girl staring in fire
girl staring in fire

When I was in Primary school, I always looked forward to break time. Whenever the bell went off, Precious, Sopuru, Ogechi (bless her soul), Lola, Chioma and I would go behind the Administrative block close to the generator house to play our girl games.

“Who stole the meat from the chicken pot, izit nur you number one …?”

“Change your style … another one … be like that …”

“Names of boys, names of boys …”

Sound familiar? 🙂 Anyway, there was this particular game that used to piss me off …

“When will you marry? 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 …”

We played the game with a skipping rope. One person would skip while the rest of us recited the years, and we usually started from 2001 not stopping until the skipper tired and got caught in the rope. Whenever it was my turn, I usually tried very hard to skip to 2060, just to annoy my friends. Don’t look at me like that joor, the game was annoying. It annoyed me because the year was 2000 and we were just in Primary 2. Why would a bunch of 7-year olds countdown to the year they will get married starting the following year?!

As the years rolled by, I thought I had heard the last of that chant. Until a few years ago when mum had ‘the talk’ with me, then the chant started again. Only this time, there were no ropes.

In one of ‘the talk’ sessions, I remember innocently stating that I would love to get married when I turn 25 because I feel I would be mature by then. Then … (actually I can’t explain what happened afterwards *PG 13*) But the message my mother meant to pass, in summary, is that it is good to keep an open mind because God is the one who will choose a husband for me in His own time. When you think about it, she was – is – right, but I still hate that game.

What is even more annoying is that the rest of the world is counting too.

“When will you marry, 2015, 2016, 2017 …?”

World rep: “Ify bekee, kedu? They said you have graduated, owu eziokwu?”

Me: “Yes ma o, we thank God.”

World rep: “Heyyyy! Thank God! Ozo kita we will drink palm wine. When are our in-laws coming?”

For the love of God! How am I supposed to know? Am I a fortune teller?

Honestly, it makes me nervous and uncomfortable too, like there is some mystery man watching me all the time. Like:

God, I’m picking my nose! Have I scared him away?

Should I go for my Masters? Would it scare him away?

I love this lipstick o, kai but it’s red. It might scare him away.

Is he watching?

It appears I have to work so hard and sacrifice so much to HAVE a husband. Is that what it is? Is that how it’s supposed to be? If it is, then it is really really scary.

To be honest, I am scared. Will I end up sad and lonely while my other three sisters get married? Am I getting it wrong? What does mum mean by ‘God will show me my husband’? Will a dove rest on his shoulders? Or will there be a heavenly sticker on his head saying ‘IFY’s HUSBAND’?

I … I don’t know.

And I am really scared.



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16 replies added

  1. Walter December 1, 2015 Reply

    For someone who’s scared, you’re hilariously on point. And this marriage issue, it’s norray small somtin. It is pressures like this that lead people down the wrong aisle into matrimony with the wrong spouse.

    • Chisom December 7, 2015 Reply

      True, bro. While it is more common among the young ladies, the men are not exactly spared the pressure either. It is a two-way sontin.

  2. Mbajunwa Cynthia December 5, 2015 Reply

    Beautiful.. It seems Igbo mothers have the same chant of “keeping an open mind” , so so open mind. My dear Ify, I’m scared too. Guess my own is a worse of “dis geh, u go marry??!!”. Nne society is on my matter and I’m not yet 20, it’s like “let’s flog the feminist sh*t out of her body”. ☺. So I guess you have to stop successfully skipping and start being open to spoiling your own game.

    • Chisom December 7, 2015 Reply

      Thia, the world wee just not leave you to be the great feminist you want to be, will they? But pls explain this: she has to be “open to spoiling (her) own game”?? How?

