What you need to know:
- I blame patriarchy. I actually feel sorry for men who can’t ask their wives or girlfriends for money, based on a weird stoicism they’re taught from childhood about being the provider and never showing weakness and leading the family … something … something.
- Those laws work under the assumption that everything will always be A-OK in your family. It claims that in a partnership, the only person who should benefit is…not you.
A long, long time ago, and I have since learnt better, I shared my ATM pin with my boyfriend at the time. We both didn’t have money, so it was no big deal. We were going through life, blissfully unencumbered by bills and hampered only by the extent of our love.
A few years in, he took my ATM card and withdrew money without telling me. I, of course, in the throes of love, never suspected him, and proceeded to shut my account at the bank and accuse them of all things thievery under the sun. When the truth came out six months later, I was embarrassed beyond comprehension.
The sad part is, this is not an unusual story among people who have dated anyone in this Kenya. Many a woman has been robbed by a partner who has a biashara he needs to urgently attend to. It makes one extremely hesitant to enter the dating world, because not only is your heart not safe, it would appear, your wallet isn’t either.
But what that creates is a society where no one trusts anyone. It is a unicorn type of woman that lends her six-month-old boyfriend money. Either she hasn’t been stolen from, or she hasn’t been stolen from, yet. We regularly see stories on Facebook – sometimes of women congregating under the status of another recent victim – talking about how lending men money is a bad idea. How you should only give money you’re willing to lose, and other such Sweet Valley principles.
My question is – what really is the point of a partnership if we can’t be partners? Forget about the six-month-old boyfriend. I’m talking about the one who has met your folks and asked for your hand in marriage. Or maybe you’re already in a young marriage, just getting past the honeymoon phase. Maybe your man was a successful businessman, hustling his way through this messed up economy and making enough to sustain you both – then the pandemic hit, and we all know what that means for non-traditional businesses. Maybe your salary is the one now maintaining your home, and even though business is picking up, regular curfews, lockdowns and undecided presidents are still making the situation a bit bleak.
Are you telling me that because of some random patriarchy-inspired notion, you are not the one he should ask for money? If you have children, and fees is usually his docket, will the children now sit at home, staring at you and waiting for the money tree planted last month in the garden to grow?
There are two issues at play here. Firstly, obviously, is all the vile ex-boyfriends who taught us to mistrust everyone who came after them. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I’m the heir to a fortune no one but me knows about, and I’m not willing to share it. It isn’t our fault we don’t trust men. It’s other men.
And, in a not-at-all-surprising twist of fate, I blame patriarchy. I actually feel sorry for men who can’t ask their wives or girlfriends for money, based on a weird stoicism they’re taught from childhood about being the provider and never showing weakness and leading the family … something … something. Those laws work under the assumption that everything will always be A-OK in your family. It claims that in a partnership, the only person who should benefit is…not you. The worst part is, because women have leaned into this part, she probably will see you as less if you ask her for help. You’re damned if you do, and broker than where you started if you don’t.
Personally, I will be asking men for money and sharing pins all the while. If I can’t ask you for support, why not just remain single?