I do not hate men. I have not lived a long life and it’s almost tragic how many times I have had to say that. I do not hate men. I love them. At least I love my grandpa (one day I will tell you how he used to bring us Candy Cakes every Friday back when he worked at the museum), I love my big brother, who happens to be in town this week (whoop whoop). I even have some level of fondness for the 8 or 9 guys I share an office with (some days are better than others lol). Bottom line is I don’t hate men. At worst I am indifferent to some specific members of the species, but none of that is as deep as hatred.
However, between the ones that I love and the ones that I am indifferent to, there lies a sea of very complex emotions. When my puppy Chubbs (I will need to stop calling him a puppy eventually) gifts me a dead bird, I know I have no use for the gift but I am truly grateful for the gesture.
When Tyron offers to feed me, I feel glee: he has always known when to show up, one day I might tell you all about it. When Benj shows me his latest poetry, I feel proud, they grow really fast. When my #bff’s nephew tries to explain to me how babies are made, I can’t help but feel “where does the time go?”.
When KC and Jo are happy with my latest rewrite, I feel unstoppable and on days when I wear my sundress, the one with the flowers and my crush says something corny about how I look like a girl, I feel exactly like that…like a girl. And then I start to feel like maybe I should wear more sundresses with more flowers and…Earth to Nkosi.
See, this is the good side of this sea of emotions. On this side, it’s calm, it’s the beachy side of this sea. It’s the side that everyone wants to visit. The sun is shining, it’s warm, everyone is happy. This is the good side of the sea. The side everyone wants to stay on.
On the other side of this sea is the tide, the rough currents, the storms, the violent waves. On this side , my father whispers how my mediocre cooking skills will someday land the whole family in shame. On this side, my favourite cousin, the one with the free spirit drinks with her husband and people start to mumble about how ungracious she is.
My feelings on this side aren’t as inspired as glee and gratitude and feeling like a girl. On this side of the sea, I worry.
I worry when an uncle rationalises rape.
I worry when a classmate justifies physical abuse.
I worry when a guy friend rants about how a girl he met in the ET wouldn’t give him her number.
There is a whole sea of emotions when it comes to men, for me, but the most dominant is worry. There’s a lot of love, appreciation, glee, gratitude, inspiration but before, during, after and between these is a lot of worry.
I worry about how we raise our boys, I worry about what we let them get away with, I worry about how we enable them, I worry about how we are worried about their masculinity before we worry about their humanity.
…So. In response to the hundred times I (or anyone else) has been accused of hating half the world’s population (I believe in humanity, noone can have that much hate in them), I do not hate men, I’m usually worried by men. But more than that, I am worried about them.