'Wives are a burden and ugly ones make matters worse'

A dull taxi journey was enlivened by an unexpected joker who was vocal about his view of women.

A dull taxi journey was enlivened by an unexpected joker who was vocal about his view of women.

It was extremely hot last Friday and the taxi was late. We had to go to the alternative stop after our regular taxi failed to show up.

We were hot, irritable, uncomfortable and had short fuses. No one spoke in the taxi. When a passenger joined us, the people who bothered to answer his greeting did so in unintelligible grunts

I was lost in thoughts about my empty bank account and had a serious case of the January blues. I do not know how the conversation started, it was only when I heard loud guffaws that I tuned in.

Two men in their 30s were discussing women and marriage. The philosopher said he was not ready to marry because a wife would deplete his bank balance. He said he knew of seasoned men who were reduced to amoebas after marriage. Wives owned husbands' wallets but did not share their money. He said he did not see any advantage in supporting a healthy woman who could easily find a job.

He then claimed that Nelson Mandela had done a disservice to men by emancipating women because he did not extend the same rights to men. Men were bound to look after women whereas there was no reciprocal duty for the wives.

The philosopher's story then took a jump. He told his giggling friend that he should not marry an ugly woman because they were first-class nags. They would not stop cheeking their men until they physically shut them up. Even then, he said, ugly women did not care because they were so horrible physically that the physical abuse did not show.

He said apart from the obvious disadvantage of marrying an ugly woman, the husband was constantly humiliated by his family's treatment of his wife. Relatives would look at the man, look disbelievingly at the wife, and then sigh audibly.

He said an ugly woman was ostracised by the family and her opinion was disregarded by others. He then claimed that ugly women would be found cooking at the outdoor fire and tending the driepoot pots when the family had umsebenzi of any kind. They were covered in soot and their faces were burnt by the fire. But because they were ugly, people felt it was a fitting job for them.

Their beautiful counterparts, on the other hand, were chosen to make salads and puddings. They smelt nice at the end of a party or funeral. They wore lovely clothes and their nails were beautifully manicured. They mixed with the guests while the uglies were confined to the driepoots outside. They would be busy scouring the pots while their pretty sisters impressed guests and the in-laws, he said.