The Masculine Effect




They say men don’t cry. All you’re told is lie. I am a man myself. Men cry. And heck. Boys cry the more.

Like most men, I was trained to fit in the mannish world, to believe that shedding tears is not mannish, so I do my crying at the dead of the night. I guess, most men’s pillows know about more tears than women’s. Some people generally do not cry, not because of gender expectations but they’re just so dry in tears when it comes to emotions, I acknowledge such exclusions.

Nobody wants to be tagged weak. But ironically, being WEAK is a life’s trait and so is FEAR. Sometimes in our lives, we should feel any of those, but quite unfortunately, today, WEAK and FEAR is like a loud drunkard in a bar downtown, nobody wants to claim him. Today ‘human beings’ are not ‘being humans’, and ‘we men’ are so afraid to be ‘women.'

There were days my father’s love for me was arguable in my own sight because he was trying to fit in the stifling dress called masculine ego. You don’t love people and feel it’s weakling to show it. You don’t love people and keep thinking about hard ways to show it because being soft with them showcases you as ‘not being man enough.’ That’s emotional sabotage. I think it’s a sin against oneself and the worst thing is to sin against the god of your own self, the god of your household. Because human beings are households, temples, demi-gods, put it in your term, that’s what we’re.

This is an apology to all the betrayal I’ve done to my emotions. I just can’t help but wonder what my pillows and handkerchief say about me at my back.

Echebi Ngozi, a good friend of mine once told me that the best thing she ever saw, was a full bearded grown guy cry in public. The lecturer called out their grades for a particular tough course, the guy didn’t do well, he felt like crying, so he bent his head in class and cried, Ngozi said it was the most adorable thing she’s seen in her days in the university. He didn’t let his masculine ego come in the way of his feelings, he did what he felt like doing, he didn’t stomach it. 

This reminded me of my father, my stiff, strong father who boasts of the scars in his body. He thought that having scars was a crucial part of being a real man, which shows the man has been through hell and back. He uses every scar to remind us how he fought back in his days as a boy, how he taught a certain boy lessons with his fist to show him that he was boy enough and today the boy’s teeth gave him scars at the back of his fingers. He seldom showed us a big scar from the bullet of a gunshot by armed robbers. The funny part about this particular scar is that my dad wasn’t even fighting the robbers ‘as a man’ like he would say in other stories. He was probably running from them like other women would, since women are classified as the weaker sex. The gun didn’t come by bravery, it came by mistake, from a car ride home from Ebonyi, he was there on business not for Civil War. What’s therein to boast about?

I’ve not come across the definition of a man, but I know we’re embodiments of phobias. Using rage as an adaptive feature for fear, our hands break things as quickly as we can fix them, thinking manhood to have been installed in the muscles.

That’s why I feel ashamed when in the midst of girls I’m the only boy, and the generator has fault but I can’t fix it, or the control switch has a problem and I’m as afraid as they’re to approach the electric. And when I can’t tell which clubs are playing the EPL tonight a girl turns to give me a sullen look – like which guy doesn’t do football? And when a girl knows about football, people are impressed.

See, we are human beings first before we became men, humanity supersedes gender, so allow us to show what we feel, damn the gender expectations, do what you feel, say what you cannot do, give up what you cannot feel and do all the things that are truly what you wanted to do. Truth is a very important factor, but most unfortunately, gender expectations have turned boys to professional liars, that’s why we could tell a girl that the ATM swallowed our Smartcard because we would appear less a man if we told her the solemn truth about not having enough money to pay for the expenses on a date. If we are truthful, we should know that funding a relationship doesn’t come installed in the male gender, money doesn’t like the man and hate the woman, it doesn’t choose the hands of which gender to come, we can both spend on ourselves, it’s nobody’s work. And this expectations shove some women into a very crooked corner making them professional looters, even the devil can say “Damn, I didn’t see that coming” when a girl lies.

So, masculinity is a wet-fish in the pond of our society, most men want to grab on it, even when it slips away from our hands. Grabbing on it gives a sense of belonging, it brings about fake ego, betrayal of one’s true emotions, pretentious mood-swings, forced smiles, stifling acceptance, it mars the soul, it bleaches the initial colour of a young heart. It maims love, feeds pride and starves emotion to death.

Momma told me that women are the strongest because they cry. She told me that tears frees the heart, but “isu ude n’egbu mpkuru obi” which literally translates that “Keeping back tears or groaning kills the soul.”

The message of this piece isn't about tears, but about being one's true self, male or female. If our sincerity can be as pure as this twin's eyes. And our male hearts become less masculine than we physically appear, then our lives could look as adorable as these twin kids. We'll feel free to accept what we can and cannot do, by so doing we groom a beautiful society of expressionists and learners.

We are passengers of life...

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