…Of Women, Music and Feminists…

I hate that my ship remains docked; therefore leaving me compelled to live in a complex. Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite grateful for my little house; well, my bedroom really: let’s not exaggerate the extent of my rather shy of 60 square metres abode… Nevertheless, I have to admit that the Universe really threw me a solid with that abode; considering the way which I eat the very miserable money which I have (quite actually, eat) it should have been a firm ‘no’ from the bank.

I am grateful.

But between you and me, and I am whispering here, so that the Universe does not hear: I hate living in a complex. And what I hate the most about it is being privy to other people’s affairs …You can’t help it: the walls are thin, the driveways common and the parking bays rather intimate…consequently, you hear and see all sorts of things; from devil-possessed kids who wail through the night, trying to exorcise themselves of demons (one hopes) to young ladies taking ‘the walk of shame’, on rainy Saturday mornings…to intimate lovers’ conversations…and trust you me, my neighbours are lovers, loving plenty – both in manner and quantity.
There is, therefore, no scarcity of such conversations.
This morning, waking up to cheat the weather and sneak in a jog, I overheard one loving, lovers’ conversation: “Love, your bath water is ready” said one young lady, not sounding anything like the one I had heard a few nights ago… but of course, it may very well be that the tone and circumstance were different, a few nights ago…
“Thanks, love” I heard the young man reply.

Bath water…? Ready…?

Why did this (seemingly) nice young lady have to prepare this able-bodied young man’s bath? I mean, he isn’t old, he isn’t lame … In fact, he is younger than I am … and I am not all that old, I was in fact born in the year which the likes of George Orwell could only imagine… Just where did this young lady get the idea that she ought to be waking up, in houses she did not live in, to run water she wasn’t to bathe in? I wondered. Just what was going on, upstairs? I wondered further, now intrigued…

I was intrigued because somehow the scenario seemed quite familiar…but familiar in a way which I could not quite… grasp… like a borrowed déjá vu …

…A hazy one, too…

Just where had I heard that before? Where had I heard that line, that notion, that concept, before….? This question plagued my ‘it’s not yet 7 and I’m fragile’ brain, for most of the jog… but then the brain recovered, and it hit me; right in the middle of my negotiation of that aspirant North Road – Rivonia Road intersection traffic, it hit me:

Let me help you take off your shoes
Untie your shoe strings
Take off your cufflinks
Do you wanna eat, boo? Let me feed you
Let me run your bath water, whatever you desire, I’ll aspire.

Destiny’s Child! That’s who I had heard it from.

Is that who was inspiring this notion of bath water? Is that who was telling this young lady to cripple-by-deeds this young, abled, man? And for what; what was she running this water, for? So that she may live to be loved another night? Or did the ‘Cater 2 you’ teachings promise more than a night? Did the teachings promise diamonds and “we are so happy and so in love” conversations, with the left hand gesturing more than necessary and dazzling its audience with its (blood) diamond embellishment?

Feed and bathe … Is that what young ladies have to do, to be loved, to be cherished; to be iced? And what happens to those young ladies who do not: take off cufflinks; who cannot cook and feed every evening? What happens to the young ladies who dare demand a sharing of household duties/chores? Where do they go to get iced? Where do they go to find partners; to find equals?
Where do they go, in this…Man’s world? It is a man’s world, isn’t it?

Well, it must be; because for all the waves, strides and endeavours of feminism and feminists; for all the bras burned; lips gone with neither colour nor gloss; for all the audacious: ‘we want equality’ cries; for all the heels clucking stomping their way through boardroom barricades, James Brown’s 1966’s bellowing: ‘This is a man’s world’ remains echoed and supported… as the young lady, upstairs runs bath water; while Gladys Knight whines: ‘I would rather live in his world than living in mine without him.’

Perhaps only lesbians can be true feminists.

Writer: Nomfundo Shezi     Photographer: Jeff Rikhotso