Would You Get A Beard?

Posted on October 14, 2013

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To put it simply, out here in Nigeria no one takes you seriously if you’re a young woman who is of marriageable age but is unmarried. Some people consider you unlucky; others see you as unserious.

I watched a TV show yesterday on Ebony Life TV called Girl Talk. It’s a bunch of women sitting around sipping tea, coffee, water or whatever and the topic of discussion for that episode was marriage. One of the guests on the show suggested that people take married folks more seriously because you have the validation of your husband or wife. By virtue of being married someone has said this person is worth my trust and confidence.

Marriage in Nigeria is a goal many young people have to achieve for their families, friends, and the rest of society who don’t really give a shit about you but rest assured are watching like hawks.

Where I work, married people, especially the women are automatically accorded more respect. They are called, “Mrs this or that”. Everyone else is called nothing or by first-name if we’re lucky.

Recently, an older friend who I respect called me over for a heart to heart. We talked about the different things that we normally do and when we reached the topic of relationships, he encouraged me to get a beard.

If I wanted to live in Nigeria full-time then I had to do certain things that are expected of me, namely get married. Find a man you are compatible with and marry him, then you can do whatever you want on the side, he said.

He told me he knew many of his women friends who did that and that they seemed happy. He asked me to open my mind by first starting to date some guys and see how it goes. I thought it was ludicrous.

Having a beard is a topic of conversation I’ve had with my African queer ladies friends. Whenever we politick marriage comes up. We talk about marriage as we would talk about say graduating from school, getting a first job, or springing up the career ladder. It is just what is expected of you as a member of society.

When these types of conversations take place, I never think too much about it except, “To each their own”. Some friends suggest that it may work if you met a gay guy who was also trying to blend into society. I don’t think I would get married to a man as a front. Would you get a beard?

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