So yesterday I received my package from my dealer in Abuja and I was a bit saddened to find that the product was the same one I'd used before, and besides being saddened, offended to know that this one cost so much more, yet it was the same thing! So this morning, polite as I ever, I sent my dealer a text and told her, I used this last time, I didn't get what I wanted. But you obviously did so tell me what needs to be done differently this time. Tips please?
(I know the above is all very vague but it's because I do not want you to know what I'm talking about. *runs away*)
*runs back to continue the story*. So during the conversation, my dealer, let's call her Mrs B gave me some very helpful tips, she was so full of life and chatty, as chatty as someone who obviously doesn't have reason to be economical with airtime as we spoke for well over an hour. So every live was punctuated with "My husband was doing that... My kids said this" "Yes, just try that, your husband would notice", "My husband never used to do it before...", "I'm sure your husband would thank you for it!", "Its the best way you can please your husband, he will be so happy", "My husband never bothered about that before but now you should see how he acts", "Your husband might be surprised at first but eventually he'll come around", "my kids never liked fruits or veges but now they love pickles. You should try giving yours pickles, apples and other healthy fun foods..."
And did I tell you she was chatty, oh so chatty I couldn't get a word in edgewise. At the first "Your husband...", I wanted to say "Errr, no I don't have a...", but she wouldn't just give me the opportunity so I shut up and only contributed with the "mmmm, hmmmm, mmhmmm" that my throat was occasionally permitted.
So when after our long, lively, enlightening chat, Mrs B finally asked "So how is your husband?", I had no choice to say "My husband is fine, thank you".
Once again it leads me to think about the assumptions people make about women of a certain age. The subject matter of our transaction has nothing to do with marriage or husbands either... Pray tell, what would her reaction have been if after our very long chat which had been well peppered with talks of her husband and mine, her kids and mine, she had said "How's your husband?" And I'd responded with "Oh, I'm not married". That would have been so #Awkward. I imagined she'd have felt a bit stupid for being so presumptuous, then slightly resentful towards me for not setting her straight, never mind that she never asked me nor gave me a chance to.
Another thing that's crossed my mind, though I might be wrong but that's highly unlikely, is the that if she'd known I'm just l'il ol' single me our call would have lasted for all of five minutes, she would not have been so free and open with me, she would not have been so chummy and buddy-buddy and , she would not have seen me as an equal.
The call was meant to be about a simple product but then there was all this talk from her about your husband-my husband, and it wasn't just the words, it was the tone with which she spoke; theatrical hushes and whispers in that "you know what I'm talking about" manner, like secrets shared between two members a sisterhood who shared a common bond.
It was a simple call, which turned out to be an eye opener, a reminder of the times my married peers have treated me differently, not with condescension but with patronage, a mild pity, sometimes the way they'd treat a much younger sister when the elder ones are having "senior girls gist", sometimes with casual indifference...
It also reminded me of the time a male learned colleague of mine asked me to shut up and listen to a much younger colleague, younger in age by about five years, and at the Bar, who was engaged and heavily pregnant. In his words "Keep quiet and listen to her. Don't you know that this girl has become your senior in life? She is now several steps ahead of you in life so when she talks keep quiet and listen". Never mind that the issue was on matters of law, not life experiences, never mind that this person in question had just failed the Bar exams for the second time and I was trying to put her through something and she wouldn't stop arguing and just listen. No, all that mattered to was that she was pregnant and engaged and therefore nothing I said held any weight.
But while it's no secret that society puts single women of a certain age under pressure, we also need to stop putting pressure on ourselves! We had so many play songs when we were little but it seems the band in our heads remembers only one song and that is "When will you marry? This year or next year? Some time or never?..." And from the second we open our eyes in the morning the band starts playing. Shut that band up, ok?!
Enough about that though, "My husband is fine, thank you" is the last lie I told. What's the last lie you told? Be honest!
Photo source: sbfproject.com