These days we hear about older women, especially celebrities or women of means, pairing up with younger men. The attitude is that it’s chic, modern, and a newthing. I just smile when I hear that attitude being either articulated or implied. That’s because my head is full of stories by my godmother, Liliane, who was born in the Continent of West Africa, the Country of Guinea, and the Province of Kankan.
[Images from Wikipedia.org ©Wikipedia]
Liliane’s parents were missionaries, living in West Africa. Her mother died when Liliane was young, of “black water fever” or malaria. So it was Liliane and her father who traveled from West Africa to France, and back to West Africa. She learned to speak French at a young age, which was good because both France and West Africa were French-speaking countries.
Guinea was created as a colony by France in 1890 with Noël Balley as the first governor. The capital Conakry was founded on Tombo Island in the same year. In 1895 the country was incorporated into French West Africa.
On 28 September 1958, under the direction of Charles de Gaulle, Metropolitan France held a referendum on a new constitution and the creation of the Fifth Republic. The colonies, except Algeria, which was legally a direct part of France, were given the choice between immediate independence or retaining their colonial status. All colonies except Guinea opted for the latter. Thus, Guinea became the first French African colony to gain independence, at the cost of the immediate cessation of all French assistance.
But Liliane lived in Kankan, and then Nigeria, during the 1930’s when there were basically three tribes. At that time, West Africa was a matriarchal society, ruled by women. It was women who had the “stuff” (property), made the decisions, and did all of the work. The responsibility of men was basically to father new children. (It reminds me that a similar hierarchy exists in every Lion’s Den: females bear cubs, hunt for food, and boss around the Lion. His job is basically to scare off intruders with his loud roar!)
A young man’s first wife was always an older woman with property who would teach him how to be a husband. Then, when the older woman passed, the young man would take his inheritance from her and find himself a younger girl to wed. Some of these marriages were arranged and had little to do with romance, but more to do with dowry paid by the older woman. It didn’t mean younger men didn’t have activity outside the marriage, or that the older women were monogamous, either.
So now, seventy-five years later, we see American women of means going for those young men and gloating over this new, modern, trend.It is not a new thing, by any stretch of the imagination. Solomon said it well in Ecclesiastes 1:9 (niv) What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
So go on with your delusions, older women! You are only reverting back to West African traditions as you prance around with your young studs! You’re moving backwards, not forward!
(c) 2009 April Lorier