‘Wives in big demand as scarcity bites’ reads the title of a recent article by Gatonye Gathura in The Daily Nation. It was a story about the agony men in China go through, not just to find a wife, but to keep one as well, as wives have become an endangered species there. “Till death do us part” is not a vow couples in China can identify with it seems, as a wife may just wake up one day and disappear, or rather get abducted and be married off to a different man.
The story is the exact opposite in Kenya however. Unlike in China where wives are in demand, (good) husbands are in demand in Kenya. Ask most single Nairobi women and they’ll tell you, “All the good men are taken!” Therefore a single woman has two choices, to stay single, or to share: the majority has opted for the latter.
It’s a mentality that has driven scores of women in Nairobi to extreme measures in an effort to find a man to call their own. ‘Mpango wa kando,’ or ‘side dish’, are popular names in Kenya used to refer to mistresses.
The statistics however prove women wrong, the ratio of men to women is in fact about equal but Kenyan women are not ready to buy this.
According to the 2009 census results released by Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya, the number of males in Kenya stands at 19, 192, 458 and that of females at 19,417,639. This gives the lie to the previously held notion that the ratio of men to women stood at 1:6.
,p>What this Forum correspondent fails to understand then is why the number of women looking for potential partners is higher than that of men. According to match makers operating dating agencies in the country, the biggest challenge their business faces is that the number of women looking for soul mates surpasses that of men.
PRAYING FOR A GOOD MAN
It was in September of last year that a Nigerian pastor became a house hold name in Nairobi. Pastor Chris Ojigbani held a conference to pray for ‘serious’ singles that were looking for husbands. The day saw hundreds of beautiful, smartly clad women convene at The Kenyatta International Conference Centre, where the seminar was being held, hoping that sooner rather than later they will have a testimony. A recent quarter paged advertisement in the Daily Nation confirms earlier reports that Pastor Chris is to storm Nairobi again soon, this time taking up a more spacious venue; The Nyayo National Stadium. He promises a ‘bigger’ and more ‘explosive’ seminar whose theme is, Your Set Time Marriage!
An article in The Standard on Monday 5th September entitled Scramble For Men Goes To Church, is further evidence that the place of worship has not been spared either.
Many married women in church view younger women as threats to their marriages. These younger women, in search of good, caring and financial stable men, go to church with an agenda and their dress code can tell it all. They dress to kill, not the demons that might be hovering around them but their prey. Disguised in heavy makeup and clad in short skirts and cleavage-revealing tops and dresses, outfits that were formerly more likely to be seen in night clubs or at special occasions, these women will never keep time in church. They walk in late and will never take the back seat near the door, but catwalk to the front in their noisy stilettos and perch on the strategic seat. That’s strategy number one – being the centre of attraction.
Unlike in the recent past where the young people were shy to rise to their feet in praise and worship, this lot are ready to swing their hips and raise their voices in praise as they flip their weaves all in an effort to catch a man’s attention. The pastor’s have not been spared either and tales of reverend gentlemen being seduced while in the pulpit sharing the good word, are not uncommon.
This new breed of women target married men as they believe such men are more mature and financially stable. They don’t mind being the other woman as long as the man meets their needs, which clearly shows that their argument that men are scarce is just an excuse.
That reminds me of something my mother always told my female cousins whenever they had issues with their husbands and came home seeking advice, “there are no readymade men and the grass is never greener on the other side”, she would say, which is what if you ask me, these women are looking for; readymade men. They have decided to take the shortcut and get that man whose wife has already invested in and helped him become the man the younger woman now admires.
STILL, MEN HAVE THEIR USES…
Some women have given up the chase for a good man and have opted to stay single but they desire babies, so what do they do? They look for a sperm donor.
A recent discussion on the subject on one of the local radio stations revealed that most men are willing to sire babies with no strings attached to the mother. Yet whether the man is willing or not, he doesn’t actually have too much of a choice as the conniving woman is the one calling the shots. The woman will prey on the man whom she thinks has the looks and brains that she wants her child to inherit and once they get between the sheets it becomes a done deal; the mission is accomplished!
Others, who are convinced that Kenyan men have a problem with women, have decided to expand their horizons and try their luck with foreigners. Currently Nigerian men are the target and the one time Nigerian events like the popular Naija night have become hunting zones to Kenyan women.
BLAME THE ‘BATTLE OF THE SEXES’?
Most single men, including many of my own friends and colleagues, are of the opinion that there are plenty of girls out there but very few are wife material. This raises an interesting debate that shifts the blame to women. According to ‘George’, a friend who is in a stable relationship, “it’s hard to find a young, beautiful and humble woman who is ready to submit to a man in this generation.”
Modernity has been blamed for transforming today’s woman. What most men seem to see in most women today are competitors, not just in the corporate and political world but in the family set up as well. The man feels like his role as the head of the household has been raided if not tramped down upon, a notion that the modern woman dismisses claiming that men are just intimidated by successful females.
‘Maureen’, a single Nairobi woman who has not given up on finding a good man, believes that there are plenty of single men out here but very few are husband material. “The majority of them are just losers”, she says. She however, thinks that women too have failed to live up to the society’s expectation and groom themselves to be good wife material.
Whether it’s the women to blame for the dilemma they find themselves in, or the men for raising the bar too high and failing to embrace the modern woman, remains a contentious subject.