever after.

The point is, couples who take this whole relationship thing too seriously become boring at some point, and my theory is that they exclude single people because single people lead far more interesting lives. So these attached people create a false sense of superiority, pass remarks such as “oh but you are not married, you can’t possibly have anything to say about relationships”, and create secret societies that would even bore the Pope .Then there is the 1st wives club, and if you are single you are either expected try hard to fit in or you will be excluded. Worse of all should you bring your single friends to a party where the 1sts wives are at, a meeting about your treacherous ways will be held in the kitchen (yes when you are main chick or wife, you have to appear domesticated) and you will be reminded about the darling ex-girlfriend who would have never displayed such inappropriate forms of behavior. That is the part I ask my man to pour me champagne and claim to not know how to cook.

Then there is the 1st wives club, and if you are single you are either expected to try hard to fit in or you will be excluded. Worse of all, should you bring your single friends to a party where the 1sts wives are at, a meeting about your treacherous ways will be held in the kitchen (yes when you are main chick or wife, you have to appear domesticated) and you will be reminded about the darling ex-girlfriend who would have never displayed such inappropriate forms of behavior. That is the part I ask my man for another glass of champagne.

In conclusion, as much as at times I seem to come on hard on my single and unattached sisters when they appear basic, I am on your side and I totally empathize with you. It’s not easy to walk with your head up high when at times, more often than necessary you are reminded what a failure you are. Everything happens in divine timing, and when you do finally meet your man, I beg you please to rather join the defiant girlfriends club who refuse to live up to any social stereotypes about what a girlfriend should or should not do, be or say, instead of adopting a typical 1st wives persona.

Take this poll below and feel free to leave a comment/question here for me. I will be sure to respond back.

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