Who wants to be a man by Funke Egbemode
Men love being men, I’m almost sure. Women also love being women. It’s sweet to be a woman, really. Never mind all our groaning and grumblings. Most of us girls don’t want to be anything else but women. Yes, pregnancy can be mean and menstrual pain beastly, but only women know how to deploy even those conditions to an advantage and even milk it.
Okay, what am I talking about? The in-house General Overseer of the Sinners Chapel in The Sun started this topic. He was puffing and boasting about how women suffer and men have all the fun. All because Oge, heavily pregnant Oge, was trudging her load across the newsroom. We all greeted her like we do all pregnant colleagues: How are all of you? And she answered like she should: ‘ we are all fine.’ As far as G.O. was concerned, pregnant women should be pitied. As far as I’m concerned, men don’t know diddly about life or what perks come with being a woman.
Let’s start with pregnancy. It is a beautiful experience, even for those of us who were ill for all of the nine months. You could puke the whole time and feel like eating charcoal (it’s called cravings) but a pregnant woman forgets everything when the baby kicks for the first time. Do men know babies respond when they slam the car door when they are angry? Well, it is soothing for an expectant mother. It’s like the baby is supporting you against his dad or telling you ‘don’t mind the old man’. And you pat him and smile.
But there is nothing like the first time a woman feels her baby kick. Before then, all the evidence of pregnancy most likely is the nausea, weakness, loss of or increased appetite. There may not even be a bump to show the world there is a new life growing inside her… then one day, suddenly, the baby registers his or her presence. The feeling is indescribable.
Women get to talk to their babies long before they are born. Oh yes. I remember towards the end of my first pregnancy, how my baby turned my tummy into a football pitch and his favourite soccer time was anytime from 10pm. Just when I was ready to sleep. The limbs were everywhere and I couldn’t find any comfortable position to sleep. One night, I was so frustrated I went to the kitchen, brought out a very cold bottle of water and poured it on my tummy. Suddenly, the stadium went quiet. The tiny thing must have been shocked witless and gone into the dressing room. I finally was able to sleep for a full hour and then the second half whistle was blown and that was the end of the night.
I bet you are smiling as you imagine that scenario. Right, now imagine the joy of a woman who gets to tap different bulging parts of her tummy and whisper, ‘can you be quiet for 30 minutes, Junior? Mummy needs to take a nap. That’s my good boy.’
And the joy of bringing into the world a new life, the final push, the first cry of your daughter, the nurse or doctor holding her up and then you get to hold her for the first time. Men can never know that feeling, the excitement, joy after hours of hard labour. The baby’s little warm lips on your nipple as you hold her tiny hand in yours. Why would any woman want to be a man, tell me.
And if a pregnant woman says her back aches, the husband is all over her, rubbing the back and telling her to put her feet up.
You this woman, I just pray you don’t put me in trouble.
Did I not warn you not to do any laundry today?
Didn’t my mother tell you it’s bad for a pregnant woman to bend down too often?
I think it’s time for a maid and I’m not interested in your excuses.
If a pregnant woman won’t cook, she’s forgiven. Her reason may be genuine or fake but in her state, she’ll get away with blue murder almost all the time.
Let’s move further.
Men must spend their hard earned, or even soft earned money on all the women in their lives, all the days of their lives. That’s the way God designed it, and so shall it be forever and ever. Amen. Ask the tired man you share the office with why he can’t retire yet. He’s exhausted. He even hates the job but he can’t quit because he’s got bills to pay. It doesn’t matter if his wife earns as much or even more than him, every man brings a good chunk of his earnings home, to his wife or wives. I’m not talking about the she-men, of course. Those ones are neither men nor women.
The he-men, whose mothers properly brought up, know they have to work and work until they can no longer move their bones. The ones who are respectfully called ‘daddy’, Chief, Otunba and so on are the ones who pay school fees, give their in-laws regular gifts, change their wives’ cars, buy Christmas and August Meeting wrappers. Women, we keep the house, make babies and raise them. Not a few women die while helping men keep their fathers’ names and lineages. It’s one of the risks of being a woman. And that is why men have to pay for the time we serve in pregnancy and the hard labour we go through giving them sons. That is a price they must pay until they join their ancestors. So help them God.
Hey, do you also know that it’s really a woman who decides how many children will be rolled out of her factory? It is the one truth men like to argue but we let them. What’s the point of the argument when we know we are in charge? It is a woman’s world, men are just tenants in it. You see, a woman owns the factory. She decides when the production line will work. The man is the factory manager but what can he manage if the machine refuses to work? And how does he stop this huge productive machine when it’s operating at full-installed capacity? So, until your wife says no more babies, you cannot hang your boots sir. Or how are you going to undo the pregnancy when she ‘unhangs’ those boots? A dey laugh o. It’s such a powerful thing, being a woman.
Wait, did someone say; well, I’ll stop oiling the machine. Well, the man suffers in silence especially if the woman refuses to complain or ask for the oil. The poor dude starts to wonder and worry if another manager is oiling his machine. Sleepless night, high blood pressure and so on and so forth. Women are the ones with in-built stabilizers. We can live with polygamy and forgive serial philandering. A woman strays once and her husband goes into depression or suffers a stroke. Women are strong. It’s not a matter of arrogance. It’s the way we are made.
To finally worsen men’s already bad situations, after working so hard and handing over the bulk of the sweats of their brows to their wives, they give the remaining to their girlfriends and mistresses who are women, of course. Well, at least most of the time.
Women have all the luck, all the power, because that is the way God wants it to be. We have convinced the men that we are the weaker sex and they have made a song of it. It is music in our ears. May they continue to believe and may we remain in power.
Happy mothers’ day.