By on September 28, 2015

Men are naturally hardened creatures – or at least we act like we are. A man will break a leg, injure his left eye, lose an ear and bleed to death before showing emotion.

Even male relationships as close as father and son or siblings will be cemented with just but side hugs, occasional slaps on the shoulder and a high five. We do not like to show emotion that much.

Most men have been to the moon more times than they have openly expressed emotion. It is even worse with fellow men. I mean, what business does a man have showing emotion to another man unless he is his father, son or with the recent trend, husband? No way I am giving the boys ammo to ridicule me when we are a few drinks into boys night out? No way!

Even for those friends who I would go to the ends of the earth for, I will slit my throat and my wrists at the same time before I can show emotion. To the females, it might not be so criminal but to the men, over my dead body!

Quite recently, I bumped into an old friend who I had not seen in well over a decade. The last time we had met was back at the University where he was a member of the Guild Representative Council of Lumumba Hall and I the General Secretary of the Elders’ Bench of Nkrumah Hall. Quite naturally our halls were sworn enemies except during the University strike that was triggered by an increase in tuition. On that one occasion, we were allies and we shared battle plans, ammunition, tear gas remedies, hiding places and escape routes.

When we met recently, we had both been invited to a dinner. DSTV was celebrating twenty years in Uganda and was holding a lavish invite-only dinner at their brand new state-of-the-art offices on Impala Avenue in Kololo. Everyone who attended had personally been handed a glamorous invite; one so magnificent I have stashed it far away, in the same place I keep my certificates, transcripts and signed contracts.

Most people were dressed to kill. The men in expensive suits and the women in glittery and strangely designed dresses. This was not an ordinary dinner but a high-end dinner. The kind of dinner you go shopping for because nothing in your closet is worthy. The kind of dinner where you cancel all your plans two days before just so you are sure that you do not mix up dates. I didn’t wear a suit though, I wore a well pressed pink shirt that made me look like I was a walking mannequin. It was basically a dinner for people of a rather high caliber. I am still shocked my name made it to the guest list.

Anyway it was that kind of dinner.

I bumped into this guy right before the dinner, during the cocktail where Caipirihna, Margarita and  Pina Colada was being served with fancy little umbrellas.  These were coming in by the minute. I stuck to my ordinary Guinness and was scoping out the place to see how many Ministers, MPs and High Commissioners I could identify – this was certainly their kind of event.

And then I saw this guy.

Actually he saw me first and started walking towards me then I realised his face was somewhat familiar. We had not really been friends at the University but for some reason I recognised him right away except I couldn’t quite remember his name and I didn’t even bother trying to jog my memory because I don’t remember ever knowing it.

Let’s call him Lumumba, for obvious reasons.

When Lumumba approached me, his first instinct was to reach for a hug. I was momentarily transfixed because this was not how we knew each other. My last memory of him was of a running battle with the police during a strike at the University.

This is not the kind of guy who reaches for a hug. Besides, I don’t make it a habit to hug everyone I have gone to school with unless I know them outside school. I knew very little of this guy, heck I did not even know his real name. Now he was reaching for a hug? Oh, wait, it’s been over a decade. Might as well hug the bloke.

So we hugged.

The kind of hug you would give your girlfriend’s ex boyfriend. You do it for everyone else except yourself. You just have to show them that there is nothing you have against them even though secretly you would rather be elsewhere talking to people whose names you can remember.

After the customary “You are so lost and where are you now” pleasantries, I figured that was as much conversation as we would manage so I excused myself and made my way towards another table where someone had raised their hand in my direction.

I knew this one’s name. Phew! Close one.

The event was later shifted to another area where dinner had been prepared and while people clicked away at their glasses and plates, Mo Roots and Steve Keys made some romantic music up on the stage.

While I was busy drinking in the music, from the corner of my eye, I could see someone had taken the seat next to me. I was with a few friends and each of them was seated so there was one free chair. I wondered who it was.

It turned out to be Lumumba.

He took the seat and started talking, not particularly about anything, but just talking. He talked about the lighting, said something about the plentiful alcohol and then ventured into strange territory.

“Man, I need your help!” he said after an awkward  pause. “Clare wants to leave me. I feel so helpless”

I was taken aback.

Who the heck is Clare? And why does she want to leave this random almost-friend of mine. Which sane woman would want to leave a man who is worthy of an invite to a DSTV dinner? Except of course yours truly, everyone else looked rather important. I was not wearing a suit so I figured I was among the less important folks.

At this moment, my first instinct was to pretend that I had not heard a thing.

Lumumba continued yapping away, unbothered that I seemed uninterested. He wanted me to listen.

“Why is she doing this?” He continued, with obvious rhetoric. “She knows I love her.”

Then tears began to form in his eyes. I realised this because I glanced at him momentarily just to be sure he was Lumumba and not some other drunk wealthy sponsor who had lost his girl to a poorer man whom she truly loved.

