Married or Maiden?

When a man and woman leave their parents’ homes (well, in most cases) and join together in a union, there are many traditions which are observed. This will depend on the cultures where the Adam and Eve hail from and it is true to say that sometimes some of the traditions expected just come out of the woodwork – it is likely that both the Adam and/or Eve may not have heard of them before but suddenly they are compelled to comply in order for their union to be recognized by society. While society evolves and things are said to change, it is such occasions as those when unions take place that time seems to stand still, time even seems to turn back.

One of those long-standing traditions is the bearing of names. You may ask what’s in a name but when it comes to matters matrimonial, a name swings the weights in a homestead. In many a culture, it was and still is tradition for Eve to leave her maiden name and take up her husband’s name; in the same vein, children will inherit their father’s surname (and will probably only use their mother’s maiden name when they are of age and need to use it as an answer to a security question at the bank!).

It is obvious that names are very much a part of one’s heritage and identity, regardless of whether one is a woman or a man. What is also obvious is that in many instances, assuming one’s husband’s name takes care of a lot of hassles that would otherwise arise – having the same surname legally makes it easier to be acknowledged and recognized in society and relevant institutions. Whilst societal expectations may tend to remain the same, the laws in many countries are becoming flexible and allowing couples to either keep their own names, or to use both the husband’s and wife’s surnames, to use the husband’s surname and even in some situations, to use the wife’s surname.

Now, that latter situation does not happen to be the Kenyan situation. You can imagine the shock on the faces of relatives and guests if the newly-weds were announced as Mr and Mrs. HerLastName at Paradise Gardens or one of those popular wedding locations in Kenya; I imagine the geriatrics would go into cardiac shock! There would confused silence, people exchanging looks, with the mouths agape, not sure if they’d heard right.

In Kenya, it is not uncommon to find Eves who take up their husband’s names but keep their maiden names for professional purposes; in many instances, Eve will have built her name professionally and would not want to lose the recognition or to bring any confusion in her professional life due to the change of names. It is even more common to find Eves carrying both their maiden and married names, mostly by hyphenating their names (any Adams out there of Kenyan descent out there who’ve done this at the risk of being considered not to be of sound mind ;)?) . A good friend of mine looked forward to getting married to the Adam she had fallen in love with; she was undecided about whether or not to give up her maiden name and take up her husband’s name. Unfortunately, her family lost her father before the wedding; it was a tough time for her but one thing seemed to be reinforced – she wanted to keep her father’s name as her surname. She could not imagine losing the identity that she had gained from her late father’s more than titular heritage and so she decided to adopt her husband’s surname as her second name and keep her father’s name as her surname.

Unsurprisingly, there is a feminist school of thought out there that reiterates that the notion of women giving up their maiden names to take up their husband’s is emasculation of Eve. The argument goes that it is a woman’s prerogative to (use and) change her mind and the same argument is advanced for changing her name.

Some argue that taking up a husband’s surname is a symbol of showing how committed one is to being in the union and to honoring one’s spouse. However, it is also arguable that bearing a man’s name does not necessarily mean that the commitment expected in the union will be forthcoming; life is never quite that simple. Jose Bergamin quoted that “tradition simply means that we need to end what began well and continue what is worth continuing”. There is a lot of significance on matters relating to name-bearing and it is important to appreciate and understand what that significance means for both Eve and Adam.

What’s in a name for you (except if it is Schweinsteiger or Gyan ;)?

Have your say.

By Joyce

The ‘Mula’, Adam and Eve

What’s in a name? It has the same effect whether you call it ‘Mula’, ‘Benjamins’, Mo1s’ or simply money. They say that money is power and that it makes the world go round (as if it wasn’t already orbiting round the sun). We have seen it transform people, right? Come on now, accept it – an Eve or Adam who was not ‘all that’ seems more handsome or pretty (he he he) the minute they start bringing in serious ‘Mula’.

If it has these ‘effects’ (outward, I know), then no one should underestimate, the power of money to ruin even the strongest of relationships. This is because money has a place in all our lives, we need it to survive. Due to various changes (high cost of living, the equality debates, women’s empowerment, etc) that have occurred in society, the responsibility of ensuring this survival no longer rests on Adam alone. Eve too has to chip in almost at the same level as Adam (if not more at times), and there lies the problem; this has led to a distortion on the balance of power in relationships.

