I was 21 when I met the very first man to ever propose marriage to me. Let’s call him Dan. Now Dan was 12 years older than I was and from his boastfulness, I learnt that he was well established, well organized and with a clear view of his future. I, on the other hand, was on my first serious job, a sales job that exposed me to a rather ruthless corporate world. I was yet to discover my aspirations. Let me rephrase that. I had no idea what direction I wanted to take and only thought about it when I had to jot it down in the career profile section of my CV. I juggled the sales job with a Broadcast Journalism course I had enrolled for, at the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication.
And while this may have painted a picture of an upcoming successful career woman, my life in the real sense replicated a complex maze.
Back to my rather unceremonious marriage proposal
I said no, but Dan insisted I let him convince me. Intrigued, I asked him to knock my socks off. See, this man was not even my boyfriend. I simply met him on a failed matchmaking attempt. I wasn’t supposed to be there when my best friend, whom we share a name was getting hitched. She was older, more mature and ready to get married. It’s rather unfortunate that my presence confused an otherwise possible marriage.
The only problem was that the woman Dan opted for was completely disinterested in him.
In any case, even if I would be, I would never want to hurt my heartbroken namesake!
At first, it seemed like a fast and easy way to make it in life. I mean, here was a man living on State House road, driving a nice, blue car (I had terrible knowledge of car models then so forgive my vague description) and all he lacked was a wife. Dan gave me a clearer picture of my supposed dream lifestyle in the hope that I’d change my mind. “We’ll have, say, three children, then you immediately go to the gym and work your body back to your model figure.” The lustful look he gave me as he sized me up made it clear that my slender body was more important to him than it was to me.
I eventually declined his offer and looking back, I cannot be any more proud of my decision.
I may have had no dreams or ambitions 11 years ago, but one thing was clear to me; I was not going to marry someone who was that far ahead of me.
I’ll tell you why through a little imaginative story.
So let’s assume I say yes and we immediately get married. He could then promise to take care of everything and perhaps coax me into quitting my job. Assured that I will never lack, I don’t hesitate to action this.
Then comes the twist that gives this story its juice.
Nothing comes easy and like many hardworking men, Dan has obviously been through it all before finally achieving his gold. Marrying him at this juncture makes me no more than yet another acquired asset. I have no hand in the acquired wealth (and by this I mean I did nothing to support him acquire it) so I have no power over it, or any decisions that pertain it whatsoever.
I realize much later that have so much, yet I have nothing. This, unfortunately, does not mean that I can go out there to search for consolation assets (I will still need him to fund that). After all, he provides everything I need and want, right? I now realize that I took the shorter route, ultimately sacrificing the gap between our ages- this would be the time I would spend gaining my own experiences, learning and maturing up.
But no, I instead hooked up with this already settled well experienced and perhaps already bored man. With no idea how much time, blood, sweat or all was put in to acquire this wealth, it becomes impossible to value it the same way Dan Richman does.
In the end, we cross paths over it, perhaps because he will not treat me as his equal (am I even?) and might or will disrespect me at some point. This is rather expected and I end up losing more than he does. He is the one in charge of the investments. Heck! I was one of his investments anyways! So, in my frustration, I walk away with nothing, but the clothes and make-up Mr Richman bought me. I walk away with shame for thinking I was marrying a man who sought true love yet I was merely part of his life’s achievements; a trophy, an expensive furniture….
All this while, my wiser peers paired up with equally aggressive partners, went out, invested in promising business ventures and are working hand in hand to build their empire.
Thanks, but no thanks.