I have spent the last two months downing beer in pubs and listening to so many sob stories from men. And you know what? We are staring at a monster that has been decades in the making -- women.
Women my generation are emotional bullies. So much for men evolving into better, kinder and reasonable beings. The more reasonable men become, the more unreasonable women get.
We are at a point where women are economically empowered and increasingly doing better than men, yet they still prefer a male breadwinner for marriage. We have women who want everything, who believe in the corny gospel of “you can have it all” and not ready to settle for anything less.
The upshot is that we have many young men (age 25-35), who are emotionally overwhelmed on how to handle women our generation. They don’t want to be like our mothers who held out to bad marriages. They want a better marriage, but are totally uninterested in putting the work needed. To them, marriage is a science; good job, beautiful children in private school, some property, and all the fun and adventure that they can afford. They rarely factor the vagaries of life in the plans.
We have not refused to grow up
Women empowerment increasingly has become about women doing things they were forbidden in the past, without any care why they were forbidden in the first place. They outdrink men in your average Nairobi night club and sleep around with reckless abandon. They are no longer afraid of disease or becoming single parents (with so many examples to derive from). They are given to self-destructive behaviour, especially in their 20s and reality only dawns on them at 32, when their delusional over-confidence confronts the ugly monster called reality.
This is happening at a time when men of my generation are wimpish. But we are wimpish by design. We have not refused to grow up. Rather caught up in an arrested development made the worse by the current economic situation that is likely to leave behind so much carnage that in a few years there will be so many broken young families.
Men have become reasonable, encouraged to do better than their fathers. We fight not to be violent. We try to grant women the freedom we think can make us seem cool. But if there is one thing millennial women know better than ordering a screwdriver in a bar, it is pushing the boundaries. They will test every nerve in your body, and often you wish the reflexive slap that our fathers had in their tools kit of dealing with women was still possible.
I think more and more men will steer out of relationships for fear of not knowing how to handle women, as no one has written a manual of dealing with millennial women. And more and more women will end up a single, partly to blame because of their obnoxious behaviour and the noxious expectations out of life.
Women want more
In my bar room expeditions, listening to men, they have the same complaints. Women want more when there is nothing more to give. They want weddings (who can afford one in this economy), they want a man who drives a car, has a house, and all the fancy electronic gadgets that come with middle-class life. They want a luxurious life, with an occasional overseas vacation, especially where the waters are blue and the beach sand white as cocaine.
Consider that men tend to have more dependents than women. We rarely talk about how the extended family can hold a man back, even as a woman prospers with her income. A man has to think as the head of the family, while the woman has as much income, but with little commitment save for some pricey Brazilian weave and a pedicure.
Most men talked of a mismatch of expectations and priorities. But whereas they thought their priorities were within reason, they said their women would hear nothing of it.
To be a man in the 21st century you have to be extremely rich, chivalrous and rude at the same time, all-powerful, and a bully to deal with the modern woman. Yet you will still need luck to fulfill the wishes of women, who shift goalposts like the Jubilee government.
Women have bullied us into submission, but in ten years, they will regret their choices.