‘Look around you, Juwon, there are not many options. We are no longer spoilt for choice.’
How true is that? And what’s all the fuss about the fact that she is marrying a younger man?
My friend is 40 and her boyfriend is 35, what’s the big deal? He loves her, she respects him, case closed! They are serious about each other and he wants to walk her down the aisle, who are you to stop them? They’ve been friends for forever and they couldn’t commit to something meaningful because of this age issue but they finally realised, why deceive ourselves? The Yorubas will say, eniti a ba sun tilanjarun pa lu.(It’s the person we share bed space with that we roll over or kick). So he gathered his mojo and popped the question. She rallied her thoughts and gave an emphatic Yes! Yes to the fact that you are younger than me! Yes to the scorn that would be meted out to me. And a big Yes to a lifetime of bliss with you!
But is it as easy as it sounds? That’s what my friend and her boyfriend have to deal with. That he is younger is an issue. Let’s face it. It’s an issue because 1.) we make it so and 2.) society made it so. Much of a muchness, really, because who is society if not us?
It’s getting tougher today for single ladies that have crossed the 35years age border to actually find someone older than them to marry if they do not want to hook up with widowers, single fathers, divorcees or married men. I don’t know if things are different at your end of the hood, but that’s the case from my end. And it’s pretty sad when you see single men in their late 30s and early 40s marry Jambitos and young undergraduates. Don’t get me wrong, my point is, if these men don’t marry the ‘old’ ladies, who would? Teenagers?!
Don’t get it twisted, love is a beautiful thing, I know. And age should not be a barrier. Exactly, it should not! But, it is! Here are the hurdles my friend would have to cross:
- What mummy and daddy thinks.
You see, our parents, take it or leave it, are many times wiser than us. She is a mother, maybe, because she knows more than others. And he is a father, maybe, because he sees far than others. My people will say, what a child may not see standing, an adult will clearly see from his/her sitting position. Somehow they have clearer eyes to know that you probably are blinded by the ephemeral euphoria of the in-love stage. They are gravely aware that your eyes would clear in the marriage and it probably would be too late. So they disapprove. And you end up in prayer houses seeking God’s face to help change their minds.
Then they are afraid. Their fear stems from the fact that you are making more money than him. Hey, you’ve been here longer and so you are probably doing better than him financially. They are likely going to see him as a gold-digger, as a result. His parents may also be afraid if o tiif’oriomoawons’abe( that is if you haven’t bewitched their son). Welcome to the herculean task of convincing them otherwise.
Again, you will have to deal with the fact that anytime they see you two together , the first thing they see is, ‘he is younger’ before they even remember his name is Dayo.
- Your friends.
By that, I mean your friends and his friends. Our friends are sometimes the barometer for measuring our relationship decisions. What will they say? And don’t give me that crap that you don’t care what your friends say! We care about what our friends say! We do! Because you two will attend functions together. You two must go for events. You will hang out. And you will always have to relate with each other’s friends. Just face it, already.
Your friends will have to decide they will accord him some respect and not treat him like ‘that small boy you call husband’ when they visit you. Their attitude towards him must be cordial and honourable. I tell you, this may not be easy. Because as your friend, before I visit you, I must wire myself to be in my best behaviour to your husby. That is some work right there. It may sometimes mean I may not be frequenting your house as you would like. Because, before I come I have to consider your hubby’s ego. You know, I may throw certain jibes, being pals that we are, in a very relaxed atmosphere that would honestly not be intended to hurt or slight anyone. But the fact that your hubby is younger, it could be misconstrued. So, when I think about how sensitive to his feelings I have to be, and how prim and proper I have to conduct myself, I will just burst it. I won’t show up!
Then his friends must grapple with the fact that they will not be able to aunty your friends. Just imagine, his friends come visiting and they are addressing you and your friends as aunty this and aunty that. Ewwww. And don’t you dare think you can prevent them from knowing his age. You won’t succeed. When you mark special birthdays, they will wonder why he never marks his own. Enough said.
Society frowns against it sis. Society have doubts about your sensibilities and his intentions. We feel you are going against the ideal. We have come to institutionalize the fact that the title ‘head’ must first and foremost imply older. We can deal with you making more money but he is older than you being older and he is making more money. We can deal with you being a career woman but he is older than you being older and he is climbing the career ladder. That’s how we are. Our definition of respect is unwaveringly tied to age. It’s in our culture. It’s in our DNA. That’s how we are wired. It’s difficult to think otherwise. We still naively consider that age means maturity. We believe that for him to have focus, purpose and respect, he must be older. You may try to educate us differently, you may try to enlighten us contrarily but these roots have sunk in deeper, others that came before you couldn’t pull them out.
I am assuming you have sorted out the fact that you both may live in different worlds mentally. I am assuming you have sorted out money matters. And I am assuming you have your social class sorted out.
So, as I watch my friend take her boo home to meet her parents this weekend, I am praying that their love for each other will trump whatever prejudices the world out there may want to dish out to them. I am hoping her boldness in making this decision would overshadow people’s bigotries. I am praying they would respect their decisions and embrace their emotional maturity.
Because what’s more important? His personality, his life goals and priorities, these and many other good qualities have no age barriers. You’re older than him, so what? Let’s go younger!