A drama in four acts
ACT ONE – the locals
Announcer: Can you hear the scrambling noise in the background? That is the sound of your peers picking mates.
It starts like a dam breaking. One minute, you are safe inside castles walls, starting to adjust to adult life. The next moment, someone has breached the walls and one of your friends gets married.
The first group to get married are the expected group. The normal people, regular lives, regular jobs, timelines sync up, they get married to people they have been seeing regularly and they stay put.
ACT TWO – the importers
Announcer: After local prospects have been exhausted, mankind looks to distant shores for help.
The second group are those in long distance relationships. These are people you didn’t even know were in relationships, but they tell you with bright eyes: “We have been together for five years, he has been in Alaska the whole time. He calls me twice a week and we skype on Fridays. We are getting married next month.”
The couple gets married in a church neither of them goes to.
The entire time during the ceremony, the officiating minister keeps looking down at his crib sheet to remember their names.
“Will you E – E – …. Ikenna, did I get that right? Okay.
Will you, Ikenna, take this woman, Su-Su… Subuola.
No wait, sorry, Subomi. I can’t read my own writing sometimes.”
Then he gets to the sermon, “Okenna, from this day forth, you are to take care of her. Today Subomi’s father hands her over to you.”
Someone walks over and whispers in the preacher’s ear. Subomi’s father has been dead for years. His second wife killed him on the night of their wedding. Strong juju.
He looks down at the couple, the girl is crying. Not tears of joy.
The second wave gets married and leaves to join their spouses.
The people who are left become relationship experts, those who go out of their way to volunteer to give you advice about marriage. This wouldn’t happen for any other institution.
Imagine you are taking an exam like ICAN, and someone offers, “Let me help you with that exam.”
So you ask, “Are you a chartered accountant?”
And they reply, “No, but I’ve failed the exam four times, I know all the ins and outs of it.”
Or if you had a pain in your stomach, and someone suggests, “I think you should talk to my cousin”
“Is he a doctor?”
“No, but he really wants to be one.”
Announcer: The lull of the intermission divides the remaining people into two groups.
ACT THREE – the settlers
Do not take the word settle to mean they are resting on their oars. These people are focused hunters. They have whittled down their list to two or three things. (Must be a man, must have functioning limbs, must have ideas)
And anyone who meets these criteria is getting hit with a marriage proposal. What were you expecting? Dating? Romance?
No time for friendships, they don’t waste time on people outside their catchment area.
“Hey, remember that girl Elizabeth who used to come first in English in your class?”
“Yes…… I wonder where she is now.”
“Check this out, she’s on facebook.”
Few pokes and wall posts later, phone contact initiated.
“Hello Elizabeth, how are you? We were just talking about you the other day. How random! Oh, you’re married now.. oh…”
Elizabeth calls back, he doesn’t pick up.
*changes facebook privacy settings to restrict wall access to Elizabeth*
ACT FOUR – the waiters
This group has had ample time to fine-tune the reasons why they aren’t married. Reasons and a conviction that marriage isn’t that important to them. They are waiting for something they can’t explain, but in the meantime, they have become experts at blocking themselves.
“She likes me too much,” he says, “I don’t trust it, I don’t trust her”
“I see.” you reply in your most patient voice. “So if she liked you less?”
“It would be perfect.”
“Right, of course. But why would too much ‘like’ be a problem?”
“I don’t know. Maybe she’s desperate. Or maybe she likes me for a reason.”
“You know… like my money.”
“But you have no money.”
“Yes, but I have potential. Maybe she likes me for my potential for money.”
“Hmm…. every time we have this conversation, I am reminded of your potential for stupidity.”