When I was in university, I had a friend. His mother was his only support and she did not have much. He would come to school with very little cash but she would make sure he had foodstuff in bulk. He was roommates with 3 other guys. Mike and Soji were from rich homes and Eric was from a low income background but had a rich girlfriend. My friend would cook enough food for everyone in the room and they would all eat. In no time, he would have finished the foodstuff that was meant for only one person. Mike and Soji would eat in various eateries and restaurants on and off campus (they never invited him), Eric’s girlfriend would cook food for him in amounts that only he could eat. She would even wait for the food flask so no one usually joined Eric to eat. My friend began to starve. He was a man’s man, proud and hardworking. He believed in male camaraderie and was quick to call other guys “my guy”. One day, his stomach drove him to his friends in the female hostel. Me and a few other girls. We gathered what we could for him after we prodded him to tell us what happened. After that year, he was never roommates with them but he never confronted them.
Men; they fool us into thinking that they get along easier than we do. They are champions of suppressing what they really think as they struggle not to come off as petty. Are we surprised that they die earlier than us? You learn how to pile all the little things and hide heartbreak and tears till one day you heart just gives up on you and implodes.
Not women o! While my friend was going through all the wahala, in my room we were 6 girls cooking from 6 different pots. No pretence in anyway. We may offer you to join us but unless there was some sort of spelt out arrangement, each woman would tend to her own garden.
I don’t buy into the ‘women don’t love themselves’ bit. It should not be called that. We love clarity and are expressive. We support and love each other and when the heart is involved, hurt, pain and betrayal follow join. How many male support groups do you see? The closest you could come is an Old boys association, never a ‘Guys Redefined’. When I lost my dad, my mum’s sisters, friends and neighbours were awesome… the women I mean. The men paid their respects and quietly disappeared. But the women came every day for months. Encouraging us and my mum with scripture and any other thing we needed. For the lowest moments in my life I can assure you that my female friends came through for me and I will never forget that.
I can be speaking to a dude and he has told me clearly that he hates the guts of another guy and then that guy comes along and they would shake hands cordially;
“My guy, how far? I dey.”
For women, nope. If she does not like the other girl, there may not even be a ‘hello’ least of all handshakes. And while men see that as beef, I am very comfortable with it. I know where I stand with them and there is no burden of pretence.
Finally, I don’t get how men struggle not to be affectionate with each other. All that ‘no homo’ thing. It can’t be healthy to reserve affection for when the lights are switched off and you are tugging at Iya Basirat’s wrapper. All that pent up affection to be expended in three minutes (five minutes if you are Kenyan) can cause some damage to some vital organs (and yours as well…). If you like a guy, if there is bromance budding anywhere, do not be afraid. I personally think it makes you healthier.
Lastly (I know I said finally), men should cry. Some men have permanently distorted faces from years of scowling the pink flutters of feelings in their hearts away. By the way, this does not mean you should start bawling your eyes out in public, it doesn’t go with having balls. A private sniffle would be just fine!
That being said, all the sisters that are reading this, raise your glass and let us toast to our beautiful, emotionally balanced, and don’t-take no-nonsense selves!