Dear Hera Pereira,
You don’t know me but I read your blog. The story about the Most Exclusive Club Poo really got to me. I am 32 years old and unmarried. All my besties (5 of them) are married. Some have kids and others are expecting. Just found out last week that they had a reunion of sorts last week and I wasn’t invited, even though we all stay in lagos and have no issues. I felt really hurt. It’s really hard being over 30 and not married. Everyone assumes you messed up your chances. I was in a relationship for 9 years and he left to marry someone younger. Since then, I haven’t gotten anyone that I want to be married to. My parents are making my life a living hell and so are my relations. I have become the brunt of jokes at family gatherings. My two younger sisters got married at 23 and 26. They are supposed to be there for me, but are even worse, calling me ‘old cargo’ and telling me to ‘go and marry’. They claim they are only joking. I am a good person and I know my husband will come, but it is so so so hard living each day. Please could you write an article to address this? Thank you
Felicia (not real name)
I became very sad reading this mail because I have friends in the same boat. Now I cannot personally relate with the feeling as I had gotten married at 25, but I do understand a bit of the pressure foisted on girls. So, I decided to do some research by asking some people on the view at the topic. I got interesting and diverse feedbacks.
It quickly became obvious that majority of my contributors believed the girl must have messed up somewhere. They believed that it is always the girl’s fault and gave a list of likely scenarios.
1. Some guy were serious about them, but because the guy wasn’t buoyant, he was kicked to the curb;
2. They were wayward when younger and now are calling foul when 30 creeps up on them
3. There is obviously something wrong with their characters because no “good’ girl would be single at 30
4. They were too caught up with their careers
5. They are plain ugly. (This was from a moron)
Some believed that some guys are just asses and time wasters and that is one of the major reasons. Some girls are so stupid in love that they allow guys string them along until they have reached an age where the guys considers them too old and leaves.
Surprisingly enough,almost no one felt that perhaps they were just not ready at that time. I personally believe that every girl has a phase when they are not ready to settle down. They want to live a little before moving from one master (father) to another master (husband). (yeah it is Africa! Men are still the freaking bosses, I don’t like it but I admit that it is a man’s world). I experienced my phase back in Law School. My sister is currently experiencing her phase. Of course, the phase should not last for too long, but for some girls, it does.
Having considered the reasons why some girls hit 30 unmarried, we are going to address the pressure. Every Nigerian girl approaching a certain age gets what I call “THE TALK”. This is where your mother calls you into her room and starts asking you about your boyfriend, his intentions and when you are going to settle down. I had THE TALK at 24, which I always felt was very unfair because………….ummm….I was 24. THE TALK can be extremely uncomfortable for most girls especially as you are probably not even dating. When you hit 30, the talk becomes more and more frequent. Soon the father, aunties and any general amebo get into THE TALK. Society takes great pride in shaming single girls that are over 30. It is very sad.
At this point, some girls become very desperate. they end up settling with any one or becoming 2nd wives. One of my contributors (he is 36) says he would never marry a girl above 30 because first of all, his mother would never approve; she must be of bad character of sorts and he always smells the desperation in the ones he meets …”Like a hungry dog in a chicken pen”. I then asked him what if he meets her in the church or mosque. He exclaimed that was even worse. Such a person is either highly pretentious just to get a husband or has really done some really bad things with her life before running to God. His advise – they marry a widower, or become a 2nd wife or just concentrate on their careers and have kids. I can’t blame him much. He is a product of society.
I can only imagine how hard it is for girls to hit 30 and be unmarried, but come on people! Is it better to be married at 22 and divorced by 30? Is it better to be married at 22 and be unable to have kids until you are 30 and above? Is it better? No it is not. Life doesn’t always run smoothly. I cannot disagree that it is sometimes the lady’s fault but sometimes it isn’t. Everyone wants to have a family at the end of the day. It is not easy being the one that is subject to all the gossips because you are not married. Men do not grow on trees. Marriage is a serious business and many women do NOT want to settle and why should they. You that is pressurizing them to marry, would you come and live in their house? No, you won’t. Now I do understand that parents want the best for their kids, but making the girl feel inferior because she isn’t married is not what she needs.
As for the friends, My previous article says it all. Grow up. Treat your friends well. Set her up on dates with serious minded people if you truly care. Yes, you might know that she is to blame for not seizing the opportunities, but that was not why you become friends with her in the first place, is it? (except you don’t trust your hubby around her…food for thought)
So if you are over 30 and unmarried, take a chill pill. It’s very hard. but do not settle. It makes no sense to be married at 32 and divorced at 35. Men can sense the desperation. It is very off-putting. You might be worried about your biological clock, but Hally Berry just became pregnant again at 46, so you will be good.
And those in their 20s, don’t waste your youth. We are women. God gave us the ability to multi-task. Work on your career and work on building relationship with good guys. Don’t be blinded by love o. You can spot time wasters. shake them off and move on with your life. If the guy who is good for you isn’t where you need him to be, there is nothing wrong in helping him in whatever way you can. And those who spend their youths on a wayward path,(my experience has always been that the ‘runs’ girls marry first, so if you don’t know when to quit like the others and settle down……that you deserve whatever you get)
So drop a line, do you think that single shaming is a big problem in Nigeria in particular or is a trend around the world? how do we put an end to it?