In a marriage, who washes utensils is one of the those non-issues. And if anything, this is settled in the dating and courtship stage. If a man takes you in and you are a bad cook or so lazy to even soak his socks, he is aware of that and may not be an issue at all in marriage. We have friends with lazy wives and it is never an issue in 2020. Not with Glovo and Jumia Foods. And marriages have become so individualistic I can’t remember when I took tea at a married friend’s. We finish our stories in hotels and bars.
Certainly some aunt’s and and a few relatives will raise hell at a wife who can’t perform traditionally wifely things. But if the man has a brain, he will not be intimidated. But too often, men have larger obligations to their societies than women, mainly because a woman is an adult of sound mind who is a stranger to the man’s society. It is her decision to cooperate or show the man’s society her well manicured middle finger.
I have to say that some of the things said on our FM radios and this magazine shows on TV are made to be deliberately outrageous to provoke debate as everyone now is talking about the woman who said that with her PhD, she can’t do dishes and her friend who said she can’t do the dishes if she didn’t use the dishes…But allow me to say a few things.
A woman with a PhD in Kenya and with a good job, if married, she probably has a househelp. And these things never crop up in a two-income household. Of course, there are a few men who are traditional and demand that the wife has to do some things like put the food on the table, but probably they are richer and powerful to be entitled like that. Or the wife loves them enough to try feel obligated to do these things.
I have lived long enough to know that the women who say these outrageous bullshit are a minority. Like one in a thousand. Only that they are loud, abrasive and have a platform. Same way if I was a rabid chauvinist out here men will be camping in my posts boasting in the comments’ section but the truth is, they fear their wives like we fear the police if they found you on the road at 6.59 p.m.
You can hire the best researchers in the world to come and talk to the most educated women and you will be surprised that nearly 80 percent have very traditional expectations of men. They want a stable man(financially) and mentally who can provide and protect them. Most are even supportive of the man, if he shows them respects and is willing to work hard and build the empire together.
There are like 15 percent who are confused. Who wants to enjoy the presumed privileges of men and the best of their womanhood with responsibilities of neither. I am talking about the girls who want to party even after marriage, wants to have affairs and often do, and the whole gang that give each other self-destructing advice that ends in tears when reality unleashed his ugly whip ten years down the line. That go-go-girl thing usually has a shelf-life of seven years, maximum.
And of course there is the 5 percent of the uber-extreme who scorn everything about men and marriage, and to them we wish them luck.
What is happening presently is that we are in a transition period. Essentially we have grown with women in mostly the same circumstances. In the end, women work hard like men used to, have their money and if you marry a working class woman, she has the same breadwinning capacity as you.
Shida ni moja. Even with their capacity, women still want men to provide. And lately, a good number of men have difficulties putting food on the table, but still some have traditional expectations of what the wife should do.
These mismatch of expectations is what leads to frictions. Because in the end, working-class women come home late, they are tired, they have a series to watch, they want their me time, but their children demanding their attention, overseeing production of food in the kitchen and all that can contribute to the sullen mood.
Most men understand and they always try to help, where they can. Except that in a typical household, where does the man’s involvement come in? Is he to go to the kitchen and help cook with the house help and bring food to the table to serve the wife? Or is he to help with the washing of clothes, or call the cleaning lady? What is realistically possible in present Nairobian context?
The problem with education, it gets many things twisted, especially for women.
Most educated women often forget that Nairobi is not California or London. We don’t have washing machines. We don’t have a take-away culture for food and in any case we are not ready for the attendant obesity that comes with eating out frequently.
The West has all the resources to fashion their marriages the way they do. And we are a long way there and the rich can afford the stuff presently. But if you live in Eastlands, you may want to adjust to the present.
Any man cook for himself. If he can’t wash, he can obviously afford a cleaning lady.
I don’t know if there are men who marry for the cooking and cleaning services of a woman. Similarly, if as a woman, the only thing you are bringing to the table is your cooking and cleaning skills, that is a bit low on ambition. And men hate women without ambition. All these skills are a plus, the add spice to a marriage. Same way a man appreciates a woman who makes those good chapatis or knows how to get those bitter kienyeji vegetables, is the same way a woman appreciates a man who is able to fulfill his manly responsibilities.
So, if you are 28-year-old man who wants to marry, don’t be intimidated by online noise. Ask elders like us and we will guide you.
By Silas Gisiora Nyanchwani via Facebook