Monday, April 16, 2012

The Makings of a Man

I understand the makings of a woman (duh?) I know what makes her tick. I can separate the chaff from the grain as far as women are concerned - I know her anatomical intricacies. Being a woman, there is nothing I know more than womanhood. (Note to self; Brag much woman?!)

Here’s another thing; I can tell when a woman is into a guy who doesn’t belong to her. I can tell when she plots to lure him and snatch him away from his legitimate woman. Then again, he is not much of a man if he can be lured and snatched, is he? A woman is better off without such ‘tidal’ men.

So who is a man really? Who in your opinion, warrants to be called a man? Could I dare to take a stab at answering this question? Should I? I like me a challenge and so why not! This is a definition of who a real man is, in the eyes of yours truly.

My Dancer at play with our first born daughter

First and foremost, a man understands his primal disposition in the so called ‘pyramid of life’; that he is a provider and protector. This knowledge will not allow him to comfortably sit back and let his woman break her neck for him or on his behalf unless so imposed by unfortunate circumstances.  He keeps his wife and toils for his children. He is not threatened by a strong woman and whenever he is in a rut, will graciously accept financial (or otherwise) assistance from her without having to check with his balls first.

A man knows that he needs a woman and that he is essentially incomplete without her. He also acknowledges that all the needs he has for a female can be catered for by just one woman.

He understands the biblical implications of the phrase “a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh.” (Do you find it ironical that God commanded the man to leave his parents and join the woman and not vice versa? Me too) to this end, a man does not depend on his mother in his adult life unless of course he needs to suckle at her bosom.
A man stands tall, regardless of his height. He is an epitome of confidence and stability. He takes care of his business and is not afraid to roll up his sleeves and fight for his woman. A man readily claims what is rightfully his and is not afraid to fight for it.

Forget the feigned ignorance that asks “What do women really want?” A man knows his woman; her strengths and weaknesses, her boiling point, her favorite ice cream flavor, her quirks and even her menstrual cycle. If you are lucky, he will even figure out when you are ovulating from the changes in your body temperature! Ok, maybe I stretch it a tad bit but,  a man. knows. his. woman!

A man recognizes the face of a gold digger and does not waste his time (and money) on such superficial relationships. A man will never pay a woman for sex and will not share a woman with another man; he loves jealously.

A man is not ashamed of showing his emotions. He knows that he will find himself with the short end of the stick at some point or another, and he understands that leaning on his woman for strength will not cause his balls to shrink to oblivion. A man bares his weaknesses to his woman; he grieves when faced with a loss and yet holds his head up and puts his chest out when facing the world.

He will never raise his finger to strike a woman. He will punch the wall, smash glass, break the flowerpot and basically convert inert objects to flying objects – anything to quell his anger, but he will never punch a woman. A man is able to keep his anger in check because he understands that you only fight someone your own size.

A man hates to see his woman cry and tries to dry her tears, literally and metaphorically. Hard as he may try, a man will hurt his woman and make her cry from time to time –sorry girls, this too forms part of his DNA. A man will apologize and mean it. He will learn from his mistakes and strive to be a better man. A man with a woman in his life always stands a chance of being a better person.  A man knows that a woman can pretty much build him or break him.

A man takes responsibility for all the children he sires regardless of the relationship with their mother. He disciplines his children, yet plays and laughs with them. He knows what is important; Family, health, good friends… he loves to have fun too yet he knows what an abomination it is to be controlled by your drink.
A man is not perfect, and while acknowledging his imperfections, will strive to work on them. He genuflects before the most High knowing how small and helpless he is before HIM. A man prays because though assigned the task of provider and protector, he knows that the ultimate provision and protection comes from up above.

A man knows that he’s got balls without having to check them, grope them or show them off to the world.

A man need not prove he is one.

Ladies, what is your definition of a man?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Renee au naturel

I did it! I walked into the salon, and asked to see Betty. Betty had done my hair before, and for this, I needed someone with whom I had good experience with. Truth is I had ditched Betty after I found a more affordable salon close to where I live. But I needed her now; she was the only one who would understand. She would know what to do, and how to do it. Plus I couldn’t afford any mistakes being made on my head. Mistakes on a woman’s hair are always expensive. The risk was too high.