When Eve brings more ‘Benjamins’ than Adam, the equation seems not to balance. When Adam brings in more than Eve, it seems that x+y=xy. Many people say that when Adam is the one providing and taking up a big chunk of the financing, the relationship seems to ‘flourish’. The issue comes in when Eve is faced with a situation where she has to support Adam especially during those hard times. All of a sudden, Eve has a problem with it. This could be a valid observation, and I think it has to do with the way we are socialised. Steve Harvey, the author of ‘Think Like Man, Act Like a Lady’ said that Adam is defined (by himself and society) by, among other things, his ability to provide. Now, when this power to provide is reduced or simply absent coupled with the fact that Eve is doing better than him, his ego can be battered – sometimes irreparably. May I also add that if Adam is not wise enough to ‘discern the times’, he might contribute to the annihilation of his ego?

So let us delve into this picture where Eve is the one with the ‘Mo1s’. For example, Eve could be engrossed in a conversation and then say something which ends up hurting Adam, not because she intended to, but because Adam is aware of the fact that when it comes to money issues, he does not have the upper hand. I know, I know; sweeping with a broad broom, but picture these scenarios.

Scenario 1: Typical Adam: Eve makes a suggestion to go on holiday to some glamorous place (someone say, ‘Shompole’J), the dude is looking at Eve like, ‘how am I supposed to finance that?’ Or Eve is going through a household interior design magazine pointing at the kind of bedroom or kitchen she would like to have and all over sudden, Adam gets uncomfortable. This is all because he knows that he is supposed to provide so he feels pressured; he does not want to entertain the thought of co-financing, because he has been brought up believing that he is ‘the man’ in all aspects’ especially when it comes to providing for his own. Any footing of expensive bills by Eve may make Adam feel like she is ‘rubbing it in’. Eve is left wondering how on God’s earth she is supposed to cope with Adam’s feelings of insecurity. This of course depends on what kind of Eve we are talking about here because while some Eves will wield their pay cheques like WOAD (Weapon of Adam Destruction), others are wise enough to know when Adam needs support and do so with grace and without grumbling.

Scenario 2: Atypical Adam: This is the one who wants what he cannot underwrite. He does not have the ‘Mula’ to do it but since he knows that Eve can finance it, he becomes a true thorn in the flesh. He wants to install an expensive music system in his ride (like it is an engine); dons expensive designer clothes (he never wore any before Eve came along); swims in the most expensive liquor (what happened to ‘my country my beer’?). He wants Eve to pay for cable TV, so that he and probably the ‘boys’ can come and enjoy soccer in a cozy environment every other weekend especially when the money to throw liquor around is in short supply. Since Eve loves the guy, she might try to come to a compromise, but there is a big problem because she is not sure how to balance the act without feeling drained. Maybe she is the frugal kind, yes she may have a six figure salary but she does not want to spend on ‘vanity’; this six letter word does not come cheap.

All these scenarios present a quandary for the pair; the relationship must stand not only the test of time, but the test of ‘Mula’ too and only the wise ones know how to pull out of it together and emerge strong. So Eves and Adams, what is your perspective on this issue and is there a way to strike a balance?

Have your say!

By Fridah

Of Contours & Proportions

Many of us tend to have an ideal partner sketched out in our heads. We all sort of have a shopping list of ‘must have’ traits. Some of the common characteristics Adams & Eves want in their partners include honesty, intelligence, stability, sense of humor, communication, common hobbies and interests. Each gender happens to focus on different specific qualities. Whilst Eves tend to look for a sense of connection, Adams tend to desire a relationship that allows autonomy. Now that we’re over the niceties, let’s get down to business.

There is a certain flock of Eves who, when they stride into a room, cause everyone to stop and stare, and for good although superficial reason. Ask a group of Adams (not around a beer table) what confuses them at first sight and you are likely to get some of the most run-of-the-mill answers: full lips, full bosom and full bum. Short, precise and quick  biological adjectives that turn many an Adam’s head. With beautiful physical traits and features being an Adam’s kryptonite, most will never hesitate in committing to the challenge of trying out a quick win on the ‘sent from heaven’ eve in question. The hallmark of the chase is in focusing on endowment and all other important attributes are relegated to the back, nay, exterior of the celebral cortex. Anything that would require a test of time doesn’t stand a chance.

