The Unacceptable Option

The Unacceptable Option

By Cynthia Ayeza:

It turns out that even in the 21st century, the choice to be or remain single, transitory or permanently is unacceptable. In fact, it innately seems to exist as a taboo while the unenthusiastic audience casts pitiful glances at you. The audience entails family, friends, enemies, church, and society at large – they all paid for the ticket to the priceless show that your life is. If memory serves you well, you did not audition for this particular show; but wait – we are born into it, right?

In your early twenties, everyone asks, “When are you getting married?” Well into your mid-twenties, the cheer is loud and proud, and everyone expects a wedding, at which you will be the chosen bride. As you slowly enter the late twenties, the cheer is more anxious, even worried – desperate by the minute. With one year to clock thirty, everyone is almost resigned. A part of them has given up on their dream and fantasy for your wedding and marriage life. In fact, they begin to suggest, “At least get yourself a child”.

When you hit 30, the question is no longer, “When are you getting married?” But rather, “Why aren't you married?” I know that there are many ways to untangle what seems like an untangled question. In reality it is a tangled question and for one who is single, there is only one way to interpret the “Why aren't you married” question.

What people do not realise is that this question is loaded with an accusation – a patriarchal accusation. Hear me out; it is highly unlikely that a man will be given the same harassment when it comes to marriage. You do not hear people asking a twenty-something year old man when he plans on marrying. In some cases it may happen. When he clocks thirty, he will not be accusingly asked, “why” he is not married.

In a woman's mid to late twenties, she will be harassed to get married because the “clock” is ticking. Of course the absurd assumption that for centuries has been rooted in patriarchal influences is that every woman would naturally want to bear children. Whether she is able to or not is not the issue; it's that her clock is ticking and she needs to get married.

The accusation in the “Why aren't you married” question is that something must be wrong with the lady if she is 30 years old or more and still unmarried. So the real question here is, “What's faulty about her?” because that is the only conceivable explanation for one's still being unmarried.The more absurd thing is that some men have the audacity to ask the girl or lady, “what is wrong with you? Why aren't you married yet? Why hasn't any man married you?”

It has taken me a number of years to realise that society's expectation is that a girl need only marry – it doesn't really matter if you marry a loose penis, a hot-headed politician, a self-conceited business man, a brain-dead preacher, a chauvinistic manager, uneducated grave digger, a psychotic lecturer, an obsessive doctor, a wanker banker, a dreamless musician, an abusive CEO, an insecure engineer,a two-timing lawyer or even a polygamous president, to mention a few.

So when people ask, “why aren't you married?” Perhaps a more deserving responsive question to that would be, “what are my options?” What our society seems to conveniently forget or ignore is that many of us have been born to lying and cheating fathers. They lied to and cheated on our mothers, and as such we do not aspire to be like our mothers. Some of us have been born to whores of mothers, and because we may not have known different, the idea of marriage is still quite foreign. What we want to know is, “Would it be terribly wrong if we chose to remain single?” After all, a more fulfilled life is the one lived as one who is single, whatever your context (marriage, church etc.). I know the answer is – it's not wrong. It is absolutely alright to stay single as a woman. Then tell me this, why do you look down on the single woman, treating her like half a human, half a brain, incomplete as a leader or even treating her as loose when you do not know when she last got laid?

Homo sapiens still have a long way to go in acquiring some learning while also unlearning some things. When I think about why I am not married, I realise there are three possible explanations: First, there is a chance that I may be spoilt for choice; Second, I may not have much of a choice, and third, which is why this piece has been written, I may have chosen the single route of life – transitory or in perpetuity. It could also be that the alternative to being single has too high a price tag attached to it. It is simply too easy to be conditioned.

Whatever the case – lay off the pressure! Some girls just want to have fun.

Founder and Editor in Chief of the Readers Cafe Africa

Comments (12)

  • Iteti

    Cynthia, once again, you speak my heart on this! "What our society seems to conveniently forget or ignore is that many of us have been born to lying and cheating fathers. They lied to and cheated on our mothers, and as such we do not aspire to be like our mothers. Some of us have been born to whores of mothers, and because we may not have known different, the idea of marriage is still quite foreign." The idea is that when we submit to the One who can heal our hearts from the wounds left by philandering fathers and boyfriends and whore-ish/abusive mothers, our healing begins and automatically brings with it a desire to get married and have babies, which is the norm. And if you so happen to not want to get married or have babies, it means you're still wounded and dire need of fixing. I don't contest the fact that companionship may [or may not] make life easier for the average human being, but for some, it just might not be their cup of tea. Which, I believe, is perfectly okay.

