The 21st century has seen the emergence of the new woman, a breed of females that have begun to slowly dominate the world, women that can stand tall in their own right, commonly known as ‘the independent woman’.
‘The independent woman works hard for her money, she pays her own bills, buys her own things and does not allow a man to affect her ability or self-confidence. The independent woman supports herself entirely on her own and is proud to be able to do so, she knows what she wants and is not afraid to say it’.
I grew up with the belief that a man takes care of his woman in everyway; sexually, emotionally and of course financially, this is said to be the African way. I stuck to this mentality until I was well into my twenties, but in recent years I have been forced to re-evaluate the role men and women play in relationships. This re-evaluation was brought on by revelations from recent happenings.
One rainy afternoon I listened to a bunch of women narrate their escapades with men, though their stories were different, one resounding similarity was the fact that not only did these men emotionally wreck these women they also financially drained them. That day I became aware more than ever that things were no longer the same. The absurdity of one particular story struck me that night; allow me to share it with you.
Bola met Timothy at a friend’s wedding and they instantly hit it off, Timothy was a good looking twenty-nine year old man who apparently ran his own oil and gas company and appeared to be doing well for himself, while Bola worked for a leading financial company and earned a sizeable salary monthly. Soon enough Bola and Timothy began dating and this is where the story takes on a strange twist.
Bola narrated that after just a few months of dating Timothy she sadly realized that she was being played for a fool, Timothy was constantly making demands on her, financial demands. At first he was subtle about it, for example, when they would go out for an occasional meal and the time came to pay the bill he always had a tale, it was either he forgot his wallet in the car or he lost his ATM card and was yet to get a new one. Bola didn’t mind paying for these little things; she figured that since he was her man, it was ok for her to help out in her own little way from time to time.
As the months went by, Timothy got bolder in his demands, one weekend he claimed to have been too busy to go to the bank and was really in dire need of cash, and that he would be very grateful if Bola could lend him some money to be returned the following Monday. His request raised Bola’s hackles but she agreed and gave him the money. Timothy never gave her back the money owed and Bola felt weird about asking him about it so she let it go.
Soon enough it was something else Timothy wanted, and so it went on and on for months until one day she realized in the space of four months she had spent a few hundreds short of a million naira on her supposed boyfriend, this was when she decided something had to be done.
The following week when Timothy asked her for money to sort out a few issues with his car she claimed to be broke also, that weekend she didn’t hear from him at all. He broke his silence the following week and made one last attempt to get money off of her but she rebuffed him, he left her house that day in anger and Bola gladly shut the door in his face and on their relationship.
As women are wont to do she took the matter to her friends and even though she was ashamed of her gullibility she knew she had to speak out. As she narrated her tale, she was appalled to discover that she wasn’t the only woman who had fallen victim to that kind of man, men that had no qualms about constantly collecting money and expensive gifts from their women. Suffice it to say that that night was indeed a night of revelations, my ears burned as these women regaled me with stories of different men who chased them because they were successful, beautiful women with loads of cash to spare.
Two days after my frighteningly new knowledge I was hanging out with some of my male buddies and as usual the subject of women came up, whereupon one of the guys proudly said,
“Listen Karen, I can never date a broke girl, my babe has to be rich or at least comfortable. I don’t want a woman that will ‘chop’ all my money”.
The other guys around the table nodded in agreement.
In all fairness I can see why a man would want a successful woman, after all most women want successful men too. I also understand that in this new world of equality between the sexes it is not amiss for a woman to offer to help out with cash when needed or like they say “pay for dinner”, but what I do take exception to is men living off their women. No matter how much love a woman has for a man she is financially responsible for, in the end, feelings of resentment and disdain for that man will arise.
Despite my opinion, this subject still raises a lot of potent questions and I will ask a few:
Firstly, is it wrong for a man to accept financial help from his girlfriend or wife?
Secondly, where does one draw the line when it comes to how much a woman contributes financially in a relationship?
This growing role reversal between the sexes raises my last question:
Seeing as most women are advocates for sexual equality shouldn’t it be only natural that they begin to also take on the responsibilities that men handle in relationships, e.g. paying the bills? ‘Walk the talk’ like they say.