March 28, 2011 – I’ve been accused of being a tad old fashioned. A few reasons are that I refuse to chase after a man, I refuse to use “new” dating techniques such as meeting people online (specifically Facebook. FB is the devil) and I refuse to propose to a man. Sue me. I just won’t do it. I’m not totally prehistoric, don’t get me wrong. I will go half on bills, although I still believe a man should bear more responsibility financially if you’re living together. It’s just the way things should be. If you’re living with a man and you find that more often than not, you’re worried about whether you’ll make the rent or school fees for your kids, then you do not have a man. You have an extra child to think about.
Before the men start throwing stones, please think back to the days of our grandfathers. The woman’s primary role was to care for the home and the kids. I’m not saying that women could not work. My grandmother was a very successful teacher and Chairlady of an African women’s organization. My grandfather was secure enough in his manhood to handle the bills, and still let his wife be her own person.
Fast forward to today. Men, especially Kenyan men (yeah I said it), are just spoilt. They want to have their cake and eat it too. Kenyan women today form a huge chunk of the workforce. All you need to do is sit in a matatu one fine morning and check out the ratio of women to men. We are working our butts off!!! We leave at the same time as our husbands each morning, cook, clean the house, make sure the kids’ homework is done, pay rent and utilities, etc. Someone tell me this: what is left for the men to do? I mean really…we women have nobody to blame for this mess but ourselves. What have we left for the men to do?
My tirade above was prompted by a discussion I overheard. A few women were talking and giving their friend advice on how to propose to her man. Apparently the man was taking too long and the woman felt like her biological clock was on snooze like every 5 minutes. So one lady advised her to go ahead and propose. Now, I don’t know about you, but I feel that if a man wants to marry you, he will propose. If he doesn’t, there is nothing you can do to get him to propose. Going on one knee for your man just adds unnecessary pressure on him and sometimes, makes you look desperate. After all, will you go ask his mother for his hand in marriage?
With that said, if you feel that you’ve gotten to a point where your relationship is stagnating, there is nothing wrong with telling your man “Hey, we’ve been spending a lot of time together. Where do you see this going?” The guy may say, “I’ve been thinking the same thing. What do you say we get married?” Or he could say, “I have no intention of ever getting married.”
The key is to accept his answer and act accordingly. If he says he wants to finish grad school or focus on his career before he walks down the aisle, it’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth your while to wait around. If you decide to wait, do it with dignity. Don’t talk about engagement rings, wedding colours, honeymoon destinations or anything else that has to do with wedding plans. Forget about it. Enjoy a full life. Pursue new interests and spend time with your friends.
Be open to the possibility that your boyfriend has done you a favor. If you’ve been dating him exclusively (and, if you’ve discussed marriage), remain faithful but keep your options open. Remember: You’re not married. You’re not even engaged. It’s possible you’ll meet someone who’s even better for you. If that happens, end your current relationship and move along.
I was a bit curious about the male perspective on this issue and I found this guy, Streetz, who had quite a bit to say about it. I totally agree with him:
I believe in traditional gender roles, but in this new era, there is room for evolution and flexibility. Women can be providers of the household just like men. Men can stay home and take care of kids. These notions, thought to be crazy generations ago, are widely acceptable and necessary in most cases. While I agree that evolution of these roles are for the greater good, there still should be some roles that stay the same. The role of a man asking for a woman’s hand in marriage is one role that I don’t think should change.
Asking a woman to marry you is one of the penultimate moments in a man’s life. Society, family, and even an inherent instinct tells us that this is a man’s time to take charge, express his feelings for his significant other and declare that this is the moment he wants to make clear that it’s her and him forever. Asking the parents for permission, finding the engagement ring (unless you’re against diamonds), and planning the proposal, are nervous and anxious, but fulfilling tasks that men know they will accomplish someday. This whole experience is built for the man to propose to the woman, which is why the process loses impact if a woman proposes to a man.
If any women I knew came up to me with a gold wedding band and said “Streetz, I’m going to ask for my boyfriend’s hand in marriage”, I guarantee that the thoughts in my mind would be one of the following:
1. She’s Desperate
2. She’s Trying To Force Him Into Marriage
3. She’s Going To Kill His Ego
Women dream of marriage from young ages. I don’t think women ever dream of getting down on one knee and popping the question for a man. I think it taints the overall idea of proposals by having women play the mans role. It’s not a good look for either the man or a woman. Women, let the fellas have this one. You’ll win many battles down the road, this shouldn’t ever be one of them.