Friday, August 28, 2009

'Brides' Groom!

“There are only three things to be done with a woman. You can love her, you can suffer for her, or you can turn her into literature” - Lawrence Durrell (1912 - 1990)

What’s the one difference between guys and girls, or men and women if you like? It’s all in a bath! Guys, we know use one all-purpose, multi-functional bar soap only per bath time. Well, if at all things have changed with the millennium bug or 21st century, there just might be two specialised soaps. We women, on the other hand use a minimum of three ‘washes’ in the space of a bath. The (very) average woman uses three cleansing agents per bath. Personally speaking, I out of a very modest lifestyle switch between four and five especially because some soaps cannot be compromised. Modus operandi follows below. DIY!

It begins with the hair. Sometimes we decide to treat our hair ‘in-house’, probably after taking out hair extensions yourself. So, we begin with (1) Shampoo which is accompanied by (2) Conditioner. The procedure moves on to (3) Facial scrub and then to (4) Body wash which could be either bath gel, cream bar or bar soap. It might (or not) interest you to know that steps (3) and (4) are not ‘marriable.’ It’s been drummed into our ears for a while now, that bar soap is a facial no-no. Then there’s (5) a ‘private’ wash for the ‘sacral region.’ This one’s not an old wives’ tale; it’s against medical advice to intermarry steps (4) and (5). We clean our feet with (6) Pedi-wash or a similar whatchamacallit, (that’s what I call it) because we don’t want to use our body sponge on our feet. The flowchart terminates with water to level them all. *Insert song by Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, “Water e no get enemy.”

It’s a loop which reiterates day and night with slight differences or additions and is also similar to the flowcharts for both body drying and applying body-lotions. I’m sure there are tens of steps I don’t even know but I can only preach what I practise. Talk about WOMEN’S GROOMING! Do grooms groom like this? We women also have the privilege and exclusive rights to use natural honey as hair conditioners, cucumbers as astringents; you know nature at our beck and call. What? Oh no, I don’t envy the guys one bit and no, Beyonce, I won’t do an “If I were a boy” duet with you. It was Simone de Beauvoir, the grandmother of feminism who said, “To be a woman, if not a defect, is at least a peculiarity,” and there’s a truth and a half in the twisted statement. If I could remove the stigma from the word, I would, but until that day I will accept the label gladly, and everything that comes with this form given me by nature: faults and flaws, vagaries and achievements. I sure love this ‘simple’ life of being a woman. I raise my glass to womenfolk. Cheers!

“It would be futile to attempt to fit women into a masculine pattern of attitudes, skills, and abilities and disastrous to force them to suppress their specifically female characteristics...by keeping up the pretense that there are no differences between the sexes.” - Arianna Huffington.

Written right after a bath and still in my towel! 28/08/2009 13:15:51

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

An Inconvenient Truth

“No pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage-ground of truth...and to see the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the vale below.” - "Of Truth” by Francis Bacon (1561 - 1626).

If truth be told, she’s dealing with this thing called truth. Maybe it has a moniker known as Reality. The more you know of a truth, the less you realise you really know or the more you realise you really don’t know. The more she examines the truths of marriage, she realises she really might not want it. Does it even help that she’s not ‘seeing’ any guy at the moment – maybe he would have convinced her otherwise if she saw/gave him benefits of the doubt.

Lately and ever since, she has been surrounded with too many case studies and examples. An uncle of hers got married barely six years ago. Wife goes over to her in-laws to take refuge. Even in her pregnant state. The other day, she had visible teeth marks on her arm. Not love bites but fury bites cum tattoos. The guy beats her to a pulp every other day. She is not even 30 yet, got three kids and this aggressive behaviour is already taking its toll on the toddlers. They won’t stop hitting each other. Heart wrenching. She won’t even bother talking about her own father because he holds the sceptre. He doesn’t get physical but his words are almost palpable enough to break bones. Her brothers, howbeit unmarried are hardly doing differently, even though she can’t fault her mother’s upbringing. She sees traces of hard work in them, as well as traits of violence. Heck, even she like the rest of her sisters has been a victim of their wrath. They have been slapped and hit with objects and words on like two occasions.
She’s not proud of this trait displayed by the men in her family, from her dad to uncles, brothers and cousins. Hard working, yes but they all got visible streaks of violence. She’s reoriented herself reading books and attending seminars but her fear is simple: she can’t vouch for anyone else. She’s barely curious to see for herself if all men are the same, her interest’s waning and she knows it. She’s losing grasp of theories because being too much of a pragmatist, realism sets in. Even her mum is afraid to admit to what she sees in the girl’s eyes when she talks. She hardly talks. Maybe she should stop thinking and just believe. You know, just swallow and not chew.

Looking from several vantage points and considering a myriad of reasons including Tribe, her own family, people and tribe push her to activism and active tribalism. What could be more paradoxical? But it is in fact, true. It’s going to take God and a series of good examples that she can see for herself to change her mind. Now she wonders about this Balance thing. To her there’s nothing more fulfilling than living a balanced life: spirit, soul and body & career, home and faith in the right proportions. It’s something she’s dreamt of and always wanted, and has lived with the idea for as long as she can remember. ‘The Idea.’ She’s wondering if there’s more to Balance than being an idea. How is she to be a balanced life enthusiast when even she is yet to buy the idea? Why does she have Ms. Winfrey for a role model and her ‘lopsided’ life makes so much sense to her?

She's hit rock bottom and is at her wits’ end; knowledge and emotion wise. She's never needed God’s counsel more, not because she's not scarred. She's scared.