This is a hard post to write, but its such a common occurence for white people in Africa, especially women, that I wanted to somehow describe this part of living in Ghana. Its hard to be relatively objective with this subject since I never even know how I'll react to it myself each time someone asks me to marry them- either I'll laugh, go along and joke, and I'll try really hard to actually think its funny, or, my blood starts to boil and I just want to scream and yell and tell men its not (freeeaking) funny. Everyday my reaction goes back and forth, and even within the same day, I'll react differently each time I'm asked. I'm always told that they are just joking, but there are times when I'm pretty sure the men are being serious. There was even a guy one time who asked me to marry him, many, many times within one conversation, although I kept telling him I'm married. Then, when he found out I was going home to see my "husband," he actually said that he hopes it won't work out between us and that we'll divorce. Really? How obnoxious. Later I found out he was married and had a kid.
What has been true from the first time I started getting asked- it makes me extremely uncomfortable. I don't like the attention, I don't like the "I love you"s and the "Take me back to America"s. Perfect, fail-proof solution: I have a husband in America, named Clarence. He's in law school. Just FYI. Luckily most people in Kongo now know that I'm "married" and they always ask me about my husband when I see them. Hehe. Getting all these marraige proposals has allowed me to let go a little too though, and I am constantly thinking of new, passive-aggressive, bitchy, funny, sarcastic things to say in response (although in Ghana, they definitely do NOT pick up on my funny, sarcastic, bitchy, passive-aggressive personality). So mostly I come up with all these responses just to amuse myself.
Ghanaian male: I want to marry you.
Me: Yes, I know, you and every other man in Ghana.
Me: Oh, I'm sorry, you are number 1,031 on the list. You will have to fight a lot of men to get me.
Me: Sorry, I have a husband. ("Mama tari sira, gaafara")
Ghanaian male: Where is he?
Me: In America.
Ghanaian male: Oh, but you need a Ghanaian husband.
Me: Ok, so you will be ok with being husband #2?
Ghanaian male: No, I will be husband #1.
Me: That's not possible, my husband got here first, so you will just have to be #2.
Me: Oh, you will only give my husband 4 cows for me? I'm sorry, I need 30 cows. I'm not cheap. (In my head: If you have the nerve to "buy" me from my "husband," I need a whole freakin' farm of cows.)
Me: I will not and do not want to marry you. And I don't think my husband would appreciate that you won't leave me alone.
Me: You will have to talk to my husband first.
Me: You asked me to marry you the last time I saw you. What makes you think my answer will be any different this time?
Me: Do you already have a wife?
(Just about every time I ask this, the guy says "no," and probably 90% they are lying. Usually they have a wife AND children.)
And my latest response:
Me: If you really want to be my husband in America, you will have to cook for me, clean for me and take care of the children.
Ghanaian male: What will you do?
Me: I will go to work, bring home food and bring home the money.
Ghanaian male: (after thinking for a few seconds) OK.
(I will definitely need to see this to believe this. And if I ever did see it, it would take me a few minutes to process. I was actually a little surprised that he even said OK.)
Some new material I'm working on:
Me: How many wives do you already have?
(If they tell the truth, and admit they have more than one, I'm going to tell them they're being greedy. And I'll also tell them that I have to be the ONLY one, there can't be any other women.)
Me: So if we did ever get married, would you just continue to ask every other woman to marry you?
Me: How are you any different/more special than any other Ghanaian that's asked me to marry you?
Me: Why should I marry you?
Me: You would not like the food I cook.
And there will be many more one-liners to come...