Are you less of a man if you stay home?
My first place of work after graduation was in Busoga, close to a river where fish was abundant. Unfortunately, fish isn’t my favourite dish.
One afternoon, two fish mongers knocked at my door. To their disappointment, I told them I wasn’t interested in fish. When I shut the door, the perplexed men remained standing in the same spot. One asked, ‘Omusaadha oyo alyaaki?’ (what does that man eat?); and the other asked, ‘Omusaadha oyo akolaki munyumba omwo?’ (what does that man do in that house?)
It is the second question which has interested me since then, and is the focus of this discussion.
The phrase ‘meeting joint’ has almost become an institutional culture for the blue/white collar class in the City – evidence of how what starts as a one-off outing/event progresses into a habit and culminates as a tradition and culture. A ‘meeting joint’ is a place where ‘intimate’ people routinely meet.
While some women and bachelors are a subgroup of this culture, husbands/fathers are the spotlight of this article.
What do husbands/fathers do at the meeting joint? Nothing developmental – mostly drinking alcohol and eating ‘mukyomo’ (roasted meats), and I dare say, ‘womanising’ (as a by-product but not a prime objective).
Confront these distinguished men and their response might be, ‘staying home is for women’, or ‘men should get out and conduct business – networking, making deals, etc’.
There is nothing wrong with occasionally going out to socialise, make deals and network. However, what type of deals and networking do you make with the same people, some of them workmates, day-after-day? If there is a football match, doesn’t it make more sense to stay home and watch it with your family? Why should you unnecessarily expose yourself to ‘crowded area’ dangers?
There are those who get home ‘relatively early’, say 9 o’clock in order to have supper with the family. Unfortunately, this time is late for the children! There are those who get home ‘a bit late’, probably expecting the children to have slept but the wife to be awake and ‘waiting’. This time is late for the wife! There are the ‘past-midnights’ who take ‘snoring’ home – these are a total disgrace.
The ‘taste of the pudding’ is in the morning. They wake up, with red eyes, having not had enough sleep. When they open their mouths, the stench is no different from a pit-latrine. Their ‘brewery’ breaths attract drosophila (small flies attracted by alcohol). Their morning vocabulary is ‘obutunda’ (passion fruit), ‘ebyenda’ (offals), ‘katogo’ (mixed food dish) – to cure the hangover.
Let us assess the impact of this culture on children. Most of these officers get home when the children are asleep, or in a state that limits constructive engagement with them. They wake early to beat the traffic. Some of them don’t get a chance to exchange ‘good morning’ greetings with their children.
The weekend provides the only realistic opportunity for children. Unfortunately, they are off to ‘kyalo’ (upcountry/village)! Some continue with the meeting joints! They literally lose personal contact with their children! All they do is to provide money-related quantitative attributes – food, shelter, clothing, transport, tuition, etc. But children require a quality aspect as well – e.g. physical engagement/interaction with parents.
What about the impact on the wives? Wives are on the receiving end of these meeting joints. Whether they like it or not, circumstances force them to be awake (or wake up) when their ‘loved’ ones ‘land’.
Fortunately (unfortunately?), most of whatever goes on between the four walls they share in the night never spills out. But we can envisage some of it. Have you ever heard someone wonder in the morning whether they had supper? Have you watched football penalty kicks? The objective is to kick the ball in-front of you and ensure that it enters between the goal posts. I have watched a few footballers kick penalties to the extreme left/right, which end as throw-ins for the opposition!
If you got too drunk to remember whether you ate supper or not, might you not have converted penalty shots into throw-ins? Might you not have lacked stamina to take penalty kicks? Might you not have failed to play? Might you not have been disqualified from the game? Remember, this is a unique situation where the opposition trebles as a co-player and referee!
Of course, you could argue that the existence of children is testimony that you covert penalties. No, children are a result of ‘fertilisation’ not ‘satisfaction’ – i.e. ‘quantity’ not ‘quality’. Quality is about getting to the finishing line with flying colours – breaking world records, getting gold medals! It can only be achieved with strategic/tactical planning and implementation – which the meeting joints hinder.
In the olden days, newly married couples (our great grand parents) were encouraged to lock the doors to their little round huts before cooking the evening meal. They both then undressed before the wife started cooking… finish the script by yourself.
The same ‘model’ is applicable today through the physical presence of the husband. Married couples develop unique body/verbal language known only to each other. They can communicate and understand each other in the presence of other people without revealing/disclosing the message/meaning. When a husband stays home, this communication goes on whenever the couple is within vicinity of each other irrespective of how busy either might be. This sets adrenaline and strategic/tactical planning into motion, leaving implementation for a later time – achieving what our great grand parents accomplished through undressing!
The meeting joint ‘model’ on the other hand imparts random attacks on wives, ‘terroristic’ in nature, which only engender throw-ins, disqualifications and non-play. That is why it is typically counter-effective.
So, are you less of a man when you stay home? NO. In fact you are an adorable father, and a loving and satisfying husband when you do so!
If you are a husband/father, cut down the frequency to those meeting joints and drink from home. This will enable you to engage, interact, love, satisfy and introduce quality life to your family.