Shower caps are not sexy.
Neither are hairnets, hair scarves, do-rags, hair pins or those colorful sticks naijawife sometimes puts in her hair. Yet my married life has been full of all these items.
I work very late at night, so typically by the time I come home, Naijawife is just finishing her typical hours-long bath. Ideally, the image that should present should be something like
But in all actuality it’s more like.
When you’re just dating someone, you’re used to seeing the finished product. As a man, you probably have no insight into the little rituals that women go through just to look merely presentable. In the morning and at night, I can bath and just comb my hair and I’m ready to go.
My wife however, (after her incredibly long showers of course), prepares for bed by going through an elaborate process of brushing her hair (if she’s got one of those “Weaves” in) and pinning it around her head, or braiding it up so it looks like it’s saying “waka” to God. (if its her natural hair).
Whatever the type of hair on her head at the moment, she usually tops off the process of brushing, twisting, tying and clipping by wrapping her head with a scarf.
Once that scarf/hairnet/haircap/moodkiller is on, any thoughts of love typically rush out of my head (albeit only momentarily. I am a man of course). Eventually I’ll try my best to rip the scarf off “accidentally” from her head, pretending I was simply caught up in the moment. But she will, without fail, always stop in the middle of whatever we’re doing, to retie it.
“Do you want my hair to be messed up in the morning?” She’ll ask.
She is right about that. Though I hate to admit it, those scarves are a necessary evil. The one time I managed to convince her not to use the scarf….I did not like the result the next morning.
One of the many things about marriage that I have come to learn is that its nothing like what I expected, but everything I did not and more.
In addition to not realizing how much ritual went into women getting ready. I also had no idea that Naijawife was anything but perfectly um… “classy” all the time. I think I pictured marriage as this fantasy like affair where you’d come home to one another, eat delicious food, have sex a few times that day and fall asleep in each others arms. I somehow pictured that my wife was sexy 24/7, be it 2 a.m or 5 p.m. and never had a hair out of place. By the time the honeymoon buzz wore off (when we were back at home, and back at work), I had to settle down to realize that my wife is, well…
Let me explain.
Do you see this chicken?
The first week we were back from our honeymoon, Naijawife cooked up some very delicious chicken. It was properly seasoned, diced and sliced.
Then dinner time came and we sat down to eat. I rushed through my food as usual and looked over at my wife. There she was, taking her time, savoring every bite of the food. I thought she was simply appreciating her own cooking, when ten minutes later, I looked over to Naijawife and found her plate like this
Is she a werewolf? What happened to the girl I dated that looked like butter couldn’t melt in her mouth? The one who taught me the “proper” way to arrange a table and laughed because I didn’t know what hors d’oeuvres and crudités were? The same girl who, when I took her to a restaurant, told me I slurped too loudly when drinking soup and that I was showing my bush origins in public.
Now technically. I can’t claim to have been deceived. Naijawife still is very much a lady, especially in public. But when she’s at home, and feels comfortable in her surroundings, she drops the rules and does as she pleases.
Why? Because that’s what home is. Home is the place where Naijawife can wear a showercap and have extremely unsexy moments. Home is the place where she can crack chicken bones while watching her favorite reality shows. Home is also the place where I feel free to walk around in my boxers, scratch incessantly and sit in the loo for as long as I feel like.
I’ve heard my fellow brothers in this marriage journey complain that “once the vows were said, she stopped making an effort”. Right. It may seem that way really, but I’ve learned fast that such views are unrealistic and asking your wife to put on a “show” 24/7 just to hold your attention is incredibly selfish. Especially when you yourself make no such efforts to live in such pretense.
This is what marriage is. Sometimes your wife will resemble a character from “Nneka goes to school” and on some days she will outshine Beyoncé. Some days she will be Queen of the fork and knife, and others days you might think she’s a werewolf. When you make a vow, you promise to accept those aspects of one another, no matter what.