Heading along the path to the beach in Tulamben, East Bali and I see this:
Be a men? Well, that's not an easy thing to do! Because unless you are some sort of schizophrenic wacko with multiple personalities, then you are gonna find the role of “being men” very difficult indeed. But even so, the graffiti does raise the interesting question of what it means to be a man in today’s world. Sure it’s tough and sure it’s expensive. But while there are rules to be followed – never go on an expensive date and expect the woman to pay half, for example – there are also a lot of misconceptions. Here are some of them:
1. Must have a big, manly, fancy car (or wants one). To psychologists, the car is one of five objects that can be routinely linked to penis anxiety syndrome (the others being the cigar, the phallic looking national monument (such as Indonesia’s Monas), sexual performance medication (such as Pasak Bumi) and, of course, the handgun).
But does car size really matter? Or does it merely reveal the owner’s deep-rooted sexual insecurities? Well, whatever the answer, an obsession with cars is certainly doing an awful lot of psychological damage to Jakarta’s long suffering motorists as they waste away their lives in soul destroying traffic jams. And all that sitting down can’t be good for the old balls either!
2. Thinks smoking is cool! Smoking may be the classy way for “idiots to commit suicide” - but it’s still an utter disgrace that cigarette manufacturers like Gudang Garam continue to promote cancer sticks to children through the sponsorship of music concerts and sports events. Toddlers – yep, toddlers! - are puffing away in some parts of the archipelago and I’ve even been offered fags at the gym to improve my health. The body count for smoking is above 500,000 per year in Indonesia. Not cool at all.
Pria punya selera but not much else
3. The women on the side. As men get older, they need confirmation from a younger woman that they are still a man. But while it’s not difficult to have a one night stand with some random chick you’ve just met in the mall, some men raise the ante by taking on a mistress and even - God forbid - adding to their collection of wives. Not cool at all. After all, how many guys would be happy if their wife had another couple of husbands? (cuckolds don’t need to answer this question, obviously)
4. The bloody huge house. Nuffin wrong with wanting a big house – the real man is master of his own home – but gaudy bad taste is never acceptable.
5. Thinks it’s clever to pass the blame! A real man takes responsibility for his actions and doesn’t lie. There may be no contract but he’d rather die than break his word. And he doesn’t piss off to Singapore when things get feisty, either.
6. Shuns domestic housework. Virtually no men in Indonesia do housework, viewing it as the woman’s job – specifically the maid’s. But while it can be very tempting to pursue more manly activities - such as drinking beer or reading FHM – the real man realizes the importance of helping around the home. And the benefits.
Men should help with the housework
7. Has a Crackberry. A real man needs to stay focused, so a Crackberry is a definite no no. And, anyway, is there any more pathetic sight than a man struggling to type away on some incredibly small handphone keyboard in public? A real man’s fingers are simply too big. Moreover, real men don’t gossip and they certainly don’t need to discuss things they don’t know about with people they have never met.
8. Appearance. A real man in Jakarta doesn't have piercings or long hair, and he certainly doesn't shave his chest. Visits to spas are, however, acceptable. Massages from female attendants – but never from a man - are also tolerated. After all, a real man knows that, other than his barber, all his personal hygiene needs must be handled by a woman!