The grateful, overexcited fiancee: Does the way ladies react to marriage proposals enable patriarchy?


Exactly four weeks and a day ago, I was in one of the nice restaurants in Ibadan, Café Chrysalis [you should check them out if you’re in Ibadan(hay God! free advert in this ‘risesan‘, okay oh)]. I was with a friend and as we were almost midway through our Pina Coladas, something loud happened right behind us.

She screeched, “Hiaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, ooooooooooooooooh, yes! Ho mai godt! Ho mai godt, yes! Yes! I can’t believe this! 5 years! 5 years!! At last! gaaaawwwwd! At last! Thank you, Segun, yes! Ho God! Thank you, Segun…ah ah ah! Hiaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa I can’t believe this! Thank you Thank you! muah muah….wooooooohoooooooo! Ho mai god ho mai god! 5 years! I can’t believe this! Yes Yes Yes!”

A guy had proposed. He was still on one knee as we turned and joined others therein to clap and congratulate them. My own first reaction though was like, “ehn ehn, ni Ibadan tia yi naa” (Really, live Telemundo in this our own Ibadan too?). But my transient silliness aside, I couldn’t wrap my head around all I just saw and heard and why my ears had to ache acutely for it.

This lady acted so shocked and too surprised as if she’d just watched Jupiter shrink in size. Chai! You won’t understand. She shouted out of surprise so much it felt like Saturn would lose its rings had the guy not proposed that day.

You can’t believe it ke? After five years? You can’t believe what? Oh your God? The one wey confuse me pass – Thank you, Segun? Thank you?! Ayam not understanding and I refuse to understand.


So you didn’t expect to be married to him? You actually relied solely on the guy’s guts to get going? You’ve been waiting for his move? His decision? Like, just waiting? So, what has her five years been for? Trial and error? And waiting for the D-day? You’re an object or project waiting for activation at a time you can’t substantively contribute to? Five years to play ludo with your life? Ludicrous! Five years to do what exactly? Not talk and plan together with a common goal in mind? What happened to DATING WITH PURPOSE na?

Someone should re-explain dating to me oh, abeg. Because I can’t really understand why an adult female human should act erupt like Vesuvius when a marriage proposal is made, especially off a supposed five-year old cycle of dating, as if she has been standing dry on the hinges all the while, waiting desperately for a Bros’ to pop question. Pop kwa?

When you make it seem like this, when you act that melodramatic and surprised as if your worth was dormant until Bros goes down on one knee to activate it with a marriage proposal, don’t you think it’s like ceding that self-worth to him like a deed of badly bargained release? You don’t think that will make him predisposed to feeling like a Chinko-made god? Such that he acts “man giveth, man taketh” on you at every opportunity? Like you don’t know this is one surreptitious way to get a “Horseband” as against a Husband?

Why should an adult female act that surprised at question popping, as if the journey towards matrimony is hinged solely on the man’s decision? You rely solely on the man, his own timing and guts, to validate you as marriageable? Biko, you sef, check am too na…check am, e pure? See, in these four weeks, I’ve been thinking in pockets about that thing I witnessed, and I really understand how the whole going down on one knee thing could pass as a mere tradition, a formality, a mere rite to serve a symbolic purpose and not all I’ve stated above. One could wave off the joy, happiness, and eye bubbles, but, I’m still pressed to believe that the whole surprised and shocked reaction is offish, and can be suggestive of UNINTENTIONAL enabling of patriarchal tendencies.

That a relationship works or not, that a relationship leads to marriage or not, falls entirely under another cache of considerations, and so, while I am definitely open to views as touching why some ladies hooohaaa in overt surprise and shock when Bros goes down on one knee, what I believe this absurd “HoMaiGod” act subtly suggests, supports and silently enables, is patriarchy.

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