WHETHER from the courts, or from media, the reality of domestic upheavals – too many fatal- echoes in the public spaces with hurried opinions and castigations, birthing crusades here and there not without justification. Seldom is there, however, the cry for answers, clarifications and then comprehension, but most of all to pause the visits of Old Basil with premature death and injury. I’ve explored this topic before because seldom are articles and studies done that involve the male realm. Men- heterosexual men- are not a favourite topic to be addressed in-depth, that even extract a significant official response, in recognition from the evidence, that there is something wrong in that gender sphere. One particular article by Psychologist Dianna Khan GNNL May 7, 2018, referred to substance abuse, lack of essential living skills among causes that prevent young men from becoming re-integrated into society. The aspect of the male drama of this article revolves around another custom practice with frightening connotations.
Some months ago I stopped by Demico to chat with a friend who sold precious minerals, and feel relieved that he had visited family overseas and had returned in a less sombre mood. That day we did not discuss the usual grouse which mainly came from me about men living alone. Some months later, I passed and he was not there on his usual stool shaking his kiddy, so I assumed that he had travelled again to Guyana’s off limit Region 10 (North America). I don’t know why I decided to make sure, so in passing, I checked out another friend Carto (Boxer) across to Stabroek Market main entrance to verify this annoying hunch. My hunch turned out to be grim anticipation of real fears. Carto informed me that the brother was found dead a few days after, waiting on overseas relatives to come home and was to be buried soon. This is a real occurrence of quiet realities that have happened too many times before, but remain outside of the public discourse: living alone bachelors found dead two to three days after.
No man in the onset of his life would imagine himself in the condition of a self-imposed bachelor in the afternoon of his life. This is a process that evolves from experiences and errors made, with enough guilt to be thrown either side, because as children we are taught values at home that are competed with by the prevailing influences of our social and peer environment. Our inner strength and intuitive qualities do play a subdued part but we all have an alter ego and in the all will violate in the process of learning and will execute acts in the imposed codes of our cultural niche. For instance, a man falls in deep infatuation with a female. He constructs a parameter likened to that of a Stalag with invisible barbed wire and watchtowers, with himself as commandant, the ultimate ego in charge, he fails to explore his infatuation and enquire where this other human being’s interests lie, what are the influences the person finds normal, who are her custodian influences, the male God complex kicks in, without realising that even God kicked aspects of his rebellious nature out of his domain, and nuked Sodom and Gomorrah for their perverse transgressions.
Too late he realises that two opposing interests are entangled. His commandant position was never recognised. The details of how it plays out are not important, what is, is the deflated ego and how the events are debriefed, the blame game follows. There are stereotypical gender-based terms that are commonly used: “Ah done wid woman all ah dem is w…..” and “ Yuh can’t trust man ah done wid dem”. Similar sentiments are uttered in every human culture, broken expectations are exploited by crooked religious conmen as was exposed in Guyana not too long ago.
In some cases, honest councillors expand the self-awareness of not to feel exclusive in their pain, whether born from conceit or mismatched. This, however, is more applicable to females. Men retreat into ‘The warrior’s solitude’ because to be subdued into accepting a view not collaborative with one’s own, is unmanly, stupid and counterproductive, but real. A woman who benefitted from a friend’s kindness met me in the lotto line and hinted she wanted to talk. We bought our tickets and stepped aside. She told me that he was so good to her that she wanted to engage him sensually, but he admitted that he could not. They were still together because she liked him and had children and had a life, and they agreed that the companionship was worth the togetherness. I told her that I read in a book that the condition could be mental as well as nutritional. She agreed and said they were looking for a way out of the small but HUGE hindrance in their relationship. In pop music I can recall an old tune by Tony Bennett that pays reference to the ghost of a past relationship haunting the present, it’s called ‘Cold Cold Heart’
Why do men resort to living alone, and suffer and die alone? We are brought up and indoctrinated with a tremendous burden of expectations heaped upon our mental shoulders, difficult to meet today. The world has drifted from semi-skilled labour based employment in less than 40 forty years from Independence. Earning capacity has shifted away from labour based jobs. On the present stage, a home and its environs require an enormous budget to facilitate A- our in-house student population with computers and all that goes with it. B- The home is expected to have a washing machine, fridge, flat screen TV, gas stove, and the least. If a man has seven or eight children he needs two or three lifetimes to educate them all. Possibly elements referred to in this article also I have learnt from women the reality of a percentage of men forcing themselves to be heterosexual when they are not, but too confused to face the castigation of a lifetime of grow mates rather than conform to this different nature.
The issue of men dying alone is prevalent; I have known over five such cases over the past seven years, heard of many others all the scenarios indicated are speculative because no admissions are recorded, as no social initiative to my knowledge have recognised the problem. Also factual is that an attack of any medical condition, hypertension, urinal infection, gas attack without immediate support can render helplessness, and then what?