In recent times there have been seismic cultural shifts in many aspects of life: the world has witnessed how powerfully these shifts or changes can bring about action. Movements like #metoo brought about change – men in power have no right to subject women to unspeakable abuse just because they were men and in influential positions [and (suppose) women in power too just that we haven’t heard this side of the story in the same magnitude] – bringing powerful institutions to their proverbial knees etc. However, it is important to point out – as much as this shift is positively significant, days of flirting and using sexuality to tip scales in one’s favour, are numbered. The line between abuse, flirting, curiosity, banter etc is thin and blurred – any reciprocation of such actions will, in future, need a disclaimer.
The following happened to a real person but names* have been changed.
My story started five years ago when I met the woman of my dreams, Samara*. I was in a coffee shop getting my morning dose of caffeine when she walked in – full of confidence, beauty and elegance. I was instantly drawn to her raw beauty – natural hair, minimal make-up, power suits, high heels [not too high that she looked ridiculous or too tall, and high enough to elongate her mocha smooth legs]. For the next few days, I visited the coffee shop hoping to bump into her, and I did on several occasions. I was like a stalker – not in a creepy way – I was gathering the confidence to ask her out. My first attempt, to say the least, was pathetic – I ended up asking her where the nearest DLR station was. She merely pointed to a general direction and went about her business. To say I was embarrassed would be an understatement: with tail between my legs, I walked towards the direction she pointed despite not needing or wanting to go the DLR station.
The next time I spoke to her, or around her [you decide], I offered to pay for her coffee. She declined. I was about to sink into a metaphorical hole when she spoke: “You can buy me lunch instead.” She had the most dazzling smile and beautiful brown eyes. I hadn’t seen brown eyes on a black person before, I thought we all had black eyes. Hers are the ones you could stare into forever.
Fast forward five years ……
As it turned out her job sees her abroad for at least 7 months in the year. She was an executive in the corporate world; so corporate I felt like a fish out of water among her colleagues. She was business smart and very intelligent. She earned more than I did. She was very independent, determined, forward thinking and very 21st century. When I looked at her I saw my future wife and mother of my offsprings: I was never sure what she saw when she looked at me – now I know.
Another two years into the relationship I proposed.
“Why?” she had asked. I was taken aback. “What do you mean why?
She narrowed her eyes and looked at me squarely, “as in why are you proposing to me? Have I ever given you the impression that I wanted to get married?” I was very confused. I realised the idea of marriage put her in a very defensive mode. She lectured me on how wrong it was of me to assume dating her meant getting married and having kids. She declared she was not a walking uterus. “WTF!” I was thinking.
By the end of that dinner I was not only confused and lost, but my operating systems [cultural beliefs and upbringing] were overheating and crashing. I was a traditional man and I wanted a family. I wanted a family with her. She wanted no such thing. Not just with me but with no one.
She wanted the freedom to travel the world at a moment’s notice. She wanted the freedom to party all night long and sleep all day long. I wanted that too, and more – my more was the desire to have a family – wife and children. A few of my friends have that and I envy them. I have seen her with some of their children and she’s a natural. When I brought that up, she retorted… “I was a natural yes, that was because I knew I would return the kids to their parents!” but was that all there was in life? I have always wanted a family. I know there are lots of joys from family life. I’ve seen some of my friends who were married with a kid or two and the nightlife doesn’t seem that important to them anymore.
My girlfriend is much younger than me. She says she might start thinking about vaginal births and the like in her forties after all this is the 21st century and people are living longer and staying younger for longer. I’m in my 30s and if I wait for her I’ll be in my 50s and her answer might still be no.
Since I brought up the subject of marriage, she’s become distant. She travels more and when home she clubs more and hangs out more with her girlfriends. She comes home almost every night fed and drunk and after the obligatory ‘hello’ goes straight to bed. If I try to touch her, she says she’s too drunk to do anything even though I know she’s not that drunk. If I ask her to accompany me to my family gathering she refuses and says she gets bad vibes from my step-mother.
Two days ago, after arriving home from yet another stretch in the land of Trump, she told me that she’d cheated on me; she told me that she wanted an open relationship; she told me if I didn’t like it I could pack my bags and leave (I moved in with her two years ago because she had a better apartment and owned it, so it was in our best interest). I was devastated, it was like a mighty punch in my gut, and I couldn’t believe it. I never, in a million years, would have thought I could have a girlfriend who’d cheat on me – I am good looking; I have a steady income; I treat her like a queen; I show her off to friends and I genuinely love her and thought she did too.
She’s cheated on me with an ex she bumped into in New York. They’ll be seeing each other whenever either of them crosses the pond. He has a girlfriend and she has a boyfriend but that doesn’t matter to them.
I can stay if I want to as long as I understand that we are in an open relationship and marriage and/or kids is off the table. If and when I find a ‘marriage type’ woman, I could just leave, no strings attached.
Now I’m sat here wondering where the hell have I been? Has the world changed? I thought only men cheat on women? Girls don’t cheat? Girls want stability, promises of commitment, marriage and kids. Boy was I wrong. Women are independent creatures who decide what’s in their best interest. They want equality in all aspects of life. Those who cheat do it well and don’t get caught. Most don’t cheat, if the relationship ends they’ll leave with their dignity intact. Those whose independence has truly gone to their heads (am thinking of just one), want to cheat but still be treated as the queen of the man’s life and have the freedom to do as they please. Is this sexual evolution or revolution – demanding freedom from sexist gender roles?? End of male sexual supremacy?