THIS THING CALLED…SUCCESS (1)

 

Because the muse hit in 2D, I’ve split this TTC post into two. This first leg is inspired by a sister’s post on her online forum where the issue was of successful women and why unhappy romantic relationships seem to be the price they pay for said success. A lot of people like to make this a ‘Just African men’ thing but for the purposes of objectivity, we’ll leave it open here.

For starters, ‘successful’ in this context refers to that woman who is clearly flying high. She’s at the top of her career, controlling power, fame and recognition, money and even men. And she is married to a man who by his bank account and social status, is not exactly Lazarus of the biblical Rich man parable but is neither Dr. Dre, post-Beats sale. They may not even be married yet; maybe the John is dating her, or wants to. Why is her success a turn-off?

Chimamanda Adichie in reference to her global success once said, “the type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in”. And I can hear the sisters whooping in the house. But wait. Take a chill pill – yep, I can be hippy too – and let’s really think on this.

Why do men run away from successful women?

 angry couple02

Scenario A:

Peter earns more than Mary who he is in a serious relationship with. Mary decides to change the dining table but Peter says, “No, baby, I can’t afford it. Plus do we really need a new table just to eat?”

So Mary lets it go. A few months later she gets hired by a multinational; her new pay package is higher than Peter could ever dream to earn even with two promotions. Three months into the job, she’s on a business trip in Mainz and sees this fancy oak-wood table which literally calls her name as she passes by. She purchases it with a few dainty chairs to boot; she has the whole set shipped home. The day it arrives, she does all the moving and redecorating herself; she is going to surprise her husband when he returns from work with ‘our shiny new dining room’.

Peter comes in, having had a harried time at the office – he really should burn some black candles on top of his boss’ picture. He has just reached for a cold bottle of water in the refrigerator when he sees the table, the chairs too – WHOA! He looks around him quickly – no one – and takes a second look. It’s one very VAAIIIRRYYY ugly table but it’s new – he touches it – EX-PEN-SIVE too. He turns around and Mary is standing there beaming at him…”SURPRIIIIISE!” She runs up against him, hugs him, pecks him, she’s gushing, “Babe, you like it? Come take a closer look…”

Peter sets her away from him very roughly, eyes reduced to irate slits of black. He flings the bottle of water against the wall and positively, literally, incandescently BLOWS UP!

“Did you not hear when I said I do not want a new table? What is wrong with you, woman?” – then – “SO BECAUSE YOU NOW HAVE SOME CHICKEN FEE TO SPEND, YOU THINK YOU CAN RIDE ALL OVER ME?”

THE END.

Okay PAUSE! Now, rewind. Not at the refrigerator, keep going. Go all the way to the beginning. Unhuh…wait! Too much, go forward a bit…there! Good, stop. PLAY!

 

Scenario B:

Peter earns more than Mary who he is in a serious relationship with. Mary decides to change the dining table but Peter says, “No, baby, I can’t afford it. Plus do we really need a new table just to eat?”

So Mary lets it go. A few months later she gets hired by a multinational; her new pay package is higher than Peter could ever dream to earn even with two promotions. Three months into the job, she’s on a business trip in Mainz and sees this fancy oak-wood table which literally calls her name as she passes by. She purchases it with a few dainty chairs to boot; she has the whole set shipped home. The day it arrives, she does all the moving and redecorating herself; she is going to surprise her husband when he returns from work with ‘our shiny new dining room’.

Peter comes in, having had a harried time at the office – he really should burn some black candles on top of his boss’ picture. He has just reached for a cold bottle of water in the refrigerator when he sees the table, the chairs too – WHOA! He looks around him quickly – no one – and takes a second look. It’s one very VAAIIIRRYYY ugly table but it’s new – he touches it – EX-PEN-SIVE too. He turns around and Mary is standing there beaming at him…”SURPRIIIIISE!” She runs up against him, hugs him, pecks him, she’s gushing, “Babe, you like it? Come take a closer look…”

Peter lets her drag him. He listens with a smile and nods obligingly in between sips of his water while Mary tells him all the special things about the table. She tells him it’s vintage ‘gold’, Pharaoh’s – yes, the very pharaoh of the Red Sea story – elephants were born under it and the legs are hollow so one can store spoons and plates. Peter is exhausted but he oohs and aahs while she hops all over the place, happy as a tot in a candy store. He waits for the perfect break in her gushing, for that lull in her commentary where she takes a breath then he butts in.

