The sodom in bridal showers
By By ROSE KWAMBOKA
| October 14th 2013
By ROSE KWAMBOKA
Winnie’s bridal shower — set a week leading to her wedding — was one heck of a party in which she invited her high school and campus friends. To keep the business discrete and within their circle, only nine close friends were invited. Single ladies could only conjure up the activities contained therein.
“The night started off subtly with light dancing, drinking and playing dress up games,” says Winnie. “As we got more drunk, I remember seeing men enter the house,” she recalls. She was to later find out that the bridal party organisers invited them. To ice the cake, at some point past midnight, when the drinks and party fever was at its peak, her ex-boyfriend walked in. Her girlfriends were much aware that she still held a soft spot for him and had never gotten over him after their breakup. Thus, such was a perfect opportunity to treat her to the forbidden fruit. “I have never fallen so fast into a temptation. The fact that it was late in the night and that I was under the influence of alcohol and my friends were treating themselves to random sex and one-night stands, did not help the situation much,” she says. She was, however, to cry so soon after the fun not from guilt, but from her wedding being cancelled. This was after the juicy details of the night got to her husband-to-be. “Given another chance, I would not change anything about the night,” she says unapologetically. Winnie was not sorry or remorseful because, she argued, the hidden feeling would have surfaced eventually, sooner or later.
“Today, especially in urban settings, when older and experienced mothers who should be advising and socialising brides into marriage are struggling to survive in rocky marriages or are unavailable, authentic bridal parties are useless. And again, what is the point of a couple of single ladies — with no marriage experience — giving a bride-to-be advice on marriage and sex?” asks an agitated Lorna, a sister to the bride-to-be.
Too much soap opera
According to her, such women only cause more trouble, as they have never been married. And most advice they give is derived from singlehood experience and watching too much soap operas, which is unsustainable in the long run. To prove how lame bridal showers are, she lists the activities that took place at the bridal shower.
“There were a bunch of naughty games, for instance, one where her friends would ask intimate and weird questions — that would make one cringe in shame — about the groom. Whenever the bride-to-be got them wrong, she was forced to take a shot of a socom — certain potent alcoholic drink. I wonder how they gauged how true or false she was unless, of course, they had slept with the groom!” shrugs a disturbed Lorna.
At the same event another game entailed the bride-to-be guessing what kind of gifts each friend got her and if she got it wrong, down goes a shot of vodka. Thereafter, they would discuss why friends brought her certain gifts and the significance. “At the end of the night, my sister had drunk a whole bottle of Socom by herself,” concludes a shocked Lorna, who admits that she has never seen her sister that drunk.
Lame or otherwise, is beside the point for the fun-loving bride-to-be Sarah. To her, she would turn any event into a merry-making occasion so, just in case anyone thought her bridal party would be any different, they would be in for a rude shock. You would probably think that since the party was scheduled to take place at her parents’ house, she would exercise a bit of due diligence. Considering, this was after her parents categorically stated that there would be no drinks or smoking allowed. Sarah made weed muffins, which according to her, gets one high faster than any hard drink. Barely had the crowd started getting high on weed when they started getting emotional. “My best maid who is also newly married started crying saying how unhappy she was in her marriage and spewing out gory details of how ‘useless’ her husband is in bed,” says Sarah.
“The supposed party turned into a sharing experience where we started talking about our relationship experience. I was, at one point, advised not to get married, but I had already made up my mind.”
As the night grew older, they ran out of muffins, but the urge to remain high was mounting, thus the weed dealer was summoned. “He was the only guy in that party. He sat at the corner rocking chair unperturbed by the happenings of the night. All he did was serve anyone who could pay. He was in business and it was booming.”
Ruth raised hell when her to-be-husband refused to fund her bridal party. Being strong head, she even threatened to call off their wedding if he refused to fund it. She claimed that if he could not provide for her now, what makes her so sure he would provide in marriage?
A more sober and rational Magdalene says it was a huge mistake setting her bridal party on the eve of her wedding. All she can barely remember during the bridal party is trying so hard not to get very drunk to miss her wedding the day that followed, which she unfortunately delayed for hours! “Thanks to the bridal shower, my wedding, which was to start at 11am began shortly after 4pm. It was such a mess, but I thoroughly enjoyed my party.” She remembers the highlight of the party being when her friends dressed her up in sexy skimpy lingerie.
And asked her to strip tease, in demonstration of how she will seduce the husband-to-be on their first night together.
“I am good at this as my friends were all in awe as I showcased my seductive dance prowess, but more so because they have never seen me do crazy stuff. I am perceived to be the conservative one in the group.” At this point I kind of stopped to wonder why lesbianism is at its all-time high.
Muthoni, who has been to too many bridal parties that she is almost losing count, has noticed a certain trend of hiring apartments in high-end areas such as Kileleshwa, Kilimani and South B for a period between 24 and 72 hours for purposes of the bridal party.
A case in point, she remembers vividly, was one where two male and two female stripers were hired to provide entertainment at the party, but ended up so intoxicated and dramatic. At another event, the ‘aunties’ — women, usually from Coast, hired to entertain and provide advice — became so full of themselves and started insulting the bridal party. This transpired earlier on in the year and as it stands, the bride happens to be very happy in her marriage.
Dr Gidraph Wairire, a senior lecturer in the school of Sociology and Social Works at the University of Nairobi, blames the change in purpose of bridal parties on the individualistic tendencies. “Women empowerment has brought with it the need to question and critically look at advisors orienting them into marriage life. The modern woman would rather get into marriage and experience it by herself, rather than be prepared by her married counterparts, especially if their marriages are not that successful — in the eyes of society.”
With regard to what the real purpose of bridal parties is, he says: “It is supposed to be an anticipatory orientation. A lady being prepared to live physically with her spouse, her new title and her expectation in married life. Today, people just have bridal parties for the sake of it; just because they are fun, and has such has lost its meaning.” If only we could take bridal parties back to the way they used to be, to serve the purpose they were initially intended for, marriages would perhaps be way much better than they are.
“Never raise your voice at your husband,” was one of the pieces of advices Monica’s aunt told her. “In case he gets mad, wait till he cools down before you try to reason out with him,” added her other aunt. The reason Monica remembers these pieces of advice with fondness is because, she has constantly applied them in her 22 years of her successful marriage. Partly, that was what bridal parties entailed, at least in traditional African society.
Meet newlywed Ruth, whose idea of a bridal party is congregating all her friends and drinking themselves silly in celebration of her last time as a single lady. That celebration did not stop her from sleeping with her best man-to-be, as it were a celebration, right?
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