The first thing I noticed was that she was literally shining, not even glowing, shining; like polished glass. I was awed for barely a year ago she was darkskinned like me. We hugged and sat together while waiting for our respective flights to be called.
"He is a blessing to me" she said, a few minutes into our conversation. And indeed he is.
He, her married igbo boyfriend who raised her from the gutters of somewhere in Efurun, Delta state, and elevated her with alarming speed to a posh service apartment in Ikoyi, gifted her with a brand new SUV, gives her a monthly allowance of 500k after all her basic needs have been met, flies her somewhere far far away every other month... for someone who had never been inside a plane two years ago, whose travels were limited to Delta Line from Warri to Lagos, to someone who now flies business class every other month to Dubai, France and South Africa. For someone who never knew she would one day fly Arik to Lagos, to a private jet princess...
"And you know I now have a boutique in Lekki 1? My friend got it for me, I went to Turkey sef last month to buy the clothes". I smiled at the way she refers to her benevolent sponsor cum lover as her "friend".
"And you know the last time we saw I told you am going for US visa interview? They gave me oooo! We are going to America in December and he wants me to do my masters, but later next year sha... Yes he is going to do my masters for me in America ooo" she added chuckling when she saw the look of surprise on my face.
As they called her flight she scurried to her feet and said "Ehen, let me give you my number"
"But I already have your number" I told her.
"No you don't, I changed my line last week. My friend changes my line every month... You know how men are nau, he doesn't want anybody to be calling me" she chuckled. "My friend can be very jealous o! You know men nau"
"Nne, with the way that man has changed your life, he is entitled to change your number anyhow he wants" I said and we both laughed knowingly.
That was three days ago and I keep thinking about the encounter. My friend (she's actually the younger sister of a friend of mine) might be an extreme example but it only goes to show how a man can be when you're totally financially dependent on him. On the one hand I worry about her because I fear for what might be if she marries an average Joe, or worse yet, a struggling Joe. Because you see, she is eager to be married, and I don't even see how that's going to happen considering that she's not allowed to meet guys or go out. But on the other hand I worry more for her because a young lady in her 20s isn't allowed to be.
He changes her line every other month so that anyone (read, guy) that had her number last month wouldn't be able to reach her this month or ever again, she is not allowed to socialize or go out even with girlfriends, at 28 she has a 6pm curfew which would be extended to 7pm when the shop starts running and only on the days she goes to the shop. She cannot make any move without his permission and she can't spend time with friends... And I know that sometimes she gets tired, frustrated, sad and lonely. But that kind of money and the lifestyle it affords is too freaking surreal to turn your back on. So she sits pretty, wistfully watching the world from a window in her castle guarded by the fiery dragon in her mind that his money created.
In Nairobi, a classmate of mine who works with one of the biggest airlines in the world and earns very well has at least four different businesses in different parts of Kenya. She has a chippo shop (chips n chicken etc), she has a boutique, she has a flower and decor shop and she also has shop for baby/children's clothes and paraphernalia.
"Only you! Ahn ahn. And you have a good job. Why so many businesses?" We asked in wonderment.
"My husband left me once" was her simple response.
She went on to explain the horror she experienced during the years of abuse in her marriage, yet she couldn't leave because she had no job or money of her own. So she stayed put even when he beat her senseless, even when he brought his mistresses home and defiled their matrimonial bed. She endured it all because she had no money of her own. Well to make matters worse, he eventually walked out on her, leaving her with nothing and two hungry mouths to feed.
She said that was when she saw hell. It was at that point she swore that she will never again be broke or have to depend on anyone ever again. She took the two children to her parents' and decided to grab life by the horns.
No, women need not have a 9 to 5 job and four side businesses.. All that matters is that we understand the importance of being self sufficient, of being financially free and that we actually are.
So many women stay and endure bad marriages or relationships because they have no where to go. While some good men will treat you with honour and respect even when you have no source of income and are bringing zilch to the money table, others might rub your face in it because they know you will have no choice but to swallow whatever they dish.
Ladies, we were built to be pampered and provided for. It can be very tempting to allow a man take care of us and not have to worry about things like money. However, we aren't all princesses and life isn't a fairy tale. We will do well to have our own, be able to hold our own and not be at the mercy of anyone.
There is so much freedom and power in being financially independent.
Share your thoughts with me.
Fellows, I would love to hear your honest opinion on being the sole provider/breadwinner in a relationship or marriage? Do you think it's your responsibility as a man to carry the financial burden alone or would you prefer for a spouse to also being something in, no matter how little?
Ladies, share your thoughts on the post but also tell me, what do you think about being a kept woman? Do you find that kind of lifestyle tempting? 😉