Behind every great woman, a man? Part III

It is often said that “behind every great man is a woman”, but is the reverse true? In the third of a three part series, successful Betty deals with her loser Teddy… But can Teddy still claim some credit for Betty’s success?
Behind every great woman, a man? Part III
This is the Part 3 of ‘Behind every great woman, a man?’.
Click here to view Part 1.
Click here to view Part 2

While Betty busied herself preparing for their baby, her boyfriend Teddy worked on other plans…

As soon as baby number one was weaned, Teddy would knock Betty up again. The idea was to keep her barefoot and pregnant, but not so much so that she would lose her job – since, you see, he liked the arrangement they had. She would bring home the bacon, fry it up and serve it, and he would gladly eat it, ask for a second helping, and relax on the couch, replete. All he had to do was play daddy to the kids, and act like the man of the house, and Betty would be so busy tending to her family that her corporate ambition would shrivel up and die.

All he had to do was play daddy to the kids and act like the man of the house

We all know how it goes. The best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray. Teddy had hugely misjudged his lady. He had not bargained for the fact that having a baby would be the turbo in her engine. (I probably said that wrong. I know next to nothing about cars. Oh well.)

Flushed with the glow of her new motherhood, Betty realised two things: 1) she loved this little human being with a ferocity that scared her and she would move mountains to give him a better life, and 2) Teddy was never going to change. The baby had arrived, his carousing had not stopped. He did not know what the inside of a dirty diaper looked like. He would awkwardly hold his son (a little like a rugby ball) and as soon as he began to cry, he would thrust him back at his mother, his face the picture of distaste. He did NOT do crying babies, thank you very much.

So as soon as she was able to find a decent nanny and go back to work, Betty packed up her life and left Teddy. Away from his toxic influence, she blossomed. Fired by her need to give her baby everything under the sun and then some, she began her meteoric rise to the upper echelons of the corporate world.
Former Malawian President Joyce Banda. Photo: Georgetown University
Teddy could NOT believe it. His poor downtrodden Betty had grown a backbone and was actually making it without him! Meanwhile, he was still a deadbeat. The only progress he was making was through various bedrooms in the city. The only ladders he was climbing were the stairs leading to downtown bars. The only class ceiling he had ever come close to breaking was the one at his favourite strip club that one time he was thrown out for getting too frisky with the, um, talent. The fact that he was a bit of a loser became rather apparent to his friends, who had not realised it before because he basked in the reflected glory of his girlfriend, and they all began to look at him askance. He began to sense that his social standing was beginning to slip, so he did the only thing he could think of to do.

He took credit for everything.

Yes. It is because of him that she was where she was today. Didn’t he introduce her to his drinking buddy who happened to help her seal the largest deal of her career? Didn’t he stay at home to watch the baby as she was off playing the corporate powerhouse? Didn’t he give up more than one opportunity so that she could have it? Didn’t he take a loan to help her pay for her fast car? (Never mind that that was three cars ago, and that he wrote it off while driving home so drunk he had difficulty seeing farther than his nose.)
Photo: Arakadin
So I ask you. In this case, did he build her? Is he responsible for her success? Would she be nothing without him?

I know this story is a little extreme. But every successful and driven woman I know has at least one horror boyfriend in her past. They range from the utterly lazy loser whose only contribution to the household was carbon dioxide as he breathed out, to the narcissist who would tear his woman apart emotionally until she was a snivelling shadow of her former self, to the out-and-out emotionally and physically abusive man who left his woman with more issues than the Reader’s Digest. And the funny thing is, more than one of these upstanding gentlemen has been heard proclaiming to anyone that will listen that the success of these women is entirely because of them. Coincidence? I think not.

I could get all feminist about this and jump up and down, saying that it is preposterous for anyone to entertain the notion that a woman cannot achieve anything without the help of a man. Or I could say that our Facebook philosopher is right. If it were not for these men, then these ladies would be nowhere. Recovering from a relationship with the spawn of Satan will spur a woman on.

You decide.

This article was first published by Love Matters (Kenya), and is republished here with their permission.
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