JAMAICAN men are a special breed — a little bit of the suave here, self-assertiveness there, topped off with a certain je ne sais quoi — you never quite know what you're getting until you're often too deep in to extricate yourself. And when a woman is deep into it with a Jamaican man, often she will tolerate the unexplainable, because the man is otherwise quite charming, or so she's led to believe. Indeed, only after severing ties will she wise up to what she really put up with — like him refusing to grant certain favours because of those built-in phobias that it seems many of our men were fitted with in the manufacturing plant, and then hammered home daily through popular media. They're the phobias like that strict rule about using the number two, the fear of uttering any statement with the word “man” in it, and even something as innocuous as saying “hey” to a fellow man.
Don't believe it's that bad? We asked women, what's the strangest thing your guy has refused to do because he attributed it to being gay? Here is what they said.
Patrice, make-up artist:
My man refuses to bite a banana — he would rather break it and put it in his mouth. He also does not use standard English when conversing with other men, because apparently only gay men do that.
Ann, event planner:
My husband refuses to kiss our son on the lips. Well, I really can't remember him ever kissing him anywhere. Now that we have a daughter he kisses her all the time, but still only does high fives and hugs with our son, forcing me to give him more affection than I give to her, so he doesn't feel left out.
Sandy, pharmacy assistant:
My boyfriend doesn't allow me to touch his butt...ever, not even if we are bathing each other or making out. Once my hand goes near it, he moves it, or gets mad and ruins the whole mood. I think it's kind of obsessive and it's probably more “gay” to be so sensitive to being touched there.
Geena, sales agent:
My ex-boyfriend was a complete barbarian. He wouldn't shave his armpits or his pubes (but he wanted me to go down there). He wouldn't buy sanitary napkins for me at the shop, and he wouldn't let me touch his butt or testicles. And one time I left some clothes on his line and asked him to pick them up and put them in a drawer until the next time I came over. He took up everything except the underwear. They stayed on the line for weeks.
Onika, business manager:
My fiancé refuses to carry my handbag. He opens the door and does just about anything else, but the handbag is off-limits. Oh, and it doesn't matter how chapped his lips are, he won't use chapstick because “it is like lipstick”, which is a woman's thing.
Desrine, store owner:
Even if we are in the heat of the moment and I ever make a mistake and grab his butt and not his lower back, he will destroy the whole rhythm and get up, then be mad about it. He also will not wash my undergarments, yet he expects me to wash his because in his eyes only gay men enjoy taking care of panties.
My husband, whose family has a history of prostate cancer, doesn't want to get his prostate examined because he is convinced that only men who are “lean” get it done — to satisfy themselves. He is also convinced that the doctors get off when they get to perform these examinations because many of them are secretly leading lives as homosexuals.
My man times himself in the bathroom — not even diarrhoea can keep him in the bathroom over five minutes. He says that his butt feels exposed and not even a toilet seat should be pressed against his butt.
My boyfriend is plagued by haemorrhoids and so I encourage him to use suppositories to help get him relief. But he is adamant that nothing is going near his buttocks. He also refuses surgery to take care of it because he doesn't want anybody near there.
FROM A MAN'S PERSPECTIVE
We're willing to please, BUT...
“WHEN a man tells you that you're cute, or that you look nice, that's gay. Real men will say that you look all right, or you look hard, dawg. You also can't say Manchester; it's Galchester or Galtego Bay (for Montego Bay),” explains Lennox, 28, in breaking down the subconscious of the “ordinary Jamaican man”.
He also explained another no-no for men — touching their own buttocks while showering.
“Most men won't touch their butt, they let the water run down on it because [touching it] is gay or nasty,” he quipped.
Asked if he himself was more modern than his compatriots, the answer was a staunch “nope”.
“I'm not doing certain things, eating certain things, or putting my finger certain places,” the customer service rep said.
For Forrest, 42, he's more open to personal cleanliness, and washing body parts that need to be washed, but draws the line with castigating his colleagues for their obsession with gay men and their habits.
Asked about greetings, and a reluctance for men to say “hi” or “hey” when greeting their friends, he was incredulous that the question was even asked.
“That's kind of feminine, though,” the clothing designer insisted.
“Picture this: Me walking up to my brethren and ago talk bout, 'hi'. That's not OK!”
He said while he is willing to please his woman, and will sew in her weave, wash her undies or blow dry her hair, he's only open- minded to an extent.
“I'm open-minded when it comes to women, and I'm willing to please,” he said. “I used to think the same way [as my colleagues], but times change. We can all function in the same space, but I don't want anyone to write me off as being on the other side, because I take up certain habits.”