    • Ayeza

      I couldn't agree more... Submitting to One who can heal our hearts from all forms of wounds does not in any way then result me one then desiring to have babies, getting married etc. In the bible we have women that influenced lives and they were single. There has got to be a place for the single woman, and it should be one that people use as a platform to patronise her.

  • Dave Ahtram

    Insecure engineer? oh please

    • Ayeza

      Unlikely?

      • kathy

        Ayeza totally agree with you, everyone's choice should be respected. Most people's experience greatly drives them toward such choices like staying single unfortunately society as most of us refer to it just jabbers away.

        • Ayeza

          too true...

  • GBK

    Oh Yes you are born on a stage...its called "life" ...and this is lived wholesome as part of a people that mean something to you, even in the negative sense. Society cushions us by providing a sense of "accountability"..otherwise a lady of the night would never be branded "out of order", same reason there is so much against "gays/lesbians" in a big section of today's world. This is phenomena created by centuries of societal interactions that created "expectations" of human beings. And true, expectations for men and women were different. A young man who failed to join the warriors on an expedition was frowned upon; a young belle who was never chased by suitors was a shame to the family. In India today, there are common cases of suicide by fathers who are shamed by the unmarried status of their daughters. so should we say that society and its expectations are ultimately wrong? maybe not. in the case of the bible these women were single because no other information said they were married. maybe they went on and got married. Euodias and Syntche (Philippians 4:2), Mary (Romans 16:6), Phoebe (Romans 16:1,2 Susanna (Luke 8:2,3) Lydia (Acts 16:13-15, 40 Damaris (Acts 17:34) Dorcas a.k.a. Tabitha (Acts 9:36-42)Martha, Mary and Lazarus' sister, (Luke 10, John 11 and 12) Mary Magdalene (Matthew 27, Mark 16, and John 19, among others and Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus, (John 11 and 12). But all said, God has his own intepretation that would make the unmarried even Holier!! 1 Corinthians 32-38 But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord. But if any man thinks that he is acting unbecomingly toward his virgin daughter, if she is past her youth, and if it must be so, let him do what he wishes, he does not sin; let her marry. But he who stands firm in his heart, being under no constraint, but has authority over his own will, and has decided this in his own heart, to keep his own virgindaughter, he will do well. So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well, and he who does not give her in marriage will do better. OK.....so ayeza, remain unmarried if your WHOLE and chosen purpose is to love the lord. But for those that are "mortal" and believe you me, these are the majority....its a good thing to have a companion.."to marry"...and when society asks why, just be kind to understand that its ok for them to ask. Life is not lived in "seclusion"...society should be allowed to demand for answers. Even when we feel uncomfortable to answer them.

    • Ayeza

      Society should be allowed to demand for answers? I think NOT! And if i remain unmarried, it may not be that I want to consecrate myself unto the Lord passe - I actually do not know how to do that but the point for me is, can I choose to be single simply because it is one of the options available and not be frowned upon? Society has been misguided for a quite a bit of time...i do not think that all the men available are suitable for marriage or we would not be having such messed up societies, in the same way not all women would be fit for marriage...anyhow...I hear you, biblical thoughts taken into consideration - and yet, they are not why I wrote this piece. This piece is about people laying off the pressure. Being single or choosing it is a viable option and should be celebrated by society.

  • GBK

    sorry..that was 1 Cor 7: 32-38...

  • Aroriza

    "...it doesn't really matter if you marry a loose penis, a hot-headed politician, a self-conceited business man, a brain-dead preacher, a chauvinistic manager, uneducated grave digger, a psychotic lecturer, an obsessive doctor, a wanker banker, a dreamless musician, an abusive CEO, an insecure engineer,a two-timing lawyer or even a polygamous president, to mention a few." Hahahaha......i like the personal touch to this piece. I'm almost convinced you've actually dated most of these you describe and found them much much worse than the option of remaining single. Some girls just want to have fun indeed!

    • Ayeza

      hahah they were random combinations as it came to my mind while writing but experience has taught me being single is one of the better options :) p.s. am not looking for perfection - just putting it out there as best I know how, that being single should be an option that shouldn't be frowned upon. You have women that leave a lot to be desired, and I could be one of them and equally you have men that leave a lot to be desired... :)

  • Bahati Alex

    Ayeza, I totally agree with you. In the Bible, 1 Corinthians 7.8-9, the Apostle Paul says, “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion”. To marry or remain single is a personal issue which no other third party should impose on any other person.

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