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Once a man-child, always one

By By SHIRLEY GENGA | September 23rd 2013


The other day, I was with a group of girlfriends and the topic of the man-child came up. Interestingly enough, everyone seemed to have a story to tell about their encounter with one; that is how common they have become.

The more I thought about it and asked around, the more it became evident that the man-child epidemic had spread to the point where it has become an acceptable behaviour to expect from a man.

And, no, I am not talking about a grown up man who dresses up like a baby. Or the male adult who sucks his thumb when he thinks no one is looking. Or the man who cannot hold down a job and lives at home. Some men who fall into the man-child category are intellectuals and in fact, often hold top jobs.

But it is in their personal space where their baby-like tendencies rear its ugly head. 


The man-child looks like a grown man, he talks like a grown man and dresses like a grown man, but if you look close, you will see a perpetual adolescent, Mr 18-until-I-die, a Mr Peter Pan in the flesh. 

The man-child’s world revolves around him; he is selfish, emotionally immature, emotionally unavailable and incapable of committing to anything but himself. When it comes to relationships, the man-child breaks up with you even though the two of you are not in a relationship.

The word commitment or sacrifice is as foreign to this man as the existence of aliens. And if some unlucky woman actually manages to get him down the aisle, he will make her pay dearly with every affair he has. His worst trait is his inability to sacrifice for another human being. Ironically, he expects others to constantly sacrifice for him. Further he is the man who is 40, but he still wants to ‘drop it like it’s hot’ with the ‘ma youth’. He is the king of the club who has more plots over the weekend than a campus boy, yet he is married with children. He is the man who will spend Sh20,000 a night entertaining friends while his child sleeps hungry.

Dating or being married to a man-child is akin to changing a stinky diaper for the rest of one’s life. A man-child will force his unfortunate better half to play the role of ‘loving’ and ‘very understanding’ mother (basically a push over) while he happily plays the role of a spoilt rotten child, and never meet you at a grown up level.


Sometimes women will put up with a man-child with the hope that one day he will grow up. Women often believe that if they love Mr Peter Pan hard enough, one day he will turn into a ‘real’ grown man.

I am sorry to be the prophet of doom, but for all those women who still believe that Peter Pan will one day grow up, I am sorry stop wasting your time because once a man-child always a man-child.

Being with a ‘real’ grown man should be an enjoyable experience. It should involve mutual commitment, generosity, courtesy, politeness and respect and more nice things in the same line. If you are the only real adult in your relationship, only unhappiness awaits.


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