|Like many of you would have done recently, I went to see the movie Think Like a Man; and I’ve been wondering, since, what aspect of it I could turn into a column or two. A couple years ago, a girlfriend gave me, as a gift, the book around which the movie revolves, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. Back then, I was telling a sister about it and before I could get the second sentence out, she snorted disgustedly and barked, “Why Steve Harvey don’t leave woman alone and tell man how to act like man?”|
Well, that exchange – rather than the film – is at the front of my mind today, given two stories – not fiction – I was just told. One has to do with a fight between a couple that, reportedly, took place on a broad Saturday morning, holding up traffic in the vicinity of a Factory Road supermarket. I’m told the fracas began in a vehicle, then spilled onto the street, where, finally, the woman was manfully shoved aside and the feller took off behind the wheel. In that case, I understand, everybody was a spectator and not a man lifted a finger to stop the brawl.
The other story involves a sister who, apparently, was stepping out on her man, when said man discovered her in flagrante with her lover at a house of convenience. As the tale goes, the feller rained blows on her, from uppercut to kidney punch, right in front of the person who had so recently been enjoying her person; and this man kept his hands at his side during the whole beat-down, up to the time the woman was bundled away, by the beater, into his vehicle.
Where is Steve Harvey when you need him, eh?
Frankly, I am hoping never to have to face such a challenge, because I would be deeply disappointed, and not a little surprised, if any woman I call sister or sister-friend were to allow herself to be so manhandled. But in the event that such a tribulation were to come upon her unawares, I am hoping, even more, not to be disappointed by any of the friends I call men; and that, remembering who they are, they will tackle the unmanly feller and give him a few lessons in Manhood 101.
Now, I am also told that the second couple are, in fact, still a couple – which leads me to wonder what the exercise in pugilism was all about, then. Since, I understand, that it was “intelligence” that led to the discovery, could it simply have been a performance for the benefit of the informer? For, local men being who they are, it seems almost inconceivable that this one could have been presented with the evidence, meted out the punishment, and then agreed to supervise the rehabilitation, as well. But, hey, maybe he looked at all that he’d already invested in the relationship, or the possibility that his woman was sharing only what he, himself, had been dishing, and decided that it was easier to forgive and forget than start over.
What I wonder about, even more, however, is the relationship – if you can call it that – that now exists between the woman and her lover. On the morning after, did he pass by her job (assuming that she was in any condition to work) to find out whether she was okay? Did he send her even a surreptitious text to ask if she was safe? But, then again, if I were she and this male impostor came to my workplace, I would have screamed so loud for security that Barbudans would’ve heard me. For, surely, the fact that I was still alive and functioning was not on account of his intervention.
What, on earth, or in heaven, would cause a man to be overtaken by this most convenient bout of paralysis while the woman who had just done with him the most intimate and personal thing possible was being abused before his very eyes? Was it that he really had no feelings at all for her – save one –and so her welfare just didn’t matter? Was he washed in guilt that his brethren had found him taking what, rightfully, was not his and, so, he decided not to add injury to insult and thump the bastard down? Or was he just a natural-born coward, afraid for his own skin after having uncovered hers? All I know is that, next morning, the feller’s face ought to have been covered in cuts and scrapes from his inability to look at himself in the mirror while shaving.
A couple years ago, at a staging of When a Woman Moans, there was a piece performed that sent chills up and down my body. While we were looking toward the stage for the performance, the actress (I think it was Marcella Andre) dashed through the aisles of the darkened theatre, screaming, shouting for help, imploring the assistance of neighbours, as she ran from her man, her abuser. It was a chilling scene and we, the audience, sat frightened, shocked, paralyzed – doing nothing, as, indeed, in real life, happens too, too, often. And in the piece, as, indeed, in real life, the character ended up being killed by her lover, since no one came to her aid in this “man-and-woman-story….”
I would want to believe that in both instances referred to earlier there was a woman, or even a couple of women, who wanted to step out of the ranks of the silent, to step in and “part the fight,” to say to the man, “Hey! Hey! Hey! Whah happen to you? You nah hah none moomah, none sissah? Tek your hands off de woman, man! Ah somebody pickney she be!” But, being afraid – and, understandably, though not excusably, so – they might have measured the feller’s size, wondered if he had a weapon, and considered their own safety and the fact that their children could not afford to lose a mother.
But, my God! Some man – some men – must also have heard, have seen, and have stood aside and watched, too. And if one had stood up, two doubtlessly would have followed, and three, certainly would have been able to put a stop to the violence. Does this country not have three good men? Or have men simply forgotten how to be men?