Well, well, well… Here we are!
When I’d asked my followers on social media to relay suggestions of blog topics they’d be interested in me writing about, I half expected feedback to circle around entrepreneur topics and I was pleasantly surprised that ALL topic suggestions rotated around relationships with both oneself and others. I particularly liked the question, “Write about the perceived plight of single independent women in Uganda. Is that a myth or real issue” because it would force me to be as real and honest as possible – which I found quite hard as I generally dislike being categorized or put in a box. I like being looked at s a wholesome individual and as much as certain characteristics or attributes might stick out like a sore thumb, I do possess deeper aspects that are more fragile. Single Independent Woman… hmmm Sounds like wonder woman wrapped in Iron man’s suit to be honest and I usually sigh a bit at the sound of that only because the statement has a connotation of non-emotional hardness, I guess… But here’s the thing, it did force me to analyse myself with regards to where I belong in today’s society. I’m made up of different components that would suggest I am indeed a single independent woman living in today’s Ugandan society. I do have the ability to take care of myself both financially, mentally, physically and spiritually. After dancing to the beat of my own drum for while now, I have earned a bit of freedom to wield my destiny with the guidance of my supreme master planner, God.
I also thought; Ne-Yo’s Miss Independent directly described me but most importantly, I found myself admiring the man who thought women of this caliber were sexy! I even took the liberty of custom designing the wardrobe for this blog post to suit his music video orchestration!
Does this suggest I don’t need a man… Yes! Quite frankly, what I need is a partner and what I want is a man. Get it? I am complete on my own and I don’t subscribe to the category of women who’d need a man to finance their lifestyle. As we’ve already established, I gat this! Although it might be quite extraneous and lonely to self splurge, the point is; I do possess the financial ability to fill in the gaps should no man be up for the ride. This is not to say I’m incapable of allowing a man to take care of me as is the usual interpretation when a woman states her ability to provide for herself. On the contrary, a man taking the time to understand me fully through intentional and deliberate efforts to the point where he is in the know of where I need to lean on him is what graduates him to a partner. All women want men whether it’s for physical companionship, financial aid, a means to fit in society etc… but an independent woman would most likely need someone capable enough of being a partner and not a mere source of entertainment to fill in the gaps.
To answer the above question, is the plight of single independent women real or a myth? it’s as real as a heart attack! Before I get on with it, I’d like to mention that I do have single cousins in Fort-portal just waiting for the opportunity to be stay-at-home mothers solely concerned with looking after their husbands, homes and children, I have single friends with 9 to 5 jobs whose perceptions on marriage are should their husbands require them to resign and become housewives, they’d gladly resolve to do so and there are the 9 to 5 ladies who believe the man is a source of happiness and complete providence for her and their children making her income solely hers to dispense as she sees fit… I will refrain from mentioning the social-media-hyped “slay queens” You already know! I started Paple Rayn at 23 years old earning 300,000ugx a month inclusive of transport, lunch, perfume, hair bills, outings with friends, appropriate work clothing etc mind you! So dancing around and spreading myself wide for a bag of chips and what-not is mind boggling to me. Resorting to slay-queenism is just a mindset thing… nothing more!
Different single independent women have different plights I believe by virtue of the different experiences they’ve had to deal with when it comes to dating. As I’ve mentioned earlier, some women have entered relationships where their partners demanded that they leave their jobs believing that a household with two working parents is unbecoming and the woman being looked at, through the eyes of 1900 (and still very present) societal norms, had to be the one to step down. This woman would indeed have a different plight from mine and since I am neither every single independent woman in Uganda nor the voice for “us”, I will deliberate on the matter cautiously elaborating my personal plight.
I am indeed single. No surprise there as I’d have tactfully communicated otherwise should my status have changed.
