Dear Single Ladies

A lot of single ladies complain that society’s not cutting them any slack. Whenever there’s some family wedding, this single lady suddenly becomes the center of attention and her aunties start speculating on “WHY is she still single?” This single lady doesn’t get annoyed by her single status as much as she gets annoyed by society’s reaction to her single status.

Maybe that’s the aunties’ goal; make her single life miserable enough so she’d get married. To the first guy who knocks the door, regardless of whether he’s suitable for her or not.

One of my fellow Kemeni* blogger, JJ posted about this once in her now-deleted-blog, “You tell yourself “I am happy being single” then you hear a nikkah from a near by mosque. Your thoughts wonder, some one is getting a companion tonight, they will build their future together. Then you evaluate yourself why are you still single? Is there something wrong with me?

One thing about the traditional Kemeni society is that if a girl’s age is around 25 then she’s by default a spinster. She might be picked up as a second wife to somebody some time. When men’s mothers and aunties [the traditional wedding crew] go around searching for wives, they want someone who knows how to cook biryani, who knows how to socialize and entertain guests and who likes children and has experience raising them (preferably her siblings not her own). There are some who explicitly state an age (15–18) because the younger, the less they know about the world.

Or at least, that’s what the guys think.

So someone like JJ, a women who graduated from college in the US and holds a proper job, and has a blog — OH MY GOD! WHAT A SHAME! — is too opinionated for the typical Kemeni man who wants a wife to go along with everything he says, stroke his ego, and make him biryani

The other day, a question was raised, would you rather be divorced or single? The statuses are very close to each other, except that nobody bothers the divorcee about marriage anymore.

But when a girl is single, and is enjoying every second of her single life, the aunties just want her to settle, and tell her, “You’re nothing without a man, all those degrees you have amount to nothing. This lifestyle of yours is just so wrong.”

And it’s even stranger when the advice comes from someone who is already miserable in their married life.

Like, seriously? 

It gets really frustrating because they are the ones making us single ladies feel like there’s something missing in our lives because we are single; they are the ones who make us even feel guilty about our single status; they are the ones shrinking our self-worth by their comments. 

Take an extreme example; society talks until the girl can’t handle the pressure anymore and marries someone unsuitable (just so they’d shut up). And because the person is unsuitable, maybe the relationship is rocky and ends up with a divorce. Would society help the woman get back to her feet after a divorce? No, they’d say that there must be something wrong with her, that’s why she couldn’t keep her husband for long. So whether she stays single or gets married to the wrong guy and ends up in divorce, she automatically loses. 

So dear single lady, my advice to you is to focus on yourself. Focus on developing yourself mentally, socially, professionally…Focus on yourself, because life does not come with guarantees. There’s a nice quote that says, “Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either.”

Think about how many people are married and miserable. Think about how many couples who stay together only for the children. Think about the sort of people for whom married life is a boring routine that they have to go through for the sake of going through…And for those who are pressured into marriage with unsuitable people just so that the train doesn’t pass them by. Isn’t it better for the train to pass you than crush you?

Author’s site can be found:

Kemeni society: Self-coined term used to talk about the yemeni society in Mombasa, Kenya [This is not to encourage tribalism as much as it is to describe the traits of a certain segment of society as Kenyans of other ethnic backgrounds may have different traditions] 

Image downloaded from and modified via Buffer’s Pablo

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