“It’s beautiful, darling”, Peter says. She beams. She knows, she says. Then he adds – quickly, “let me just take a bath and we can launch it, huh?” She beams again. Great.

He pecks her and zooms up the stairs, already tugging on his tie. Mehnnn, he thinks, that table is U.G.L.Y. He can’t believe how excited one person could get over one squat ugly table and a set of even uglier chairs. The image flashes in his mind, of her hopping one-legged, gushing excitedly over the absolutely hideous table, and he chuckles inadvertently. Kai!

THE END. No, really the end now.

So my take is that it’s all about attitude. And perception. Have man and woman risen to a level of maturity where material success doesn’t adversely change who they fundamentally are? Is the man able to realize that his partner is the same – faults and points, vices and virtues – whether she earns more or not. Is the woman able to be that – the same – even when her man’s pay is doorman’s tip compared to hers?

Your perception is the fine line. If she always hated cooking, then it is in character that she hire a cook or buy take-out on one too many nights, especially if her pay can afford it. You bore it bravely when she earned peanuts but you can’t stomach it now because she earns six figures? Now you only eat freshly cooked soup, nothing over 24hours-old!

If he always was loud and never stuck a finger past the kitchen doorpost, then it is within character that even when you’re overwhelmed by kitchen chores, he’ll be outside with ears plugged shut, mowing the same lawn he had mowed only the day before. When he paid all the bills, you thought it was ‘cute’ how he evaded any kitchen duties; but because you’re now a CEO, he’s being ‘childish, insensitive and domineering’. And it’s nerve-grating to you that men cannot stand a working class woman!

And there, successful ladies and gentlemen, is where the fabric starts to rip.angry couple

So what’s your take? What’s your opinion of This Thing Called Success, in the context of successful women and their less successful male partners? Click below in comments right now and Share!

 Mention me on twitter @ojukwu_martin

 

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21 thoughts on “THIS THING CALLED…SUCCESS (1)

  1. Ok. Now I fully understand that term ‘rib cracking’. Jeez! This is a ‘vaaiirryyy’ hilarious piece of well articulated writing, cracking up sooo bad! For the records, I touched down here from the ‘Planet MMS’. The One I describe as the ‘Writers Writer’, Walt Shakes tagged you ‘Amazing’ on his ‘Writing Process Blog Tour’. As it is, curiosity got the best part of me and I decided to look in and steal a peek at your blog. That said, you do write good; this article reinforces that, well done! Lol

    And back to the matter, a successful relationship’s all ’bout the orientation and level of maturity of the parties involved. There are no straight and hard rules really, once the two people involved can learn to figure out what works for ’em in their own peculiar relationship, then its touch and go. Some guys find women who earn more than ’em very intimidating, and often times, we say such guys are childish. That may not be entirely true. I’m a woman and some of us women can tend to go overboard when this kinda scenario presents itself. It takes a very humble woman, who’s several light years more advanced than her man, especially as it applies to earnings, to stoop low and remain grounded. And it’ll take a very patient and noble man, to step up to the ‘challenge’ of getting with a more successful woman. His self esteem has to be at its highest peak and he must be well girded to tame such a lady, if he has to go the long haul, full throttle! LOL

    • I agree with you, Yemie, completely! Both parties must work at it together, nobody takes more or less responsibility. Thank you for the encomiums, I am most humbled. I hope you steal more peeks more often 🙂

      • “His self esteem has to be at its highest peak and he must be well girded to tame such a lady…” These words. Funny, I just read over them the first time. Now, they hit me with the strength of their veracity. Yemie, you gbaski shaa 🙂

      • Why thanks Chisom, I’m deeply humbled Sir! Plus, whatever comments you see are well inspired by the depth and ingenuity of the writer and write-up. In other words, its all you. Will check out more of your offerings as soon as I can make out some free time. Keep on keeping and thanks a bunch again. Lolz

    • Gbam!! In as much as the man needs to grow the balls for the right kind of attitude, the woman must recognize the weight hers will bear on his. It’s always wonderful when you comment, Mimi 😉 Thank you

  2. I really do love this. It really gives me pointers for my relationships. Not just the type portrayed here but where friends do better too. Thank you..really.

