the sun was already setting and daylight gradually fading when Mope, in her sixties, decided to take a routine walk round the estate. She preferred doing this in the evenings when she had finished all the cooking. Mope enjoyed taking the walk with her husband but he has been a little sick and so for the past one week she had been walking all by herself in the evenings. She took a turn and then ran into a young lady, who was in her late thirties and was seated in front of her house on the porch. Mope knew Bim and admired her a lot and they always had things to say each time they ran into each other. They exchanged pleasantries and then this discussion ensued between them.
Bim: Good evening glam ma.
Mope: Good evening Bim, this glam ma you are calling me this evening.
Bim: Don’t you know you are one of the most glamorous grandmas ever?
Mope: Really? Anyway thank you. How are the children and your husband?
Bim: They are fine ma. How is grand pa doing too?
Mope: He is doing well. I just prepared his meal before I came out.
Bim: Glam ma, you mean you still cook at your age?
Mope: Ha, your grandpa won’t eat any food not cooked by me. (laughing) Don’t you cook for your husband, Bim?
Bim: I have a cook grand ma. She comes in every week, goes to the market and cooks all the soups for the week.
Mope: That’s not a good thing at all Bim; you should always cook for your husband.
Bim: Of course, I do. After the cook makes all the soups, I will make sure I do the eba, rice and all other things. Sometimes, he does it himself too and microwaves the soups. I have three kids to take care of with my job and adding cooking to it is not easy at all.
Mope: You mean your husband goes into the kitchen? Daddy has never been to the kitchen all his life.
Bim: Are you saying that grand pa never gets hungry? Well, I don’t blame him, it’s you I blame and that’s why you are still cooking till your old age. You have spoilt him. If any man tries that now, he will just die of hunger.
Mope: Bim! But I am not complaining. I enjoy doing it and I will do it till I die.
Bim: And when you die, will grandpa stop eating? Of course he won’t. I believe that anyone who knows how to eat should also learn how to cook. I have two boys and I am teaching them that.
Mope: You see I am an old woman and I see things that you don’t see from afar. There are gender-specific roles and cooking is one of them.
Bim: Glam ma, don’t get me wrong. I know there are gender- specific roles but a man should also understand that there are times his wife will not be available to cook for him. Sometimes cooking can be tedious after a hard day.
Mope: You children of nowadays are just lazy. What’s tedious about it? You have a blender, burner and microwave. Cooking is a lot easier for you than us in our days; we used grinding stones, stoves and sometimes firewood. You guys are luckier.
Bim: But ma, did you have to deal with meeting targets at your place of work then? Did you have to drive through bottlenecks of traffic on your way home? What time did you get home when you were younger? I am sure in your days; you even had the luxury of going to pick your kids after school. We might have all the cooking tech gadgets but it’s not easy being a wife now. However, grandma, my sister-in-law will be getting married in two weeks and I am inviting you.
Mope: Congratulations! That means by Thursday you will be going to stay at your in-laws house, so you can help your mother- in-law with the cooking and all the preparations.
Bim: Glam ma, she already got a caterer cooking for the two days. I am not even sure I will be at the traditional wedding but if my boss releases me on time, I will be there. But that Saturday morning, my makeup artist is coming home, my dress is already on the hanger and it’s on fleek. Glam ma! I will be looking gorgeous that day.
Mope: You this girl en? In our days, three days to the wedding we are at our mother-in-law’s house. We had no choice but to be at her beck and call. Whether she got olopo or not we were there cooking, washing and fanning fires. In-laws wedding is serious work and you are here talking as if you are attending a beauty pageant. Hope you have been checking up on her?
Bim: Glam ma, I am not a bad wife o! After all, I have been greeting her on the phone for the wedding. You see, times are changing ma, I will be going with some people that will help her around to do all the cooking chores. I will send one of the women to her early on Friday morning and Saturday two of them will go. They will do all I have to do there. I can’t ruin my expensive manicure at all. It’s party time and I have to enjoy every bit of the moment.
Mope: But you know our people now, they’ll appreciate your presence there.
Bim: Of course, I will breeze in and out. That’s why it’s good for a woman to work hard and not just sit at home. If I weren’t working now, I would be forced to do all those things. But now, my money is working for me and I am just going there to strut my stuff like a slay queen.
Mope: Good for you then. Since you are inviting me for an occasion, let me invite you for grandpa’s younger brother’s birthday. They picked aso ebi but I don’t like it at all.
Bim: Then don’t wear it glam ma. Wear what you like.
Mope: I can’t do that. It’s my in-law’s birthday. They will feel I am too proud.
Bim: Okay, it’s Ankara right? Then give it to your tailor to get it all glittering. Your tailor will design it with stones; they won’t even know it’s the same aso ebi again.
Mope: Good girl. This is the only sensible thing you have said since.
Bim: Haba, I have been making a lot of sense ma. That aside ma, has grandpa ever cheated on you?
Mope: (She laughs ). Countless time now, all men cheat. What can we do?
Bim: Do you mean you just let him be?
Mope: I always get angry but then he begs me for forgiveness and then we end it there.
Bim: You mean it ends just like that? You people in your generation, indulged our men and so their sons too think they will have their way too. But that cycle can’t continue and we will be putting an end to it. Once, I caught my husband cheating and the way I dealt with him en, he will never try it again.
Mope: Bim! You should be taking things easy o! You know all these men need prayers, because there are so many women tempting them.
Bim: And you think women don’t need prayers too? We also see all these tall, dark and handsome men. Glam ma, these days these yummy chocolates with strong arms and well-chiseled bodies hover around married women too. We all need prayers ma.
Mope: You this girl will not kill me. (She laughs) You are not serious at all. But you know women have more self-control than men.
Bim: Glam ma not with these kinds of men God created these days. They are like the fallen angels the bible talked about. These men can even seduce a nun and they have a lot of money to throw around.
Mope: Seriously, Bim, women are meant to keep them and not allow men to mess them up. Women have outnumbered the men. Like you know, men will always be men.
Bim: Men keep straying, because the society applauds them when they cheat and when a woman does the same thing she is shamed. One thing they forget to tell us is that men and women need to be disciplined. The vagina is just a penis turned inside and it doesn’t have a mind of its own. The lies should stop, because we have priests, monks and even some married men who have either abstained or remained faithful to their wives.
Mope: It’s true my dear (phone rings and she picks). So sorry it is grandpa. He is looking for me already. We will continue our discussion another time.
Bim: Yes ma. It’s already late. Nice chatting with you.