(By OYUNGA PALA) I don’t know if you caught ‘the man bites dog’ headline a few weeks back? Two men who live in Kisauni, Mombasa County came to the sensible agreement to share a woman they had been having an affair with for more than four years. The woman at the centre of this sharing arrangement basically refused to make a choice, stating quite blatantly that she could not live without either of the men. The two men who found her company too compelling to dismiss decided to be co-hubbies and put it down in writing.
I found this arrangement quite progressive. Many men have struggled explaining the logic that it is quite possible to be in love with several women at the same time. Women refuse to accommodate the position because it opens one up to competition and given precedence, the woman who worked hardest to mould the man, always loses out to the new comer. In a polygamous relationship, the newest wife is always the happiest.
On the other hand, women have generally kept multiple male partners but mostly in platonic arrangements. There is the man you go to when you need a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on who will simply let you whine without judgment. There is the brutally honest male friend, who dishes out scathing but sound advice. There is the best friend forever also known as the knight in a glass case. In case of an emergency, break the glass and he rushes in to the rescue. Then there is the lingering ex who is often only good for sex or at least to serve as a cherished reminder of a once decent sex life.
These men all co exist together in an arrangement, in most cases totally oblivious of the competition. If they were made aware of their value and their limits, they would eventually see sense in the picking a number and waiting in turn. Most women by the age of 30 realize that you can’t find it all in one man and what men really require at the end of a long day, is the acknowledgement, that they are good for something. Assure a man of his function and he will be a constant feature in your life.
The anonymous woman at the coast gets that. If you are going to be in a multiple relationship with men, appreciate their different functions. Unofficially, matriarchs have always had men ready to serve them and share as long as they made each feel important. This is the same quality that the successful polygamous husband embodies. There is never an ideal state of equality but appreciation makes a fairly good substitute when jealousy and rivalry arises.
Ultimately though, it is always the first male who acts as the decider. In traditional society, the old polygamous male always had to loudly announce his arrival before he walked into his homestead. This was to give the younger wives time to get rid of their ‘service boys’ and spare the main provider the embarrassment of a confrontation as he walked into his home.
Contrary to popular belief, polyandry can make sense to the male perspective, because men are basically in competition with each other for a handful of worthy women and some women need more attention than one man can provide.
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