Regardless of how polished, urbane, respectable or simple a man is, a woman’s looks are bound to turn any man into an ‘objectifier’. There is beauty in seeing a lion hunt. It will creep up on its prey with great purpose, furtively weaving in between folds of bush and grass. Long before the prey realizes the stealthy attack, it will be struggling out of the big curly claws but to no avail. A little bit too late. A clear depiction of unrivaled wisdom. What’s with the cliché? Well, Adams will agree that seeing a pride of lions hunt stirs your loins. It yanks us to the reality of this dating game. But then as it goes with ego, a lion won’t pounce on a rabbit when a gazelle is gladly mooching around. It is this relative ‘ego’ that pulls Adams to the beauty, to the contours of voluptuousness, to well-toned and well-framed features at the expense of the inner, emotional and social attributes that helps cement a union.

Of course, part of the attraction between Adam and Eve is often times based on the superficial elements: the contours, the proportions, the gait, etc; that is given. It is the same way that Eves pursue the TDH. But then things have to elevate from there.  Now, if a relationship is built only on contours and proportions, then it is likely to remain superficial and will not make for a healthy, long-term relationship. Come to think of it, a relationship driven by money and the lame factor of trying to impress is unlikely to make it even to a month. With time, personalities unravel and if they complement each other, then hail to love and all that; however, if you find that all that beauty was encasing an ignorant type, morbidly insecure, mean, petty, shallow or boringly close-minded individual – then this will likely serve as anti-climax to any form of a relationship that does not involve linking feet.

In some circumstances (they say love is blind), it is heartbreak that opens eyes wide open to the importance of having taken time to know your Eve before going the whole nine yards. Case in point is the tale of a certain US based old lawyer Frank Harvey (not his real name) who followed his beauty queen.”I did everything for my woman”, he says. “I quit my job, moved to New York, changed my friends, my exercise regime and my haircut – all because she wanted me to. When we broke up, I was basically left with nothing. Not even an identity. I had to build myself back from scratch”. In hindsight, that’s what can be referred to as daft at the very least. He followed her beauty and beguiling ways, but he didn’t know completely whom he had been committing to and never knew why he had been getting into a relationship in the first place. Hell, she was a stunner but that’s where his search had stopped. Beauty stuns both from the inside just as well as from the outside.

Adams, there are some fundamentals that also need to be roused if you’re looking for a meaningful relationship. The secret lies in taking time. Whereas your loins may be stirred, the test of time is a good one – there is a saying that with time, all will be revealed. It is critical to know your own values, wants and needs before you enter a relationship. Take your time getting to know each other’s personality, history and values to evaluate whether you two can join hands in beating the drums of love. Taking time makes you come to the reality that a relationship’s success doesn’t lie in the satisfaction that comes with full lips, full bosom and soulful eyes only. It helps you gauge if she’s rational, logical, a curious mind, and a big-picture thinker; if she looks out to the edge of the universe as opposed to sitting around all day kissing the ground. Taking time acquaints you with the boring type, one who doesn’t hold an opinion to the type who does not believe what kings and priests tell her, holding ideas of her own consequently presenting a challenge to life and making it interesting.

Have your say.

By Sokaylujo, Guest Writer

A Glimpse into Adam’s Mind

Recently I had the opportunity to travel upcountry with a couple  of guys, they call themselves ‘the boys’, some who have left the maze and others who are still groping around looking for a worthy Eve. During this ride, I realized that it true that most people believe love relationships are every step exhausting; because of all the drama that goes on in dating and often times, even after tying the knot. When I thought about all they said, I thought why not share with Project44 fans on what some of these guys thought would heal the ailing relationships. So here goes the musings, it does not necessarily mean that I hold the same view (yeah, it is a disclaimer).

