Graduation-cap
By CITY GIRL

When, last week, I called out a popular DJ for portraying his wife in bad light for making her go through a series of tests to determine her loyalty, I received fierce opprobrium.

I was, among many others things, accused of not being “wife material” for the brash manner with which I took on the “Gospel DJ”.

Today, I will say one more thing before I can have a good weekend.

Let me begin with a little story. When I made a personal decision to pursue a doctoral degree in pursuit of my childhood dream of being a “Prof”, the greatest worry of those closest to me was that I was making a grave mistake.

Their concern was not how I would manage in between having a career, but the fact that I was increasingly making myself “unmarriageable”. Apparently, a PhD was not that important compared to finding myself a husband.

They told me that these small things — you know, my dreams — will come much later, in my forties, after I have had children. I should not do so much with my life so as to scare men away. I was advised by well-meaning people that it is easier to ensnare a man into marriage in my 20s when I am still “young and fresh” and that this would be more difficult in my 30s.

GETTING MARRIED

For the first few months, I considered dropping out. I felt like I was doing myself a disservice for attempting to make my life better and for pursuing my dreams. I mean, could so many people be so wrong?

In fact, when I met members of the opposite sex, I tried as much as possible to hide the fact that I was pursuing a doctorate. I tried to shrink myself so that they could feel comfortable around me. Until I realised a fundamental truth.

Marriage is not an achievement. Don’t get me wrong. I value family. There isn’t a person who knows the value of a good, strong family than I, who was raised in a happy home.

However, I think we have over-rated marriage and made it look like a matter of life and death especially to young women. So much so that many of them are bowing to the pressure of getting married even when they are not psychologically ready for it.

We have made it look like a woman’s worth is pegged on a man’s decision to walk her down the aisle and we look down upon unmarried women. Our critical eyes just stop short of asking her; “And what is wrong with you?”

It looks as if a woman’s key goal in life is to get a man to marry her and raise a family. We don’t usually care about the many other interesting things she could be doing with her life — like pursuing her dreams.

MY DREAMS

Marriage has never been friendly to women because of the cultural and religious noose it puts around the necks of women. If many married women reading this would be honest, they would agree with the many studies that have shown that marriage barely improves a woman’s life.

Well, she might live in a bigger house, might not have to worry about the bills and will perhaps drive a better car, but if you put the material things aside, you will agree with me that single women have more peace of mind and time to pursue their dreams than married women.

Marriage only improves a man’s life. He has someone to take care of the children for him, cook his food, iron his clothes and sacrifice her dreams so that she can support his.

So I stopped shrinking myself so that a man could like me. I don’t really care if I am intimidating or not. In fact, to quote Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; “Of course I am not worried about intimidating men. The type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in.”

I am no longer afraid to be myself and to pursue my dreams. Do I want to get married at some point? Definitely.

However, I will put it off until I feel I am ready, not when society thinks I should be ready. My dreams, my timetable. It is my life, I will marry when I want!