First of all, perception. The first thing both men and women (surprising but true!) think when they see all these attributes and learn I am single, is that I’ve failed to get a man, or a man has failed to tame me as I must be difficult. ie hard to please, demeaning of male dominion, poor at obeying orders or requests etc. Oh, how sad really! I’ve had conversations with male friends who suspiciously watch everything I say or do trying to note any hint of an evil spirit called modern-feminism. In his opinion, this is one of the causes of singleness among “woke” women in Uganda. If my voice gets high pitched with excitement at a point I’m making, I am too stubborn that’s why I’m single… I’ve endured all types of shallow judgement and comments at some point I actually told a friend of mine that if he did not stop, he might as well lose my number! Dear patrons, I have a lot of things to do like holidays to plan, client orders to complete, yearly company targets/goals to accomplish and a lot of series to catch up on. Being cuddled up inside a man’s t-shirt however tempting isn’t my only reason for breathing! Being single isn’t even a conscious choice for me. It’s something that happens due to a number of reasons including the men of this day and age being as shifty as squirrels.
That ending leads me to my next point, blame games. Society inevitably almost-always depicts the women as not whole if they aren’t married by a certain age and to that I’d like to emphasize married to whom?!? The guys who stay in the bar drinking up to 6am every weekend? The guys who sleep with different women every night for sport? The already married men with no moral campus and sense of commitment to their vows? or the interestingly labelled “fuckboys” who feign interest in good women and use emotional advances to lure them into a facades of a relationship only to go completely off the grid onto the next victim? Society just doesn’t blame men enough and as a result, women with their act together; a more likely scenario since their grooming for marriage begins as early as the toddler stage when they start playing with dolls tend to only find a pitiful mob of non-potential male suitors. Talk about looking for a needle in a hay stack! sigh! (Slaps forehead)
The lesser evil. My dad uses this statement a lot when he’s describing a situation where one has to pick a course of action and all the feasible choices are seemingly bad. As a woman who solely depends on her mental health to be at it’s finest, I’d rather be single over and over again than endure the turmoil a toxic relationship presents! I will never apologize for that and everybody who knows me can attest to that. One of the perks I use whenever necessary is my ability to make conscious decisions about situations that aren’t emotional especially when it comes to determining my emotional, mental, spiritual and physical well being is protected. Single-hood is a sign of strength and not weakness! I definitely have walked away from a couple of situations that I believed threatened my sanity in one way or another. It doesn’t mean I lost something as most people rush to believe. On the contrary, it means I had the courage to walk away and have the patience to wait for what is truly meant for me. Need I say more?
As I did some research on this topic, I found the most interesting well written article by Jenna Birch – Why Are So Many Smart Women Still Single? on the psychology of men when it comes to men interacting with smart or intelligent women. As I noted earlier, different categories of women are indeed single however, I do concede that the smart women who are perceived to, “have it all together” begs for this special curiosity. Jenna knocked my socks off with this entire article and I couldn’t agree more having faced this more than one or two times in my interactions with men.
She narrates, “The way Park explains it, men only think they know what they want—or they know what they want in theory, not what they’d choose when put to the test IRL. “Men seem to be influenced less by their ideal partner preferences and more by their emotions or feelings at the moment,” she says. “Specifically, when men were outperformed by a woman in a domain that they cared about—intelligence—they felt threatened, assessed by diminished self-ratings of masculinity, which then led them to act in a way counter to what their expressed ideal preferences were.” In other words, these guys felt way inferior in the smarter woman’s presence, and so they went rogue; they ditched their self-described dream gal for someone who didn’t best their intelligence.
She continues, “When I began my research, almost all the guys I interviewed or chatted up insisted that when it came to the women they wanted, “the more, the better.” They also said that while they were not personally intimidated by smart, successful, attractive women, they felt most other men were. But as I got guys talking—really talking—they started to say some more revelatory things.
I talked to my good friend Jack, a witty and self-aware 27-year-old consultant. When I asked him what he was looking for in a lifelong partner, he said that, of course, he wanted a smart, independent, successful, beautiful woman (yada yada). However, later in our conversation, he also said that if he didn’t feel like he could win over a girl who fit the bill, he’d “start looking for reasons to discount her.” And he told me, “You can pretty easily convince yourself that you never really wanted her to begin with.”
