“Chains do not hold marriages together. It is threads; hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years” – Simone Signoret
“To speak frankly, I am not in favour of long engagements. They give people the opportunity of finding out each other’s character before marriage, which I think is never advisable” – Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
“The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart” – Helen Keller
For the past couple of days, I’ve been trying to read the last chapter of the book Revolution in the Third World: Myths and Prospects by Gerard Chaliand. It was part of a research towards developing the story for my next article. Every time I picked up the book, I always had an excuse to do something else. But on this day, nothing could dissuade me from reading the chapter…Insha Allah. I was already behind schedule to submit my next article to the Editor at The Naked Convos. So I selected some of my favorite rock songs on the iPod, sunk into the couch and read the chapter.
Few minutes into my meticulous study, my phone rang and I picked up the call.
“Baruu, hafa? You no dey show for the party again?” Ben asked on the other end.
“Pheewww! Wetin be time sef? Una don dey the venue already?” I asked while looking at my wristwatch.
“Yeah, people don dey show small small. Abeg, no disappoint Kunle o. You know say today na him big day. He wants this proposal to be topnotch. And your humor and crazy talks would be appreciated”, he said while laughing.
“Forget that thing jare. Which kind humor? So I don turn to Basketmouth? Abi una dey pay for the jokes? OK, no worry, I go soon show”, I said and cut the call.
Phucking Monitoring Spirits!
About an hour later, we were all seated at the venue. Kunle had hired the small hall for the night. Everyone looked gorgeous in stylish designs and exuded superb allure. Adanna came with her boyfriend, the IT guy. Word on the streets was that he duped a white woman and used his bounty to set up a thriving IT firm. Who says crime doesn’t pay! The other ladies came with their dates except Lily, the tomboy. She wore a danshiki over a pair of denim skinny jeans and rocked a pair of loafers. On her head sat a bucket hat. Kai…Weird dressing indeed!
Earlier during the week, Ben had schooled us on the respective roles we were meant to play during the romantic tryst. Adanna’s task was to scream out as loud as she could when Kunle brings out the ring to put on his bride’s finger. And then the others would follow suit, screaming in awe and pretending like they didn’t know Kunle was about to propose. As for Lily, she was going to be the one holding the bride from falling down or escaping from the venue, in case she fainted or took to her heels. I would stand beside Jide – the MC, reeling out jokes and making everyone happy.
The event eventually commenced about 9pm. Kunle arrived in the company of his bride-to-be and two of his homeboys. His homeboys had massive beards that would make Bin Laden envious. Kunle wore dark blue blazers, a white shirt and a white pair of chinos pants. His shoes were handmade by a shoemaker at Ariara in Aba. The bride-to-be was styled by Lily and she looked glamorous, except for her horrible makeup. She wore a crimson sequin gown and a black pair of stilettos. She almost tripped as she walked into the venue. Women and their gigantic shoes!
A young bespectacled damsel stood on the makeshift stage, reeling out old skool romantic tunes. I knew Teddy Pendergrass would be turning over in his tomb, regretting why this lady wasn’t born in his era – he could have had her as one of his backup singers. Boy, the bespectacled lady sabi sing jor!
Drinks were flowing endlessly, stories were told incessantly, people were laughing ceaselessly and everyone was having a good time. Meanwhile, I was already on my fourth glass of Bloody Mary so my jokes were uncoordinated. I made the mistake of telling a lady she looked like an old haggard witch. Thank goodness she didn’t walk up to where I was to dump a heavy punch on my godforsaken face. Damn, that alcohol was taking over me!
Later, it was time for the proposal. The bride-to-be was still laughing at a joke I told. She quickly grabbed her glass of wine and gulped on the liquid. She almost choked on the ring. She removed the glistering object from the glass and as she turned around, Kunle was already on one knee asking her the question every lady (except the radical feminists) wishes for in their dreams…Would you marry me? Immediately, she said YES as crocodile tears fell from her eyes.
Don’t get me wrong…engagement parties are awesome. I mean, they are fantastic…superb…mesmerizing…blah blah blah. There are plenty drinks, scrumptious meals, exquisite ladies, handsome dudes and so on. At such occasions, engagement rings are usually exchanged. Offering a ring as a proposal of union has been a tradition for a thousand years. This special ring is one’s pledge to the world to marry the partner – a declaration not only of love but more significantly commitment. But how important is the engagement ring in a relationship?
Let’s take this scenario as an example! You’ve been with a girl for a couple of years. You guys discuss what the future holds for the two of you. You guys discuss about the babies; how beautiful they would be and what careers you would want them to have. You know…you guys talk about stuffs that people in love always talk about. Then you decide it is time to wife the lady. Why not walk into the living room while she is watching one of those boring movies on African Magic, sit beside her while Flavour’s Ada Ada plays from the stereo and pop the question. Tell her you guys are going to get married on the next eke market day, after the iri ji festival. It is as simple as that. Should one go through the rigors of organizing a melodramatic event just to put a temporary ring on her middle finger? The lady in question already knows where the relationship is heading to; if not, she would have walked out on you a long while ago.
Sometime ago, me and my homeboy were at the banking hall to do some transactions. When we walked in, we headed straight to the manager’s office. Before we climbed the stairs, it was as if the spirit fell upon us and we sighted the biggest booty we’ve ever seen on earth. Damn, that booty was phat…nigguurr! I encouraged my homeboy to make the move and he did. A couple of minutes later, he came back without a phone number, BBM pin, Whatsapp address, Instagram ID…not even her church or village address. I asked him why he didn’t get any of the girl’s contact to which he replied: “O boi, that girl wear engagement ring o. Me, I no dey follow girl wey dey engaged o. You wan make Amadioha strike my big head as I dey on top her”. Ookie Dookie!
Engagement rings don’t guarantee that the guy is eventually gonna marry you and vice versa. On the flipside, it even prevents you from meeting more interesting people. A dude could put that ring on your finger and the next minute, he has eloped with another lady to some country no one knows where it is located on the globe. So what’s the fuss and ruckus on having an engagement ring on your finger before getting married?
Are engagement rings essential in relationships or are they just unnecessary tags; a misleading plaque that women carry around just to measure up to their contemporaries…a visual rendering that announces: Hello haters and hoes, I’ve joined the club of ladies that eventually succeeded in holding down their men. So y’all could kiss and choke on a raccoon’s hairy ass!
It is a pity…Kunle and his lady have broken up. It was just a few months after the engagement party and they called it quits. I wouldn’t go into details about what led to the breakup but it is what it is.
PS: The names ain’t what it is…no love lost, no love found!