These are signs of a masculinity crisis

By - Jan 1st 1970

That Friday, I saw the most socially distasteful thing in my life hitherto: Handbags on a bar counter. Handbags.On.A.Bar.Counter! The two counters of the upscale bar in the middle of the city were all occupied by young women in their late 20s. They were perched on the high stools; four of them with a whole bottle of Jack Daniels to themselves.

Last time I checked all whiskies, brands, and gins are named after men, mostly European kings, czars, lords, and mayors of townships. None named after a woman. There is a statement women are making by skipping wine or ‘sweetened’ alcoholic drinks for much more macho stuff. Something symptomatic of a society thawing towards social anarchy.

Sample this. In the same bar, men sat on normal chairs, the oldest man near the toilet door. One man was drinking wine from a wine glass (something worse than a handbag on the counter). Men who take wine in bars should hand in their man cards pronto. Then there were 30-something men drinking from green bottles, tapping their unacceptably big phones, despite being in the company of some of the prettiest women you will see in Nairobi. How indecent? If Kenya was at war, men who drink from green bottles tapping humongous smartphones cannot be relied upon. Actually, there was a man drinking beer with water and his woman was on plain beer. For a moment, I thought it was a gay bar.

Back to the counter. See, the bar counter is a mythical and spiritual place for men. When a man sits at the bar counter, he is reaching out to his inner soul. If they are two, they mean business. If in a company of a woman, something is definitely going down, business or otherwise. You sit at the counter to contemplate life. I bet divorce decisions and suicide notes are best written at the bar counter. It is a therapeutic experience. No man who goes to the counter comes back the same man.

Women sitting at the bar counter is not wrong per se. Being comfortable is. It is like a man who sits at home around 8 pm watching a soap opera. It is not bad, but it means that such a man cannot defend his woman even from a spider in the house.

The bar counter used to be a man’s world. Not anymore. Let us face it, women at the bar counter is an overt assault on masculinity. The bar is the best place to measure social evolution. It is a statement of social defiance when a woman defiantly smokes, tapping the ash into the ashtray, blowing smoke from the side of her mouth, as she turns a page of Fifty Shades of Grey at a restaurant’s balcony or counter.

Bars can tell you that men are losing out. Lately, I know at least three men who have been picked from bars by women and taken home for a romp. At the crack of dawn, they are mercilessly kicked out. Do you know how cold and grey a Sunday morning can be? Previously, it is men who chased chips funga before they got familiar and asked for breakfast. Men are doing the walk of shame now. It is basically over.


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