She had invited four other friends, so the six of us gathered at the appointed time. We spoke about men that we wanted but were out of our lives or we could never have. Some drank tea while others sipped lemon water but we all stayed away from the enticing plate of Hobnobs because one group was monitoring sugar levels while the other was counting calories.
We all knew there was a reason why the hostess had invited us. There had to be a juicy story lurking somewhere in her crazy head. And eventually it all came out in a torrent.
She had been asked by family to host her 27-year-old niece’s lobola negotiations over the past weekend. This had failed to happen because the groom to be was a “no show”.
The groom was coming in from Germany. People tasked with picking him up at the airport had come back empty-handed. He was not even on the flight list. There were no calls or emails explaining why he had failed to come.
The young enterprising niece had met her “future husband” on Facebook (FB). After months of a technologically enabled relationship, the man had proposed.
Our hostess showed us photographs downloaded from the man’s FB profile page. He was a smoky-eyed gorgeous hunk with dark curly hair. While we pored over the pictures, the niece in question was in one of the bedrooms nursing a broken heart.
We wanted all the dirt so we asked our hostess to invite the niece to join us. The niece came to sit with us and I am sure she was expecting some sympathy but the truth is we all just wanted to satisfy our curiosity.
It turns out the man had posted his 28-year-old son’s pictures and had lied about being 40 when he was 58. He had lost his first wife to cancer and was actually in a relationship with a woman in his home country. All this had been later revealed to the young woman, by a man claiming to be “loverboy’s” friend. The friend also supplied a photograph of the German groom.
He was bald, flabby and looked nothing like the hunk he had posted on FB. After failing to show up in Harare he had stopped responding to FB messages and a few days later closed his FB page.
The young woman was gutted. We could see she had cried throughout the whole weekend and looked like she was never going to stop. She was both hurt and ashamed.
Sadly, she is not the only naïve young woman walking the streets of Harare. Four weeks ago, another friend told me of a relative who had also gathered family for a lobola ceremony that never took off.
YET ANOTHER DOOMED FB AFFAIR
A young lady met a Nordic man on FB. After several months of kissing through their laptops, they had decided to get married. The man gave a date of his arrival. He also encouraged the young woman to shop around for a decent wedding gown — money — he claimed, was no object.
The young woman went wild. She bought a gown fit for a celebrity, booked a hall and discussed with her pastor the forthcoming nuptials. She spent all her savings and borrowed from friends and family to prepare for something that was not going to happen.
The man never turned up and his FB page was closed a week after he was supposed to have come into Zimbabwe. The young woman is being treated for depression.
Facebook thrives on creating impressions
What desperate young women do not seem to appreciate is the fact that technology allows both men and women to re-invent themselves on FB. I can post a fetching photograph of my daughter as my profile picture. I can also limit the people I want to be my friends so that I do not end up with people who actually know me.
A man who has an ulterior motive or sadistic sense of humour can go to any lengths to reel in desperate and naïve young women. On FB a man has the ability to mould himself according to the specifications of his quarry. He can present himself as handsome, intelligent, romantic and sensitive. A creative man can be anything he wants on FB.
The reason why it is so easy to hoodwink some young women is because they are gullible and also greedy. The illusion of wealthy lifestyles created by some FB men seems so real that some of these young women cannot resist taking a chance on the men.
It all boils down to what our core values have evolved into. Suddenly young men in church or at the sports club do not seem good enough. Some women want that which seems unattainable.
There are several decent young men looking for women to marry. Admittedly, not every woman is going to find a man to marry or even one for a few dates. But the reality is that there are some honest men out there but women have got to start having realistic expectations.
If you want to be rich you have to work hard. Hoping for a man to come and pluck you out of poverty will most likely end in tears. Two people who love each other can work together, set themselves goals and create their own wealth. Go out with real men and stop fantasising over FB men who may or might not even exist in the form they present themselves to you.
Just because all your friends over 25 have snagged a man does not mean you have to scratch the bottom of the barrel for whatever you can lay your hands on. Every woman deserves to be loved and to have a man but go easy on yourself. You will not be the first or last woman knocking on 30 and still waiting and hoping.
Sometimes we look so far away for love when it is staring us in the face.
By Grace Mutandwa