(Looks delish, doesn’t it?! The food, not the tongue)
The above photo reminded me of an observation on abesha men I’ve been wanting to share that my posts of late intensified.
Abesha men are the most “social” of all social animals. Which you can tell by the way they look around for approval after voicing an [any] opinion or by the cold silence they treat you with in the absence of one. True! That is the reality with abesha women too! But theirs goes further.
There are things abesha men do and don’t do. I’m not talking about the well documented tendency and/or necessity of a “wend lij” “[only] crying in the privacy of his room”. No! Other things! Like hunting together, for example. They don’t hunt alone because the fun is not in the kill but the killing — together. Be it a discussion about politics or football, you’d learn they are more there to bask in the warmth of each other’s company, each other’s one-ness, instead of a belief in their ability of make a difference.
A girlfriend who approves of, and warms the house for, their buddies who come to chew “chaat” every Saturday afternoon is the Holy Grail for abesha men. Sometimes when they don’t even like “chaat”! But that’s not something they’d confess to before making sure all coasts are clear. It’s as unmanly as complimenting a dude about his looks or having your “tirre siga” cooked.
I knew a guy whose idea of a life-fulfilled was: having a bar in his living room, and dating/marrying a girl his friends (whose opinion he normally doesn’t respect but never passes up a chance of starting some highly “masculine” venture with that always comes to nothing. “Betej yijemeral yemayzelQ mahber” endil “YeneJhonny Enat” getaami!) would refer to as “Nebrwa” (the tigress). A spitfire of a woman who would take his salary and give him a transportation allowance every month, keep a cold beer in the fridge at all times as well as sit next to him every evening drinking coke while he and his friends “baand Egir maQom” the bar with their “kirir” (which is never about anything worthy. Alas, does that matter?) to take the bottle out of his hand and drive him home when he starts being incoherent. Don’t even start with how contradictory it all sounds. But they were things he was passionate about. It made him feel “macho” I believe, almost as macho as wearing a field jacket in all weathers, camping and going to DuKem every other weekend to have a loud “tirre siga” with his friends seemed to.
Now, I’m not saying I myself would be comfortable around an Ethiopian man claiming to be a Vegetarian. It’s as odd as seeing “Qeleb Tirfe”, your good-for-nothing cat, chew “Qitel” on a daily basis. No! A vegetarian abesha male is as bad as an abesha male who shaves his mustache. Or this neighbor I once had who rolled the “ejige” of his neat Commercial Bank “shemiz” so he could chop onions (Qutit bilo, people, of all positions) outside his door every evening. I don’t know if he was trying to impress or scare us single black females. Such tendencies, however sophisticated, make you wonder if there wasn’t something wrong with the dude that claims/does them! Still, a man who would sacrifice his health to appear manly to his raw-meat-gobbling friends, that man is bound to make me raise an eye-brow (disapproving like)!
Am I the one talking in paradox here, or are they?