LOUD WHISPERS : Agony Aunt

This week, I am offering my services as an ‘Agony Aunt’, the one you talk to about all your problems, to which you already have your own solutions, you are just looking for assurance or affirmation. I don’t like playing the role of Agony Aunt for two main reasons. First, all relationship problems are person specific and it is very difficult to offer advice or guidance devoid of full context and disclosure. Second, I mind my own business and do not concern myself with the messy personal affairs of others unless there is a compelling reason for me to intervene. I had cause to do so a while ago, at a family wedding.  One of my Aunts whispered in my ear that one of our younger male relatives had smuggled his mistress a.k.a side chick into the party. If he had allowed her to stay hidden away in the back of the hall he would not have landed in trouble. He and his wife had been having problems and she was not present at the event, but she was still his wife. The side chick had the audacity to come forward when a call was made for the Iyawo Ile (wives married into the family) to come out and receive the new bride. My Aunts were furious and felt the best way to deal with it was to let me know, since I was the ‘women’s champion’ both publicly and within the family!  I sent for my young relative and told him two things. One, if you and your wife are divorcing, kindly come and inform us officially, the same way you came to tell us you wanted to marry her and we followed you to her family to beg for her hand and we promised them we would take care of her. Second, your friend is not welcome at this event, kindly ask her to leave and if this does not please you, feel free to leave with her. He immediately started begging and apologizing, saying he had not invited her, but she heard and came anyway (Yeah, I wonder who told her?) he quickly shooed her out of the place. He brought his estranged wife to see me a few days later and we spent hours talking, trying to address their problems. They made up, and they seem to be doing okay.

I just came across a story about a young woman who went with her boyfriend to visit his mother and sisters for the first time. It was alleged that the future mother in law and her daughters decided that the young lady was unrecognisable because she had makeup on. It was not clear how much was too much for them, but she was asked to wipe it off, and was even offered face wipes to speed up the process! The young lady refused to cooperate, so the visit came to an end, and she obviously did not make a good impression. Then there was the sad video of the young man who proposed to his sweetheart in a marketplace and she turned him down. The poor fellow started rolling in the mud in pain and humiliation, while his lady stormed away. I hereby offer my unsolicited advice to young women and men who might be struggling with some of these issues:

  • When you are dating someone, it is okay to do whatever you can to show them that you care for them and that you love them. However, this should not be done to the detriment of your own self-esteem and dignity. On this note, the treatment Mandy received on her visit was uncalled for. The request to remove her makeup was not about how heavy it was. It was to do with bringing her down a notch or two and establishing who was in control. If you are a young woman planning to marry into that kind of family, good luck to you. If you are a young man taking a nervous girlfriend to visit your family, be prepared to diplomatically but firmly protect her. If you cannot, you are not ready to be a husband.

 

  • Some advice for potential brides visiting in-laws for the first time. You are auditioning for a role, and you are going to be scrutinized from head to toe and watched like a hawk. Guess what? You need to give yourself the power to audition them too. Listen carefully and say very little. Observe the way your boyfriend behaves around them. Watch body language. The issue shouldn’t just be are you worthy of them, but are they worthy of you too?

 

  • You should be respectful to everyone. You are also entitled to respect. Don’t be desperate. No man is doing you a favour by marrying you, neither will you be doing him a favour by saying yes to his proposal. If that is how you both feel about one another, then your relationship is built on sand, and you know what happens when the inevitable storms come your way.

 

  • Proposals are supposed to be private affairs. If you want to propose to your girlfriend, pick a very private place, unless you are 100% sure that you will get a yes. Even if you are sure, you don’t need an audience online or offline. You only need her. She is the one you will marry and live with, not the sundry strangers and busybodies who you are trying to impress, only to end up humiliating yourself.

 

  • These days, when I am asked to give advice to couples when I officiate at weddings, I tell them about the new face of ‘witchcraft’. In the old days, we were told that witches and the odd wizard lived in our hometowns. They were shriveled, old, mean, jealous folks who never wanted to see the young prosper, so they cut them down in their prime or caused all kinds of misfortune. My take is that these days, the geography and demographics have shifted. The witches and wizards of today are not old people and they no longer live in villages. They can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, You Tube and other such places, and they can run, rule or ruin your life every which way you want. It is entirely up to you. Give them the information they need and they are good to go. If you want a peaceful, stress free, healthy existence, keep your private life away from social media. Celebrities and public figures do not have much of a choice, that is part of the price they pay for the fame they enjoy. However, even if you fall into that category, if you can help it, keep your business to yourself.

