Rebuilding Foundations

An exploration of international development work in Africa


“This country is ridiculous!”

How often does that thought go through my head?

The statement is frequently caused because a man has inquired about my marital status.  I’m single and no, I don’t want to have a discussion about it!

The following is a typical conversation I may have any given day.  This one, however, happened to my friend at the gym:

Man: “Are you married.”
Friend: “No, but I have a boyfriend.”
Man: “But you’re not married?”
Friend: “We’re pretty serious.  We’re planning on getting married.”
Man: “Oh… you’re so lucky to have found your special someone.  I haven’t found anyone yet.  I thought you might be her.”


I can’t help but laugh when men yell “Marry me!” in the street.  Do they honestly think that’ll work?  Do I look that stupid/gullible?

What I don’t find so amusing, however, is when men in authority positions hit on me.  For example, last month I flew to Zambia and to leave South Africa (regardless of where you’re going), you have to go through Passport Control.

It was 9:30am Saturday morning and I was brutally sleep-deprived and hung over.  I handed my passport to the official and smiled, “Good morning.” 

He opened it up and looked at it with a serious expression, then said, “Where’s your main man?”

I had no idea what he’d just asked. “Pardon?”

“Where’s your main man?”

I must have heard wrong through the accent.  “Pardon?”

“Where’s your main man?”

“Did you ask me where my main man is?”


I was stunned.  He was holding my passport and theoretically could stop me from flying to Zambia.  Was I obliged to be polite to him?

“I don’t have a main man.”

“No husband?”


“Not even a boyfriend?”

At this point I burst out laughing.  The whole situation was too ridiculous.  “Thanks for reminding me so early in the morning!”

“Could you consider my CV?”

“WHAT?”  I thought to myself, He can’t actually be hitting on me, can he? That’s so unprofessional.  But, once again, I felt like I needed to be polite until he approved my passport.

I smiled and changed the topic to ask him about himself.  When he finally handed my passport back to me he said, “Don’t you want my CV?”

“No thanks,” I said as I speed-walked away.

See?  See how ridiculous this country can be?  And these were only two stories.  I have way more I could include.

When I went home for Christmas, I decided to change my tactic.  From now on, if anyone asks me where my main man is, the answer will be along the lines of “He’s waiting for me at [wherever I’m heading].  He had to go early to pick up a new gun for his weapon collection.  I better not be late because he’s crazy jealous and worries easily.”

I even brought back an engagement ring to wear!  I’d considered doing this in Canada in the past – even back home people don’t seem to believe I’m single by choice.  But I was afraid it would only filter out the nice guys from the creepers and leave me with the creepers.

Here, however, I’ll do anything to decrease male attention.  Even be a little bit ridiculous myself!


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One thought on “Eligibility

  1. Hahahaha!!! This is hilarious 😀

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