Boyfriend said long fingernails can’t work

May 10, 2021

Dear Pastor,

I was born in Jamaica but I have spent many years in America. I got married twice but those relationships did not work very well for me. I have been coming to Jamaica every year in recent years and I fell in love with a man. Relatives and friends told me that he was a decent man and that he had a few dollars. I was not interested in the money because I can support myself.

This man has his own house. Three years ago, this man told me that I can stay with him. For the first two days he made me breakfast but after that I had to make breakfast every morning and it was like preparing dinner. This man wanted ground provisions for breakfast. Yams and bananas are his favourite. I had not peeled bananas in years but I tried to do it because I loved him. When I protested he told me that if I wanted us to get married, I had to prepare that kind of breakfast because he works very hard. I had to cook a heavy meal for him in the evening. He gave me an engagement ring and I returned it because I couldn't deal with foolishness.

What prompted me to return the ring was when he suggested that I cut my fingernails because they were too long to knead flour to make dumplings. I told him that he was going too far.

So one day after he had his big breakfast, I called one of my sisters to take me to one of my aunts to spend the rest of my holiday. When I got to my aunt's house, I called him and told him that I had left. He did his best to get me to come back and I went back just to spend a few more days at his house. He told me if we were to get married, he would employ a helper. Pastor, the plan was that I would sell my stuff in America and live with him.

This man is 61 and he is very strong. I am in my 50s but people say I don't look my age. He said he grew up having hard food for breakfast. That is what his mother gave to his father. Even when his mother gave them cornmeal porridge as children, she had to give him dumpling, yam and banana with chicken or liver. He begged me to take back the ring so I did and I still have it, but I don't wear it because I have made up my mind not to marry this man. I cannot imagine that, in these modern days, men in Jamaica will tell woman to cut their nails because they have to knead flour to make dumplings and cook ground provision for breakfast.


Dear S.M.,

It seems to me that, when you met this man, you fell in love with him and you were told by your relatives and friends that he was a decent man. But you found him to be an out-of-order man when he told you to cut your nails because you would have to make dumplings for him. This man went too far.

He failed to realise that you are a modern-day woman and a modern-day woman, especially one who is working, doesn't have the time to prepare the type of breakfast he wants. You did the correct thing by giving him back his ring. This man is not going to change, so you will have to end the relationship with him. Although he told you he would get a helper if you were to marry him, he is going to make certain demands on you because the helper will not always be there. Don't be surprised if he would want you to wash his dirty clothes by hand, because some men see their wives as maids. So stay in New York.

Don't give up your furniture or anything. It is not time for you to return to Jamaica, at least not to this man. He may see my response to your letter and hate me but that would not bother me at all. I am only speaking the truth. I further suggest that you return the ring permanently. You don't want him, so do not keep the ring.


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