      • Mbajunwa Cynthia December 10, 2015 Reply

        Lol. Chisom, what I mean by being open to spoiling your own game is that you have to stop doing what will really make you happy. Biko I like red lipstick and red nail polish and it makes me happy, to make a man happy or not feel scared I avoid the use of both, mstcheeeew. Story for the ancestors of the gods. That’s spoiling your own game nwannem

  3. Ezinma December 5, 2015 Reply

    i sincerely cant feel ur pain. cos i am not scared of “not getting married” lol…im more scared of something i do not want to say here. but about the open mind…i really dont know what they mean.
    but the most impotant thing is to be urself so that if in any event ud attract sm1…it wld be to the real u. so poke ur nose and sneeze out loud…and fart in public…hehehe. just do ur own thing and live your life. it is easier and less stressful. imaging looking for tissue or hankie tp clean my nose when my finher is there…tchew..cos of man ooo.
    also pls…dont get married cos u feel it is too late. it never really is…i think. :/

    • Chizzy December 5, 2015 Reply

      I think I know what it is…

      • Chisom December 7, 2015 Reply

        Lol. You do? Chizzy, share biko, Ezinma won’t tell us

    • Mbajunwa Cynthia December 10, 2015 Reply

      Lol. Of course it’s impossible for the great Ezinma to feel the pain of one who may not get married.

  4. Chizzy December 5, 2015 Reply

    My dear, I understand your fears.
    My cousin just told me that if she ws given a coin for each time she was asked when she was getting married, she would have had enough money to plan her wedding

    The pressure is indeed a great one. It’s not just in Africa alone. It’s everywhere in the world

    • Chisom December 7, 2015 Reply

      Lol. I think if people got rich for getting asked the question, we would all be clamoring to stay unmarried. 🙂
      My two cents on this matter is that no one should be forced or coerced into a marriage he/she does not want. At the same time, please don’t go around picking your nose, spitting or farting in public (Ezinma, take time oh) all in the name of ‘being yourself’ oh. You owe it to yourself to be the best you can be. So be that best, regardless of who is looking or not.

  5. Yemie December 8, 2015 Reply

    I couldn’t help but smile as the Narrator makes light of her situation, which is what it truly oughta be and I say like Ezinma asserts, that she oughta stop overthinking things and second-guessing herself! Do you, your own thing, on your watch! Turn a blind eye, resist being bullied into what you don’t wanna do and do, ONLY when you’re at peace with yourself and conviction deep within your soul! For the most part, love finds us and happens when we least expect it to, and that’s what’s most magical and enchanting ’bout it! Don’t be scared, just go about your daily routine as you’d normally would, be carefree…lose yourself in reckless abandon for you never know when love would come calling and trust me, lotsa people do not get enough chance to prepare for it! LOL

    Plus, it’d also help to remember that as you’re worrying needlessly ’bout your presumed flaws, he’s far from perfect himself and even better; no one is! We’re all perfectly imperfect beings and I remember a quote I saw that goes thus..’Happiness is a Butterfly, which when pursued is always just beyond our grasp; but which if you sit down quietly, may alight upon you’- Nathaniel Hawthorne

    Do away with your fears and anxieties…cut loose, kick-back and just chillax! Someday, you’d look back and have a good laugh at having spent too much of your precious time, worrying ’bout nought! Thanks for sharing guys, lotsa ❤! LOL

    • Chisom December 8, 2015 Reply

      If I may add a word … it’s okay to admit one’s flaws and work towards conquering as many of them as one can, FOR ONE’S OWN GOOD. That’s all I wanted to add. None of us is perfect, no one will ever be, so there really is no need to fret about who’s watching and judging. They have to deal with themselves too. So just be the best you can be, for you alone (at least until he finds you, then you can incorporate him and the little munchkins 🙂 Life is too short jare

  6. Bimpe December 16, 2015 Reply

    Lmao, gosh I feel this all the time!!!!! Its like you have to be extra conscious so you don’t scare the ‘right’ man away … growing up is such a trap.

    • Chisom December 16, 2015 Reply

      Wow … this seems to have gone ALL the way around oh. Now imagine the men (or boy) folk feel the same pressure … tsk tsk tsk

  7. Odinenu keren-happuch January 10, 2016 Reply

    Lmao. I like this one. One thing that makes me value your works is the element of reality they hold. Nice one!

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