The Unspoken: Young Men’s Struggle

“Men of these days are such …………… ABCDEFGH “

“Dogs, …..hyenas, …….rabbits “

If you happen to be a lady , most probably the words above were from you or you were a delegate in a high-powered conference of your girlfriends deliberating passionately about the subject matter. If you happen to be a man, the words above have either been used to classify you or your boy(s).

It’s a tough time to be a man or associated with men in 2017. ” A bloody hard time I tell you!!!! “, my  inner British man echoes. Expectations are astronomical, judgment is on Hague-level, support is minimal but the fight continues. I have a problem defining men based on relationships only. Men have greater roles in life than just being romantic but as a means to have a paradigm shift in terms of the view of men, kindly be patient and just for a moment NEUTRAL, as you hear my case.

4:26pm to be exact on 27th June 2017 found me strolling into the Java opposite Safaricom on Waiyaki Way. I’m 4 minutes earlier than planned and my date just called in to confirm arrival in 15 minutes. ” Patience is a virtue”, I inspire my inner man as I locate a spot. It’s quite conspicuous that people are in pairs. None of them is Uhuru/Ruto or Raila/Kalonzo so my assumption is that there’s some chemistry going on. We were in the month of June which is characterized by increased romance in relationships or “situationships”, exponential number of proposals, increased jumper sales, numerous “in a Relationship ” status updates on Facebook and increased Ben Kiruthi wedding photos splashing across my feeds. We all need love and warmth :). In my patriotic nature, just like a typical Kenyan, I immediately unlock my phone and purport to be communicating just to avoid seeming alone and without a “warmth” mate.

There’s a certain ambiance that Java has with the perfect blend of maroon and cream that I like ( I beg to be corrected on the colour theme) . I am not sure who supplies them with the art portraits but I am strongly persuaded that it’s a man and his favourite number is 8 from the women’s figure on them. Maybe Sportspesa should include such bets and I would consider betting. I digress….

Exactly 4:41pm, not that I was looking at the clock, my date beeps to confirm presence. It has been a long time since we met and naturally there’s excitement. It’s Nyash 🙂 Not Nyashinski , I am still waiting to meet him, but Kinyanjui a.k.a Nyash so just Aminia and let us move on with the story.

Before your mind strays to think that this is my gay confession, shame on you! I am not opening any closet, let me be crystal clear that I am as straight as a HACO ruler and I am no fan of the rainbow nation except happy  socks. Nyash is my boys and we met in 2010 in Strath. I found it interesting that he had no English name since he is kinyanjui Njoroge. His parents chose to defy Queen Elizabeth. There is something about these Kikuyu double names that I like: Njoroge Kinyanjui, Wangechi Mwangi, Wanyoike Irungu. So whenever i’m in their presence I feel as if my family betrayed the MAU MAU. Therefore, in this article I shall be Alushula Njuguna so that we can keep our ancestors smiling. I digress….

Nyash is someone I look up to. He has this “polite” poise which is an advanced “cheers baba” level. A smart man, interested in data science, software development and gets easily bored with routine so his mind is always looking for the next big thing. One of those guys that founded a company in campus while some of us were focused on finishing assignments and locked our minds on the 844 mindset. Is this Alushula Njuguna trying to be a wing man for Njoroge kinyanjui? I don’t think so. But if his wedding crystallizes out of this article I would not mind that mchele.

Since the time we cleared campus, fate had it that we set scheduled “dates” with Nyash as a way of ensuring we kept each other in check and got to talk about life issues. Social media has the tendency to make our generation assume that we are close but physical meetings tend to reveal more than blue ticks and emojis. I have people in my life who are more interesting to talk to online than in person, hence it’s a habit I am trying to eradicate.

It has been 3 years since we graduated. I am sure Nyash can tell you that in our minds back then we had envisioned that by this time our bank accounts would be used to reduce Kenya’s debt, Muthaiga golf club would be our locals for the “one for the road’ cup of tea, we would be stressed because of passports being filled up and having to get replacements at the Immigration department, we’d only work 4 hours a day but earn heavily then to top it all, our ladies from day one would be by our side to just propel us as their kings.

However, no one prepared us for the shock that hit us. On the contrary, people were quick to say ” it’s life, welcome to the real world” as they wore smiles that are classified as “serves you right” smiles. The disappointment was intense .

“How’s life Baba?” That is typically how our conversations start and that day was no different. So Nyash goes ahead to articulate quite well how his career interests have changed, his intentions to invest in various sectors and positively shocking the direction to settle in a relationship . Whenever the statements “settle down” sip into a conversation, then it clearly means that age is catching up with us. He has this accent or tweng’ that makes anything sound way smarter or grand. No harm intended :).

In between our chit-chat and recollections, I asked him “What do you think us men lack and what should be put in place?” Probably got him off guard but I like such scenarios since it provides room for authentic conversations. There was a lot of back and forth since for the first time we got to have a real talk beyond surface level based on our vulnerabilities and scares as men.

Based on our chat, our views may not apply to all age sets  but for those who are around my level 26 years and below. I am of the opinion that being a man is a great calling that spans beyond just being physically a man. A man entails responsibility and duty not just to one’s self but to a community. However, the main thing that men in my generation lack is mentorship and coaching.

We have an idea about being men. We know that at one point we will need to provide. We need to protect. We need to be faithful, loving, understanding, patient, romantic, humble etc. We know these things. However the “How to do it” is what is lacking. We need the men above us who have won the title of  “Men” to coach us younger ones to grow into it instead of comparing us to themselves in 1975 when they walked 20km to school and survived. Mwanaume si kutembea.

Being a man should not be misconstrued and meagerly left in the realms of dating. It’s funny how many magazines exist on stuff such as, “How A man should act”, ’15 ways to please a man “, “10 signs that you are dating a real man”  etc. The irony is that they are mostly written by women based on what they have gone through or heard. Why can’t we let men chat their path? Manhood should be embodied within the concepts of family, leadership, community, spirituality and continuity. We need men to make men instead of letting the ladies dictate what men should be based on their views. I like ladies so keep calm and listen (just this moment).

Our conversation got interesting but at 8pm I had to leave. The funniest part was our next topic with Nyash was meant to be on “purity”. Not Purity the lady but Purity in the sense of no touching-touching and stuff. We bother sipped our drinks since that may be a tricky discussion but something worth being honest about. It’s safe to mention that Nyash paid the bill as a first step to being a real man 🙂

20 Thoughts on The Unspoken: Young Men’s Struggle

  1. Too many of our men are floundering and no one seems to care. Most people mock these young men labelling them losers for not being able to self-heal the problems facing them. It’s safe to say that women have been elevated in our society while men have been turned into persona non grata. Hence today’s stereotypical man has been reduced to the caricature of a dopey fool. It’s high time parents stop seeing boys as incorrigible mooks who need to be kept in line at all costs and instead empathise with them by trying to strike a balance between tough love and parental compassion. Good job for always addressing pertinent issues that cuts across and your comical sense of humour through and through :-).

  2. Very true men need mentors and true ones..and they should be ready also to listen and drop their ego. Its the only way to grow. Good work.

  3. ” It’s Nyash 🙂 Not Nyashinski , I am still waiting to meet him, but Kinyanjui a.k.a Nyash so just Aminia and let us move on with the story”

    That was the silver bullet!

  4. We have an idea about being men. We know that at one point we will need to provide. We need to protect. We need to be faithful, loving, understanding, patient, romantic, humble etc. We know these things. However the “How to do it” is what is lacking….

    So here is my third cent…
    There is really no right way of being a man or acting right as a man. Even truer where the person making the judgment on your actions is a woman. Every now and then, we rant to our girls on ‘kwani which girls has he been dating…’ and it’s not because the man is necessarily bad. It’s because we have it all in our head that for a man to be a man, he has to hit a certain bar. So just be nice, for the sake of being nice

what do you think about this?