I wear a chain. And for some reason this has marked me out as a sort of deviant. Not just in church but also at home. I guess my mom has given up the idea of trying to convert me from the morally unacceptable practice. I’ve had the item for a little more than a year and have been without it only a couple of times. At church, where in a distant time I’ve given my life’s blood to, the staunch believers don’t approve of the chain. The more vocal of them express their views outrightly, while the others merely fix me with glances of utter disdain when I happen to pass by. To say the least I’m extremely depressed about it. People I have referred to as uncle, or aunty since before I was a teenager have now become my most avid persecutors. One, in fact, who my mom insists we should address as mommy (ugh!) grabbed me from behind with a well executed lunge and pinned me to the walls of the church a few Sundays ago.
“Never let me see you put this on, ever!” she hissed at me with stern eyes. I whimpered an affirmative answer, trying to prise myself from her grip.
“Take it off soon as you get home and when you get married give it to your wife.” This time she snarled and I could see the words curling out of her mouth dripping with menace. Marriage, for me, might be a while down the road, seeing as I have no fiancée now, and the only girl I’m ready to give my heart to is thousands of miles away in some other country. Besides that she’s currently in a much publicized liaison with former (?) rapper Jay Z so I’m kinda waiting for her to come back to her senses…
But I didn’t enlighten her on these plans. I just shuddered and nodded my head miserably like a sickened puppy. This tactic must have worked for at that moment she let go of me. I almost collapsed to the ground. She put on her beatific smile, the one she used to charm her way into an early Deaconnesship and sauntered off.
Now you might ask me, isn’t it easier to just discard the chain? Why would I subject myself to such killer moves more suited for the WWE just because of a little piece of jewelry? The object, I should add, is not only inexpensive; it’s also easily and widely available. So why do I still use it?
But as a matter of principle I leave it on. It’s mine. I got it legally. It’s not ostentatious. It’s pretty, small and barely visible. I forget it’s there sometimes. It’s comfortable to use. I haven’t got to take it off because I want to take a bath or anything like that, and it’s shown no sign of tarnish. Simply, I don’t see any reason to take it off.
Now I asked my mom why she was so averse to my adornment.
“Only women put on jewelry” she replied.
I pointed out that rings and some wrist watches were jewelry. I also pointed out that her statement was semantically incorrect because I had seen a number of men with jewelry including, obviously, yours truly.
She sniffed. Once. “Only women should wear jewelry” she said.
I asked, in the most unassuming way possible why.
She looked at me like I had just laid an egg. She began in her most preachy tone.
“When men begin to assume the characteristics of women. Indeed when they begin using the clothing of women for themselves, it’s the beginning of perversion and the end of everything. Indeed every destruction in the Bible – Nineveh, Sodom and Gomorrah, the Tower of Babel and the Flood were occasioned by man’s increasing perversity and desire to change the normal order of things.”
I mulled over this for a while wondering how my little innocent chain would be the cause of the next life threatening catastrophe. It didn’t seem to add up. And the argument seemed ambitious, somewhat.
I pointed out, politely, that she had strayed somewhat off point as she didn’t address the issue at hand. It was at this point she got upset and sent me off on some flimsy errand.
It has become rather difficult, I have found to hold a proper conversation without distracting somebody.
“Is that a chain?” a team leader in my church asked one morning while we were discussing how the plans for the new library were going. I had noticed her staring at a space beneath my throat, trying to get a glimpse of it.
No it’s just a little space in my skin which has distinctive silver tinge and happens to glint when it catches light. Of course it’s a chain you ******!
I managed a weary “yes”.
She avoided my eyes the rest of the meeting and my entire person the rest of the morning.
I’m now hardened and used to prejudices like that.
The upside of having a chain is, in a gathering (not my church, obviously), people tend to see you as urbane, possibly rich and full of interesting ideas. And then girls think you a Casanova, which is ok with me. I’m absolutely thrilled by the prospect of being considered a playboy and have tried to live up to the reputation. I got a pair of ray bans, D Banj style, and have taken to sitting in bars and scanning the surroundings. There usually is some drunk giggly chick who notices me and we begin to make eye contact (I have to take off my ray bans for this activity though I keep them conspicuously displayed on the bar top) my pickup lines don’t seem to have the desired effect though:
“You wanna have dinner? I’ll be dessert”
“Hi, I’ve lost my phone number. Could I have yours?”
Usually they are dragged off by their irritated partners or just move on to meet another (this time a genuine) playboy.
The best thing about my chain though, is the permanence of it. I like that fact of it – a permanent piece of jewelry requiring low or no maintenance and which, if I may say so myself, really does go well with all of my outfits. and the spirit of it - strong, dainty, shiny and pretty.