n., literally translates to "under the skirt (saya is a traditional Filipino skirt)"
We live in a patriarchal world. If we didn't, then women wouldn't have fought for equal rights for so long.
Despite all the talk of gender equality, the elevation of the male gender has been so deeply instilled in our minds and culture that some people cannot hide their honesty.
Women still can't drive. Men still wouldn't want to ask for directions. Women are not women unless they know how to do house chores. Men are expected to be the breadwinners of the family.
As a jobless husband of an empowered woman, I've been subject to ridicule by people close to me, and even those who are not. Some people say it. Some people imply it. I don't assume. I know.
And yet, it doesn't break me down.
It's not that I am accepting reality of being an "ander de saya" but rather because of the strong relationship I built with my wife. Yes, that empowered woman I am married to.
She wasn't my dream girl, but something drew me to her; from the day that I met her, I felt that I could grow old with her. It hasn't been perfect, but such is life. We'll have different perspectives on some instances, but we eventually figure out what's best for us.
After 13 years of being together, that energy that drew me to her has not waned.
I still want to grow old with her.
Every decision that I have made with our relationship has been grounded on that.
I was constantly by her side even if she had zero interest in me when we first met, because I knew that I'll have a lasting relationship with her. We broke up and I met another woman, thinking she won't find what she was looking for if she knew I'd still be there for her. We got back together after wounds have healed. I asked her to fight for us when she wanted to break up again because I knew that if she gave up then, it would be the last of us. I didn't ask her to marry me when she asked me because I knew she would eventually feel incomplete if we did right then. I supported her decision to work overseas because I knew it would help her grow. I asked her to marry me when I knew that she was ready because I knew that was. I left my life in the Philippines because we were going to start a new one of our own.
When we had our baby boy, we had to move to a place of our own in Singapore. After moving in to our new place and getting settled in, we sat down on the couch with our baby boy sleeping on our side. We had a realization that that was going to be life; just the two of us, sitting together on a couch.
And that is why I think I made the right decision when I pursued her as soon as I met her.
This is a woman I want to grow old with. This is a woman who I could talk to about random things nobody else would care about. This is a woman who will walk hand in hand with me on the same path in life that I will tread. This is a woman who makes me proud to wear a houseband badge without a care in the world about what other people think.
People, close or not, have given their suggestions and opinions on how a man like me should act in our relationship; some with pity, some with disappointment.
However, at the end of the day, without the eyes and opinions of everyone else, what matters is what our relationship is together; how we interact when we're sitting alone on a couch.
I still firmly believe that we are not given challenges in life that we cannot overcome. I think that everything will fall into place in God's perfect time.
While I am a bit frustrated not being able to help my wife financially right now, we both think that this is probably for the best, because our baby boy is still too young to be left alone.
And for that, I'll cook and do house chores, because this is what we need at this time.
I don't feel less of a man doing what I'm doing, because women have fought for my wife to be in a position where she is in today, both in our family and in the corporate world.
While some find humor in this term and maybe even claim that those who are "ander" have no balls to be the head of the family, I daresay I have bigger balls being an "ander de saya" than those who use their balls to leave their families behind.
I am a proud "ander de saya" because of my family.
|Celebrating 13 years with this woman.|