The Star (Nairobi)

27 April 2012

Kenya: Why Wild Animals Are Doing Better Than Us

opinion

On Monday morning, I was listening to my good friends Maina Kageni and Mwalimu Kingangi doing their usual thing during their morning show.

The topic of the day was the ever increasing trend where young men are dating women old enough to be their mothers or grandmothers. There was alot of contribution from both genders, all trying to support and explain their positions in the relationship. The age difference was evident in the way the women expressed themselves.

They were articulate and focused and they seemed to know exactly what they were seeking in the relationship. One would easily tell that the women were using their superior wisdom and financial position to fill a void in their social lives. From their contribution, one would tell that the boys were just a transition tool, to heal a bad wound. But it was the young men's explanations that really got me nauseated.

Most of the men were in the age range of 24 to 28, while that of the women was a whopping 45 to 65. The boys were hardly coherent. I call them boys because a person of 24 and above is, in all logical conclusions, barring mental breakdown, capable of being a role model for the youth coming out of puberty into adulthood. Most of them said they were into the relationship because of the money.

But for a young man of 24 to bare his nakedness in front of a woman of his mother or grandmother age, that can only come from a very sick society. That got me thinking. At what point did the society get so rotten? Can we wholesomely blame the young men or are we, as parents, partly to blame? With or without the inducement of monetary gain, how does a boy of 24 become so comfortable in the presence of his grandmother, naked to the bone? If our grandfathers woke up from the dead and saw what social misfits we have born today, they would hurriedly go back to the dead in shame.

When I was growing up, and that goes for most of us in the age group of 45 onwards, the times I entered into my parent's bedroom were very few and months apart. That room was so secretive that even in the occasion that we had to do some repairs in the room as the boys in the house, my mother had to go there first and arrange the room to prepare us in. That meant to hide her inner wears that could have been hanging somewhere in the room, or anything else that would give the boys a reason to imagine things.

As such, it was a taboo to get anywhere close to the bathroom when an adult was bathing or using the bathroom for any other purpose. Since the bathrooms were located outside, they were so private that even the sound of breaking wind in the toilet would have us scampering to a distance where such sounds from an adult would not reach us.

Today, whether a boy is brought up by a single parent or both, there seem to be no boundaries in the house. Children dart in and out of their parents' bedrooms even when the parents are present. Mothers come from work, get a shower and get into their see-through negligees or nightdresses and go to the living room to watch their favourite soaps in full presence of their teenage sons. That leaves nothing to the imagination of the boys and when they fall into the hands of the clever and wiser older women, nothing is strange to the boys.

An old philosopher once said, "look deep into nature and you will see things in much more clear terms. In such social animals like lions and elephants, as soon as a male offspring reaches the age of sexual maturity, he is chased out of the group. He is not immediately accepted in the old age group as well. He will have to spend some time alone for several days, only joining the group if he cannot find food by himself.

Ultimately, he wonders alone until he finds other boys in similar circumstances and forms a bachelor group. From this newfound group, each will filter out one by one, fight his own battles and win his mate his own style and have a family of his own and then the cycle continues. Animals are doing better than us today!

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