Each time I lay on the bed in the cold night, the bedbugs’ sting always remind me of how God spat me out into this world to suffer. Each sting from them brings a lesson about endurance and acceptance to my body and how I allow others to see me. I can’t remember how many times I have allowed them suck my blood as much as they could and get away with it. Mother once said that when they suck you, they are actually taking away your iniquities to hell so that you can have a place in heaven. And unlike girls, your blood is their first option when they come. They have no option B. They come, take and go without replacing the blood they’ve taken. Often times, I allowed them most nights to suck me without protest. They were the only thing I know too well that reminds me more of my mother. How she used to keep awake beside me each night to pick Bedbugs and press them down on the edge of the bed with her index finger and then, she would place her finger on her nose to smell their blood. She would looked at me planting my secrets in my silence, then, smiled. Bedbug’s sting like mosquitoes’ are one of those ways I have learnt to endure and take pains into my body without regrets. All my frustrations are saved in water. I thought water would be safer than land and I stored them there for tomorrow.
Now, I have discovered many ways of taking back the pains from my body into silence then swallow them in the middle of the night for girls who said I do not fit into their man’s specification. I’m always a second option to them, a replacement to their disappointment.
“…How does real men look like? Do they look like butterfly? or like a rainbow? Or do they have a different body which appease girls?” a facebook friend once posted on his timeline.
“They look like evil spirits” Habiba replied him under the comment section.
“They look dirty and unkempt. Foolish question”
“They are second Class animals. #TREM.”
” Omo, you still dey ask this kind question by this age? Go and ask your lecturer for school. Werey. #EndSARS. #EndPoliceBrutality”
“Soro Soke jare. #Ode. They are beasts. Men are Beasts. Patriarchy has made them foolish. You see, Feminists will one day take care of all of them. Fools. #HappyFeminist”
“Werey… Go and ask your father at home. #Omobetter”
“What is your definition of real men? Let’s start from there. #BuhariHasBeenABadBoy.”
“#######. Real men are the Yahoo boys out there. The real Yoruba demons. #Citation
“When you buy a Benz, you become one of the real men. Go hustle. Make money and girls will flaunt around you day and night!”
“Real Men no longer exist. They have gone into extinction. #Tacha. #LyconAwafierce”
“You are a fool… Take down this post or Ogun will kill you. Real men don’t exist anymore. Do you know It was the same man that called himself a real man that raped my sister black and white? He raped my sister and got away with it. No justice in this country. God will punish those who come online to flaunt themselves as real men…#$&#&&.”
“Remember your father, brothers, Uncles, Cousins, Nephew are men too. If all men are bad, they too are among us. #EndBadGovernment
“Tie Mbo. Aye loja. Oloriburuku. #Ode”
“God bless you my sister. He is so stupid for posting something like this. Real men ko, fake men ni. They are all fake. One of them dump my sister on the day of her wedding and till now, we have not set our eyes on him. Men are the same. Everything under trouser are the same. If I can, I will kill all of them”
“Shut the fuck up. How would you classify all men as the same?. If all men are the same, all women are the same too. You have a father, aren’t you?…”
(…….. someone is typing)
“Why should I shut up? #MadeInLagos”
“Shut up, woman! Do you know what makes a man? #ABetterTime.
“Women have their own bad side too. Was It not one woman that abandoned her child in a corner in my street? A new born baby for that matter… #EndSars. #TwiceAsTall”
“If the man that was responsible for her pregnancy was responsible enough to stay with her she won’t have abandoned that Child out there. The other day, a man ran away from the hospital after he was given the hospital bills for her new born baby. Men are beasts. #RealFeminist.”
(…. Someone is typing).
After reading through the comments, I hid my insanity in my father’s name. I adjusted my ego and looked away from the sun to a nearby graveyard. What way do I explain to them that men are different from men and boys are different from boys? Truly, this is a woman’s world and we are the second class humans. Besides, men are the President by day, at night, women become the President. Men give orders in public, women reverse them in private probably in bed. Men make history, women in their soft nature make legend. Men defeat bodies, women conquer hearts. Men think, women dream. Men believe that they own the world but women know that the world belong to them. Men fight, women bring light., Women make ways. Women undo laws made by men. They bring to life. It is a woman’s world not a man’s. A woman might love you but still refuse to date you because, from her thought, you still have a long journey to make before marriage. If you’re the luck one, a woman might agree to date you but she would not introduce you to her friends as her boyfriend because there’s another boy – a more deserving and marriage-able boyfriend somewhere for her. You are just a second class boy meant for option B— alternative.
However, the only way i could feel like a boy is to understand that I am a boy and second class specie of the world. I need to understand how the world is made to favour some and what it takes to live myself in the hands of time and never look back how I am going to be loved and cared for. I am a boy and that makes whole lots of differences to me. Like a butterfly a photographer captured on his way to his father’s grave, he held it deeply to his eyes so that he could hand it over to his father or his father’s spirit. In fact, that is the only way he could tell his father of many men who have been bedding his mother after his death. That is the only way to tell his father how different experiences from different girls have made him who he is now; an ageless sojourner. It is the only way to tell his father how second classed a boy he has become in the eyes of the girls in the neighborhood — those that looked at him and hissed, whispered to each other how he was not man enough to handle them in bed, how small his dick felt in their mouth and how he looked like an outcaste. These girls are like Uncles and Brothers who touched you while you’re young and asleep. These photographer’ days were always long except when he played or wandered in streets looking for girls who would accept him for who he is or how he looks like or whom he could talk to and not rejected for who he is or what he has become. He slept with his suffering still on his face every passing day. God do not know how difficult this is and how much it has become.
