Brother, Where Art Thou?

Hartley Henry - DLP Political Strategist

Hartley Henry - DLP Political Strategist

Men are truly in crisis! Ralph Boyce and his MESA group are giving promotion of the interest of men their best shot, but I am not sure the extent to which they are succeeding. I see some very alarming trends on the horizon.

I am not speaking here of the disproportionate number of females enrolling at tertiary institutions. Neither am I concerned, on this occasion, about the virtual takeover of the leadership of the public service by members of the fairer sex.  Indeed, there is also the matter of every other driver on the road being female.

None of these issues, though deserving of evaluation, is as striking to me as driving around Barbados on weekends and viewing the social scene. Take for example my “passing time” in the lobby of the Barbados Hilton last Saturday evening and observing as literally hundreds of persons arrived for what was clearly a dapper social event. I was not invited and I did not care to enquire of the occasion. What, however, was striking was the near 70 percent to 30 percent ratio of women to men. For every “male and female” couple that waltzed into that hotel, there were two and probably three of females only, comprising two, three or four individuals. I was in the company of a visiting associate from overseas and it was he who asked the alarming question “but where are the Bajan men?”

I do not think the answer rested in any issue of sexual orientation. Indeed, most of the ladies looked as heterosexual as ever, even though on that score it is hard to tell. But, I recognized some of the faces and I believe it was a genuine case of girls moving together in search of a good time. I believe it was simply a case of their men being left at home or not being at home when they left.

What was even more pronounced, and please, I do not mean to stir up any trouble here, was the sartorial elegance of the women and the rather ordinary effort at dressing by the few men sprinkled among them. It is clear to me that not as much effort went into outfitting the men or the men outfitting themselves as was the case of the ladies.

The female hairdos were awesome. Some, it was clear, had only hours before left the salon, where they also benefitted from value added services such as make-up, manicure, pedicure and the like. Their outfits, I would risk a bet, were not bought from any ‘on sale’ rack on Swan or High street. Some indeed, was designer pieces by popular names.

Bajan women are stepping out today in sync with any I have observed anywhere around the world. The fragrances were titillating to the nostrils and the accessories absolutely stunning. Don’t talk about the yellow and white gold and I would even venture to say platinum bracelets and necklaces. Our fair ladies have done and are doing wonders for themselves. And I am both happy for and proud of them.

But what of the men? Not only were we outnumbered three to one, but, it is as though we left home to go to a totally different function. The ladies were headed to the Hilton, the guys, it would appear, were going by the bar. For many, it was a case of ‘any can do’, for while the shirt and the pants were having an argument, the shoes, it would appear, couldn’t care less. They were assembled on those human frames without coordination and definitely no consultation. Some of the jackets had seen better days…much, much better days, and the hairstyles or more accurately, hairdos were reflective more of persons going to the barber than coming there from.

I do not know how to interpret and analyze this situation. I know I will be accused of men bashing. But who is better to bash men?

The Hilton experience was not isolated. Almost any weekend across Barbados, you can see groups and groups of women in their splendoural elegance socializing to the max. Whether it is one of the finer restaurants and bars on the south or west coast or the popular karaoke limes across Barbados, it is women on top women all over the place.

My brothers! Where art thou? Is it that we have no interest in these events? Is it that we are so generous with our money that we prefer to finance our ladies going out while we remain at home with the children? Are we comfortable just going down the road playing dominoes with the boys? What is wrong, my brethren? Why are you not the compatriots I meet at the sales in Miami and New York? Why didn’t I see plenty of you outside the examination centres a few weeks ago when the Common Entrance Examination was being written? Why aren’t you involved in preparations for the various Graduation ceremonies that will take place across the school network in a matter of weeks?

Fortunately, I am told, there is still admirable representation of men in Church on Sundays. That is a good thing. But we need men in every facet of life in Barbados. It is not enough merely to work and pay bills. We need our men as socialites as well. We need them to relax and get out there and live. Most of all, we need them to provide companionship for what has become Their Most Significant Other.

Hartley Henry is a Regional Political Strategist. He can be reached at

0 thoughts on “Brother, Where Art Thou?

  1. You started wrong by saying MESA was doing an admirable job. You ended just as wrong. Hartley Henry, I cannot wait until a competent BLP government returns to power in 2012 so that your musings will be just as irrelevant as they were pre 2008, “brother”.

  2. I would never in this life or the next, consider HH my “brother” and I am beginning to wonder if we even share the same gender.

    If I were to have the fortune to be in such a situation I would probably be like the Mighty Sparrow;
    The More The Merrier, not wondering about, or scrutinizing men.

    I guess it takes all types.

  3. The men were out eating pudding and souse and drinking liquor, while talking from politics to women. This is the average man Saturday evening passtime.

  4. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ah boy, Hartley on the prowl fellows. He is conspicuously positioning himself at bars and other social venues bird watching our women and while he is at it he is having fun taking some cheap shots at us – real men.

    The farrago of nonsense above penned as a poor excuse for social commentary reflects the gravity of the threat our women face as they innocently go about their business, unaware of the piercing eyes that undress them and the filthy minds that grave yet another sexual exploit.

    Thankfully Hartley most of our men do not hang around bars immersed in a bottle of Black Label and fantasizing after every skirt that strolls by.

    It is somewhat funny though that in May 2009, in a Barbados of 10% unemployment and rising, you would be questioning the whereabouts of men and criticizing their quality and style of dressing. Had you asked that question in December of 2007, when unemployment stood at 6%, I would have gladly responded that they were working. But after your Government’s successful campaign of “Time for Change” those men are now back on the blocks or simply scouting around trying catch their tails to make a dollar.

    There is no doubt that of the 5,300 workers sent home between January 2008 and now, by this DLP Government, 80% are men. So they don’t have the luxury of ladies watching nor do they have the money to outfit themselves in the best attire like you. They are now racking their brains on how to meet child support, pay their hire purchase and utility bills while putting food on the table for their families.

    There is also another side to this depraved pastime of Hartley’s. It is a side that Jennifer Laslow would be most familiar. That a man can employ a women to work for the former Government of Antigua, for whom he was the POLITICAL ADVISOR, and upon completion of the job refused to pay her what she earned because she refused to have sex with him is absolutely depraving.

    It is degrading when men see women only as sex objects and I heap scorn on any man who practice such behaviour. Hartley, you must be told that if all men treated women in the same way Ms. Laslow was treated you would not now be able write about them so glowingly. So you see Hartley when the fanciful vernacular is stripped from the piece you penned above it reveals nothing more than your sick and depraved mind.

    Wow, I almost forgot – you are the POLITICAL ADVISOR to Thompson and the DLP. How frightening.

  5. Was this the same Sylvan Greenidge aka The Parro In a Suit that would not pay his debts and the police were sent for you??

    We know you very, very well, you would know that, even Arthur exposes you in public ask Dale Marshall and George Pain.

  6. What man would spend the time a woman spends preparing to go to one of these ‘shows?’

    Men are DIFFERENT from women we have no need to dress up and do the stuff women do.

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