By Lasisi Olagunju
Woman without character are closing the gender gap in violence. Character is a woman’s front teeth. The one who loses them has lost the mainstay of her beauty. A woman without character cannot make a desirable wife. Ugly wives are the ones who have lost character. When a woman settles scores with daggers and swords, she is no longer a woman. She has crossed the line to the wild red zone of violent men. Some women merely nag; that is the extreme of their violence.
Russian writer, W.R.S. Ralston wrote about a wife who “lived on the worst of terms with her husband and never paid any attention to what he said. If her husband told her to get up early, she would lie in bed three days at a stretch; if he wanted her to go to sleep, she couldn’t think of sleeping.
When her husband asked her to make pancakes, she would say: ‘You thief, you don’t deserve a pancake!…’” But sometimes the violence goes beyond mere nagging. Some pretty nasty wives butcher their husbands to feed their passion. There was a Mary Elizabeth Wilson in the United Kingdom. Between 1955 and 1957, she “loved and lost four husbands…inheriting money after each death.” And she was audacious enough to leave traces. According to the BBC, “not only were the gaps between the weddings short, the marriages themselves were short.” At one of her many wedding receptions, her friend asked her: “What shall we do with these (excess) sandwiches and cake?” Wilson replied with laughter: “We’ll keep them for the funeral.” That husband soon died. Mary Elizabeth Wilson was exposed and jailed. She died in prison in 1960.
The killer wife can be at once as sly as the tortoise and foolish as the insane. She can also combine those attributes with the lustfulness of the dog. Our elders say it is not wise to buy cloths bound in bundles. It is wisdom to seek and see the nakedness of what you are paying for. You married a playboy deliberately because he played well. So, why lose your mind because he does what you know he does well? Do you kill a dog because it barks? Do you kill a ram for its effective use of its horns? What manner of woman would kill her man because he is seeing another woman? I ask because husbands appear to have, lately, become endangered species. In Filin Jirgi area of Gusau, Zamfara State, housewife Hauwa’u last week stabbed her husband in the chest and back with a broken bottle. His offence: he was planning a second wife. In Abuja a few days earlier, Maryam killed her husband, Bilyamin because he was dating another lady. In Ibadan last year, a female lawyer stabbed her husband to death because another woman was suspected to be in the man’s life. Now, playboy husbands are nervous. They are almost begging their wives to also cheat on them if they are caught pants down.
If he is not content with what you have, why not take a walk? Should you destroy your life because a man can’t stay faithful to his marital vows? Women who cook their playboy husbands for dinner lose all. They lose the meal and even the kitchen and its aroma. It is a total loss. Killing the man is suicide for the woman. If the union has kids, then it is worse. The dead is released while the living battles life and its judgement. It is a complete defeat for the woman. The man becomes the hero, winning the sympathy of an accommodating world. The wise knows murder is no solution to infidelity. It did not stop it a million years ago, it won’t now. A very wise female once told me her husband was free to roam the bushes. The only ‘but’ was that he must not come home with thorns.
Yet there are some who kill without drawing blood. The Yoruba call those ones apanimayo’da. Their swords are forever sheathed yet they kill with the swiftness of the dagger.
They murder their husband with excessive love for what would destroy him. They push their men, back and forth, like a swinging door. They are ota ile – the enemy within. The Grace woman in Zimbabwe is one loud example of such nemesis. From office secretary to the lady of power, she would not stop until destiny stopped her. The history of Nigeria is replete with so many of such Graces lacking the grace of goodness. It is worse if the man is a Robert Mugabe who has surrendered the levers of his manhood to the one without scrotum. The woman demands the difficult, he does it for her yet she pushes him to attempt the impossible. “Even if he dies, his corpse will contest and win next year’s elections,” Grace Mugabe boasted early this year. And her husband breathlessly tried to catch up with her huge appetite for godlessness. You remember the wailing king seeking communal help to pluck the moon for his queen? Fruits of difficult trees are not enough, she must eat the moon. And the man jumps, falls, jumps again, panting. If his overused heart packs up while struggling to satisfy his Jezebel, she moves on. Other victims are on the queue, waiting to be killed by what they love. The man who is blessed with a million stars twinkling in his sky is doomed with a killer wife. She is that woman who forgets the toils of the small beginnings and starts competing with inscrutable fate. She fights the angels around her man and brings down the stars of her glory. She kills him with his destiny…
Back to wives who are quick with swords and daggers and beer bottles. Should a woman kill because her man cheats? The wages of sin is death, yes. If sleeping around is a capital offence, who does the killing, the law or the victim? Is it not said that an eye for an eye will create a city of blind men and women? In some cases, women who fell their husbands are strangers to their growth. Like the Abuja woman who married someone else’s husband. The unfortunate man left his first wife to marry her. She is like that person who picked a gem by the roadside and jealously vowed to die over it. What should the real owner who lost it do? She met a dead buffalo by the river bank and drew cleavers. What was she thinking when she was climbing his bed? The huge meat by the riverside did not drink to death! The one who leaves someone to sleep with you will leave you to sleep with someone. This husband was somebody else’s game and would not stop playing games – and she should know. But no! She became a phone tracker, reading text messages and running mad.
The times have changed.
Men too should feel what their women feel. There was an age when Akesan was the frontier of Oyo. Just answering a man’s name is no longer a woman’s end in marriage. The frontiers of behaviour in marriage have moved with the times.
Jealousy used to be the spice, the taste in the polygamous soup. But the woman sleeping beside you today sees you as her exclusive possession. Sharing and caring are ancient virtues long dead with a permissive past. Fishing in any available pond imperils everyone. But drawing daggers and killing spouses cannot be the way to discipline errant men. Our elders say a husband’s death makes a woman poorer. If to be widowed is the worst of misfortunes, how do we describe the woman who murders her husband? She loses all. And if their union has products, the loss becomes generational. So, woman, if your husband is no longer the man you married, don’t kill yourself by driving a dagger into his heart. The sensible thing to do is to just quit.