See for yourself. A beautifully sculptured woman. With legs running parallel only to the knee, hips clearly separated from the rest of the body and waist slim enough to bring out the hour glass all men want to drink from. Her skin is olive, smoother than violin. Apple cheeks, large white eyes, nose well angled to point only to the direction of the suitor’s heart, chin trimmed with measured desire. And her lips! Song of Lawino’s red-hot glowing charcoal. Priceless. If she wasn’t properly parented, she would have finished the tyres of men’s cars. What else could a loving father-in-law sire? We rather give her to your client for free than bargain on her unquantifiable beauty.
Beauty is wholly admitted. My client had seen her before. Her charm had pulled him to her. Her gorgeousness is what triggered my client’s interest. If she wasn’t exceptionally cute, we wouldn’t have been under this roof today. So let it be clear that we are not disputing her looks.
But some other things are in contention.
First, we have issues with her emotional imbalance. From the period they have been dating, my client noted her fragility. If what you are giving us is an egg – and indeed you referred to her as a glass – why should we pay the price of a durable stone?
Secondly, we are not sure of her motherliness. We submit that she is a stubborn feminist. Not that feminism is bad. No. Catherine MacKinon fought to see women contest for elective political seats. We celebrate her. Susan Antony won women the right to vote. We are proud of her good deeds. Murphy Emily started the war against domestic violence and bore us cruelty as one of the grounds of divorce. We love her. Winifred Stanley led the struggle for fair labour practice especially on equal pay for equal work done. The first wave of feminists pushed for reproductive rights and birth control. We will never forget them. But the feminists of today, you will agree with me, are only interested in my tumbo-cut my choice. Your client frequently expresses her opinion (which she is entitled to) on social media on ‘I dress as I please’ ‘Shakespeare said we ought to kill all lawyers but I think we should start with all men’. And we have produced printed screenshot version of the same. Tell me, is my client going for a war? The answer is an obvious yes. That being the case, shouldn’t he save part of the asked dowry to repair future damage?
Objection! I think you are branching into dangerous assumptions. A few corrections. This is not an academic exercise and the good old feminists may not be relevant. And by the way, is dress code not a significant cultural matter in women’s lives? I will add one more name to your long list of great feminists. Amelia Bloomer was a supporter of dress reforms and she opened window for fashion and creativity. If it were not for her, you would not be having that trouser or necklace or painted nails or even those shiny earrings. You have a reason to celebrate her.
But that is not why I interjected. I got the opportunity to peruse the social medial posts purportedly published by my client. I have a few things to put across. One, we are not sure that is her real account. There are a million Mildred Kerubos in this world. Two, in analysing her views, we must adopt the holistic approach. We noted you selectively picked perceived bad posts and left out other cases where she quoted the Bible, described the good woman in her and uploaded pictures of a modestly dressed girl. Even the poem in which she tagged your client is not in the bundle of your documents. On the issue of let’s kill all men first, the answer is as simple as putting the words in their context. Shakespeare never meant the ordinary murder. It was a piece of literature. Let’s kill all lawyers first is just a lawyer joke literary made to tame our amoral and secular views. Similarly, my client’s let’s start with men is not a death notice to the male Homo sapiens but a witty remark by a young woman who hopes to dismantle patriarchy, something your girls will be happy about. We can see she wrote it in between her opinions on the modern day African society.
May the mother of the good brain be rewarded with the money she has asked for.
But we need to be considerate. A loving parent cares about what her child will eat and not what the child gives her. School is not what the couple will eat. Without food on the table, the good looks will fade. Disinterest will set in. Silent tears will drop inwards and coalesce into a muddy pool around her heart. Disgust will attack the marriage and it will soon escalate into passionate hatred. What next? Divorce. Who wishes his daughter this? No one.
I submit that the amount you asked for is not only greatly overstated but is also a transaction that will leave the couple in abject poverty. Can’t we leave them with something small for wedding, honey moon and to start life with? My client has given all that he has; his heart, his love, his body, his respect, his time, his money and even his home. What more can a man determined to surrender his life to a woman give? What more on earth can a man who genuinely yearns to husband your daughter forgo? Even as you ask for a mountain, will you take your own child down to the anthill, especially when you still have two other younger and more beautiful daughters?
My clients are responsible parents. The reason they kept their girl unblemished. If a man gives you an innocent woman – a very deep well to draw honey from – will you not be kind enough to appreciate him not with tokens but, yes, a big mountain?
But we are not rigid. As a matter of concession, we are willing to take two-thirds of the original amount. You protest this offer, we will not engage you further. Perhaps the only sound you will hear in this room is Franco Luambo Makiadi’s Mamou: “Leave our girl alone just like Jesus was left on the cross.”
My learned senior, I don’t want to imagine the anxiety my client will suffer if we don’t finish this today.
I do not agree with you that the good lady is worth the amount quoted. Well, I do not set prices of goods but I am not ignorant of factors considered – durability, class, magnificence, make and demand. Let’s rule out demand because Mildred is not on offer. She is taken, only that she is yet to leave the market compound. Class and magnificence we agreed are not issues for determination. They are evident. Durability. This is usually addressed with the proposed groom in mind.
We all know beauty fades. Colour peels off with age. Make-ups are neglected after first birth. The well-fitting dresses will be replaced with clothes I do not want to talk about. The so called red-hot lips will become as dry as a cracked leaf. In a nutshell, the supposed beauty will not last beyond 12 months. This reduces the value of the bride. It is not the make-ups my client is purchasing.
We can compromise at half.
Earlier you said beauty is admitted. What has changed? Your client’s face? I will not address this issue.
Durability. What interferes with permanence of a good? The manufacturer or the user? If beauty fades after birth as you want us to believe, doesn’t a man participate in the birth? Will your client not be the direct cause of the deterioration in the girl’s beauty? I thought we are only allowed to scientifically argue on law and not to question biology. I submit that since your client will be the sole beneficiary and user of the good, he must be prepared to bear the brunt of any tear and wear that may result from his use of the good.
I hope you were keen enough to realize I said may and not will. Our case is that the proposed bride will retain her looks. Why I am making such a definite and authoritative conclusion? Look at her mother. 50 years of age but still a roundabout towards which eyes move before turning around and picking the exit route. I submit that a horse cannot give birth to a donkey.
Counsel, it’s already lunch time. We can adjourn for one hour.