Have things changed? Almost 20 years ago, the following exchange appeared in The Herald, in Zimbabwe’s capital city, Harare. In it, wives and girlfriends archly and creatively developed the metaphor that men are dogs, each group making special claims to the affection and loyalty of married men.
Using a different metaphor, then Vice President of Zimbabwe, Joice Mujuru, had this to say about her recently deceased husband: "If you have a bull in your kraal [corral], you cannot instruct it which cow to service or which not to service." See the story here.
I have edited the letters from The Herald for brevity: these are their words.
Understanding Girlfriend 1: It is so sad that you so-called married women claim that your husbands are snatched away from you by girlfriends. … Didn’t your aunts advise you that keeping quiet is the best solution?…. Have you ever asked yourself why [your husband has a girlfriend]? If you do not feed dogs, they will definitely go and look for food somewhere else.
Loyal Wife 1: What amazing pets dogs are! They are loyal, obedient, loving, responsible and to some extent, submissive and ravenous. But no matter how well you feed dogs they will still go and scrounge in the rubbish bins. It’s in their nature.
Understanding Girlfriend 2: A dog is a dog no matter the breed or pedigree and it is a proven fact that these apparently loyal dogs have been known to breed with all sorts that tickle their fancy.
Loyal Wife 2: Our husbands pass you by like service stations. You are not there to stay. … The reason they go to girlfriends is maybe to run away from solving problems at home. But they come back anyway…. They keep you in the dark corners where you belong (as pretty as you are) while he takes me to meet important members of his family to which he does not take you…. Where is Monica today? Hillary and Bill Clinton are still together.
Loyal Wife 3: To be proud to be a mistress shows that you were not brought up properly by your parents. They have the same loose morals as you…. Our aunts are enlightened. They are aware of the dangers of promiscuity. Your aunt has a great deal to do.… It is people like you spreading AIDS and breaking up families.
Bitter Wife: You should fix your husband by going after his money or his pride. Spend his money so that he has nothing left to spend on girlfriends or give him a taste of his own medicine and see how he enjoys having a competitor. Do not be soft on these men.
Happy Ex-Wife: I am glad that married women publicly admitted that they stayed with dogs, their husbands. That is why I never want to own one again after having tried every trick for 15 years. Most women stay in those bitter marriages for the letters MRS and the fear of society.… Leave him and get on with your life if he is not worth it. Using protection and feeding just one stray dog in a while is no big deal. Left the dog to protect myself.