Some of you know this woman. She’s your sister, your friend, your fellow cubicle dweller who insists on playing 70s soft rock on her Pandora station, your daughter, your cousin. Some of you don’t believe that the fact that she’s an Unmarried African Woman (UAM) needs to be capitalized, or even an issue. And if that’s you, then you’re surely not African.
(I’m aware that other cultures may experience similar discussions and silly opinions about their unmarrieds and singletons, but my vantage point is mostly African, so I’ll be commenting on my personal experience)
The truth is, this particular community doesn’t understand mid-30s and singleness. It’s not in the DNA, ya’ll. It is not. Marriage and family are the very center of lives and culture. And this isn’t a criticism, by any means. I’ve come to a place where I can look at everything with humorized (not a word) irritation. Sometimes, it’s just pure humor and downright laughter. Anyway. This is generally what I hear as a UAM. Get ready…
- Is Your Daughter Waiting for a White Man? This is an interesting question, huh? My mother was asked this question by a family acquaintance about yours truly. (The question in its entirety was, “Is your daughter waiting for a white man? Is that why she’s not married yet?”) Stunned by his question, she very succinctly informed him that her daughter was waiting for the right individual for her, and she wasn’t about to just marry anyone, white, black, or green. Go Mama, huh? When she’s not suggesting I marry someone who just needs to be “polished” (more on that later), she’s definitely on Team Square Peg. Anyway, I suppose he took in the fact that I’m your atypical African woman (read: Americanized, which is a completely subjective term), raised in the suburbs and speaking with her accentless Valley Girl twang, and assumed that I’m waiting for my white knight. Who knows? Who cares?
- I know the PERFECT Man for You. No, you don’t. You don’t know me. We’ve spoken two times. Literally. Let that one die.
- He Just Needs a Little Polishing. I get that one quite a bit. The future man in question apparently just needs a little varnish provided by me and my lurve, and he should be fine. It doesn’t matter that he’s typically seen talking to himself in a corner somewhere, or laughing at a private joke that only he and the invisible person next to him have shared with each other. Hey, I get that in a relationship, both will be enhancing one another here and there. I embrace it. But that’s a lot of polishing, ya’ll. He (they) needs medication. Not me and my varnish.
- So, Is Attraction Important to You? Nope. As a UAM, I definitely want to meet a man who looks like the creature from the black lagoon. No big deal. After all, I’m only getting older, right? And who wants to be vain and superficial? Bring
ithim on. (But don’t, ok? Don’t do any of that.)
- Perhaps Your Standards Are too High. Soooo, we have standards for the car we want to buy, for the pizza we want to eat. And don’t tell me you don’t get hot if they add anchovies when you asked them not to. This is forever. I have standards. Hopefully, so does he.
- Honorable Mentions. Don’t marry a short man (Mama), and don’t marry a man with a big head (also Mama). Those are my personal favorites. The reasoning behind these caveats are usually followed by curious African anecdotes that I never fully understand. But I love hearing them.
I’ve no doubt that some of these interesting comments cross cultural lines, but there’s just something about a crotchety African woman telling you that you need to stop being so picky. Kinda feels like home.
Can’t imagine what I’ll hear when I become a MAW (Married African Woman). Sheesh.
3 Replies to “The Unmarried African Woman. (shudder)”
This deliciously witty post resonates with me. XD
I believe that “UAM” also deserves a place in the dictionary. No words are needed to define it, a photograph would suffice. Preferably one of a dark-skinned face, quite like Lupita’s, and a ring-less finger plus the requisite judgement of society heavily pressing her weary shoulders downwards. Lol
Of course, MAW would be the exact opposite, same dark-skinned face, ringed finger and all that judgement now floating like a poofy cloud above the now raised, relieved shoulders.
As an (does “a” sound better?) UAM, I receive unsolicited counsel about transforming into a MAW, I am always amused. Keeping a straight face while laughter bubbles inside your throat when facing these counsellors is quite challenging. Hahaha!
I agree with you, Marriage and family are the very center of lives and culture.
Thank you! Oh, yes, if the dictionary people are going to include “selfie” and “bling” in their tomes, I think UAM definitely deserves its day in the sun. LOL. I love the photo idea (no surprise there, since Lupita is involved lol). Perfect, especially with society’s judgment resting on her weary shoulders. Ha! It really has become amusing for me, too, these tirades about how I can transform into a MAW. When I was younger, it irritated me. Now I simply smile and think of a number of different things (getting a car wash, paying a bill) while unsolicited opinions are expressed around me. Hahahaha
Ah! Yes, Lupita is very much involved. Lol