Monday, August 10, 2009

When Three or More Become One

During this past weekend, there was a wedding. Yeah Tari big deal!! Thing is it wasn’t just any other wedding, it was the 2nd wedding ceremony a particular guy was having to a different person in get this, a month!!

He had married his first wife exactly a month ago, and on Saturday, he tied the knot with the second…and these are Lagos babes…Bad guy!!

The trip of it for me is that his two newly wed brides are young girls in their twenties, not even older women as you’d normally expect to be in that kind of situation. They know about each other’s existence, and still agreed to marry the same guy. Talk about knowing exactly what you want and going for it.

One of my initial reactions when I heard about it was to tell my friend who was attending the wedding, that she should please have her phone ready to record, just in case both brides decide to create some drama!! Don’t blame me nah, is not everyday that you witness such phenomena.

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I couldn’t help wondering what factors were involved in the decision making processes of the brides in accepting the double marriage. Were they both head over heels in love with this man that they couldn’t imagine life apart from him, and so decided that they’ll rather be one of his wives than not be with him at all?

Does the guy represent something to them, like security or comfort, that being in a polygynous (marriage of a man to more than one spouse at a time) relationship became a small price to pay for the great benefit that lay ahead?

Except by some stroke of fate I get to discuss intimately with both brides, I would probably never know the answers to my questions. That didn’t stop me though, I decided to take the issue to the best people I know to provide the answers I so desperately sought- my friends.

So during a lazy early Sunday evening dinner of pounded yam and Afia Efere (translated white soup),

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Now that I think about it, my 'white soup' was actually red and green!!Hmmnn... #

at Nu Grotto, I placed the matter on the table before my three partners in crime.

Would you be a 2nd wife?

They were all silent at first, and then they each proceeded to clarify; 2nd wife of a man that is already married or to a man that has been married before? A man that is already married and is still living with his wife, I clarified.

Silence again as they pondered one of Tari’s Specials (I sabi drop bomb well-well).

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I’m not using their real names, but I’ll tell you a little of each of these friends of mine as I give you the response each gave.

Tunrayo, the aggressive, no-nonsense, determined and extremely crazy one said, “Hmmn, I pray that I wouldn’t be in that situation o but maybe sha”.

Bimbo, the flirty, fun-loving, jand babe down to her burp, said (in clipped British accent) “Well, I don’t know, I’m just so jealous and possessive, I don’t know if I can share my man…”

Finally, Jasmine the wildly beautiful, fashionable and extremely talented designer, quietly said, “I can”.

Three completely different young ladies, three completely different responses.

In all of our childhood fantasies and expectations of relationships, being in a polygyny was never featured. Abi did the happily ever afters of Cinderella, Ariel the Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty or even what’s her name that had to kiss a frog to find her own Prince Charming, include having to share their men with another woman?

Of course not! Let me very honest with you guys, the idea of one man with more than one wife, was at a time absolutely unthinkable to me. Something has definitely changed because what I once saw as an irresponsible arrangement that could only inspire hatred, rivalry and tormented kids, I now see as an opportunity to explore new dimensions in the love walk.

Polygyny is a traditional system that was practiced as a form of social security for members of a society for when they reached their old age. It was believed that the more wives a man marries, the greater his level of production. Also, the more children he had, the less the chances of being neglected and un-catered for in his old age.

From the sound of this, it seems this system of polygyny was designed to favor men and make life easier for them. However, it is also said to be a way of balancing out the man to woman ratio, which at the time was much more women than men. Therefore men were encouraged to marry more than one wife, so that fewer women would be un-accounted for in the communities.

During my research of the practice, I discovered that like in every other situation in life, there could be both positive and negative outcomes, depending on the choices made by all parties in the arrangement.

If the women who are in a polygynous marriage see themselves as being in competition for the love and affection of their man, then that home automatically becomes the breeding ground for everything of the nightmarish standards.

However, if the women are wise, and see themselves as allies rather than rivals, they have the power to inspire the best from their man, and make their home a little community where love is the official currency.

It’s all a matter of choice. The man is not left out of the process as it falls entirely on him to create an environment in which all women feel loved and catered for. It’s hard enough to satisfy one woman; it takes a strong and gracious man to lavishly satisfy the physical and emotional cravings of more than one 21st Century woman.

Interestingly, even though Islamic law allows for a man to marry up to four wives, it is also stipulated that such a man must be able to love them equally and mete out the same kind of treatment to each one of them.
In other words, in an ideal polygynous arrangement, the concept of ‘favorite’ does not exist.

Muhammadu Bello Masaba is an 84 year old Islamic cleric from Niger State who was persecuted immensely for marrying 86wives. Forgive my distorted imagination, but it’s not a pretty sight to see through my mind’s eye, a Baba like that humping it out with not one but 86 women.

As in come on now, apart from Abraham in the Bible and maybe Hugh Hefner, I’ve never heard about a man above 80 who can still get it up. And this gentleman does it not even once but 86 or times or more!!! Or have you?

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Playboy Founder, Hugh Hefner

Where is Guinness Book of World Records when you have information for them?

I’ve recently been seriously questioning the hypocrisy involved in most monogamous marriage arrangements. I have a question and I would love for you guys to give me a truly honest answer.

Do you really believe that a man can live the entirety of his married life completely faithful to one woman?

Let’s talk about the female side later, as we have established that polygyny was designed to favor men.

Really guys, we all know and have even come to accept as normal when a guy who is married to someone is in an affair with another woman outside of the marriage. The Other Woman is seen as the villain who is using her charms to destroy a ‘happy home’. But is it really a happy home? Is happiness derived from a situation in which a man cannot be honest about his desires especially in the sexual dimension?

Is there a man today that can stand up and tell his wife, “Look babe, I am madly attracted to this girl I met and can’t stop thinking about having sex with her”?

Isn’t love about accepting someone and everything that they come with, irrespective of what you’ve been told by society to expect?

Isn’t the true villain the hypocritical society and the double standards it represents?

In his stance against critics on marrying 27women in one ceremony and being an advocate for polygyny, the legendary Fela Anikulapo Kuti stated, “A man goes for many women in the first place. Like in Europe, when a man is married, when the wife is sleeping, he goes out and f**ks around. He should bring the women in the house, man, to live with him, and stop running around the streets!"

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Fela with J.K. Brimah marrying 27new wives in 1978

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Fela with his wives at the zoo in Accra, Ghana

Well said, Abami Eda!!

Sometimes, I wonder about this whole concept of right and wrong, I placated myself by forming my own moral compass, which categorically states that, “Right or wrong is defined by how another person is directly or indirectly affected by my action or inaction, decision or indecision”.

I can’t stand where I am right now and make a strong declaration about whether the practice of Polygyny is right or wrong, what I can say is that the parties involved in a polygynous arrangement are the ones to determine whether they’ll make it right or make it wrong.

In any relationship, whether to one, two or 150million people, understanding all parties from within their own perspective is the key to a successful union.

War produces casualties, love creates new life.


  1. Tariiiiiiiii, i see you baby. talent all the way.
    still gobsmacked(sunday at grotto)

  2. Thanks mehn!!! What exactly about Sunday at Grotto is 'gobsmacking' you?? (had to look up the word in a dictionary...LOL)