In this world there is a man somewhere. A man in his old age,probably late 80s. He is sitting somewhere under the shade on his three legged stool. Unlike the 90s when smoking seemed really cool, especially tobacco, he does not find joy in it anymore. It’s bloody precarious smoking, and if he does, it’s once in a while when he is contemplating on something. And today is one of those days.
For him to look at the whims of this current society, he needs to be in another state of being. One that is orgasmic only under influence of something such as a puff of bang, a bottle of liquor or even coffee. On his stool, he will not be looking at his herd of cattle as they enter the boma, but rather his mind looking far into the unknown. The place you can reach only when your mind gets abducted.
Not many men of his age are alive. Most of his age mates have met their death. Some live far apart, old and unable to pay a call on him. So he’s lonely, with no friends of his age to to engage in pep talks, or even brag their achievements to. So he sits there, in deep thoughts, looking at the horizons. Small clouds of smoke from his pipe clattering the air.
Deep inside images of two sons flash through. King and Joe. His heart aches for Joe. He loves both because they are the men to proliferate his legacy when he’s gone. He has lived his years well, and if the Maker decides to take him off the face of the world, he would not go mad.
But one thing troubles him even in his deep silence. Inside him turbulent tremors keep taunting him, disturbing him. There is something about Joe that makes this old man uneasy.
Despite being 35, Joe is not hitched. Something that translates to three things: he is weak, he hasn’t found any girl who charms him or he might be getting excited by fellow men. The latter being the biggest of worries for his old man.
Joe looks at life from a different mirror. The one that does not reflect at all, because if it reflects, then the society will have eaten his intestines- including his old man who now can only give him an eye. No more wise talks as everybody else has been on Joe’s neck, advising him of what society expects him to be- a real man.
But if you stood in Joe’s shoes, something no one did, you will understand why he is a man of his own make, unbridled and free to be whoever he wants. And at 35 he has not brought a girl home. Not because he cannot form a few words that will seduce a girl, but because girls aren’t his priority.
King wins the heart of his old man. A favourite son since his childhood because he has always been manly. He upholds the society’s desirable expectations at heart. So he is married, with three beautiful kids. Two boys and a girl. Something that makes his old man happy. King works hard as he is a responsible family man. He takes care of his wife and those all around him.
Unlike Joe, he saves for the rain. Something he inherited from his old man. He has a decent job, house and even car. He seems happy for his achievement and basically feels good about everything.
The old man has seen Joe shift goal posts. Going from one job to another. A man who never settles down but one whose elegant smile never leaves his face. He has seen Joe make so many mistakes. Mistakes he wishes he wouldn’t do if he were Joe.
But if you asked Joe if his life was happy he was proudly confess that he was totally comfortable. He would say that nothing else could bring happiness to his life than what he is right now. His old man in his contemplation, he regrets for not bringing Joe up to be a real man. It is the agony that eats him in the inside. Sometimes he looks up the mountains and begs his gods to forgive him because he failed.
Also read: Outliers
We have all seen many people trying to come up with lists of who a real man ought to be. And we have lived to the conventional ways of defining a man, even during the changing times and trends when men no longer sit around a pot of beer with their straws and sip it amidst chants and banters.
Times have changed and defining who an ideal man is has also changed. With the world of liberalism and much capitalism, anybody will be want he want to be. And not what the society dictates. The times of a man being a man because he got muscles that can disfigure another man’s nose during arguments are off the grid. It is no longer an identity of muscles. That has now risen to body building career.
It is berserk to still refer a man using the conventional tools that don’t hold water. And when I look at the perimeters around which real men are defined, I usually drop my jaw. The idiosyncrasies that many of us possess are crudely ignorant. Why? Because we are of the cabbage generation.
The cabbage generation does not believe in itself. People of this generation are slaves of narrow mindedness. A generation that thinks like children. It does not take time to deliberate on issues first before reacting. These people are just quick to respond. And they depend on uninformed information that keeps passing through social media.
They still think a man needs to be sharp. To be responsible in being the bread winner of the family even when their spouses also earn. That a real man is the one who opens doors for his woman, buys flowers, takes her to dinner. That a real man has got to have a beard. That he must be tall, or must wear leather,branded shoes, or that he must wear a watch. That he should be driving or be speaking tall English to show his proficiency in the lingo. That he should always be mysterious.
If you asked me who a man is, I would say this…
A man is just a man because gentleman is a dying art. Everyone can now afford a sharp suit, a decent apartment and even a swanky car. There is no threshold to manhood. In olden days we had circumcision, but over time it has become a silent act and not a rite to indicate entry to manhood.
A man is someone who is confident. Someone who knows and understands himself, because that is who he is. He does not compare himself with anybody because he understands how unique he is. He is comfortable in his own skin. He relates with others with broad smiles and greets people with a firm handshake.
This man respects himself and other men. Plus, he also respects other men’s work and effort. In his life, he respects everyone. He adores everybody because we are all human and intrinsic in this world.
One thing that this man thrives on is his principles. There is no single day can he compromise his ethics. He is straight and very integral. Looking at him, his face bears no fear because he always has a bearing to guide him. And in his principles, he does not trade them for nothing less.
He is not the kind of man to who gets laid with many women in order to feel manly. He understands that nothing is bigger than his own personality. Nothing can sabotage his manhood, even if it is turning down sexual favours from girls. He looks right into their eyes and say NO!
This man is comfortable to be everything he wants. He faces unique problems so he does not have to apply the set standards to solve them. In his silence, he has focus and more importantly lives a life of purpose. He does not have to marry in order for him to be a man.
The greatest treasure in his life is his happiness. He exudes warmth everywhere he goes. He creates his own rules to govern his life. He is never afraid because at the end he knows how life ends, so quickly and mysteriously.
He should not be a gossiper. He talks everybody on a positive note because only positive can attract positive. Negativity clogs his mind, thus positivism is always the mantra of his daily existence.
He can only be who he is.
That way he doesn’t have to struggle to impress the world.
Continue praying for this sickness I have so that we can be having these conversations on Wednesdays, it is weighing me down.