I thought it was going to be just another Monday morning at the office. I was wrong.
I arrived at work that morning earlier than I had ever done in all my years of working at the publishing firm I edit for. I have a habit of trying to cut it close in time related matters. It results in me getting wherever I want just in time or a few minutes late – except meetings and job interviews. It however ended up adding a ‘late comer’ tag to me at the office even though I’m never more than ten minutes late. I simply shrug and say ‘on pe’ – an expression for ‘whatever’ in Yoruba- whenever this happens.
So my colleagues thought they were looking at a ghost when most of them met me at work that day. They were even more shocked when they saw in the sign-in booklet that I got there a good one hour before them. As a result, I had time to engage in some pre-resumption banters – usually of the “how did your weekend go” kind. It was all going well till *Mercy asked what I have now added to my list of horror questions for men.
“What would you do if your partner sends you on an errand to buy sanitary pads?”
Now, if the word “partner” presents a relationship definition problem to you, you’re allowed to replace it with girlfriend, side-chick, wife, fiancée, friend-with-benefit, whichever one is applicable to you. It doesn’t change the question presented here: what would you do?
I gawked for what seemed like eternity (what a question for a Monday morning), I replied, “Why would my partner send me on an errand to buy sanitary pads for her?”
It was as if I just said the most ridiculous thing ever. There I was, standing in the gap for all men and I blew it – fell their hands. And it didn’t help that all the colleagues present at the time were women. Now, all men are going to be judged by what one of them said. I just sealed our fates; the enduring debate about all men being the same is now officially over. The women have won!
“Why the heck wouldn’t you buy it for her if she asks?” Mercy said with that special look women reserve for the vilest of men, “I know your type, you’re so egoistic.”
Tanwa added, “There’s no big deal, I send my brothers and they have no qualms buying for me.”
“Congratulations,” I quipped.
Then Retta added her two kobo, “You should be sensitive to the needs of your partner. My pastor said he knows all his wife’s sizes, undergarments and all. These are things that make a woman appreciate you. You should even know if she has heavy flow or whatever. Not helping your partner with stuff like that because you’re a man sucks. Change that your orientation oh!”
I was in trouble, getting battered by these ladies left, right and centre. Fortunately, I was handed a lifeline when Anike asked me to elaborate on the ludicrous remark I made earlier.
I told the women’s assembly before me that I honestly don’t have a problem with men buying sanitary pads for their wives. I’ve just never been asked to buy one. I have sisters at home and they handle that aspect of their lives in such a way that you’ll begin to doubt the existence of sanitary pads; save for those musical Always adverts. And I’ve never thought I’ll be asked to buy one.
I’ll definitely buy if asked, but till then, I’ll keep wondering why my partner would ask me to buy when she can do so herself. I do chores some men would find demeaning, I cook, my dad cooks too. I have no problem with doing dishes, laundry or sweeping. If a place is dirty, I’ll clean it up. I don’t have to have a girlfriend or wife before I feed well or live in a tidy environment. I can function perfectly as an individual so I don’t see women as add-ons or maids to help men handle s*** we can handle on our own. We’ve got hands and feet, they do too. But this truth is like a pendulum; it swings both ways, so I expect that women should be able to handle some personal s*** themselves.
While they looked at me contemplating whether I’ve redeemed my kind or not, the door opened and Kudi walked in. And they made the mistake of seeking her view on the matter, throwing in the underwear addition for good measure. Eyebrows raised, Kudi said, “Am I mad, why would I send him to buy sanitary pads for me? In fact, he’ll have to be crazy to even think of buying me underwear!”
Finally, redemption! I swore at that moment that I would marry Kudi. I jumped off my seat and hugged her, not for having my back but for showing that I wasn’t crazy for saying what I said. My colleagues rightly concluded that we’re a weird sort – something we’ll never deny.
It all boils down to our individual nature and nurture. I was speaking for myself and not for all men. Kudi was speaking for herself and not for all women. But we as humans tend to shun the uniqueness within us and yearn for acceptability in collective thinking. This can be good but it also has its downsides. What’s beauty is there to be appreciated when everything is the same? When we put ourselves in a mental box and just make sweeping generalisations. All men are jerks, all women are submissive zombies, good looking men are playboys, and beautiful girls are bitchy sluts. Then our castles of general perception crash, brick by boring brick, when we meet someone who’s totally different – or when we get married.
It’s just like the contemporary female perception that a man who cries is a real man. I was almost crucified for disagreeing. A man who cries might end up being an insensitive jerk; a man who doesn’t cry might just be a wimp. The measure of a real man (or a sensitive one) shouldn’t be based on how much salty water he can shed, but on his words and actions.
Let’s appreciate the uniqueness within ourselves. Never put yourself in a box and don’t try to remould someone who wasn’t moulded by you in the first place. Don’t close your eyes to avoid encountering bad people because of past disappointments and let good people pass you by. Never try to be someone else because you think he/she is better; instead, strive to be a better you. When you shun your uniqueness and try to become someone else, you’re probably trying to be another copy of what God has made and doesn’t need. LIVE!
Bye for now, till I say something stupid enough to irk my female colleagues – I always do.Don’t forget to leave your comments below; I want to know what you think as well.