That's what someone once said to me. A couple we know were having serious problems in their marriage and my friend ascribed it to their different social statuses. One being from the upper-middle class and one belonging to the lower class. One who had always lived in a huge house in Ikoyi and the other who had always shared a two-bedroom flat with eight siblings and both parents in Ejigbo. One who has vacationed in several countries and the other who never even had a passport.
Well, somehow these two met and believed they were in love and got married. Unfortunately however, barely one month into the marriage they began to have serious issues and my friend made this statement "that's why I've always said the rich and the poor should never get married, it would never work. The rich should marry the rich and the poor should marry the poor".
This brought back memories of some years back when I met someone. He was the atypical "rich kid". We got along really well and obviously had feelings for each other. His family is old money and very wealthy. He lived in Ikoyi, in the only mansion I've ever been in. I certainly won't go into details but the family name is one you're likely to be familiar with. I on the other hand was from the wrong side of the tracks. I lived in the wrong part of town, I was born in the wrong country (Nigeria), my father didn't have a "name", I didn't go to the right schools, I didn't belong to the right social circle. Now although he and I had mutual feelings and respect it seemed whatever it was that we had was doomed right from the start.
To begin with he made it seem like coming to Surulere was the most odious task anyone could ask of him. I remember when he once said "there are more than ten cars and more than ten drivers, I can send all of them to pick you up but I just cannot come". There was also the issue of him avoiding circumstances where I could meet his friends. I really didn't mind this, on the one occasion I hung out with them those people might have as well been speaking Greek. They had all vacationed together since they were kids in places like Cabo, Bora Bora, the Seychelles, Monte Carlo, the Maldives etc. At some point someone asked me "what's that place called, that place in Manhattan close to....?" na so I just open mouth like fish. It was a near disaster.
Besides keeping me away from his friends, he seemed to avoid being seen in public with me or taking me to places we were likely to run into people he knew. We would go to a bar and we would sit in a dark corner, it was either that or I come to the crib. No doubt he never took me to the Polo club, The Boat club, or Jet Skiing on his friend's father's private beach on the island.
Inspite of this his friends knew about me and did everything to discourage him, telling him that I was a mistake and a waste of time. Some of these friends who's faces are regulars on the pages of Thisday Style or Bella Naija did everything in their power to prove to their friend that I was no good, and some even went as far as playing pranks on me to prove this point.
An example of this was when someone kept on calling me persistently and insisted that we'd met. He said we met at Churasco and described me in detail, he also told me things about me that only someone who knew me well would know. Therefore I eventually believed that we actually met. This guy became my "friend", always calling and checking on me and even once when I fell ill he showed so much support, even went as far as asking his doctor to pay me a house call and he took care of the bills. We became such good friends and he became my confidant. Yet, there was nothing romantic between us. When we eventually met I was convinced that I had found a friend in this guy.
On that day I was running an errand in Ikoyi not far from where he lived, when he called me and invited me for lunch so we could finally meet. I went over and we had such a pleasant time. He gave me some serious advice and life lectures. We talked about everything from academics and grades to politics (and the importance of voting), to entertainment, to current affairs. It was one of the most mentally stimulating conversations I've had, till date. There was nothing romantic or sexual about our meeting. I left and he suggested I join him on a boat cruise the next day. But I never heard from him again.
For a long time it made no sense because we were "just friends" and nothing had happened the day we met. It wasn't till months later that I learnt that all that was just one of the several attempts to prove to *Biyi that I was "just another mainland girl". Apparently as soon as I left his house he called Biyi and told him that he thought Biyi had said I was different? Well, I wasn't, after all I had just left his house; I was just another mainland girl. Biyi began to distance himself from me and start quarrels for one reason or another. One day he blurted out, "I'm not surprised, after all you're just another mainland girl".
Ah, I also remember when one of Biyi's female friends called my friend to warn me that Biyi and I were from two different worlds and I would never be accepted in his. In her words "tell your friend that the best that would happen is that he would just f*ck her and move on, if she thinks Biyi will date her then she's just deceiving herself". Oh well, funny enough though, we never got physical, we were actually in love. But none of that mattered because I belonged to the wrong class.
Eventually his friends won and we went our separate ways (the whole thing played out like a Nollywood movie to me). Yet I'm certain that even though the wealthy usually marry within their own circles, there are still marriages between people from very different social classes. Whether these marriages are actually successful is another question entirely.
Do you agree with my friend's statement, would it result in only disaster when the rich marries the poor or when the poor marries the rich? Or do you think it makes no difference?