If you are the type that seeks love on the Internet or likes reading relationship adverts in newspapers, there are a few things you have noticed.
One, there is thinly veiled but discernible desperation among the lone-wolves. Two, the newspaper and the Internet give love seekers an opportunity to specify what they want in a soul mate. The older the lonesome, the more demanding and specific the attributes they want.
We recently scoured through the 'Soul Mate' pages of a local daily and here are what some of the women over 30 demanded:
There was Mary*, 48, never married, no kids. She is born-again, into business, chocolate in complexion and of average build. She wants a serious man, her age or above, working in business and lives in Nairobi. Fairly reasonable.
Then there was Naomi*, no age stated. She wants a college-educated man with a stable occupation, aged 45-60. The man MUST match her Master’s degree and high-flying financial sector career. She is a mother, though. Hope she is real.
And there was Edna*. Never married. A high school teacher. Born again but with a son. She wants a born-again Christian and professional man aged 35-40. Kamba, GEMA or Mijikenda highly preferred.
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All of them don’t want jokers, even though many jokers still call. Given that some of them are toto mamas already, word in the street is that their market value is under 'speculation.' Yet they have the highest standards one would expect from women in their nubile 20s. At their age, gravity has taken its toll and some callers want to use the women's desperation and loneliness to con them off cash.
So why do these women defy conventional expectations and demands?
Desperation, not enlightened choice-Sociologist
“Women have become choosy and meticulously selective in seeking male partners. So what these women are doing is what all of us would do if we had the luxury of choosing who to fall in love with and when to fall in love,” says Ken Ouko, Sociologist, the University of Nairobi.
“In most cases, relationships and even marriages are founded on accidentally conjured unions that eventually become the story of mirthful nostalgia when we age. This is because as they used to say in ancient Greece, 'Love that we seek is never as pure as the love that finds us.' Adds the sociologist.
Ouko further says that by the time a girl blossoms at the age of 21, she will have met men of all shapes and sizes. But "these 30-something year old women are those who have been there-done that with all variations of the male typology. So instead of relying on the fabled Mr. and Mrs. Fate & Destiny, they would much rather define their own destinies”.
Common knowledge is that a woman who is single at 30-plus is either disinterested in long term relations or she is simply unable to settle.
“Those who place ads in newspaper qualify as the come-get-me type whose action border more on desperation than enlightened choice,” offers Ouko.
Bad behaviour-50-year old mother claims
For Josephine Ondabu, a 50 year old mother of six, they had it fairly easy in their day.
"We used to get married at a young age. Those who, after 30, were not married had a problem, probably bad behaviour. We got married mostly through match-making."
For Lorna Kiplagat, a 55 year old married woman, such women in the past were only eligible candidates for a polygamous setting, as a second or even third wife. Sometimes they married widowers through match-making family connections.
"For my sisters though, they refused the options and were offered land by my father," says Mrs Kiplagat. And what does she advise women after 35 with no man in sight?
"Get a child and carry on with life."
No deadline for a true-match-Pastor
However, for Pastor Jeff Nthiwa, a Life Coach with Destiny Life Coaching, there is no deadline for finding a true match. So these women are on the right course.
Some people find their partners much later in life.
“Women should not compromise on their integrity and authenticity. However, as we get older we need courage to be flexible,” says the pastor.
Psychologically, it is not easy, admits Pastor Nthiwa. But such women should change their routines to get what they want in life. And sometimes they need a life coach to help them to get not just what is available but what aligns with their purpose and destiny.
“When we portray the images we wish to attract in ourselves, we naturally magnetise people with these same traits toward us. For women to do this, they have got to start treating themselves the way they want to be treated,” advises the pastor.
Why single people remain single is that they don’t truly make an effort to change things. It is like being unemployed. We employ several strategies to get a job. So should relationships. Friends and co-workers should know that you're looking for a relationship, and what exactly you're looking for. This can help you meet people they feel might be compatible to you.
“Many say “It’ll happen when I least expect it.” No! It’ll happen when you create it. So what are you doing to create it?” according to Pastor Nthiwa.