We have all been cheated on. Some of us know, some of us do not, some of us will find out some day.
I watched this TV interview on YouTube where a Kenyan chap was talking about his ex-wife’s colourful past in campus, the red flags, his suspicions... how she would go to the loo with her phone…blah, blah, he droned on and on like a train that is about to derail.
Things finally came to a head when he found lewd and damaging messages from this colleague she had been out of town rumbling in the sheets with.
He still had the stomach to go for counselling. Strong guy.
Soon after counselling, he found out about another guy she was seeing during the counselling sessions. Atta girl!
That was the last man that broke that camel’s back.
Watching that clip, I did not sit there thinking, “ How sad, poor guy.” Heck no! I thought, “What is he doing airing his dirty linen in public?”
Then I thought, maybe it is therapeutic, you know, talking it over with about a million viewers helps lessen the burden.
If the thrust of the interview was to make him look like a victim, it did not work.
He looked more like a cry-baby, telling on his ex on national TV, and to what end? His experience did not add any value to me as a man.
So what? We have all been cheated on. Some of us know, some of us do not, some of us will find out some day.
PREREQUISITE TO MANHOOD
That is just how it is. If you have not been cheated on then you are unlucky. You really have to be cheated on. No, seriously, you have to.
It is a prerequisite to manhood, like breaking your voice, or growing hair on the pubes, or opening beer with your teeth.
Those events, like losing your job or losing a loved one to death, are definitive.
They form men and dictate how you relate with women because you soon realise that tossing your heart out there like you are Miguel, the lover boy in a soap opera, is going to be your undoing.
You have to keep some heart for you. That way you do not remain a shell.
Unlike those chaps in Mombasa who made polyandry a national catchphrase a few weeks back, no man really has the capacity to stay sturdy after realisation of infidelity.
That stuff rocks the ground you stand on. It takes your ego, puts it into a blender, and adds two cups of pain and self-esteem.
Then it blends it. For 30 bloody minutes. When it is finally served to you, your lips tremble and your stomach will not hold it down.
You will go through a phase of rage. It is fine to kick something out of the way or punch a hole through a wall.
It is fine to recede or go through a bender. It is fine to eat less and drink more until you get your equilibrium.
It is fine to join a church or a cult, whatever makes you happy. It is even fine to listen to Celine Dion, as long as it is not in the office and you do not sing out loud. It is fine.
WHAT A SPECTACLE!
What is not fine is grown men making a spectacle of their heartbreak.
You get on Facebook to find men moaning on their timelines about love lost or betrayal: I feel so damned empty! (three likes), I still love you! (no likes), My heart is torn today, I feel blue! (one like).
It shows not only an embarrassing weakness, but also inability to keep your train on the rail when it drizzles.
There is a deep consolation that should come with heartbreaks and betrayal: That you are not the first and certainly not the last.
Better men have been betrayed before, smarter men, sexier men, richer men, more influential men, holier men, funnier men... This thing is bigger than us, gentlemen.
This thing cannot be tamed. But we can control how it affects us. Know how? By taking it on the chin and hushing the hell up.
WE ARE MEN
We are men; we do not gather our boys around a table and talk about our feelings when we have been betrayed.
We do not do sleepovers for it.
What we do is sit tight because, as sure as the sun rises from the east, this very stormy and turbulent part shall pass.
That is not even the good news; the good news is that it will not kill us. I never heard of anyone who died of heartbreak or lost an arm.
Sure, it will tear out your heart and damage your confidence, but it will not kill you. All you have to do is lie low and ride it out.
Englishmen have this poignant word that I like to associate with heartbreak: Stoic.
The ability to endure pain or hardship without showing feelings. This word was coined for men who have been cheated on, stolen from, betrayed, and left in the barren land of hurtland. Stoic.
It beseechs you to chin up. Stoic. It calls for you to grit your teeth. Stoic. It begs you to get your pain off social media. Stoic.
It asks you to be a man.
Have a stoic weekend, Romeo.