I went on a date with a handsome real estate broker a few years my senior, someone with the fearless facade of a man hardened to rejection and immune to the effects of deflected attention. He acted entirely secure in himself—but off the cuff, when I casually brought up the question of whether he would be intimidated to date the quintessential accomplished woman, he was quite candid. “I want her to be smart and successful,” he said, “but not as smart and successful as I am.”
Relationship expert Susan Walsh, founder of popular dating site Hooking Up Smart, once told me, “When a man tries to convince you not to date him, listen.”
Still, if men know a great thing when they find it, why don’t they pull the trigger?”
Enter exhibit B; The Love Gap in which Jenna highlights another, broader implication of the difference between attitudes and behavior. The “gap” in the title refers to the distance between what straight men say they want in a woman and the type of women they pursue. Specifically, men say they want women who are smart, driven, ambitious, and accomplished — but when they actually date these women, they hesitate to start a relationship with them. Through research and interviews, Birch deduces that some men may be made uneasy by such a woman’s success, especially if they haven’t yet achieved that level of success in their own careers.
Remember earlier when I mentioned I’d much rather date someone seriously with the potential to be a partner because of the intentional deliberate efforts on his part to try and get to know me? This is why. Men or guys usually like to assert themselves in relationships even when it’s unwarranted. They seem to derive pleasure from being able to command their space in a woman’s life they’re dating and this would definitely work with a certain type of women in need or welcoming of this dominion. In the case of an independent woman like me, I’m used to governing my life ie my struggles, my happiness, my next big career moves etc. therefore, if a man wanted to be important to me, he’d wait patently as he gets to know me, for me to come to him. Despite what you might think, I like leaning on people, I like being cared for and I like them being there whenever I am ready to ask for help or a shoulder to cry on. I equally love kisses and pecks with the same intensity 🙂
If a potential suitor is more concerned with seeking gratification from conquering me, he will be very frustrated and I will be swimming out of my comfort zone hence, brutally murdering any potential of us getting a long! I do agree with Jenna saying that women must simultaneously give potential suitors who have some uneasiness time without lowering my standards. That makes a lot of sense because in reality, we all have baggage, fear, insecurities and so on. In order to learn how to live and co-exist with each other, a good level of patience must be exercised BUT only for a suitor worth my time and effort by virtue of his character, personality and his beliefs being in line with what I want or need in a life partner.
As I conclude this post, I’d also like to point out that for there to be an alarming response to a lot of smart, intelligent women being single, there should be an equally alarming desire to find out what type of men exist in this society who would actually shun away from someone who knows what they want and would rather aim for someone they’d much rather push over. What type of men are really being groomed into this day and age? I wouldn’t want this type of lazy mentality to creep into my son because I am deathly aware he is going to be born into a time where he has to truly truly fight for what he wants. Things are hard, nowadays and not just financial stability. Even keeping your moral campus is becoming much harder especially for men who are now existing in a time where sex dolls are going to be a norm, AIDS is catastrophically more rampant among married couples… I mean!
I definitely see myself only settling down with someone who doesn’t cause me anxiety if my son turned out to be just like him or at the thought of him being the first mentor my son will ever know. I’d like to think, in this day and age of slay queens and modern day prostitution, a man would equally find re-assurance and peace in the person I try to be through the morals and values I endeavor to uphold at all times as a potential mother to his daughters whom they would most definitely mirror.
Otherwise, it has been quite a pleasure writing this article! The preparation process has been an emotional and mental eye opener even for me!
Wardrobe: Long Tuxedo Jacket and Box Dresses by The Paple Rayn Hub Label
Photography: Tonic William
Ps. Ne-Yo Miss Independent was the soundtrack that set the tone for this blog post and is going to be my go to song for the rest of the year 2018! Let’s get it!
As always, thank you for stopping by… much love!