Culture and Lifestyle Health

What a Bread Store Encounter Can Teach You About False Male Privilege

No matter the state of the economy, Saturday mornings in Awka and Enugu, where you have Roban, in Abuja, where you have Next Cash & Carry, or at any one of the Shoprite stores in Lagos, all have one thing in common: bread queues before the gates open.

At this corner pastry shop in Aguda, the trend is the same. Akara, tea, and many other things go with this ubiquitous staple of all time enshrining its place as the go-to for morning satisfaction. A woman with a ring on her finger was there before me and on the evidence of her leaning on the barricade between the pantry and waiting customers, she has been here for some time.

It’s past 9am.

Another woman comes in, and they hit off a conversation. They are friends and talk about how people like this bakery’s bread. “I have been waiting to buy the bread but not for myself”, she says in a native language. “I am watching my weight”. With the same tone of laughter with which they had been catching up, the woman quips: “the person you are buying it for is the person not also watching his or her weight?” (English is a terrible language for aptly expressing this conversation).

“It’s for Daniel” (not real name), is the first half of her two sentence reply.

If you ask me, Mrs somebody may have good reason to want to watch her weight. Whatever her may be her state of health, she would arguably feel better with a few lost kilograms. But her reply to her friend’s question may prick those who want equal expectations from society: “you know men can still be okay with weight”.

Let me just say that Nigerians Senators don’t look okay in those N13 million fed bellies protruding from those suits and agbadas. Men should look fit and strong, not slouchy and like they are carrying round leather piles. Soldiers, most of whom are (as we have it) male, cannot afford to be out of shape. With the exception of discus and shot put throwers, wrestlers and gymnasts, athletes stop being competitive and productive once they add on excessive weight, regardless of how ridiculously talented they may be. Ask De Lima Ronaldo, or Luke Shaw.

I did not find out “Mrs somebody’s” name so excuse the continued usage. Her husband may not be a soldier or athlete but what does he do that would not make him conscious of his weight? We can move on from him in particular to be surprised that any man out there would really not consider the impact his weight could have on his health. Think heart disease, the frequent cases of failures and collapses that have been in the news. American rapper Rick Ross has had to pay attention to his diet and lifestyle following more than one scare.

Moral of the story: everybody can enjoy bread, but everyone must absolutely be cautious of its effect on their weight. Men are not to be excused. Obesity can have deleterious effects on women as well as on men. If strokes, diabetes, cancer, and depression aren’t gender-selective diseases, neither should weight-watching. Know more about how weight affects your health here.


By Alexander O. Onukwue | Follow @inquizimedia on Facebook and Twitter

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