You knew you were unmarriageable when you could not find it within your selfish self to treat a man like a handicap child.

So when other women insisted on picking up plates, filling them with food, handing the plates over to their husbands and boyfriends, you sat there and looking at your man, confirming that his big strong, able hands were still intact, you smiled at him and hoped that he would take the cue to carry his hungry self to where the food was.

There would come a time in your life then, when you would be single. Rarely or frequently. Once or several times. Shortly or for a long period of time. Temporarily or permanently.

There naturally would be many such times. Singlehood and you would form a rapport so strong that you would not understand why it was looked down upon so much. Why, when unlike marriage it did not require you to conform to any rules and regulations?

You would be single because you would still not have managed to clinch a boyfriend for your poor self. Some would wonder why yet you have decent looks. Decent enough to make a man look at you long enough, say hello and ask for your number. What, are you not ‘good’ to men? Hausalimiangi watu? Are you stuck up and unapproachable? You don’t smile enough? What is wrong with you?

Single because you would make the fatal mistake of breaking up with your precious man (you fool). What, don’t you know that all men are the same? Do you expect to break up with this one and end up with another different one? Where from, Mars? What, he cheated? Don’t they all do that? Ever heard that men are polygamous by nature? What next, will you date yourself? Become a lesbian instead? Because where there is man, there is infidelity?

Single because you would sign the divorce papers and say “Fuck this bad marriage!” ha ha. Because you thought marriage was easy. A bed of heavenly-scented roses. What, you had no idea that marriage is a lot of hard work? A lot of tears and a lot of heartache?

One day, you and your pronounced singlehood will be hanging out with your married friends. Because you harbor the belief that a married woman and a single woman can very well be friends. You will be on your best behavior though: Not saying anything bad about (bad) marriages and sharing all the good stuff about good marriages. Because you believe that there are indeed good men and women out there who make great couples and give marriage a very good name. It is such a pity that they are so few, these men and women. Because bursting bubbles is not your profession, contrary to popular belief, you will cheer on the good wives and utter nary a word of criticism to any men within your radius.

Because, you can be good.

You can behave yourself.

Then one married woman will look at your hair. Your long blazing-red dreadlocks. She will shift her gaze from you to your married friend’s hair – her’s, braids that resemble dreadlocks. Faux dreads (there is such a thing, ey fashionistas?) Then she will look at both of your heads in turn. Then she will christen your hair, the unmarried woman’s version of dreadlocks, and your friend’s, the married woman’s version.

How poetic, you will think.

That eureka moment will not escape you (do they ever?). With one poetic sentence, this woman will invite you to her thoughts on marriage.

She is happy to be married. She raises her head up proudly in gatherings because she has a ring on her finger. She wears her ring like she wears all her other accomplishments; she passed her exams, she graduated from campus, she was admitted to the bar, AND she got a man to put a ring on it.

In her marriage, she is expected to stick to a code of conduct. When she signed that marriage certificate, she inadvertently ticked a box that required her to agree to some terms and conditions.

The terms are simple; dress this way, wear your hair that way (deadlocks be damned!) and behave a certain way. My guess? Like a married woman.

To be married, and to stay married, she has to look married. She goes to the hairdresser and sits down to have her hair done while considering which hairstyle says ‘married’ and which one says ‘unmarried’. She would hate to send the wrong message. Her ring sends the right message. She could speak up and erase any doubts. But she still needs to drive the point home. She does this with a tamed weave, with neat braids, with below-the-knee skirts or dresses, not-too-tight trousers and no shorts in her wardrobe.

Good for her, good for her husband and good for her marriage.

How about you? You used to think that you are unmarriageable just because you refuse to treat a grown man like a handicap child. Now, here is another reason that seals your unmarriageability: You are not willing to look (or act) like a married woman.

You are too you.

And that is your happily ever after, happily.

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