The Bride Price…The Urge to Merge and other matters…

Rhythm, a sequence in time repeated, featured ...
Rhythm, a sequence in time repeated, featured in dance: an early moving picture demonstrates the waltz. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Farm auction, Derby, Conn.  (LOC)
Farm auction, Derby, Conn. (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

I never thought I would say this but there comes a time in a woman’s life when they have to seriously consider the possibility of getting settled. Get married. Have a baby. Form/create a partnership.  And with the world being as it is, it’s not always easy to choose or to know what the best route is, and so one invariably has to look back, and side to side ,  to the past and the present  considering all the issues that are involved – and there are many issues to consider – and then decide on a path.  And here I will tell a story to illustrate my point from a very different perspective.

I used to enjoy dancing and would go out to my favourite dancing spots to dance the night away, in Johannesburg the city of lights. I had three favourite places because there I was almost always guaranteed to have a good time, or at the very least have an opportunity to unleash all my tension on the dance floor. The House of Nsako  and later the Tandoor, for reggae music and the Open Closet. The latter was a queer party event for women which came up once each month. I always looked forward to going there,  it a great chance to dance freely amongst women who love each other. Though I was single for the most part, I never saw it as a platform to solicit a relationship of any sort though I never ruled out the possibility. At one of these parties they arranged a female underwear fashion show and an Auction for a date with one of the hot girls who would be modeling a new range of queer female underwear – boxers for girls in short.  I was in a festive jubilant and positive mood ( they would be modeling my  favourite underwear, which I was also wearing  that night so I was really excited).  When  the time for bidding came I raised my hands in a bid for a chance to go out on a date with one of the models, I was enjoying myself. As it turned out I was the highest bidder for one of the hottest and most attractive girls on stage (at least that was my own biased assesment ). For 500 Rands (50USD) I could go on a date with her. I think I was still stunned that I had succeeded in my bid when the organizers took my details and told me that they would contact me in due cause to make the arrangements. Score!

The party went on, and I was too elated dancing to even see where the girl I had bid so much money on was.  The next week they contacted me, informing me that I would have to make a deposit first and then they will give me her details with which to arrange the meeting. I asked out of interest if the girl was single, they said no but she would be willing to come on a date with me regardless. I said I would think it over.  The next day I called them and said based on the fact that she was in a relationship I would not continue with the payment, and the subsequent date  as my assumption was that I would be going out on a date with a single woman, which would increase the chances of a  possible friendship that could lead to something more substantial, so it was no longer in my interest, I told them, to spend money on someone that already” belonged” to someone else, it didn’t make sense from an investment point of view  or a personal point of view as I didn’t want to have to sit on a date spending time and money on someone who would  be going back to their partner that same night. It just didn’t feel right for me. They saw my point. So I passed up a chance to go out with a hot mama based on the fact that she was  already committed , and though I didn’t realize it at the time, I now secretly praise myself for my decision, which was in my opinion  a very principled one, though very much unpopular at the time. Of course there are other parts of the story, but I concluded that what they had done was tantamount to false advertising.  The meeting would not be beneficial for me. Take it or leave it. I have since made less considered choices when it comes to love. .

I always thought that love was enough of an ingredient to keep two people together. I was sufficiently indoctrinated by the movies I watched, and seriously believed at some point that there is someone for everybody and when you meet them you’ll know.  Through books I was introduced to the innate unfaireness  on women, who are forced   and expected to choose between having a family and having successful careers as if those were mutually exclusive. I always felt that it was so wrong that women always had to rely on men for the most basic things, a roof over one’s head and general security in life, I always wondered why it is  that women had to give up everything they love in order to have a family and some form of stability in their lives.  But it’s not like that today. At least for some women  and new forms of partnerships are emerging which are truly equal in a sense that though both parties my need to compromise,  they find a way of being happy in their chosen situation.   As I grow older and have now eclipsed the big old 30 by two years, I am questioning my own reasons for and against settling down.

I am starting to wonder about many things,  and on the top of that list is the question:  Is love enough? Is it really love that you feel  when you meet someone for the first time?  Does love at first sight exists? In what conditions does love grow and flourish?

The thing is I have never really sat down with myself and thought about what kind of partner (ship) I would like to have.  What kind of person would want to be with me, no choose to be in a lifelong relationship with me. Am I the kind of partner that someone would like to bid their lunch money on? What benefits do I have to offer? So as a result I have often found myself in relationships that were at best vague and at worst non-existent.  Finding out that you’re  in a relationship with yourself, i.e  The person with whom you think you are in a relationship with is actually not in it with you , is a very hard pill to swallow.  All this time I was just a temporary arrangement, a means to an end.  But I have used people in a similar fashions too at some point in my life (and though that may not have been an explicit intension on my part) not defining the terms of the relationship made that outcome almost inevitable.

