The Bachelor’s Plea
It seems to be a norm that once you reach a certain age and you are not married, as a man or woman, the cards start working against your favor. In the African context, the story seems to be escalated more going with what ‘wise sayings’ regarding this matter say.
In my case, my forefathers said that a young unmarried man is likely to eat food to his fill today and then decide to burn down the granary afterward. In the fairest marinated words, what my old kinsmen meant was that a young unmarried man is a ‘fool.’
Just imagine the man who eats and once he is full, he decides to set the food store that will feed him tomorrow on fire. Someone will point out that they had an embedded lesson to this saying, yet a keen consideration seems to point towards the fact that bachelors probably don’t have plans for the morrow. Let us be the judge on this.
On another occasion, the same old men saw it ‘wise’ to give an unprecedented blueprint to the future generation on how to treat the unmarried in society. Bending the ethics of respect to favor the married young over the old unmarried man would dictate the order of things.
And so, it is very common for a young married man to take advantage of this linear favor in certain social settings to demean any unmarried man whether old or young. In the days of our forefathers, an older man would be excluded from the town square meeting where the elders could be solving a marital issue.
Many centuries later, the jungle rule still rules. If by any chance the unmarried man or woman finds themselves in such a seating, theirs will forever be the mantra of see, hear but no talk. What marital experience does a bachelor have to even give the simplest bit of advice?
So, last week, I came across this Chinese Tiktok video explaining what name is given to unmarried ladies over 30 years as well as the name that is given to unmarried men over 40 years. Critically, this is called name branding or in a more brutal way, calling people names.
The drumsticks are getting louder more than we think they are getting distant with the so-called civility. In the saying, a man driving his father’s car has no say among men driving their bicycles, which is akin to a senior bachelor or man with a girlfriend who has no seat among young men with wives.
No wonder there will be no peace until everyone is left to own their yam. Don’t even think that there will be justice either until the choice of everyone’s yam is respected including the man who doesn’t choose the yam; the man who chooses not to choose.
So, bachelors today are men under siege. If a granary is set on fire in the village, everybody will start looking at the bachelors around with a guilty gaze. When a neighbor’s daughter goes missing for a day or two, the first stops are in the bachelor’s huts.
Should a neighbor’s pregnant goat disappear, the smell of chicken meat from a bachelor’s hut is enough to give him the condemnation verdict that he wasn’t even wise enough to let the goat give birth in the first place so that he can have meat for tomorrow as well. But remember, it is the smell of chicken.
For this matter, the bachelor pleads with the solemnity of heart even for the bachelorettes as well, that he knows about tomorrow. Yes, he knows about the importance of the granary for everybody’s safety and insurance from hunger. Don’t you see these bachelors go to the farm, dig, plant, and harvest food?
The bachelor pleads to all and sundry that yes, he appreciates your marriages and that is why he respects you, your wives, and children. Is it too much for him to ask of you to simply let him be? He has his clock, he understands the times and seasons. He has grown wise not to come for food from you since he knows you have more mouths to feed.
His plea is loud and clear, let him get home and have a peaceful night’s rest. Of all the burdens you face, he faces them too. And now you add him that gaze of the judgment of a social misfit. He asks you to let him be and trust his judgments for once.