By Halima Nampiima
A man falls in love through his eyes, a woman through her ears, goes a saying. If true, how safe is it to have a long-legged house-help, with beautiful eyes, silky skin and ample behind, bending over to scrub the floor, do the laundry and occasionally serve your husband dinner when the workload at your place of work dictates that you leave late?
About a month back, I paid my long-time friend, Alice, a resident of Kabojja, a visit. After three helpings to her cold tasty cocktail of home-made fruit juice as we talked about the old times, I had to use the bathroom.
As I walked towards the bathroom, I came across an elderly woman, dressed in a gomesi with a shabby head gear, carrying an over-flowing laundry basket. She had a wrinkled face and as she hurriedly knelt down to greet me, I could not help, but notice her dark, brownish heavily-stained protruding front teeth.
I later asked Alice what her mother-in-law was doing around, only for her to tell me it was her house-help. Shocked, I asked how such a frail woman could handle all the housework, to which she responded: “I have a son and a husband to keep to myself.”
With a look, as if pitying my naivety, she continued: “I do not hire beautiful housemaids because I do not want to regret that decision.”
It was more like a do not trouble trouble before trouble troubles you, kind of strategy.
Similarly, Annet Nandujja, a senga, vehemently warns that a wife should never lead her husband into temptation by hiring an attractive househelp.
“It’s like placing ghee next to fire. It will definitely melt,” says Nandujja.
Women are usually referred to as the weaker sex, but when it comes to temptation, Nandujja says tables turn.
“Hiring a beautiful housemaid is akin to befriending the devil and welcoming him into your house!” she adds.
Nandujja equates men to eagles, always on the lookout for prey, and adds that numerous stories have been told of men who bed their wives’ sisters right under their noses.
“So, how about a beautiful housegirl, who is not even your relative? Nothing will stop him.”
She adds that when a house-help has a full African figure, which a wife may not have, her husband will be tempted to cheat.
She adds that today, some women are too trusting, but no man can ever be trusted to the extent of hiring an attractive house-help.
Nandujja notes that even when a housemaid is not so attractive, the way a wife treats her may draw sympathy from the husband, resulting into an affair.
“Some women treat these girls so badly that their husbands start feeling sympathetic,” she says.
She also warns that women who neglect their duties, such as serving their husbands meals and making their beds, risk losing them to the house-helps, attractive or not.
“Throw all your responsibility to the maid who will show a lot of care and concern. Eventually, the man finally notices her,” she warns.
Nandujja says many naive women spoil their marriages unintentionally. Hence they should learn the art of handling maids.
“Treat the housemaid, attractive or not, as if they were your own daughter or sister. Befriend them so that if the man tries to go behind your back, they can confide in you.”
On the contrary, Damalie Nantongo, a counsellor and employee of Kitala Secondary School in Entebbe, says every wife is fully aware of her husband’s character and what he is capable of.
“If he is the cheating type, steer clear of attractive housemaids. But if your husband has self-control, you have nothing to worry about,” Nantongo explains.
She says it does not matter whether the housemaid is beautiful or not, because even ugly maids have been found in bed with their employers’ husbands.
“What matters is how you train the housemaid. Let her know her boundaries, teach them how to respect you and behave. Do not lay fertile ground for them to take over your husband. For example, they should never enter your bedroom,” she warns.
She advises that wives should closely monitor their maids, attractive or not, for signs of interest in their husbands.
It’s like putting ghee next to fire, women say
The men of this generation consider beauty as a major yardstick in a relationship. Therefore, I cannot hire a house-help, who is more attractive than I am. Most men lack self-control and that would be a great risk to my marriage.
Although we are told to trust our partners, I cannot hire an attractive house-help. It is like putting fire near ghee. I would always be insecure.
That is out. Men are never satisfied with what they have. However beautiful his wife, he will cheat. It is better to hire a maid who is not comparable to me when it comes to beauty. I do not want a competitor in my home, he would rather cheat elsewhere than right under my nose.
I do not mind an attractive housemaid for my home. She must be presentable and appealing before my visitors. Some women fear attractive house-helps, but if a man intends to cheat, he will do so even with an ugly one.
What do men say?
I would not mind my wife hiring a beautiful housemaid because we need a presentable person for our visitors. But I would also consider other aspects such as good manners.
I cannot allow my wife to hire a beautiful housemaid. We men are generally weak. I do not want to be tempted. A housemaid’s beauty might become a source of disputes in our home.
A beautiful maid is so tempting. With an ugly housemaid, it will be easy for me to have her around since I will not develop any feelings for her.