I live in a large compound with many families. One of my neighbours is an elderly Urhobo couple so when they found that I am an Urhobo girl, they informally adopted me and scolded me whenever I didn’t stop by to say hi.
Yesterday, I sat with mama for my Urhobo lessons but ended up listening carefully to her as she talked about how she was once a petite young lady who worked so hard to assist in training her children. She talked so fondly about her children who are now all married and how she ensured that her daughters did not end up being wayward.
According to her, she ensured that all her children got married before they clocked 27 and that the advise she had for me was that I should accept any man that comes for my hand in marriage at this time because “Ile Obinrin o kin pe su”. I smiled.
The quoted phrase is a Yoruba adage that translates to mean ‘a woman does not have the luxury of time’. This is something that I have heard over again from Television, Internet, Friends, Family and Acquaintances. The other day, my brother asked me during a phonecall, “Erhime, hope say one guy dey ground?” It is a subconscious thing, much like the other day on our way to Kaduna when bro told me that he can decide to get married at any age but that I do not have that luxury because I am female.
I have become clueless as to how to respond to these things so last night I threw the question out to my friends, “how do you respond to an elderly person who tells you that ile obinrin o kin pe su?” and the responses were hilarious. One told me to remind them that their mates are in the grave and then ask when they will go join their mates, another told me to politely say that my man is in an overseas country and that we talk via phonecalls.
It appears this pressure to be married won’t be leaving us anytime soon.