My Fiance’s Younger Brother Wants Me To Greet Him First…But Why Should I?
Yesterday evening, a friend of my fiance whom I shall refer to as O, told me he would like to speak with me on a certain issue. I was deeply curious. Although we are both on good terms, our conversations revolve round how to download free movies or which network currently has the cheapest data plan. So of course, permit my curiousity. O began a long sermon on how he had the best interests of my fiancé and I at heart and wanted desperately for us to succeed in our chosen endeavor. I thanked him. He continued saying that so far we have made him and his ancestors proud by how well we have both been conducting ourselves with maturity and purpose. I thanked him once again. Then he got to the crux of the matter. He said that he heard that I had an altercation with my fiancé’s younger brother over who should greet whom first. He looked like he had more to say on his mind, but at this point in the conversation he felt he should proceed only with a denial from me.. I smiled. Read also: Marriages in Nigeria are sustained by women
What had happened was simple. I was older than this brother by several significant years. I’d noticed after several occasions that the fellow never greeted me. He would walk right into a room where I was seated and plant himself comfortably in a chair without so much as a “Hi.” After greeting him once or twice, I made excuses for him. ‘I have a small stature, he probably thinks he is older.’ ‘ He wasn’t in a good mood.’ ‘ He was hungry.’ Etc…The situation however persisted so I decided to woman up and handle it. I called bobo’s attention to it and he called him out immediately.
Now this brother’s defense stupefied me. He said that “1, I was a woman and as such should greet him first out of respect. 2, I should have come to tell him myself instead of reporting to my bae.” At this statement, I realized his IQ was below par, so I decided never to bother my pretty head over that again. At this point in my narration, I expected to hear a firm approval of my behaviour from O who had been listening carefully. I was to be disappointed.
O clapped back stating that in his culture [Yoruba] the iyawo was expected to treat everyone from domestic fowl to ancient deity with deep respect, curtseying and genuflecting even in her sleep and woe onto her if the husband’s family greets her first. What a wawu! This would be the first I would hear of such a ridiculous culture. So, there is a problem if both men and women need respect?
It has become a very popular saying by family coaches, marriage counsellors and religious leaders. Every marriage seminar, handbook, relationship video or whatnot lists the number one rule as Respect your man. That’s all fine and good, I have no problems with that. However, I have come to discover that the basis for a large hunk of our ‘must-do’ rules in the area of relationships have hidden roots in our culture.
That’s right. No matter how enlightened we claim to have gotten, we seem unable to escape that chain round our neck, that brass clanging band round our waist that we have termed ‘culture’. Culture in its essence is not entirely bad, but neither is it entirely good. History has shown us that culture + relationships are a toxic cocktail for womenfolk as a large number of cultural do’s and don’ts have been oppressive to us. For instance, the cultural do of ‘Do everything to make your marriage work as a woman’ not only excuses the onus from the man but effectively ties the woman down in abusive situations.
Now, culture is defined as a ‘way of life of a people at a given point and time.’ What this simply means is that culture is progressive and can actually change totally depending on the age we live in. So, back to the question above, Is the number one need of a man respect? I proffer that the number one need of ANY MAN- male or female, child or adult is respect. I’m sorry I do not think that respect should be the prerogative of the male gender only.
A lot of the current brutality and terrorism in relationships we see today has its root in a lack of respect for humanity. Rape, domestic violence, abuse and a host of other vices has at its roots a deep void of respect. Everyone deserves to be respected. We should promote that the first and basic need of any human being is simply that the dignity of his person be respected. Simple.
NB: After being called out, Bobo’s brother has received sense and has started greeting me. Now, what would have happened if I had chosen the non-confrontational route instead? I would have had to endure a lifetime of disrespect even or especially in my marital home.
O’s status as official downloader of free movies has been reinforced. He tried and failed to escape the zone. I simply cannot take marital or relationship advice from the buffoon.
Written by whitemosquito for Diary of a Naija girl.