Editorial, Amandala

Women, God bless their precious souls, sometimes do the darndest things. In reacting to these darndest things, men sometimes do the craziest things. Then, we have tragedies, and children are left in the saddest and most pathetic situations you can imagine. After the headlines and the trials, no one pays any serious attention to the sufferings of the little ones.

When I was fourteen or so, and becoming quite interested in girls, my late uncle gave me some advice. I’ve reproduced that advice in this column once or twice over the years, and it is to the effect that different women like different kinds of men. For every man, and every kind of man, there will be a woman who likes him, and his kind of man. If you as a man get to liking a woman too much who really has a different kind of man in her dreams and in her heart, the chances are you will run into problems.

My uncle had seen and experienced many things in Panama in the five and a half years he spent there, and he was a man of the world, so to speak. I knew that I wanted to be a part of the world, which is to say, I wanted to pleasure women.

There were men teaching me in high school whose stated purpose in life was not to pleasure women. According to the vows they had taken, they were committed to saving souls. I suppose I wanted my soul to be saved, but I wanted to pleasure women. They say it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all. After all is said and done, I confess that I wanted to pleasure women more than I wanted to save my soul.

Nowadays they make babies in test tubes and other strange places. But, in Belize most of the babies are made the old-fashioned way. And Belize is a relatively free and liberated society when it comes to these things. Men choose women, and women choose men. And they have a go at it.

Children enter the picture. But afterwards, the father may get to loving some other lady, or the mother may get to liking some other guy. Okay, so there is a separation. This is more easily said than done. There is usually a bunch of anger and pain involved, because as sweet as was the sugar, that is how bitter the heartbreak will be. Anyhow, let’s say there is a separation.

This is where maintenance money for the child/children can become a major problem in poor communities. My uncle had seen and experienced many things in Panama. As a young man there, women had taken care of him, which is to say, they had given him money and other things. Some of that money came from other men. In many cases, the men who are what are called “johns” in American societies, are older men, but in some cases they are young men who don’t know how to “handle their candle,” and so they have to pay.

Men have this overpowering fear that when they give money for their children to the mother, she may give some of that money to whichever man is her new lover. In the streets, nobody wants to be a “john,” or to have a reputation as such. It’s a matter of male pride, you understand.

On the other hand, when you are a young and carefree guy, having a woman give you money is a kind of exciting ride. You are the man: he is the sucker, the “gootyman.” We’re talking about poor communities. Life is a tough proposition. Only the strong, and the smart, and the sweet, survive. Or, most often this is how it seems.

These guys who are teaching you in school and who are in the business of saving souls, the deal is that what they are teaching will put you in a position where you don’t have to experience the financial stress the people in poor communities do. That is why parents give almost absolute power over their children to the soul-saving guys. Poor parents want a better life for their children. One of the issues with this is that the soul-saving guys are still human, which is to say, they get to liking that power, and they sometimes abuse it. Those youth who rebel, they expel.

In Belize, women have started to ride a high horse. The deal is that they can put a man in jail very easily, once they say a baby is his and he’s not bringing cheese. “Man da dawg” and all this, you know. Women have to be empowered: that is the dominant mantra. So what’s up when women abuse this new power? Are women incapable of evil?

The soul-savers don’t know jack about the real, except for what they hear in the confession box. Most times after the pleasure, comes the pain. Maybe that’s why the soul-savers chose the cloisters. For the rest of us sinners, however, to repeat, it’s better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all. Problem is, who’s gonna care for the little ones? It’s rough out here. Really rough.