We all see her. With her classy style, throaty laugh and sashaying walk as she commands a room -whether real or within the imaginary four walls of our minds. She is always present and we have been taught to believe that her existence is the symbol of our sorrows. We have fought her in our shared spaces -playground, college cliques, boardrooms, kitchens, even in the reflections from the mirror.
I believe that the myth of ‘The Other Woman’ was created by a couple of bored middle-aged women (most probably Yoruba mothers) who needed a distraction from the real life issues -unwittingly unleashing a monster that has taken female liberation a century backwards and made us a passing amusement of the menfolk.
There is this unspoken, but very vocal competition between every woman to determine who has the nicer hair, or smarter brains, or most functional womb -the ridiculous fancies of the feminine psychology. We cannot acknowledge the possibility that another woman might actually score one up over us in any aspect of life. “What does she have that I don’t?” is the immediate reaction.
This is especially so in the African society and its largely polygamous setting. Every girl’s prayer point from the age she learns to communicate with God is to find ‘her man’ and to keep him from the roving eyes of the evil karishikas.Even I am guilty of this ridiculousness. Just the other day, I was speaking to my fiance on the phone and I heard a woman’s voice. My reflex reaction was to ask if he was home, even when he had confirmed his arrival home at the start of our conversation. He answered and wanted to know why I had asked. Long story short, I was caught in a lie because it turned out to be a video on social media.
Marriage does not cure this disease mind you. In fact, this is when the inevitable search for the enemies of progress intensifies. Very relevant to this point is the recent viral video of the alaga iduro asking the bride at her traditional wedding to hold her bum bum, while fortifying her with some prayers -among which was wishing mouth odour on every woman eyeing her husband. Every late night, phone password, unusual car mileage and skirt on the street becomes suspect. A research needs to be carried out on how much time women spend in wedded bliss as opposed to looking for this elusive other woman.
It is especially hard for Muslim women, where polygamy is always a possibility. Some even forbid their husbands from taking a second wife in the marriage contract, to further guarantee their emotional security. And if he does eventually take a second, third, or fourth wife? A lot of families lose their essence as life becomes a reality set of ‘Desperate Housewives’.
Is the drama really necessary? Is there a genuine reason to fear this other woman, whether real or imagined? And maybe we need to stop translating this fear into our relations with every other woman? We should support ourselves and leave meaningful legacies besides an unhealthy obsession with some mystery Pandora, that’s the equivalent of x in a meaningless quadratic equation. Go figure