At this point, I had no option but to indulge the good man for I feared he would hold a table knife up to my neck and demand that I listen to him or lose my vocal cord. The table knives were considerably heavy and massively blunt so I dismissed the thought of ignoring him.

“What’s going on bruh” I asked, between two gulps of the Red Wine which was now making me light-headed.

“Clare wants to leave me.” Lumumba said, his voice breaking.

I am no expert at relationships but I know for a fact that by the time a man opens up to a total stranger, they have reached a dead end. And if that stranger happens to be male, an immediate solution is required. That’s an SOS right there.

Fine, the opening up was prompted by a few glasses of wine and some shots of an Indian whiskey but sadly it sounded so real.

But this was neither the time nor place for such things. First of all, there were all these expensive and wealthy looking happy people swaying to Afrigo music and this guy wanted to start emotive discussion? Worse still, he wanted me to actually listen – and ultimately offer help.

It didn’t bother Lumumba that I was looking uncomfortable so just he went a step further.

“Can you help me talk to her?” he looked up at me, almost begging.

“I’m sorry what?” I asked, hoping he was just drunk and did not know what he was saying.

“Talk to her please …” he started scrolling down his phone to find a phone number.

I almost panicked. The wine helped me conceal it.

What was I going to do? Who was I even going to talk to? Wait, what did she do? Crap! What is this guy’s name anyway and why is he stressing me?

Luckily, Clare’s phone was off. Lumumba banged his phone on the table, galloped some more wine, squinted his eyes and motioned for a waiter. Seeing as I had an entire bottle to myself, I asked the waiter not to worry about it so I volunteered to fill Lumumba’s glass.

My immediate worry was not how drunk Lumumba was (or was going to be) but rather being spotted giving another man a pat on the back while handing him my handkerchief. You don’t want rich independent ladies thinking you are a shrink, or that you have friends who cry at dinners. I hadn’t worn my favourite pink shirt to this dinner to end up being another man’s shoulder to lean on. No way!

And here was Lumumba, almost shedding tears while begging me to talk to Clare.

He dialed the number again. This time the call went through, then he handed me the phone and whispered “Please tell her I am sorry”

I took the phone with my left hand, held it to my ear, patted Lumumba’s shoulder and whispered, “Listen bro, everything is going to be okay, I am sure of it”

I wasn’t. I did not even know what was happening by now.

“Luke…I told you not to call me”

So his name was Luke after all. I see. I was still gathering my thoughts …

“…Luke?” the voice added.

“Hi, this is not Luke. My name is Bernard but I am here with Luke. He is a mess right now and I am sure you know it. I am not so sure what he did but if it is forgiveness he is asking for, you better locate it and hand it to him before he drowns in these tears,” I tried to sound confident.

“Oh My God! Is he crying? Luke has never cried. Never!”

I looked back at Lumumba … his face was in his hands, almost lost in thought, wondering if there was really life after death.

“Yep,” I responded “If I didn’t know better, I’d think he has lost a relative or he has some terrible injury that is giving him excruciating pain. Do something”

At the back of my mind I figured no man could possibly let all these tears flow for a woman unless she had dismembered him or smashed the windows of his 2015 Ferrari 458 Italia. Why else would a full grown man use up three handkerchiefs in one crying session?

“Where are you?” she asked.


“Somewhere on Luthuli Avenue. Do you know the Lawns … yeah near the Lawns ….” she cut me short…

“Tell him I will find him at the lawns in half an hour. Thank you ….”


“Yes. Bernard, thank you so much. Luke has never cried ever since we started dating 5 years ago. Please stay with him until I call back in half an hour”

By now, Luke was halfway into a fresh Wine bottle he barely heard anything I had been saying on phone. I looked at him and told him his lady was on her way.

While women might think that they are the ones who run the business of expressing emotion, men aren’t so far behind themselves. And when we are pushed to the wall, we show emotion in the strangest ways ever.

Don’t ask me how the story ended. Just know that I am considering a career in therapy, match making and giving a shoulder to heartbroken men at expensive functions.

“One thing you can’t hide – is when you’re crippled inside.” ― John Lennon

a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
Follow @beewol on Twitter

Photo Credit http://www.voice-online.co.uk/

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Beewol – The Talkative Rocker

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Baldie. Ailurophile. Social Media Junkie. Blogger. Pluviophile. Fixer. Sober Drunkard.
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Latest posts by beewol (see all)

  • Lionel

    All along I have been looking in the wrong direction…
    Now, I know who to call.

    • hahaha I am practicing my skills at the art. You might be my next specimen.

  • Awwwwwwwwww 🙂 🙂

  • dope read…… well done. so suppose i am this clare???

    • hahaha Do you know anyone called Lumumba?

  • So Severe

    For your therapy sessions, I insist on the presence of a beverage stronger than water. You know? In case things get awkward.