    • It’s my sole honored pleasure, Ezinma. Interestingly, I never saw the angle for how it could work in relationships with just friends. Until now. So thank you 🙂

  3. I’ll make silent the (much sought) equality in marriage and write this from the angle of the man being the head of the family. What keeps a man in that status majorly is his self esteem — the superiority feeling — which is nourished by many things, most especially the proteinous income stream.

    It’s very basic that a man will feel threatened when the table turns (the wife earning more that is). A threatened insecure husband is a man who isn’t in charge and capable of negative charges; the perfect recipe for home tragedy and short life span.

    Just the way Yemie put it, it takes sci-fi maturity on the part of the wife to keep his esteem in place, and an understanding husband for things to work. Besides that, new dinning table will break legs in few days… for a start. Hearts will definitely break thereafter.

    Good read!

    • That’s a solid point you just made, Joe. The man is the head of the family; a wise woman has the power to keep her home no matter how much more she makes. The man too must be willing to use his head, not his ego Thank you, sir.

  4. Vaaaiiirrryy hilarious piece. I like the whole ‘rewind’ effect. Adds some spice to it.

    Methinks that inasmuch as the John might have to show an almost impossible level of maturity (especially if he values his relationship n peace of mind), we ladies also shud learn not to blow our trumpets. For Chrissakes, u earn a six figure sum. So f**king what? You were still taken from a man’s side.
    …n in case u forgot, God didn’t check his account balance before taking u from his side. So bae, get used to it.

    Finally, its all about maturity, attitude n the willingness of em both to stick together through thick n thin.

    A.M

    • Well said, Jay…very well said. Sadly, much of the responsibility to make such money-threatened relationships work lies in the palms of the woman. Which goes ahead to further affirm that the woman holds the key to her home – happy or not. Wetin we men come be nah??? lol. Chioma, you too much joor

  5. In the end, it is how comfortable you are in your relationship and with your better half, and how matured you are that determines how you handle an inequality in breadwinner status.
    Yes, there’ll be those moments of discontentment that’ll beseige you when you realize how the dynamics have shifted. But this is where all those attributes that make up the art of ‘working at a relationship’ comes into play. Love. Tolerance. Understanding. Maturity.
    It really is about perception. If a female gets a better job than her hubby, what becomes her perception of her man? If a male finds himself no longer bringing home the bacon, what becomes his perception of his woman? If you remember how you saw him or her before the tables turned, you remember that and you stick to that perception, then there really shouldn’t be a problem, should there?

  6. I think that any man (or woman ofcourse) who flees from the partner because of ‘status’ needs the candid help of a psychiatrist. *case closed*

  7. I guess, like you said, its all about individual’s perception. And it will also be different since we have all different reasonings. Like..(Lol)..a feminist wouldn’t see anything in paying for lunch when she eats out with her boo and her boo might not see anything in it whether or not he had the resources to pay for it.

    Sometimes its not so much about maturity. Guys strive on control and it comes with feeling in charge. Having to cater for your significant other’s needs. So I get it, I don’t expect them to be thrilled at the initial..BUT GET OVER IT..in say..after 2days of knowing. Its nothing. Humans have evolved. Hide your irritatation. Noone is throwing the success at you’all faces, its just your imagination. Don’t be a chavaunistic pig!!

    • We’ve heard you, femme. :/ You are right about a lot of things but I don’t agree that it’s all on the man’s head. The women in some cases, contribute to the insecurity their partners feel as a result of their success.
      With this few points of mine I hope I’ve been able to confuse you and not convince you that boys are bigger than girls. Thank you 😉

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