(BY OYUNGA PALA) Between us men stuff we would rather not talk about in public…
That girl in the short skirt bursting in view, looking smug in some commercial for soda, beer or skin lotion….how we love her! She’s perfect; she is a goddess; always young always and always slender, she could sell us anything and she does, considering the amount of overpriced sugar flavored water we consume daily. Why does that girl seem to turn up every time we turn around? Because we dearly love to imagine ourselves looking as good as she does and we will try almost anything to start the transformation. The trouble is we are too eager to risk our common sense to look the part. If it were not so, more of us would actually drink water and not exclusively drool at skinny girls with weaves.
We have absolutely forgotten what beauty is and cannot define it outside these projected images. In other words, we have all become advertisement junkies, a breed nourished on a steady diet of electronic stimulation that has systematically eroded our daily ability to independently think and make basic deductions. A mere glance around our environment will illustrate the diversity of women who abound. We are in a zone primarily dominated by some of the world’s most beautiful women ranging from the svelte to the rubenesque. Some of the most photographed girls in the world live in our midst, yet why do we continue to search subconsciously for this girl in the TV commercial.
Your average college graduate should be aware that part of any commercial team always includes a make-up artist whose exclusive duty is to prepare the “model” to look the most convincing to the audience. Through the technique of airbrushing, all unsightly bulges are toned down/enhanced and the facial flaws streamlined to look smooth, eyes made wider, lips softer etc. The end result being a really seductive image and we are hooked line and sinker yet we know better…it beckons us and like heaven, we know we may get there but somehow it remains elusive.
So like proper junkies we crave and continually search for it. To salve our collective conscious we have arrogantly named these characters “bimbos”, yet we make sure never to be seen without one dangling appropriately next to us. Status symbols of really dubious confusion, considering we are not all like the guy in the beer ad either. It is a wonder we expect an image to be suddenly eloquent and culturally appropriate. Imagine for a second if we had to wear make up and heels to please women.
But the most common form of selling out is the quiet betrayal of us, the squelching of the inner voice that tells you what you will and won’t do to get it. We betray ourselves by being nagged by the fear that the lives we lead are not ours, hence, the girl in the commercial becoming a suitable fantasy. Admittedly we have slowly evolved as products of a psychological economic system. The craving is a condition of enhanced ego-obsession and the inability to resist the drive toward immediate gratification. Who cares anymore if the hair or skin color is phony? It merely justifies the external definitions of what “fine” is. We sport the unashamed spirit of idle fancy and proudly like a medal.
There is no doubt that the impressive age in which we live, filled with its spectacular scientific and technical achievements, is also an age of great turmoil and anxiety. For one thing change has always been unsettling to human beings and today we are experiencing a rate and scope men have never known. There is much anguish in our inability to apply all the know-how and resources we have, as fully and quickly as our problems demand.
Another source of our unrest and anxiety today, lies in our trying to fulfill rising expectations, particularly in trying to organize and apply our resources and talents to meet these ends. It is a source of personal frustration to most men. I am painfully aware of the disparities that exist in the world, but I am even more disturbed by the knowledge of the world as it is contrasted to the vision of the world as it could be.
Here are two different outlooks of the world and I too feel caught between them. This is unfortunate or even frightening because we cannot afford to indulge in any lengthy periods of self-pity or spend too much of our time and energy in any more historical/cultural analysis as we have seen recently, comparing our current problems with more advanced and larger industrialized countries. Rather than historical/cultural analysis we are going to have to resort to harsh, realistic thinking and pragmatic analysis of our present situation. Even here the introspection must quickly give way to decision and action by establishing priorities of our life. All around us we see our people and institutions failing to make the fullest and most beneficial use of all the resources this incredible age has to offer.
So brothers, put machismo aside and find a girl who actually drinks water and will not be afraid to be seen in a kiosk with you drinking a kikombe ya chai, the highly priced tea, Kenya was once famous for.
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