I have always loved math. Basic math, though, not calculus or trying to prove algebraic expressions.
Basic math states that the answer to one plus one is always two.
So when people tell me the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, I sit down and do the math. It’s simple really, food=man’s heart.
It is the same thing Silas Nyachwani states on his article Husbands are straying
because their wives
“Women born after 1980 cannot prepare proper meals to sustain a marriage.” He says insinuating that, good food = good marriage.
Since I am not married (yes chauvinists, you can dismiss me now) I will rely on third party information. Enter Mary and her story.
Imagine you are thirty seven years old. All your life it has been drummed into you that a woman should always learn how to cook. A good wife ensures her husband goes to bed satisfied. So you spend hours slaving in the kitchen; the home science class you took in high school is finally paying off. Your ultimate goal is to be a good wife which, in simpler terms, is to be, well, a good cook.
Then one day you meet him – the good husband. One taste of your wicked chicken stew is enough for him to want to marry you. You are ecstatic. The stories were all true. You want to show him off to your friends. To yell at the top of your voice what good cooking can do! Thank God your mother had the good sense to drill into you what men always look for in a wife.
At home you impress him with your wifely duties and culinary skills. Keeping the house clean and rushing to the kitchen to beat up a fierce meal that will put the entire Kempinski cooking unit to shame. You are happy, he has food in his belly, good food so he must be happy as well.
Then one day like cold smoke he disappears. He just vanishes into thin air. You start to hear rumors. He has been spotted with Jane. Beautiful vivacious Jane with perky breasts and flawless yellow yellow (that has to be said twice, no?) supple skin. You can’t compete with that.
Your hands are calloused and hard like sand paper from all the scrubbing and washing you have done throughout the years. Your boobs have fed three young ones with big appetites. So they drop like two deflated balloons down your chest. The firstborn is now in high school, form one. Thirteen years of being married and all you get is the man of your dreams running off with a college student?
This is not what the marriage catalogue said. It promised that if you feed him and listened to his dreams he will never stray. It never said anything about the father of your children staying out on most nights chasing skirts. It was Christine six months ago, a girl with a cardboard chest and a body that had no curve from top to bottom. He definitely doesn’t have a type, you think, looking at your generous hips. Then it was Martha, a child. Barely twenty.
A stubborn little girl who had told you that your husband was hers. In a spat of anger, you had looked at her and said, “He will never leave me for you”.
Stupid words. What is it worth if you call him husband when you haven’t seen him in six months? Yes, he would never divorce you. But what sort of life is that.
You know Jane can’t cook with her acrylic nails and long weaves. You have given him three beautiful children and the thanks you get is a ring on your finger to remind you of your place while he is trypsin through town with a different girl every day. You talk to the women in your life, your mother and all the people in church.
They take you aside and whisper in your ear, “Even baba Nana had a mpango wa kando. It is normal.” Your mother finally confesses of the two step brothers you have never met.
“As long as you are married, what do you care? There are women out there struggling to get a man!” It finally hits you that marriage is the true measure of womanhood. When you are married you have bragging rights. But who came up with this. Are single women so unhappy?
“You have a roof over your head and a man who pays school fees right?”
You do not tell them of the many occasions you had to chip in. To send money to his mother because he was just too broke to do it himself but as a good wife you never complained.
You stare long and hard at your reflection and realize you don’t have your husband’s heart. The catalogue lied, the way to a man’s heart is not through his stomach. If it was he wouldn’t be with beautiful Jane who doesn’t know how to cook. You have heard rumors he will take her in as a second wife.
“Are you happy?”, I finally ask Mary. That is the question I always ask.
“Society thinks I am, how can it not when I am married while there are so many divorced people out there.”
I am still young and foolish but still the math doesn’t add up. Why then do we sell the theory that good marriage starts with a wife who can cook? Who is lying to who? So the way to a man’s heart cannot be through his stomach.
In the book ‘the good marriage’ Judith Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee put respect among the things that make a good marriage.
There is no mention of cooking good meals.