A virtuous vocation
There are real tensions in Jamaican society between strict Christian dogma and life's realities.
Take, for example, adultery. Christianity teaches against it. Other faiths have cured the adultery vs reality dilemma with polygamy. After all, if the other woman is also wife, it isn't adultery. Christianity prefers to pretend two adulterous realities don't exist.
The first reality is that adultery happens. Repeatedly. No matter how often threats of fire and brimstone are made; how many commands to fear a God (who asks us only to love) are issued; or how many alms or confessions are offered, adultery will keep on keeping on.
My friends all ask me
if I know the real you.
I say, yes, I know my man
and all about his other woman.
So, to me, that's nothing new
They say, please, don't get offended.
They're only trying to help me
so I won't mess up my life
But they don't know,
to the other woman,
I'm the other woman
and other woman is his wife.
The second reality the Church won't acknowledge is that, in Jamaica, voluntary man-sharing is endemic. Undereducated women do it because they understand man's true nature, so KNOW monogamy is a fool's expectation. They only insist they're respectfully treated.
sharing a necessity
Female tertiary graduates triple male counterparts so, for them, sharing is necessity. Remember 'necessity'? It knows no law. An educated woman committing adultery with a married man rationalises that unlike the wife, it's her choice to share her man with another woman. As I keep saying, in this life, nothing is as it appears. In that context, knowing where you stand is a huge advantage. Contrary to one obsolete proverb, it's the unknown that rises up and bites you in the autoimmune system.
Everybody calls me stupid
for playing second fiddle.
At least I know I'm number two
But all you so-called friends,
with your supposedly single men,
tell me, what number are you?
If there's any backstabbing being done,
I'm the guilty one.
She has no reason for the knife.
'Cause, to the other woman,
I'm the other woman
and other woman, she's his wife.
Unlike the Church, educated women understand society. They reject loneliness, unhappiness or self-denial as salvation. When prospecting for soulmates, they don't restrict themselves to endangered species like single men. Why should they? Why should women feel guilty for accepting reality and seeking comfort and happiness wherever possible?
I'm gonna try and keep this man
in every way I can
'cause he means the world to me.
Yes, he does.
Relationships built on love, respect and dignity can't be wrong. Other women, voluntarily entering this virtuous vocation to fulfil basic societal needs, ought only accept their role and responsibilities as Number Two, and defer to Number One.
But I won't be his degradation
and come between his obligations
to his wife and family, oh, no.
'Cause one day the door will close
I won't see him anymore.
But like old folks say,
To him, I'll just've been another
and the other woman
will always be his wife.
Yes, she will.
In 1970, Doris Duke's (the black soul singer, NOT the white heiress) album, I'm a Loser, for producer Jerry 'Swamp Dog' Williams Jr, was a huge success. The first single, To the Other Woman, co-written by Williams, made Billboard's R&B chart's top ten. Doris' tribute to conscientious 'other women' affirmed their role in the cosmic order differed from church hype.
Sometimes, this adultery thingy can get out of hand as in the following ancient, apocryphal tale about a respectable lady who asked her pharmacist for some cyanide.
"Why d'you need cyanide?" asked the pharmacist.
"To poison my husband."
The pharmacist became agitated: "Good God, I can't give you cyanide to kill your husband! I'll lose my licence! They'll throw us in jail! Absolutely not! You CANNOT have any cyanide!"
The lady pulled from her purse a photo of her husband in bed with the pharmacist's wife. The pharmacist looked at the photo and admonished, "Why didn't you say you had a prescription?"
It's time churches recognise 21st century realities. Entirely for commercial purposes, churches want to restrict man-woman relationships to church-sanctioned marriages between church members in church. This is cruelty to modern women whose choices are already limited by many men's irresponsibility or lack of ambition. Not every wife is as lucky (or skilful) as Old BC, who's been able to keep one man in solitary confinement for decades.
Peace and love.
- Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.