Bajan men down for the count

by Al Gilkes
Barbados Nation
June 20, 1999

Up to last weekend, I was not at all convinced that Barbadian men were in any kind of crisis, no matter what anybody said. It did not matter that when I look at examination results, 11-plus, CXC or university, I see it is the females who are excelling while the men are dropping way behind.

It did not matter that when I examine the records at Cave Hill, I see more females graduating with more degrees and more honours than males.

It did not matter that wherever I turn these days almost every new doctor, every new dentist, every new lawyer, every new priest, every new teacher, every new everything, is a woman.

And it did not matter when I read that the majority of persons buying cars are women, as are the majority of those building new homes, opening small businesses, taking over at management level in the workplace, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera...

None of these so-called proofs tilted me even by a single degree into accepting any argument that we men are in crisis. And so was my resolve despite the fact that I experience this situation of growing female domination in my own daily professional activity.

There is hardly a company I know where for every male application for a job, there are not at least 20 from females. More and more, wherever and whenever I attend meetings, the majority of the faces around the table belong to women.

I especially remember a recent situation where my company was a member of a committee, representing various public and private sector interests, which was assembled to plan a major event of Caribbean interest to be staged in Barbados.

I arrived for the very first meeting and went into gender shock when I realised that among the 20 members of the group, I was the only person not wearing a skirt. Even that experience failed to shake me of my conviction that we men are in no kind of in crisis.

I truly believed that what appeared to be irrefutable evidence was merely a phase in a developmental cycle and that sooner or later the tide would turn and men would once again start fighting like men.

Today, however, I lower my face to the ground, submit and admit that we men are without any doubt in crisis, real crisis, serious crisis, monumental crisis.

Why this overnight change of heart? Believe you me, it took only one night for me to see the light. And I saw it in, of all places, the After Dark.

What else but crisis could Bajan men be in when in a single night, hundreds upon hundreds, upon hundreds of their women left them behind and singlemindedly headed for the same destination for the same purpose?

And what went they out to see in their $800 dresses, $300 shoes, $150 hairdos, in their Benzes, BMWs, and Hondas? Nothing else but see five men take off their pants and shake their dingalings.

I was not there but saw in the newspaper the expressions of longing and craving on their faces and read how they pushed $100 bills and $50 bills into the underwear of those men just so their groping fingers could touch the hidden fruit.

It made me feel bad, really bad and embarrassed for all you husbands and you boyfriends who looked into those photographs and saw the faces of your own wives and your own girl friends.

What a crisis for Bajan men who once beat their chests like King Kong and boasted of being the best percolators in the world. Now they watch as their women stand in line just so they can smell coffee.

•Al Gilkes heads a public relations firm.

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