 

  • Young men, when you get involved with a successful young woman, your first goal should not be to try and teach her who is boss, or who will be in control when you settle down together. Why not focus on how you will build a life in which both of you bring something to the table and you can both bring out the best in each other?

 

  • Young women, who taught you that a man will always be there to cater for your every need, ranging from giving you money to do your nails, buy expensive Brazilian hair, to paying for a shopping trip to Dubai so you can ‘pepper’ your friends on Instagram? Study hard. Work hard. Buy your own stuff. Flash your own cards when you pay. Having a man take you shopping sounds sexy. Doing it with money you have earned is sexier.

 

There it is for now. Good luck with all the visits to the in-laws, and the high and low dramas. Auntie is here sipping tea and rooting for you.

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She is the First Lady of Ekiti State, and she can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com

 

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20 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS : Agony Aunt

  1. Femi Diipo September 4, 2020 at 2:23 am

    Thank you aunty for these wonderful words of wisdom. The advices are well noted and I hope everyone can pick the parts that concern them.

    Reply
  2. Veronica Imaseun September 4, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    Ah! you are sure going to be the coolest mother-in-law ever! Your kids are lucky.

    Reply
  3. Peters September 4, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    Thank you Big Biggest Auntie for advising us ma.

    Reply
  4. Oluwatoyin Adams September 4, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    The witches are no longer in the villages, they are now on social media!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hay God. You are very right ma. The kinda people online and the way the reason sometimes can be frightening o. God help us.

    Reply
  5. Glory Aladesanmi September 4, 2020 at 12:08 pm

    Seriously, I am happy that the babe in this story refused. What rubbish. That’s the way they do. They make it look like their son is doing you a favour for marrying you. We are both helping each other. I choose to marry your son! I hope those silly people who act like that read this and turn a new leaf.

    Reply
  6. DSEED September 5, 2020 at 6:59 pm

    Thanks to aunty for these pieces of advice. Good to have such a knowledgeable aunty like you.

    Reply
  7. Victor Udoh September 5, 2020 at 8:59 pm

    The biggest auntie in the universe. You have always had our backs by giving us solid methods to live life. Thank you for always.

    Reply
  8. Matilda September 5, 2020 at 9:00 pm

    These are some of the reasons why I don’t want to marry an African man. The stress is too much.

    Reply
  9. Omorosa September 5, 2020 at 9:01 pm

    Ma, I am sorry to say but after reading all of these things one thing just comes to mind, do you have a son I can marry? You are going to be the coolest mother-in-law

    Reply
  10. Rita September 5, 2020 at 9:01 pm

    hmmmm… young women, don’t go without chewing these pieces oooooo

    Reply
  11. Lauretta September 7, 2020 at 12:45 am

    These are pieces that everyone should read and digest o. Big auntie has spoken to us and she is coolest ever. Thank you.

    Reply
  12. Shina Dideolu September 7, 2020 at 12:48 am

    The second to the last point…. It is fire! Hmmmm… It hit me deep.

    Reply
  13. Bisi Alawode September 7, 2020 at 12:49 am

    Proposals are supposed to be private. I keep saying the same thing over and over again.

    Reply
  14. Mary September 7, 2020 at 8:29 am

    Thank you ma for this piece….Buying stuffs with your money is even sexier that part hit deep.

    Reply
  15. Kehinde September 8, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    I just couldn’t read and pass as usual…this resonated with me. This is wisdom!

    Reply
  16. Smith Mike September 8, 2020 at 5:11 pm

    I like the fact that relevant matters were laid here. They were laid in wisdom and deep knowledge. Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge with us ma.

    Reply
  17. Lucas Aina September 8, 2020 at 5:12 pm

    You see that respect thingie ehn! That’s how some small rats will be using ‘dear’ for someone all in the name of social media. Please, who is your dear?

    Reply
  18. Cordelia James September 8, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    A man is not your meal ticket! Hayyyyyyyyyy Godddddd

    Reply
  19. Dunni September 9, 2020 at 7:28 am

    Words!!!

    Reply
  20. Olakunle Olajide September 15, 2020 at 11:06 am

    Thank you Aunt for the motherly advice. It is well appreciated. To respect everyone is very important. I wish families looking to welcome a wife or husband could understand this. Most of them look for flaws. And to your young Male relative..I hope you really scolded him..

    Reply

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