The lady at the reception desk at the salon called Betty and when she came, she pointed her to me as if to say “Yours for the mending” Betty came over and said “Hi!”

I told her what I needed. She was blasé about the whole affair, no surprised looks- like she was used to seeing women in my situation; scared, and not sure whether they were making the right decision. Even though I had dumped her only to come back and ask her to take me back, she did not rub it in my face. Quite the lady. She instead asked me to follow her to a seat and as soon as I sat down on THE chair, she made me lean back. Like in therapy, she tried to get to the root of the problem; she probed my hair by massaging it with her fingertips, feeling for the ‘growth’. Then taking a comb, she combed it all the way up, while examining the strands.  “What happened? Your hair was to die for!” She said.

I had children, that’s what happened.  I had my first kid, and my hair thinned. Child number two and my hair couldn’t take it anymore; most of it disowned me at that point. It’s like when I chose to have children, I inadvertently made a choice between my hair and my bundles of joy – the bundles won hands down of course! The hormones during pregnancy happened. The breastfeeding after pregnancy also happened. The ping-pong hormonal bouncing robbed me of my full, long, black, very strong, very kinky, very African hair. A very small price to pay, I must point out.

She nodded in understanding, as if suddenly, everything made sense. How can a woman go through all that and retain the virginity of their hair anyway? Add to the hormones, the weaving, the chemicals applied to make it manageable, the plaiting, and the pulling that makes you spend sleepless nights because of braids done too tightly. I lost my hair to all that. But now, sitting in doctor Betty’s chair, I felt like the time was ripe to remedy what was left of my hair!

Betty called her colleague, Martin-the barber, and gave him instructions on how to cut my hair and what length to keep. Yikes, I was actually gonna cut my hair! She asked if I was sure, and I affirmed that I was. After all, what was the other option…braids and weaves till kingdom come? A camouflage at all times? That wasn’t me.  I wanted to be able to proudly comb my hair again someday. I wanted to leave the weave, and get back the savory taste of Kinky African hair au naturel. I had in fact thought of going bald, but I decided to spare people the shock. Let’s make sure no one I know will have a heart attack when they see me with short hair first.

In Martin’s hands, I was nonchalant and I let him do his thing as I perused a magazine, trusting him completely. He took his time, cutting the hair in layers from the top. Exposing me with each cut, until he was just a few inches from the scalp. I hated the vibrating thingamajig that is used to cut hair, and I told him so. It vibrated with resounding vigor like he was drilling a hole in my head or something. He said I felt that way probably because I was not used to having my hair cut. I almost turned around to face him and ask “Ya think!?” but there are people who are sarcasm-impaired and I wasn’t sure Martin wasn’t one of them.

Soon, I was stripped down to my ‘underwear’ - exposed and somewhat vulnerable. The contours of my head were out there for everyone to see and judge. I had set myself up, and now people could make fun of me and my head. My forehead was fully visible for anyone to poke fun at (Remember what they did to Joey ‘Forehead’ Muthengi?)  And even though I was privileged enough to have a head that was not egg-shaped, still my ‘kisogo’ was hanging out back there all exposed, seemingly inviting provocations like “Kichwa kama malenge” Or “Kichwa kama sole ya kiatu” … or something along those lines.

Looking at the mirror, I could not see Renee anymore. For some reason, I saw my little girl Heidi. There was something about me at that particular moment that reminded me so much of her. I looked more closely and I saw a girl from Turkana or somewhere in Northern Kenya. Don’t ask me why, maybe it’s my Nilotic ties or my eyes were playing tricks on me? There is that typical picture of a girl herding cows in the desert with short tawny hair, that girl seemed to stare back at me from the mirror.

Betty did her thing. And she did it well. She treated the miniscule hair, colored it even, gave it a little more trimming and all that jazz. When my hair was all maroon, the picture of the malnourished girl with short hair herding cows, was made complete.

Suffice to say the transition went well. I survived. Most importantly, I like what I did for my hair. My head feels lighter - a tabula rasa in its purest form. I kid you not; this feeling of novelty is oh-so-refreshing!  

PS: Have a blessed Easter good people!