By Manasseh Azure Awuni
Before I begin, let me apologise for what I’m about to write. It may hurt to remember certain aspects of our past, but I think it is sometimes very necessary to do so, especially when that has the potential of shaping our future. I’m not comfortable writing what you’re about to read, and think you’ll feel even more uncomfortable reading it. It has to do with your virginity.
Yesterday my old boy called from home, saying he was about to have our entire house painted. When he went into my room, however, he found three dates on the wall, which he thought I should write down before my room was painted. I took my pen and started writing until I got the third one. I froze when he spoke. “February 14, 2009: BSV,” my father read out and paused. “What does that one mean?”
My heart pounded hard because I didn’t know what to say. And I said nothing. “You’ve written all the rest in full except that one?” he continued. “I don’t quite remember, but it surely must have something to do with ‘best valentine’,” I lied. And we both broke into a hearty laughter. My old boy and I behave like friends, and not like a father and a son. Though he’s a devout Christian, his tolerance of my stubbornness makes me think he might have been a “bad boy” at my age. Don’t ever let him hear this, else…!
Because February 14 is Valentine’s Day, I’m sure he believed me. But the “V” in that abbreviation has nothing to do with St. Valentine, the man’s whose peerless exhibition of love we have mistaken for sexual promiscuity. The “V” stands for “Virginity.” In fact, the entire abbreviation stands for “Broke Serwaa’s Virginity.”
Serwaa, I don’t know how you now feel about that day, but I think that was one of the greatest mistakes of your life. Please, don’t get upset. I’ve told you that sometimes we have to be blunt with the truth. The truth itself hurts, but when it is not told tactfully, it can break hearts. But I’m not being heartless or mischievous. Sometimes I communicate for specific effects and I think this bluntness-with-the-truth disposition is what will make this message as memorable as the day you lost your virginity, your dignity. I know I share part of the blame; perhaps, the greater part, because on that fateful Saturday evening, you fiercely resisted. But I persisted. And you gave in. And we both regretted afterwards, even though you still do not think I was genuinely remorseful for what transpired. But I tell you, that was one of the most terrible days of my life.
My persistence, apart from my inability to tame that animalistic libidinal drive at the moment, was due to two main reasons. I was not sure what you had told me after accepting my proposal a year earlier was true. In Ghana today, 21-year-old virgins are scarcer than armed robbery incidents in Burma Camp. So at your age, I thought it was just one way of keeping me at bay and, perhaps, for more time to study me before succumbing to my “request.”
The other reason is what we guys often say about girls: “If she says no, then she means yes. You just have to push harder.” This is sometimes true, even if in your case it wasn’t. My Media Law lecturer recently sent our ribs cracking with laughter when he was explaining the intricacies of the law. Prof. Kofi Kumador is such an interesting man. He makes me enjoy learning about Law even though I’ve vowed never to read Law in my life.
He was talking about the initial marital rape component of the Domestic Violence Law and the tendency of how that could be misunderstood in certain cultural contexts. He gave an example of a young man who grew up in a community where girls were told by their mothers not to give in quickly; else they would be mistaken for prostitutes. But this man went to the university where he was taught that ‘no’ meant ‘no’, and nothing else. When he returned home and proposed to beautiful jewel of the village and the girl said no, he thought his proposal had been turned down until the girl in question accosted him one day. “Efo Kofi, why? I’ve been expecting you all this while. Are you angry just because of what I said?” she asked, very worried that she was about to lose him. You also did a similar thing when I first approached you. I must say you nearly lost me. Or rather I nearly lost you. Whichever! But that was the secret behind my insistence.
Breaking of virginity is something most guys are proud of and often boast about it. But it isn’t an interesting experience, trust me. I felt hurt and ashamed afterwards. But I also respected you, after realising that you still had your hymen intact at that age. But the truth is that I would have been happier and respected you more if you had remained that way until our marriage. Don’t get me wrong, Serwaa. I’m neither mischievous nor implying that you’ve lost my respect. I’m just pouring out to you the unedited version of my thoughts.
Men are the greediest creatures God ever created. And I’m one of them. I was so impressed that a beautiful lady of your calibre was able to preserve yourself until that age, despite the pressures. It made me trust you the more. It gave me the assurance that if I married you, I would not have to worry about fidelity even if I travelled for a long time.
But the fact that you could not keep your virginity until marriage, as you had promised yourself and your God, made me think that after all, you can only resist up to a certain level. I know you did it against your will, against your promise. I still remember how hurt you were and how bitterly you wept when it was all over. “Can I make a request,” you said, shedding colourless tears on my collarless white shirt as we hugged shamefully. “Promise me you’ll not leave me after I have sold my trust and my pride to you.” I did promise I would remain true to you and reciprocate that dignity in our relationship. I’m happy that for well over three years, we’re still together and are on course to getting married. I must, however, say that things could have gone otherwise, perhaps, with another guy.
If that happened, you would move on to date another guy who might not trust you the way I would, because you sold that trust to me. That is the value of a woman’s virginity, her dignity. You lose it only once in your life time. And where you lose it, there your heart is. There your trust is. But not many guys would reciprocate that trust.
Serwaa, not everyone will tell you this. I’m saying this so that you may understand how we guys think about you ladies. I’m telling you this so that you can speak to your younger sisters. And more importantly, I’m telling you this to prepare your mind for what I’m about to tell you.
In my next letter I’ll tell you why I think we should stop having sex until we get married. That sounds odd, doesn’t it? But I mean every letter of every word of that sentence. Just stay tuned.
I love you and will do everything to safeguard our relationship. You’re the best thing ever to happen to me, and by now you should know I’m not good at flattering. I’ll always tell you the truth, even if it hurts.
The truth, according to Vandals of the Commonwealth Hall of the University of Ghana, stands. On this truth shall we build our marriage, and the gates of divorce shall not prevail against it.
Writer’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Letter to My Future Wife is a weekly column published in Weekend Finder every Saturday.
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