As a feminist, one painful aspect of friendship with patriarchy princesses is the wedding, their wedding. More often than not, they marry wannabe patriarchs. Men who feel so entitled to women’s labor that they wouldn’t even wash their own boxers.
It starts during the courtship—if it can be called that. You accompany her to her darling king’s house expecting some semblance of romance only to find her cooking 3 different soups and sorting through a week’s worth of laundry. It’s awkward for you. You cannot reconcile this lazy, filthy man-child with the prince charming your friend has been gushing about.
You promise yourself to have that talk with her, you can’t let her continue in this kind relationship, I mean what is she even getting from the arrangement? You eat your àmàlà and ẹ̀fọ́ rírò in peace, the one she made while you were “on the phone” and her boyfriend was busy watching film.
Being the over thinker that you are, you can imagine them following the same script 15 years down the road. Her, tired, resentful and angry. Him, fat, entitled and happy. I’ll tell her tomorrow. You promise.
But you are a coward and several tomorrows later, you are at your friend’s engagement ceremony, doing aṣọ ẹbí gang. You laugh is the loudest, your smile as wide as iya Dunni’s igbá àkàrà. In one part of your mind, you’re hoping she would realize she deserves better and maybe stop the wedding or something but you know better than to hold your breath. She won’t be the first woman to marry an entitled man-child so you shake the thought and instead focus on taking pictures, for the gram, #asoebigang #naijaweddings #bellanaija.
On the wedding day, she is the most beautiful bride you’ve ever seen. And the happiest too. A vision of heaven in her white, pearl-studded dress.
As she recites her vow, a tear escapes your eye, it’s so sweet, one of the other friends whisper while passing you her handkerchief.They think it’s the vows, they are wrong. You are seeing twenty years down the line with several broken promises and several unfulfilled dreams, and still you say nothing, you hate yourself for being such a coward.
At the reception, when she goes on her knees to feed him their first meal as a couple, you wonder if he will insist on her kneeling down to serve him at home.
Later, as they dance with the family, you wonder if he will ask her to make him àmàlà and ẹ̀fọ́ rírò when they get home. You wonder if he will consider giving her a foot rub before they sleep.
Then, unable to stop yourself, you wonder what her first time will be like. Will they sleep through the night, or not? Will he be gentlewith her? Will he listen to her or keep going until he’s satisfied? Will she feel comfortable enough to say what she wants?
These thoughts plague your mind as you dance with your friend. She’s happy now but will she stay happy?
Will she have time to pursue her masters degree and that corner office she’s been dreaming about since graduation…
Will she have time for herself?
At the end of the day, alone in your room, you find peace at the bottom of a green bottle. The past few months have been exhausting. Going forward, you promise yourself, only feminist friends from now on.
Months later, you meet her, another her. This time, inBogobiri. Tall, dark, pointed nose with the voice of a God. She’s not a regular. It was the laughter that attracted you, loud and strong, everything yours isn’t. But she’s with a man, a stocky man with hair the color of rotten pepper.
At the end of the evening, you bump into her on your way out. Apologies then greetings then small talk while her boyfriend takes a leak. She’s here with her boyfriend, sorry, fiancé, he proposed last weekend after she broke up with him for cheating again. She could not say no, not after spending seven years with him.
She laughs nervously, you laugh too even though you can’t find the joke.
And the scent of her perfume is filling your head with happy thoughts. You move closer, her body touches yours, you laugh again. She moves closer too. Maybe it’s something,maybe it’s not, you don’t know.
You also do not know why she told you about her cheating boyfriend but you can read it off her lips, she will marry him. She will sacrifice some part of herself to build a life with him and right there and then, you find yourself falling… Falling in love with this beautiful soul who, like your other friend, will never know what it’s like to belong to herself.