PLAIN TRUTH: You pay your bills. So what?

Friday September 8 2017

Doing the bare minimum for yourself is not what

Doing the bare minimum for yourself is not what being a strong woman is about. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JOAN THATIAH
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This past weekend, I was listening to and getting increasingly irritated by a woman ranting about her singlehood. Her perennial single status, she claimed, was caused by the fact that she is a strong, independent woman. How so? I wanted to know. “Because I pay my own bills,” she said.

I have several issues with her assertions. First, I do not know who told women that men do not like women who can hold their own. This is a big, fat lie that women keep telling each other. Unless a man is a narcissist who wants a helpless woman whose life will revolve around him, any man will appreciate a woman who brings something to the table other than her cooking or mothering skills, especially during these very uncertain economic times.

But the more important issue is this: The fact that today’s Kenyan woman believes that if she pays her household bills and take care of her other needs without help, then she is exceptional and possibly even intimidating. I do not think so.

To be fair, in a world where populated by sugar babies and the dirty old men who pay their bills, it is a good thing when a woman decides to earn her own keep. Paying your own bills however should not count as a life achievement.

What we seem to be forgetting is the fact that it is no longer 1940 when women belonged in the kitchen and all the money a woman laid her hands on had to have come from a man. Women have made huge socioeconomic strides. More women are taking up spaces in boardrooms and in the business world. We now have two female governors. Women are gaining in on the gender gap. So a woman shouldn’t expect to be applauded for paying her rent. We have established that a woman can do so much more than that. Some women are even leading the way. So a single woman who lives alone and pays her own rent shouldn’t expect to be lauded for it. That is her responsibility.

And even if a woman has scaled great career heights or has gone on to build a business empire, while she will be lauded for her achievements (if she isn’t shy or afraid to own them), a woman shouldn’t expect that her love life will naturally reap from these achievements.

We need to ditch that notion that a woman should be successful but not too much that it scares away prospective mates – it doesn’t. We need to ditch the laziness when it comes to our relationships. Working hard at your business or your career is just half the job. If you want a flourishing social or love life, you need to put in the work.

Mr. Right is not a direct result of a flourishing career. You’ll need to put yourself out there, be interested and put in the work that a functioning relationship entails.