Why do men shy away from PDA?

Friday October 18 2019

Eliud Kipchoge celebrates with his wife Grace Sugutt after he busted the mythical two-hour barrier for the marathon during the "Ineos 1:59 Challenge: Sub-Two Marathon Attempt" on October 12, 2019 in Vienna. PHOTO | HERBERT NEUBAUER | AFP

By MARIGA THOITHI That has been a summary of the past week. Eliud Ki(ng)pchoge did something out of my wildest dreams.

Reichsbrücke Bridge is where our dreams started and Prater Park is where Kipchoge was immortalised into an icon and a living legend.

I was watching while in Kigali for a conference and I was so annoyed because everyone wasn't as euphoric as I was.

I was sort of annoyed as Eliud neared the finish line and started waving and smiling, while in spirit I was hoping he could just focus on breaking the record first. Then he did it.

I jumped around and screamed and shouted, 'but Alas!' Everyone was going on about their lives unbothered. How could they? Didn't they know what was happening?

Didn't they know how lucky they were to be alive at this moment in time? The internet was ablaze though. I'm still trying to wear down the euphoria.


It almost reminds me of a day, long long ago where I almost ran a kilometre. I came really close.


One of the cheekiest responses about the race though was one that claimed of two records having been broken — the world marathon record and that of a Kalenjin man hugging his wife publicly.

I was tickled by it. Which brings me to a message I received asking why men fear to display their expression and emotions publicly.

Women particularly like to ask this question. I should probably have some wise answers for them but that would require, you know, wisdom, so I'll just give you my opinion.

Why doesn't he open up? Why doesn't he tell me about his feelings? How do I get to know him better? How can I know what he feels deep inside?

First of all, I would wish that this was something that was of concern about me but it isn't. I talk.

I talk too much. In fact, if you're my significant other, get ready for full days of conversation on repeat mode for years. But I'm not the SI unit for anyone.

I always have a mouthful for any occasion. I'm quiet only when I'm sleeping, sometimes.


So how do you get him to open up about his feelings and what he's going through? The answer you have all been waiting for is that there's no right answer. It all depends on your man.

Why are men quiet to their significant other especially about things that matter? I have three possible answers.

One, he's just like that. He just likes keeping things to himself and no amount of asking will change him. You need to know the person you're dating before you start dating them.

Stop faking surprise that he has not changed despite you sleeping under the same duvet. He won't. It's a medical fact. A fact like ‘99.9 per cent of doctors who promote Dettol and Colgate support'.

Two, he would want to but his past attempts ended terribly. Society isn't very kind to men who open up. You're told to open up but you're shamed when you do.


Men will ask you whether you want pads with your feelings and women will ask you whether you would like to sit when you pee.

Three, which is where I lie when it comes to me not opening up about significant matters, is that I can't see how it will help anything or anyone.

What's the practical impact of opening up? Is opening up going to give me a solution or money? If so, why are we wasting time talking about it? Feelings are good but solutions are better.

It must be frustrating for women though. Not knowing. As men, you usually know what your lover is thinking. Even when you're okay not knowing.

If you're in a relationship long enough you will know the difference between gel nail polish and the regular varnish.

You even know the frustrations in choosing and buying bras and you know the difference between night and day cream.


What should you do about it? First thing, know that men handle situations and emotions differently from how you think they should, despite internet standards and media depictions.

Honest conversations are a good start with your man over what you feel. It might not change everything or anything but it's a good start.

If the bigger issue is that they need a safe space to open up, then be that space or create it. For the solutions-oriented men, you should know that that's the lens through which they will always view feelings Watergates, so don't ask if you're not willing to help them find solutions.

The last one is the hardest one to hear though. He might always be that person who doesn't open up and who you have to deal with as he is or leave him. Chaguo ni lako.