Mantalk: Why do more women want to act like men?

Why would any man want an aggressive, gung-ho, my-way-or-the-highway lover?

Photo credit: Shutterstock

What you need to know:

  • The effect of this is that my generation keeps postponing marriage or having children.
  • Sure, we may blame it on tough economic times, something as old as the hills that even the Pharisees and Sadducees debated in the temple.

This is not how my parents met, but they are not here to dispute it, so this hunter will get all the glory.

Anyway, my father, having read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and himself being a man in possession of a good fortune, meets my shy but svelte mother, and blessed with a tongue dipped in honey, convinces her that he is a good man.

Of course, all he wanted was someone to help out in the kitchen because my father loves teamwork. No, that didn’t sound right. My father couldn’t cook.

My father can’t cook. And you could taste it. He once made us ugali and cabbage, and from then on, I have dumped every girl who brings cabbage to the table. What’s that they say? Childhood traumas become adulthood therapy sessions. But you see, therapy gives you an answer to the origins of your behaviour and feelings but does not provide a blueprint for change. Only you can do that. This is a truth universally acknowledged.

This reminds me, that some (most) women will tell you they desire change, but in essence, they do not. Here’s a quick story.

Back on campus, my lecturer, Dr M, a married professor of humanities but with a wandering eye, loves teaching “The Theory of the New Man.” The New Man, he’d say, is the kind of man comfortable in his traditional gender role, which is about provision and protection, but still adept at the post-Beijing 1995 society.

For instance, a man who knows his way around the kitchen and can tell you when someone has used his garam masala — and I am not talking about chefs. A man who cleans to the nth degree has mama fua on the dial and changes his bedsheets every six days. And a man with a skincare routine listens to Taylor Swift and possesses several wicked tote bags, in all colours, if I do say so myself.

The kind of masculinity that’s a little different: more sensitive, more emotional, reflecting this generation’s permissive attitudes about self-expression.

We have the New Man, he says, but the woman has refused to evolve with said new man. And I agree with him because when a man is willing to concede ground, the woman is more likely than not to resist. This is why you will find statistics that female-led households are twice as unlikely to survive in the long run when the man can no longer provide.

In my years of innocence, when KRA had no idea how I survived in Nairobi, I’d pick up (or get picked up, I am an equal opportunity giver) by young women. And I would wake up to make them breakfast. Not because I am altruistic or magnanimous, but Kenyan ladies do not understand that the price of eggs in a bachelor’s life is equivalent to the GDP of a small developing nation.

Anyway, I had no qualms about cooking and cleaning up after them. I lived this lifestyle for quite a while, and it was sort of ingrained in me.

The problem comes in when you as a man fail to outgrow it, becoming trapped in perpetual adolescence. All of this speaks to the central dilemma of contemporary youth, which is that society has not given them any way to grow up—not financially, not psychologically, not morally.

The effect of this is that my generation keeps postponing marriage or having children. Sure, we may blame it on tough economic times, something as old as the hills that even the Pharisees and Sadducees debated in the temple. The economy then, as it is now, was crying for a saviour.

Now, more men have learned to not only incorporate the societal women-leaning role of nurturing and taking care of the home, but they have embodied it to an extreme extent.

Imagine this, what would a man in his 30s, who could cook, clean, and wash up after himself, earning some tidy sum in IT or NGO or, you know, a scammer wa kufinya computer possibly get from a woman? There is no incentive. If anything, when the woman comes, she not only takes up space and changes his curtains while hoarding his tote bags, but she also starts controlling behaviour and those unnecessary Uko wapi? texts. The punishment does not merit the crime. No deal.

Sure, you might say, “You will feel lonely.” Which is why the Good Lord above blessed us with Amazon Prime. I don’t know if you’ve heard but it’s only Sh600 a month and will never text you Uko wapi? But what about sex? I hear you, ribald prudes at the back. My answer to that is simple: have you been to Roysambu? Or Sabina Joy? Besides, you always have that one ex who for one reason or another things didn’t work out but you left each other on friendly terms and when she texts Uko wapi? you know, she knows, everyone knows, that is code for “Get off the streets and come into my sheets.” Yes, I know how that sounds.

As more women have learned to become men, they have lost the very essence of their power, such that you have to extract femininity out of them like it’s a demon during an exorcism.

In this brave new world, it seems like it is only men who are being told to be less masculine while women are encouraged to stay the same or become angrier men.

A salami technique based on doublespeak. What some (most) women don’t understand is how inherently seductive femininity is, being with a woman who owns her sexuality, who is proud to be a woman, who revels in girliness.

Why would any man want an aggressive, gung-ho, my-way-or-the-highway lover? Besides, if I wanted to date a man, I’d shoot Timothée Chalamet a DM and like all his pictures on Instagram, but a) he’s not my type and b) I don’t like men (that way).

So now I occasionally cook for the women in my life. Out of love and generosity, yes, but also out of service, out of duty, not just selflessly, but also selfishly. It’s a choice, not a chore. And I wish more women would understand that, that this is not just about cooking, but service.

But they just lie there in bed, wearing my number seven Arsenal jersey, contemplating when to change my curtains on a budget and which one of my tote bags they will steal.