I may not tell many things about boys like me who suffer defeat in the night. We can not always have them smile in the middle of the night when there is no moon to illuminate their plights. Boys like me have many colours which do not agree with their memories. We have colours that do not go along with our dreams. Like red is for those girls that accused us of rape and the society could not wait to listen to our part of the story and we ended up behind bars. Blue are for girls who said we are nothing but forgone memories in the hands of history. Yellow are for those roads that swallowed our feet and made us lie through our teeth. Orange are not common among our kind because they are the colour representing death; for boys smashed and taken into Oblivion. Purple is for hatred. Pink is the representative of girls who said nothing good about us. When you try to hold them, they slip away, smile at you and remind you that boys must be boys and never to be trusted, even in the midst of chaos, you rather give yourself to a bullet than give your life to a boy to save. Lemon are for boys who walked on the template of girls without emotions. They are hashtagged in the middle of a class of girls having dinner because they do not meet up with their demands or standard. Brown is always for fighters — those boys whose girls left in the middle of nowhere. Black and white are nothing but the nameless faces of girls in our streets who once looked in our eyes and called us second class boys. Green is nemesis, how we retaliate.
I am still learning how to talk about girls, how they reject me almost all the time without jumping into a pool of shame, and because I do not know how to open up easily to people without them making me feel less a boy, I write. I have a whole universe in which to play and write about. Sometimes, I leave my comfort zone to listen to music. I join friends to argue about Davido or Wizkid or Burna Boy on Twitter. I laughed out to myself when I read on Twitter where Davido was asked who is the biggest between him and Wizkid and he said “…Mayorkun is the biggest…” and a girl seated behind me hissed. Since I do not find football interesting, I find home almost everytime on my playlists or my books. I always allow my spirit to roam out of my body because that is the only way I could get comfortable on Twitter. A girl I once followed on twitter wrote sometimes ago that all Boys are scum. I passed the post because I don’t want to stress myself making a point she would not believe in. Every girl for herself.
When Ifeoma could not introduce me to her friends last night in a friend’s Party because she said they would look down on her. I didn’t mind. But watched as everything became still. It was as if the night had withdrawn its violence into itself. I looked how second classed I have become to a girl who once used my voice to train herself on how to make money. Her friends asked her about her boyfriend, Uchenna, and she told them that Uchenna’s mother was rushed to the hospital in the morning and Uchenna could not make it with her this night. She lied. She broke up with Uchenna about an hour ago before she called me as a replacement. Initially, I did not want to go but Emeka, my friend, said that i should go. Perhaps that night could be my night to win Ifeoma’s love after many years of trials. After she told her friends that I was her cousin brother who was bored at home. I excused myself and walked out of their cycle. When the cocks cracked the egg of dawn with their cries, I found my way home. I’m always an option B to Ifeoma, a replacement whenever her lover isn’t around. Perhaps I am also like that to other girls. It’s very cruel that boys like me live among, make friends and seek for love with girls whose hands can’t wait for us just because we still haven’t figured out our lives and where it is headed for this moment. I am in that state of being free from the constraints of the materialistic girls’ world, as in the case of a deity of my own image.
I’ve been dated for fun by girls. I’ve been made mockery of by many of them in the name of relationship. I’ve been dumped, broken and lynched because I failed to meet up with their demands and I hold myself from walking up to some girls because of the fear of rejection and harassment. I’ve watched on as many girls, crushes, besties and classsmates walked out of the lives of many boys into marriage while they still don’t know what the future holds for them. While we write openly about girls being dumped, may we not forget to write about boys being dumped in a more brutal and speechless manner which sometimes do not even permit us to talk about in public or even write about it. Funny enough, many of these girls don’t even give a clue to you that you are an option — an alternative to their boyfriend. Many of them are just passing time with me waiting to hear the real marriage gist from their first class Boy. She waits patiently to make sure that the other guy is serious about marriage before she drops the bombshell of break up with you.
I am part of the manipulated boys, part of a home seeking for love but could not find any. I have learnt not to be seduced into marriage in this stage of my life. I have learnt to consider many years ahead of me before I could promise marriage to anyone. Even if girls strategically have to play their cards well in response to the social conditioning which sees women who are not married in a certain age as a failure, I have to be more intentional to know that someone else is not wearing my body and not carry this old anthem for so long.
John Chizoba Vincents become the names of three people who deliberately see through each other. Sometimes, they are at war with each other and at times, they are the ties that never got broken. They: Them: Us: We represent Boys and their Anatomies, Men and their vulnerabilities, and Humans and their imperfections. Between them are rosy track roads that are rough and tough. They live in a lonely room in Lagos, Nigeria. They have been published widely online magazines and offline magazines. They are the founder of Philm Republic Pictures and Co-founder, Boys Are Not Stones Initiative; an organization that uphold the love for the BoyChild.