Sunday, August 12, 2018

GENDER TALK: Ladies, wash your men’s feet, please


By Jackson Biko

A man comes home. He’s had a long day. His wife also works, but this is not about her; this is about this hardworking man.

She waits at the door when he walks up the staircase. She waits with a smile and a warm hug or a peck on the cheek.

She takes the man’s laptop bag from his fatigued shoulders and follows him to the bedroom where, as he sighs heavily as only a hardworking man can, she gently unties his tie, a tie that represents the yoke of capitalism.

“How was your day, my love?” she asks with concern. She calls him her love even when she doesn’t feel the love. She also calls him other sweet things like “sugar” and “sweetheart” and “tomato.” It’s what a dutiful wife does.

He moans about his day, sighing through the bland narration. He is handed a towel and he disappears to take a warm shower.

As he towels his (strong) back, she sits on the edge of the bed and admires him, knowing that she is the luckiest woman on earth. And why shouldn’t she be lucky? Look at him, hardworking and doesn’t leave the toilet seat up.

Unlike other men who have to warm their own dinner, this man get served by his wife. She warms the dinner herself, sets the table, and serves him. Then she sits near him and listens to his wisdom and if he’s not in the mood to talk because he’s had a long day, she can also just sit quietly and watch him eat.

She can also share how her day was but only if she is asked. Mostly she isn’t asked because she has a way of abusing that question by giving a windy and exhaustive blow-by-blow account that, if not nipped early, can last the whole of his dinner right up to the time they retire in bed.

Talking of bed-time: She can’t have headaches. She can’t be too tired for his conjugal needs. She is there to serve and satisfy all his needs. On certain days she should be able to oil his ashen feet, cut his nails, pick his clothes, buy him grooming items. If there is a man like this out there I would like to sit at his feet and ask him what chapati it is that he sat on for these privileges.

There was a small uproar recentlywhen a certain video blogger mentioned that she washes her man and treats him like a king. A cross-section of women thought she was mad.

“Treat him like a baby, treat him like he’s King, even the small things that you think are not necessary, do it, trust me it goes a long way,” she said. “If he wants to take a bath you should go and wash him, scrub him. Don’t let him do anything by himself, clean his ears like how you would wash a baby. Try it, put mafuta on his body, dress him.”

I liked the part about washing his ears and oiling his body, but I think she was being hyperbolic. Every man wants to feel like he’s the man. Not a man, but the man, and certain things that women do will make us feel that way. But we have stopped being treated like kings.

We guys are seen as lazy and unromantic and with a bad sense of dressing. We are clustered with the undesirables. We are compared unfairly to West African men who apparently kiss the ground women walk on.

We are made to believe that in the whole of Africa, we are the at the very bottom of the rung. We are made to feel so low and unworthy of being treated well that when someone suggests that we have our ears washed there is an uproar.

Our women have become so unappreciative of their own men that when someone suggest that we be treated well, it seems like an April Fools day.

And it’s sad. Talking of babies, when you tell a child that they are stupid, and you tell them every day, they will never rise above what you think of them. Some of us grew up being told, “Why can’t you be like Tony from next door? Very disciplined boy who does very well in school.”

As a result we sought to be anything and everything else but Tony. It’s time our women started thinking of us in a different light. It’s time, perhaps that they started washing our feet.