Men Are Not Trash for Wanting To Kick their Wives out of Bed


In 2006, then-senator Barack Obama published a book entitled ‘The Audacity of Hope’, which played no minor part in his rise to the Oval Office. Considering that Obama was married, I was intrigued he hadn’t penned The Audacity of Matrimony.

A group of friends and I were recently swapping light-hearted war tales about marriage (read: a bunch of grown men bitching about their wives). The participant list in this whinge-a-thon included the happily married, married with reservations about the point of it all, remarried divorcés , happily single divorcés, divorcés busy preparing to try again, and one longtime bachelor seriously contemplating trying out marriage.

Men are trash, after all, and this is what trash does: engage in wife bashing.

After listening to all the gripes, the single fellow remarked, “You know, I’m surprised anyone ever gets married.” That seemed to bring some sanity to the conversation, and everyone started waxing lyrical about the Michelle Obamas-cum-Mary Poppinses they are married to. A surreptitious tear might even have been shed, although that could have been the gin and tonic.

What was my own contribution to this schizophrenic discussion, you ask? In my long-winded style I shared a story that seemingly had nothing to do with the topic at hand:

For the first 10 years of my life my folks could only afford a two-bedroom matchbox house. One bedroom for the adults and another for the three kids (at the time), Aunt Toby, our nanny and a female cousin living with us so she could attend high school.

The setup in our bedroom was two single beds and a baby cot for my then youngest brother, all cramped into a space barely the size of my current bathroom. This meant sharing a single bed with my elder brother, Mazwi, which cultivated in me a deep, passionate loathing for sharing a bed.

For starters, we always slept in the 69 position, head to feet. If we both slept facing the same end, there were unsavoury incidents of waking up with a puny, erect pee-pee inadvertently lodged between someone’s elbow and ribcage. As we know, homophobes are not born but bred subliminally by a society. And I submit, My Lady, that there are few things more disgusting to an apprentice homophobe than being an unwitting participant in his brother’s wet dreams.

Besides all that, facing the same direction made it quite easy for someone to bust a leak and scapegoat the innocent. No eight-year-old looks forward to the walk of shame carrying a mattress to put out in the sunny spot for the entire neighbourhood to see.

Never mind the sparring over the bed covers, leading to a martial arts fight called ukudovadovana, essentially kicking the bejesus out of one another’s gonad sacs until someone (that would be me) screamed, “Mom, he’s trying to turn me into a eunuch!”

That is my roundabout way of leading up to my biggest gripe with the 21st-century marital setup: sharing a bed with the love of my life. Just a short 60 years ago, families in the KwaZulu countryside planned their homesteads differently. What am I saying? It is still the norm in many villages. Just think Nkandla.

Instead of one palatial mansion, the president’s homestead is made up of many houses. I like this. In the words of John 14:2, “My Father’s house has many rooms …”

I have never been to the president’s Nkandla home, but I will put the family jewels on the block and say that he probably has his own house in that homestead. The way nature intended it.

Don’t misunderstand me. I love everything about spending time with the missus: the conversation, the skinnering about other couples to make ourselves feel better about our life, the jokes, the nocturnal conjugal scrums, the cuddling and the pillow talk. All of it. It’s the sleeping part that is a bit of a trial.

You see, since I was five years old I had been fantasising about the day I would get to sleep alone on a bed, in my own room. When I was 10, we got a bigger house and I got my own bed – but still shared a room. Boarding school at Inkamana meant dormitories, essentially a hostel with a nocturnal fart-a-thon and snorefest. Vast improvement on sharing a bed, still.

All I wanted was my own space to set up exactly the way I like. It therefore boggles the mind that, as soon as I got my first room at university, I spent most of my nights with a succession of young women with low enough standards to desire the exchange of bodily fluids with me. I kept on this trajectory well into my working bachelor years via a series of living-in-sin arrangements. I call this my serial monogamist phase. And then, before I knew it, I was standing in front of Father Reggie in a suit, promising to have, to hold and to risk bouts of ukudovadovana with my bride till death do us part.

My favourite sleeping position is sprawled face-down in the middle of the bed, arms spread out . Also, we have vastly different body thermostats, so the electric blanket becomes an issue. And we don’t deal with light the same way.

Dear reader, thank you for the indulgence while I shared this open letter to the missus. Keep me in your prayers so that, if anything, I never find myself at 03h41 staring at my bride thinking, “Do you absolutely have to breathe that loudly?!”

Follow the author of this article, Ndumiso Ngcobo, on Twitter: @NdumisoNgcobo