1. Communication: Amazing how people are always told that communication is key, yet they choose not to work on it. According to the boys, when arguments and misunderstandings occur, Eves expect Adams to plead guilty – even when they are not. Silence is the easiest solution for Adam; he decides to keep moving forward, without addressing the issue, which only complicates matters and further poisons the relationship. Little arguments become festering feuds; little pains become deep wounds, something that would have been dealt with without passing judgment or needing preconceived answers becomes a big issue threatening to tear two people apart. Adams were of the view that even though they agree that they have a role to play in keeping communication channels open, Eves would  help a lot if they took a step back especially on judging and being irrational about demands for answers even where no explanations are needed.

2. Sex: Eves withhold pleasure for their Adams, to drive them to fix a problem; all the while his twitching body parts will not stop to thump and while Eve doesn’t know what to do, Adam does. He says all the right things in the right tone of voice, perfectly on key, to create the moment and watches the out-of-control expression on Eve’s face. When the attempts fail severally, these negative feelings and outright rejection or manipulation can grow into progressively worse times. Adam is headed for trouble; he will then find solace somewhere else. Something akin to what Project 44 calls ‘wandering off the pasture’. Do not get surprised when his colleague or your house-help give him the much needed release. Eve’s next concern will be who is keeping him warm and his arms full. According to the boys, it has its roots back home. The very person that was meant to be his source of pleasure drove him to graze other pastures. Adams agree it is all shoddy, take some responsibility but quip that Eve’s cannot act all blameless.

3. His boys: Adam enjoys the boys’ company for a couple of reasons; they keep it real with each other, including their fall outs. They were before you were. Adam likes a breather, a period when he can be himself and enjoy moments of silence. Call it ‘Adam time’ if you wish. However, Eve will make use of his presence to fix things and ‘download’ about the kids, the neighbors, family and anything else that does not seem to make her happy. Adams want their Eves to understand that it has nothing to do with wavering feelings or lack of commitment; it is not that they do not want to spend time with their Eves, they just need to connect with their inner man at a different level. That is where the boys come in. Let them be.

4. Finances: Without a doubt, finances touch way too many raw nerves. Adam strives to bring home the bacon (hope we are all talking about the real Adam, not the new crop). He toils all day, does not convey all the issue surrounding his job, does not tell Eve how impossible things can get at times, he hangs in there and keeps his stuff together. All this, they say is no big deal; they know that they have to do what they have to do to keep it together. However, Eve uses his income to compete with her sisters, neighbors and friends which creates fear and doubt as to whether if the end of life comes, Eve would take care of Adam’s children. For that reason, it’s not uncommon for Adam to have his mother as his next of kin.

When it comes to chipping in on projects, they said that Eve remembers stuff even if it’s confusing like the last 30 seconds of a fireworks display. If she tops up money to register the car that Adam bought, she will wield it like a weapon of destruction. On the other hand, Adam does not remember or repeat how much it cost him to support Eve or her family. While Adam doesn’t keep count on the struggles of bringing home the bacon, Eve gives accountability of her role in raising Adams’ kids to engineer the guilt trip, for that reason sometimes Adam will withhold showing his undying passion for their children and when they are used as bait in a court of law, Adam gives up the struggle for the traditional custody, even though not a minute ticks without the thought of their pretty faces on Adam’s mind. They said that Eve believes Adam cannot be half the parent that she is.

5. In-laws: These are a wonderful lot. There are gory stories about his family and her family. Adam wisely chooses not to take sides when Eve expects him to, especially when his mother is concerned.His reasons are simple: Eve has yet to learn unconditional love, she is always threatening to pack up and jet out after every fight, yet Adam’s mum, has been by his side, keeps no accounts of his shortcomings and wrongs and has never threatened to decamp. With that in perspective, Eve can throw tantrums, Adam will not get anywhere near that web.

6. Beauty and seduction: Adam’s expectation on beauty and seduction never dies because he is a visual being. They repeated the old one; be his lady in public, a chef in the kitchen and whore between his sheets. That made-up lie they peddle that “you look beautiful natural” stems from his fear of having his Eve looking like she is leading a circus As he struggles to keep trim and all sexy, he expects his Eve to put some effort too.

Have your say!

By Naomi- Guest Writer