I’ll tell you a little story. Something that happened recently. I know it will get me into trouble with my friends. So I may have to go into hiding for a while.
One evening in October, I received a message. I was probably busy on WhatsApp. No, I was not stalking anybody. Or maybe I was checking out Jennifer Lawrence on Pinterest. Anyway, the message came in:
“FAMILIES, FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES, I HEREBY CORDIALLY INVITE YOU TO MY WEDDING CEREMONY SCHEDULED TO TAKE PLACE AT BULLA XAGAR, GARISSA ON SATURDAY, 29TH OCTOBER 2016. THE ASSEMBLY POINT WILL BE AT PREMIER PETROL STATION AT 9.00 AM.”
This was from my old friend Mohamed.No “chills” or warnings. Nothing.
Around the same time, another old buddy, Abdirahman, sent a message. I was watching a video on YouTube.
🎼🎧*it goes down in the DM, down in the DM…*🎧
“I HEREBY INVITE YOU TO MY WEDDING TAKING PLACE TOMORROW AT GRAND ROYAL HOTEL, EASTLEIGH. YOUR PRESENCE WILL BE HIGHLY…”
Then sometime in December, I received a call. This time, I was not checking out sexy celebrities or YouTube videos. I was doing something constructive. I was doing some research online. Things like 7 most embarrassing situations ever captured. Top 10 things to do if today was your last day.
Phone rings. It’s my old buddy Hassan.
“Hello, bro. Salan aleikun.” Shakes head. Aaah that old Somali variation of the greeting. Dude, it’s Assalam aleikum. Salan aleikun? Really?
“So how are you doing?”
Hmm. Let’s see. I’m not sleeping well, Trump is trying to strangle me in my sleep and I keep on waking up scared as hell. I haven’t had more than a wink in weeks. The Wi-Fi is insufferably slow.
“I’m doing well bro. Couldn’t be better. What’s kicking?” I’ve been taught that it is bad manners to complain.
“Things are good. In fact…”
Research continues. How to quit your job, move to Paradise and Change the World. Why James Chartrand Wears Women’s Underpants. 10 Reasons Why Failure is an Option. *Clicks link immediately.*
“So you should come to my wedding tomorrow at Bulla…”
“My wedding. Tomorrow. I hereby cordially…”
“Your wedding? You?”
So it has been a season weddings.
It is either I have not been invited to weddings for a long time or things have changed. Have weddings invites become projects to be launched? I hereby cordially extend this invite to you to attend my wedding. *Cuts ribbon.* Loud cheer. Camera flashes. Guys, I thought project launches were for #UhuruChallenge. Weddings are part of the projects of the #Jubilee government remember?
Anyway, the point is several of my old buddies tied the knot late last year. And I have learned a few things from their experience. I also have a few observations I need to share.
First, Somalis should work on their wedding invites. Seriously. I’m told that anyone who has to say the word ‘seriously’ should not be taken thus. But on this one, I mean it. Here is why. Imagine relaxing nicely in your house, doing something constructive. 10 most Curvaceously Bootilicious Celebrities Today. You are wondering how Kim gets to do all the things she does with all that booty behind her, and then suddenly you get a call requiring you to “grace your presence at our wedding in Qorrehey market tomorrow.” Oh and you are supposed to assemble at 9 a.m. why are we assembling these kind folk at 9 a.m anyway? This fellow wakes up one morning, and says, “To hell with this bachelorhood life. I need to get married. Right away.” Insane. To all my friends planning to get married: send us a damn invitation card, will you? Those ones with cute calligraphy. And please leave the word “cordially” out, it belongs to Jubilee. *Sips non-existent coffee.*
Here is another thing I have observed. Women are crazy! They have lost the plot when it comes to choosing the right men to marry.
It is not news that we men are still sly bastards who will use all the tricks in the book. And women, unfortunately, are still falling for our lines. This is how men, not just Somalis, have wooed women for centuries. There is an old Somali saying that goes, “Naag been ayaa lagu keenaa, runna waa lugu daqaa” (“Women are wooed with lies, but are taken care of with the truth”). Whoever said Somalis are not gentlemen again? Why do I bring up this saying? Read on, there is a reason.
This gentleman, say, Hassan or Mohamed, will meet you on the streets or online. Mostly online. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. He will like your selfies. It’ll go down in the DM
He will mention that you are “slaying it girl.” Slaying it. And you are. “You are hot or you are beautiful” is so 2010. And of course you will be responding with “Staaap it you 😍😚😊☺️.” 💥💥. This what Kenyans call thitima!💥💥. Before long, you’ll be chatting on WhatsApp. Soon after, you will be going out for coffee in Java.
Of course, you will get to know each other well and you will realize he is a decent young man. Hardworking. God loving. Good looking. Responsible. Serious. And you are right, he is. After a period of courtship, you will get married. Soon, of course, babies will be on their way. We are Somali. So who are we kidding?
However, there are some things you- my innocent, unlucky sister-in-law- do not know. If we had known each other, I would have told you. Full disclosure. But I did not know what was going on as these guys were masquerading as fine gentlemen. I highly doubt any of these fellows revealed some material things, incriminating things. Did you know Hassan used to be very stubborn and used to disturb the maalin duksi (Quranic school teacher)? Of course you didn’t. I suspect your babies may be highly stubborn in school. Did you, poor girl, know that Mohammed snores like a wounded horse? There is more incriminating evidence. I also suspect Hassan tries ten different sleeping positions and will suffocate you with his long legs. I am also positive he only sleeps face down and can’t sleep on his back. Abdirahman is a fine gentleman, but did he tell you, lovely dhumaashi (sister-in-law), that he can’t cook for shit? Even to save his ass? Actually, none of these guys know a damn thing about cooking.
See what I meant? There is a lot of important information that you weren’t told.
I have also made a few other observations. It is not easy getting married. While I have not spent time observing the planning process of a specific wedding, I could not miss the fact that it requires a lot of time, effort, energy, resources, and prayers to make it happen. Well, technically, it shouldn’t. But the culture these days make it almost impossible to tie the knot. Of course, it depends on where you are marrying and who you are getting married to. But here is the stereotype starter pack of today’s Somali wedding: an insanely expensive venue (think KICC or a five-star hotel), a luxury car convoy, several karat gold jewelry for the bride, music artists, dance performers, professional videographers, and lots of food and people. We need to rethink the whole idea of weddings and marriage, my Somali people. I used to think weddings were about the bride and the groom. And culture and religion. And the bridesmaids. Especialy bridesmaids. Cute bridesmaids. No, I am not Team Mafisi.
Uhmm..where were we?
Yes. Regardless, it may be hard, but it is worth it. If done right. I saw this when my friends invited me over to their home. I did notice the change. These guys seem brighter in complexion. Muzungu. They now talk differently, walk differently. They sit differently. #SpeciaSitting. They have a serious, thoughtful look about them. You can see they have also added a bit of weight. Just the right amount. They have reported rave reviews too. Ha ha.
But on the real, this was all to wish my brothers the best in this new chapter in life. I know you ladies are the luckiest. Well, except for the serious things mentioned above. Those ones you will have to live with, I am afraid. Just remember it is not easy, this thing called marriage. But it is the best thing ever. How do I know this, you ask? What do you mean? Of course, I read somewhere. Oh and more thing, we are waiting for babies. Lots of babies.
Mabrouk you guys!
When is mine you ask?
Whatdyu say? *Goes into hiding.*
image source:uncova.com, somalibridal.com, pinterest.com