If my husband’s female relatives had been the ones to choose his wife, I’d have been screwed. I’m what you call a deadbeat makoti. In the words of Cardi B, “I don’t cook, I don’t clean…” should the men be left to pick their wives using their genitals?

Have you seen that viral TikTok sound about men illustrating their wives’ shortfalls and the audio says, “I was thinking with my dick?” Truth is, some of the wives our male relatives picked don’t make sense. There’s that one Zimbabwean song that’s basically about a guy explaining to his family that his wife doesn’t look like she’s good at anything but there are things she is good at. I suspect it’s private bedroom tricks. Problem is, the family can’t all benefit from makoti’s bedroom tricks.

By benefit I mean exploit, obviously. I was once taken to a Tete’s house who jokingly threatened me to return and make sadza and she hasn’t seen me since. I suck at making sadza. Let’s spare the mealie-meal the torture. My point is, female in-laws can work you like a mule. My ‘pereka’ experience was gentle. I barely did anything. I have heard horror stories where ladies went to ‘pereka’ and had to wash piles of blankets until their manicures from the wedding fell off. Could never be me.

ExQ in his song, ‘Nzenza,’ basically says leave the woman I chose alone. I live and breathe for that woman whom you deem a ‘Nzenza.’ A ‘Nzenza’ is a Shona term for a woman who isn’t ‘wife material’ basically.  Who gets to decide what wife material is? The perfect ‘wife material’ trope is toxic. People are different. If in fashion, we have different preferences, why would ‘wife material’ be a one-size-fits-all? Surely the person to wear it should be the one to decide what suits them best.

However, men, if you decide to pick a deadbeat makoti, see it through without complaining or murmuring. You knew going in her strengths and weaknesses. You can’t decide 4 kids later that you want out because she is messy and doesn’t bath the kids. When you are picking a wife, you are picking the mother of your kids. Who also can’t enjoy how awesome she is in bed. I know a group of brothers who all married light skinned women. Never mind what’s love got to do with it, what’s complexion got to do with it? The fact that you married a ‘yellow boned slay queen’ won’t save you when she can’t assist the kids with their homework. The woman you choose gets to raise your next generation and that’s a big deal. This woman will be part of the family, her DNA is in the next generation of this family.

A makoti is an addition to the family. She doesn’t just live with you. We have to see her at family gatherings and knowing the Zimbabwean economy, she will probably live with us. Everyone has a part to play. Believe it or not, it’s your role to be the middle man between the family and your wife. You have brought these two worlds together now it’s your job to merge them seamlessly. Even when you start a new job, you have on-boarding to learn about the organisation and its culture. If you don’t induct your wife into your family, you’ll have to pick one or the other while the family feuds. As much I think men should pick who they want to be with, I draw the line at your wives handing us babies that stink of urine and sour milk.

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I will not be holding dirty babies. ‘Wife material’ is subjective but hygiene is not. Rather let me say, the standard of hygiene is subjective but hygiene isn’t. Everyone should be clean, men or women. My aunt doesn’t like dishes sitting clean on the rack. I don’t like wiping down dishes with suspicious dish cloths. Notice that in both instances we are discussing clean dishes. We see things differently. In my aunt’s house, I live by her rules. In my house, I will do as I please. What’s also important to note is that my aunt told me her rules gently and didn’t shame me for having different ways of doing things. Gossiping about the makoti’s shortcomings without telling her is vile.

Men don’t do chores growing up. This made them believe that some fairy magically makes things happen. They assume that every woman can keep a clean house like their mothers did. And because we aren’t allowed to live together before marriage, we don’t know how hygienic someone is until they live with us. When husbands defend their wives it’s not because they were bewitched or love-potioned. It’s because your criteria for a good wife doesn’t match theirs. I am not domesticated but I have a pretty good head for business. We can afford to live on takeouts cause I know how to go and get a bag, don’t I? In the words of E-40 in IDFWU his friends will tell you that, “I’m a b*tch who can’t do sh*t… but make a nigga hella rich!”

As closing arguments, men, you know how in John Wick Parabellum, “if you want peace, you need to prepare for war.” It’s the same in marriage. If you want peace you need cash to be able to afford it. If your wife can’t cook, hire caterers. If she can’t clean, hire helpers. She hasn’t a maternal bone in her body, hire nannies. The more money you have, the more she is exempted from dog work at family gatherings. Have money to move away from your parents’ house. A house can’t have two heads, you and your father. You’re setting your wife up for failure. The good book says, “For this reason a man shall LEAVE his parents.” So LEAVE!

PS: Remember that blog post I wrote about a guy who married a domesticated, ‘wife material’ home body who cleaned and bore children but he couldn’t take her to cocktails and stuff for work and wanted me instead? Anyways, read it here.