So I  have a different  understanding of  the whole institution of marriage from that experience,  it’s often not enough to say you love someone, they (you) must have ‘prospects’  money, assets that could make the partnership worthwhile for both parties, especially where parents and families are involved. Last year I had a chance to consider the possibility quite seriously but as fate would have it, in time I discovered that given the current climate one would really have to love someone for real in order to make such a commitment or alternatively  have enough money to make the partnership worthwhile. So whereas before I went through a period of wondering if love like that is possible, of going through my history and checking if I have anything of value to offer another person, I soon realized, that though I would most definitely benefit from a self-improvement course, money and fame, and a prominent, influential position of power in society –  all those things cannot guarantee me real love – what it would do, is guarantee that I would always be with someone /people who loved those things.  The auction  being a case in point. Love grows, so they might come to love me, but it would be a risky affair if there was no love there  in the first place. So when the fame, money, positions go, so does the love.

So how does one find love? Should love be the only consideration in a relationship? So the hot  girl, though in a relationship with someone was willing to go out with me because she was being paid? it was her job? a chance to get a free lunch? “ she wanted out of the relationship?’ I don’t know her circumstances, but there has to be something she loved there – money perhaps or food or her job  or the freedom to meet people, but I was not prepared to pay 500 rands to find out.  So I figure, love is always present when people get together. I love his money, I love the fame – I could be famous too,  I could learn so much,do things i never thought to do, experience more etc, I love knowledge, I love politics, I love her friends, her family, status, education, generosity, gentleness, inquisitiveness, a number of things. e.tc. We want to be with people who have or posses certain traits, characters that we aspire to.  Isn’t that the general advice, if you want to be a doctor, hang out with doctors etc? So in essence being with someone with whom you share nothing or very little in common becomes somewhat of a challenge, if there is nothing about then than interests you.  The choices become even simpler, it’s either you want to go with that person or you don’t.  Knowing the difference is the key. My brother was asking me the other day why we generally react differently to friends and family.  He was telling me how people always marveled at our relationship making comment such as “She’s your sister? Wow you guys look like such friends” I’ve also had people confess to me that they would also love to have a cool relationship with their sisters. It feels good. But that always leaves me puzzled because I don’t see the difference.  But there is a difference in how we treat each other and that has a lot to do with what people share in common, memories, dreams, activities, jobs. It’s like you live in your dream and in that dream you are creating there are  people who also believe in your dream, and those people are your friends.   So unless you share common dreams and aspirations I truly don’t see how a marriage or partnership would survive unless there is something else that you love more  – than the person –  that you would be marrying into , that thing that you love more, will decide whether you stay in a relationship or leave.  So it’s what we have in common that keeps us together – thieves and gangers – are all kept together by the same desire of finding the easiest best way of stealing and terrorizing people while making a maximum profits. Love keeps people together without which people will always find a way to escape. Often we go after what we love (which normally consists of things that money can buy) and forget about the person.  So one might understandably confuse their love and admiration for someone’s career, achievements, business acumen, physique, character i.e. things that you most probably want to do or be yourself as love  for that person, it is real love for them because whatever it is they are in for they love it, love is real even in that scenario but it is entirely different to what we think of it in real-time.

Once they stop having the money, the position of power, the beauty, the knowledge, you “outgrow” them or find that you can be any of those things without that person so you move on to where you’ll find something you love, if there’s no LOVE, if none exists everything becomes a means to an end.   So we say love is gone, which is not true. So the more two people share – in love – if you love doing the same things, there more you are inclined to want to be together because you share common love interests, once you stop sharing those love interests or if one of the people in the relationships love interest’s change – then that puts the whole relationship into question.

Obviously you’ll want to spend more time with people that do and are in pursuit of the same things you love, so you’ll stay out, and choose them over anyone or anything else most of the time, and when you’re not involved in doing the things you will love you look for opportunities that will get you there.

So yes it’s possible – the movies are not entirely wrong, and neither are the books  nor is lived  experience. It is possible that you can truly love someone  truly love someone for who they are – regardless of what they have to offer, but in order to do that completely, you have to love yourself  first , wholeheartedly and without exception.  What do I mean? Well if you’re not fulfilled in your individual life (dream), you look to a relationship for all the love, so the person becomes in a more crude way, a servant, someone you expect to brighten your day, motivate you, make you laugh, tell you you’re beautiful, shower you with gifts, listen to you, be your friend, touch you a certain way, your legal adviser, financial adviser, money provider (to buy you things that make you happy) roof provider, hair provider, sperm provider –  basically your everything. And no one can be everything for anyone person though at times it may seem that way. Relationships like that don’t often last and are often filled with the  feeling of guilt and resentment,  she’s got no-one else – I can’t leave her, you are my everything you can’t leave me etc.  so instead of looking for love in one person, I have decided that the best way to “find” and sustain love is to fill my life with thoughts, actions and words of  love, so that my ability to live a love filled life  would be independent  of the person I will come to share my life with, so when I meet them I will love them for who they are, not what they are willing /able to offer or what I feel I can get from them because I have enough love in my  own life theirs will be the icing on the Cake. That way I will love with absolute confidence and freedom and love without fear – of losing – because where there is love, there is no fear. The more love I fill in my life there more I will find myself in situations where more and more love can grow, flourish and blossom, it’s not about saying – it: I love you. It is about living it, finding love in everything and everyone or at the very least things that I like whether it is in my chosen profession, the things I choose to do in my spare time, relationships with friends and family however tedious the only motivation for anyone to do anything is LOVE. More and more each day I learn that the power of love is so much greater, better and infinitely more wonderful  than anything I ever imagined it to be. And I LOVE IT!

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