Tuesday, January 22, 2008

On sweethearts and babyfathers

It is probably unfair of me to pass comment on matters of life in the BVI which I only see as an outsider and on which, I am probably not qualified to speak on.  But I have never been known to keep my mouth shut, so here it goes.

There are two terms which are used frequently in the BVI, almost with careless abandon which as an outsider are strange, to say the least.

The first of these is the term “Sweetheart”.  It is used to describe the girlfriend or mistress of a man.  Men here are known to have more than one sweetheart in addition to their wife/long term partner.  It is almost a consensual relationship with the sweethearts and the wives knowing, in many cases, of each other’s presence.

There almost appears to be a status issue with the number of sweethearts a man has.  The more, the better.  If you know what I mean?  A theory that was put to me the other day by an outsider who has been here some time is that this dates back to slavery. Where the black man was not allowed to own anything or have any posessions.  So the only thing that could belong to him were women and more women he had, the higher his standing.  This may sound plausible but I find this improbable in this day and age.

Men will spend time with their sweethearts in the open, take them on holidays etc.  Wives will demand their share of the man’s time and earnings to support the children etc.

What I cannot fathom is why the women put up with this?  Let’s face it, the women here tend to be better educated, in employment and have a good head on their shoulders.  Why do they put up with these arrangements which I can only see as degrading and devalues them as humans?

If someone has an answer, then please let me know or post a comment?

(If you don’t believe me on this one check out the Dear Bella column on http://www.bvinews.com/ which almost on a daily basis has some story or another on the subject)

BTW, Sweethearts can and do have more than one man….

The second term is ‘babyfather’ this is different, as you can imagine to husband…. And is sometimes the term used to describe the output of a sweetheart relationship.  In some cases the sweethearts tire of their man being with other women and choose to get pregnant as a way of exercising some control over him.  This seldom is the case as the baby’s father has most likely already fathered other children already…. And so the cycle goes on.

I’ve only been here a few weeks so I am hoping that by the end of my time here I will understand what is behind this whole concept.

When I have time I’ll try to put something together about two other shocking terms “Non-belongers” and “Down-islanders” two terms which in any other part of the world would be so Politically Incorrect that you could be put in jail for.

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