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Caleb Okereke: This Is How to Be a Man



dreamstime_l_27260137Look my friend, this is how to be a man.

As a man, you should be sinewy, rigid like an Indomie carton. Your shoulders should be sturdy and your voice deep. People should be unable to judge your feelings by your voice. It should be like the block of cement that remains the same in rain or sunshine – brawny when you are poignant and brawny when you are enthusiastic. Your arms must be burly enough to hoist a bag of Mama gold rice and to catch elevator doors; your legs strong enough to stand for women to sit on BRT buses and for little children to hop on.

When you are a man, emotions become what salvation is to the devil, they are anathema, unheard of. You do not show the world how vulnerable you are, you become incapable of love, of selflessness, of kindness, you become a man.

Because you are a man, you should be far flung from the world, because if life were a stage play, a man would not be the actors or the actresses thrilling the enthusiastic audience. He would not be the band playing on stage for everyone to see. He would rather be the backstage crew, or the makeup artiste, or the play director, detached from the audience.

As a man, you should love women. You should pay for exotic dinner dates at Oriental Hotel and Tom Ford or Mulberry bags at Park n Shop. Meet her friends and drink red wine with her colleagues, and every new month send a text or BBM message to them appended with 1000 Naira airtime.

But you should love her with restraint – as one treats a box of chocolates he dislikes, you should not love her helplessly. Your love should be perceptible in acts of rigidity- Hitting her, forgetting dinner dates, cheating-rather than acts of vulnerability. You should never say, “I love you” and mean it, you should say it only because you mean, “I want you” because you are stimulated by the scent of her perfume and the swirl of her bosom.

My friend, as a man, you should never have one woman in your life. You should view them as clothes that become dirty over time and need to be changed constantly, you should view them as phases of your life rather than torpid things. Women are things that are to be left along the line, they are luggage’s that you’d tire of after some time. No woman, I repeat, no woman is worth your time.

The one who finally becomes your wife would be the submissive one-Good Morning dear, I washed your ties dearie, Should I follow you to work? Haba!-Marry her, but only because she would please your Mother, because she would let you look at other women with the meagre reassurance that you were hers, and because she would not be like the self confident women from Zenith Bank or NLNG who fling wine glasses at their husbands when they as much as smile with other women.

Boy, a man must drink beer and watch football. You are not a man if you do not do these things, for they are to a man’s life what a storyline is to a Novel, they are imperative, you cannot do without them. I am not saying you should smoke o, although you can add that one to the catalogue, but at least drink beer and watch the Premier league, don’t even think of doing those things the effeminate boys do biko, I will just disown you.

Do not read Novels, Poetry Collections, or anything at all. Only read newspapers, because they look sexy when you hold them in your palms. Do not have platonic female friends, mbanu, any friend you have that is a woman, you must be collecting small something.

Do not clap in church, or lift your hands in worship. The Holy Spirit is for women alone. Only dance during praise, as you did in the club the Friday before, dance during Praise.

If you are going to the Cinema, it should be to see Transformers, Fast and Furious or Star wars and not all this mushy romance com’s girls see these days.

You see, if you do not do all these things, people would call you gay O, a man who likes another man and it would be your fault, you hear, it would be your fault.


Look my friend; this is the man I am.

I am not sinewy, at least not yet. However, I refuse to believe it is a benchmark for determining how much of a man I am. My voice is not yet deep enough; people say it’s somewhere in the concave vent between a man’s and a woman’s, yet I know I am man enough.

I like to read Novels and fall helplessly in love, I say I love you and I mean it, without restraints irrespective of how opulent, my shirt pockets are and how many dinner dates I have paid for.

I am no longer of the school of thought that a man is sewn almost inseparable from the fabric of these stereotypes, I do not watch football or drink beer and I love to lift my hands in worship. I go to the Cinema to see whatsoever movie I please, I have platonic female friends and I honestly do not care what people say.

And if you do not like this man, biko, take your chair and sit one side.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime