MANTALK: Sneak peek at a bridal shower

By: JACKSON BIKO

I had the honour of attending a bridal shower last weekend. Lovely house. On the walls of the living room were these odd black and white pictures of what looked like pre-historic Kenya.

On the floor was a lavish rug under massive couches. There are households you walk into and you know they are just houses, then there are those you walk into and know they are homes.

This was a home – odd paintings notwithstanding. I never got to find out who the owner was, they never introduced themselves.

I was instructed to get there at 8pm after the ladies had discussed whatever they discuss at bridal showers. The last bridal shower I attended was hysterical; the ladies were loud, boisterous, drunk and outspoken, and they asked all these weird questions and none of them blinked.

DIFFERENT TYPE

That night I saw a stripper for the first time in my life. A male stripper, that is. I had been banished upstairs until it was my turn to talk, and I wasn’t supposed to see him but I peeped over the staircase after I heard noises downstairs.

He was a dark, muscle-bound guy wearing a corny naval hat and naked from the waist down, his phallus swung in the faces of the shrieking women. I wondered about the fantasies of women.

Based on that, I had expectations of this bridal shower. But when I walked in I quickly realised that this was different. In fact, the women looked intimidated and sober. They obviously had a colour scheme, going by the number of red dresses, skirts and tops in the room. When I walked in, a few in very short dresses immediately threw jackets on their thighs to preserve their decency, or expose their piousness.

The bride, a petite, innocent-looking girl sat folded in a seat, peering meekly through spectacles. She was marrying some Caucasian guy from Dubai where, I think, she resides.

FEAR AND APPREHENSION

My whisky was cracked and the lady who invited me said, “Okay, the floor is open, ask your questions.” There was brief silence. Some squirmed in their seats. Then the first volley of question was lobbed: Is it okay for couples to have sex before marriage or should they wait until the wedding night? I checked to see if it was 1954 in there.

The debate had apparently been raging before I walked in, with one lady insisting that it was better to wait. I thought it was crazy to wait. Three-quarters of the room agreed with me.

It became quite evident that sex is a big deal for women – hell, even more than it seems to us. The general view, from what I gleaned, was that most would be frustrated if they weren’t getting good, or even enough, sex.

Gentlemen, women might say size doesn’t matter, but it does. Their greatest fear was if, on the wedding night, you remove your pants and looked like you never, uhm, grew up. Not exactly how they saw their honeymoon starting out.

Of course the conversation veered to compatibility and what would happen should that department be dead or half-dead – if you catch my drift.

Then there were other topics, like what to do if you find out the man has another child, if he drinks and comes home late all the time, if he doesn’t pay his bills, if men really change, if it’s okay to

show him that you can also come home late like he does, if men like submissive women (that was a long debate; what is submission?), why men want space sometimes and why men cover for their

friends (like women don’t), and the most asked question I get at bridal showers: Why do men cheat?

ALMOST SAD

I gave them a number of reasons why men cheat and the more I spoke, the further the bride slunk back in her chair until at some point, she seemed almost sad.

He would never cheat, her body language screamed. He’s just isn’t the type who cheats. I wondered how she could tell. I wondered if this guy came in a box which stated clearly that he was

completely incapable of desiring another woman, ever. I told her that maybe she was going to be the one who cheats on him, and she stared back at me like I was mad.

I honestly don’t think she liked me much at the end, that bride.

She didn’t like me because she was in this beautiful bubble where love triumphs and humans do good. She was living in this parallel universe where flowers bloom every season without fail, and love never fails. She was on a white horse with a flower stuck behind her ear, and someone was playing a harp and the skies were blue and the air smelled of jasmine.

The prospect that the road she was on would turn rough was a concept so alien to her it seemed like an insult. I truly felt sorry for her.

I asked her, “How long have you known this guy?” She said, “One year,” and I said, “You don’t know him.” She insisted that she knew him. He can’t possibly be making appearances for a whole

year, can he? I said he could. Anybody can. People can make appearances for years – I mean one day you can wake up and not recognise someone you have “known” for years, whether they are a friend or a lover or a relative.

SAVING GRACE

The only saving grace was that she wasn’t under 30. I don’t think people under 30 should get married. I think it’s the recipe for grand disaster.

When I left the shower, she seemed thoughtful, which hopefully meant that she wasn’t going to walk into that marriage with fairy-tale ladybird nonsense in her head.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION