Monthly Archives: December 2015

Beards, sexualization & manhood.

For a while now beards have become cool.

No idea when or how it started but increasingly folk are taking to social media to express their appreciation for beards. The appreciation takes on fanatical levels in November which is dubbed Movember.

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For the clueless Movember is to men what No Bra day is to women. In October women go without a bra for a day ostensibly to raise breast cancer awareness while in November men go the entire month without shaving to also ostensibly to raise awareness of prostate cancer.

Whether this gestures achieve their intended noble goals is a matter beyond my scope.

What I am curious about is whether beards have become an S.I unit for manliness and whether beards have become sexualized.

On a given day, tweets will pass on my timeline appreciating beards. That is to be expected as people do take to social media to express appreciation. Interestingly, have never seen a tweet celebrating clean-shaven men. Perhaps it is a passing fad. Just like Michael Jordan inspired shaving bald in the early 90s someone may have made it cool to be bearded.

Fun and games, no?

It is all fun and games until a bank tweets in its official account that ‘Behind every Real man is a real beard’.

It is further fun times until a lady starts a hashtag ‘beards for X’ and publicly asks to be tagged in pics with sexy beards.

Now imagine in October a corporate tweeting ‘behind every real woman are big boobs’ or a man starting a hashtag ‘boobs for Y’ and asking for pics of breasts.

Makes you wonder has beard appreciation gone overboard. Where does appreciation spill over into sexualization? Can men’s body parts be sexualized or men are fair game? Are there different standards for sexaulization applied for men and for women?

Not so random musings…

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Now unto the taste of the pudding is in the eating experience.

Normally I shave every week. A clean shave. What is/was called Jordan. Have done so for years. Habit.

In last three weeks have not visited my barbershop for a variety of reasons. My barber is worried sick. Tempted to tell him I am thinking of doing dreads. As a joke. Only I am not sure if I am joking.

An interesting by-product of this is that I (obviously!) have grown hair and sprouted a beard.

The reaction to this from my female colleagues has been interesting to say the least.

“…unakaa mbudaa…” (You look older)

“…usinyoe ndevu, nazilike sana…” (Do not shave the beard, I it like very much)

“…damn!”

“walala sijawahi kuona unakapoa hivi” (Have never seen you look this handsome)

And these are the PG-rated comments. Totally got the ladies eating off my plate.

Same old me, brand new reactions.

Got me thinking.

What is it about beards…

Does a beard maketh a man?

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Nashangaa. (I wonder…)

GOD BLESS KENYA!


Dark Days

Where does one start writing about dark days…

On dark days all one wants to do is stop…

To stop doing,

To stop the darkness from being all encompassing,

To just stop.

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Dark days are days where getting out of bed and taking a shower takes on climbing Mount Everest proportions.

You could have been on top of the world the previous day but then a dark day just happens and knocks you off your stride.

Out of the blue you have the blues.

Scratch that, ‘the blues’ is not this.

This is stay under the covers, switch off the phones, and gallantly try to fight off the cloud that threatens to suffocate you.

While fending off curious looks and offhand statements – “these are white people problems.”, “just shake it off.”, “just cheer up.”

Then just as randomly as a dark day comes, a dark day goes.

Until the next dark day. (Day may be one or many days.)

In the last one month, a friend checked herself out of this planet and another failed in her attempt to check out.

In the same duration someone challenged me why dark days are not written about, talked about and why checking out is shrouded in such secrecy.

Got me thinking…

In one of Chinua Achebe’s books a lady makes a profound statement, “I do not have the mouth to tell the story”.

Because at times folk may be living out a situation but the circumstances of the situation makes them unable to express the essence of the situation.

Also, there is societal baggage.

‘I have a cold’ does not attract judging, stigma or side-eyes as saying ‘I have dark days.’

That is how we are, who we are.

So darks days are hidden, battled with individually, with fatal consequences sometimes.

And the all-round silence on the dark days or the fatalities persists.

Hopefully, one day dark days will be talked about openly.

Then maybe hopefully checking out from this planet will not be so prevalent.

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Until then lemme share these gems I stumbled on:

“Never give in to sadness. It won’t last forever. The broken pieces of life will fit itself into a puzzle once again. Have faith. Have hope.”

And

“Reach out. Not on WhatsApp, text, social media. Really reach out. Feel like this needs saying a lot. People be shouldering heavy loads.”

And this oft repeated quote,

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Pray that someone in the middle of a dark day will read this and get that little extra strength to fight off the suffocating darkness.

Also pray that for those who deal with folk with dark days will read this and get a glimmer of understanding about dark days.

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I hope…

GOD BLESS KENYA.


Lit Up

Met you online…memory is fuzzy as to the how.

We were not bosom pals but somehow we got each other.

As the Swahili say…akufaaye kwa dhiki ndiye rafiki…

On my darkest day on social media, you had my back…for that I lit up.

Your words then still ring true…’do not let anyone take away your dignity or power…’

For when I got your dark days or on the days you got my dark days…I lit up.

For the drink we were to do before the end of 2015…I lit up.

You were awesome by just being you.

Days later it still sad…it still hard to take…I still have many questions…

But I choose to celebrate you…

As you used to sign out…Bless. Love and Light.

Thank you J.

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