Editor’s note: Welcome to the first in a series of articles provided by The Caribbean Male Action Network (CariMAN), which “aims to bring together men and organisations throughout the Caribbean engaged in work with and for men.” The articles will be published monthly. This article was written by Owen ‘Blakka’ Ellis and first appeared in The Star newspaper in Jamaica.
Hey, nuff man nuh love talk ’bout it, but ageing is a hell of a ting yu know! And it’s a thing that wreaks havoc on a man’s mind and body. As one of the several humorous old-age quotes puts it “first you forget names, then you forget faces. Then you forget to pull up your zipper, then … Oh, my goodness, you forgot to pull your zipper down!”
It’s that time of a man’s life when bones start creaking and pipes start leaking; when the things we want to stay down (like our blood pressure) go up uncontrollably, and the things we really want to go up ketch relapse or resign and resolutely refuse to rise. Of course, not that it’s much of a consolation, but one of the upsides of ageing is that your secrets are finally safe with your friends – because they can’t remember them either!
Whether you consider your body a sacred temple or a ‘lean, mean love machine’ or just plain old flesh and bones, the human structure is like any other living moving thing. It will inevitably become worn out. It can’t last forever. Don’t mind the multiplicity of anti-ageing miracles on sale all over, and don’t be fooled by rare human phenomena like Merlene Ottey for example, man a nuh machine; and the body eventually slows down and stops.
No matter how healthy we live or well we try to keep it, after a certain number of years of carrying around our spirits, our bodies fall prey to that patiently waiting predator called ‘ole and tiyad’, and mi nuh fraid fi admit it peeps, it start to whap mi already. Fi real man, and as I get less and less young, I feel more and more ‘pap dung’ and I become more acutely aware of the need to pay attention to my health. It will happen eventually of course, but I don’t think they start making replacement parts for the human body yet. If they did most men would probably want to upgrade to bigger and sturdier appendages. Yes, I’d go for bigger feet. Heheheh!
Ageing also messes with a man’s masculinity. It does! As a man’s body ages, his production of the male hormone testosterone is reduced. You know that right? Yes man, that is a medically accepted fact!
Testosterone peaks during adolescence and early adulthood. As you get older, your testosterone level gradually declines.
So now, I wonder if you realise that technically speaking, that means that as a man gets older and older he actually gets less and less ‘manly’? Yeah, maybe that’s why some of us men do what is called mellowing with age. I don’t know about a next man, but I know that as I get older I tend to be generally less competitive and aggressive. And I may even cry more readily. How about you? And I’m not saying that that necessarily makes us more ‘womanly’. If anything, I think it makes us more ‘humanly’. What you think?