Here in Jamaica all social characters have nicknames or street names, or become such nicknames, for example, “Babylon” means Police (the general view of the police is not positive at all); “Nanny” refers to the Jamaican $500 note because an illustration of our only National Heroine, Nanny of the Maroons, is on it. Therefore the roles we play in our lives are no different. When a man and a woman are married to each other, they are called Husband and Wife, which we now refer to as “Hussy” and “Wifey”. We know the institution of marriage (or any long term relationship) has been plagued by outsiders for centuries. These outsiders are called “homewreckers”, be it man or woman, however it’s the woman that is more reknown for this role. So, if you cheat on your loved one then you are giving “bun”. During these last two decades, give or take a few years, a homewrecker in Jamaica is called “matey” (or “bunner (wo)man”: a term recently popularised by famous local talk show host).
Despite being frowned upon for many years, most women still choose to be a matey because she receives almost all wifey priveleges, but most importantly because she is not the one being hurt and deceived. In addition, there is a paradigm shift in the concept of matey in our local dancehall music. In the 90’s the matey was put down and condemned but now is revered, praised and seen as a necessity (whether to improve a marriage or for his or her own personal gain). There are some celebrities who are “mateys” and came out the winners (Angelina Jolie, Alicia Keys), while others fell flat on their faces (Fantasia). The success of the matey depends on a lot of rules or guidelines that will almost guarantee a long term relationship with a spouse. I will list some below but not in any order of importance:
- Be invisible to the wifey/hussy, their family and friends.
- Do not expect to become the wife or husband.
- Take what you can get and leave.
- Do not confront the wife/ hussy in any way.
- Do not fall in love (in otherwords don’t be a Marilyn Monroe).
- Keep calls, appointments, texts, emails within a respectable time schedule to avoid suspicion.
- Never say anything bad about the wifey/hussy.
- If you have been identified as the matey, then it’s time to move on, it will only get uglier.
- If you are seriously looking for a permanent stream of income by all means have a love child (case in point: Schwarzenegger).
Knowing the risks of being a matey, would you still want to be one? Why or why not? Also, please feel free to discuss the rules by adding your own rules or discussing any of the points mentioned.