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The Jamaican Zombies

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Yes that is correct, we have zombies in Jamaica and no they do not prey upon the “uninfected”.  They are easily identified by their obviously bleached out faces and being fully covered from head to toe in the extremely hot sun to prevent re-pigmentation from occurring. These walking dead are not proud with their naturally dark brown and even light brown skins. Funny enough what started out as a “female thing” caught on to the men (they were once called Joe Bleach). This plague, or epidemic, or outbreak, or whatever you want to call it, is not a modern-day occurrence. Ever since slavery many of our ancestors, and even some of our people, were taught that being black was a bad thing.

“Anyt’ing black no good.” – Ma Aggy (excerpt from Old Story Time by Trevor D. Rhone)

It’s not just in Jamaica we have bleaching or issues with our skin tone, Beyoncé and Aishwarya Rai are examples of celebrities whose skin tones were made lighter in magazines (Involuntary or Forced Bleaching), but some celebrities obviously did some “toning” of their own in real life without being “photoshopped”.

So what makes the Jamaican Zombie unique? Well, like zombies portrayed in movies, their bleached skin tones are uneven (so not up to par with those who can afford the full body version), thus giving them an unnatural, somewhat not-alive look. In common cases, only their faces are bleached and the rest of their bodies are significantly darker (according to Mr. Lex they are Monkeys, referring to how chimpanzees look, not intended to be racially offensive), while others may do their entire bodies but any skin covering the joints somehow is still darker.

Why all this bleaching? Believe it or not, in a lot of cases they do it to get ahead in life. Shocked? If big companies (not naming anyone) are demanding that training institutions (my lips are sealed) provide them with people of a lighter shade to be at the front desk, then I guess you have to lighten up (pun intended) to get your career started (oh by the way this was an article in our local newspaper).

Just out of fun, please feel free to take part in the poll below. Thanks. See you soon.

This so called ‘Oldest Profession’

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This so called ‘Oldest Profession’

Seriously now what is the world’s beef with Prostitution? If it’s the oldest profession, dating back hundreds of years, then why is it still taboo. Not even Jesus condemn it:

He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. – John 8:7 (Christian Bible)

Ok, let me slow down a bit. Ahem! Let’s look at this from a logical point of view. Many women, now more than ever due to the economic crisis, do not want to date, to be engaged or marry to a man that doesn’t have the potential to provide some sort of financial security. Now ladies be honest with yourself, do you want to be with cheapskate, broke-ass or poor man? HELL NO!!! So what’s wrong with prostitution if you are doing it too? So double standard, or should I say hypocritical.

First we need to understand the different types of Prostitutes:

  1. Escorts/Call Girls – These are expensive, exclusively for those who can afford it, they will perform almost any and everything , both conceivable and inconceivable sexual acts. They do regular HIV/STI check-ups, they will not try to destroy their clients relationships and reputations. They are very professional. They are not easily identified by the common folk.
  2. Golddiggers – They look good, love money, are affordable are easily identified (they will only associate with and hop from one to the next the rich person or celebrity openly). Their sexual skills are not required to be high. No one knows if they are disease/infection free. They might get pregnant to get a hold of their target’s money.
  3. Street Prostitutes/Ladies of the Night – They are on the street, are very affordable, they may be as highly skilled as Escorts however their status is pretty much unknown. They work harder and longer than the first two types.

Good now that we have some more clarity, let’s continue. What a woman does with her body is none of my business. I do not condemn anyone who exchanges sex for money (or vice versa). I see prostitution like any other job: you get paid for your time and skills. These women, from all three categories, definitely have to eat, wear clothes, pay bills and take care of their dependents like anyone else. Who am I to judge when I do not know what forced them to chose that path?

One thing is for certain,  prostitutes can help keep marriages intact as long as the partner does not find out, if not you’ll be like Tiger Woods.

Date Night (With Myself): The Pros and Cons of going to the Movies Alone

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Have you ever been to the movies alone? It can be very rewarding or it can be stressful especially if you are like me who cannot afford to miss a thing, but there are times you can feel awkward. So you may be wondering how is this is even a taboo. In Jamaica, going to the movies all by yourself is considered a no-no. “You can’t go to the movies by yourself!” or “I rather stay home than go alone” are some of the responses I get whenever I mention my solo mission to watch a show. Come on people! Is it really that bad?

Here are some things I would like to point out from my perspective of course.

PROS

  1. You will be early because there is no one keeping a seat for you.
  2. Enough time to buy food before the movie starts.
  3. Smiling to yourself because there are sad and anxious people waiting for their company to arrive.
  4. No one beside you asking questions and distracting you.
  5. You only spend on yourself (very cost effective).
  6. You can be very invisible.
  7. You won’t be embarrassing anyone but yourself if you do something silly.
  8. Having a great sense of freedom.
  9. You can watch back to back movies.

CONS

  1. No one is keeping a seat for you.
  2. You better buy all the food you need for the entire show.
  3. Hiding yourself because some guy thinks the cinema is a pick up spot.
  4. No one to talk to during intermission.
  5. No one spending on you.
  6. Some may see you as pitiful.
  7. You won’t be embarrassing anyone but yourself if you do something silly.
  8. If you end up missing no one will know.
  9. No hanging out afterwards, just head straight home.

Marrying Young

 

No doubt this topic is touchy. The view of a young girl marrying to some ‘big ole oily grey back man’ is seen as carnal abuse, rape, violation of human rights, child rights, and the list goes on. So let’s dig a little deeper. According to Wikipedia, there is some form of justification of such an arrangement which might help you the reader to better understand or simply get you more upset:

Child marriage and child betrothal customs occur in various times and places, whereby children are given in matrimony – before marriageable age as defined by the commentator and often before puberty. Today such customs are fairly widespread in parts of Africa, Asia, Oceania and South America: in former times it occurred also in Europe. It is frequently associated with arranged marriage. In some cases only one marriage-partner is a child, usually the female, due to importance placed upon female virginity, the inability of women to work for money and to women’s shorter reproductive life period relative to men’s.

Yes, unfortunately that ‘ole’ perve can still reproduce. Great. Well this explains why a lot of women freak out when they reach the thirty year mark and are viewed as old. Also, may I just add that it is getting harder and harder to find a sixteen year old virgin these days. Okay, before you attack me for agreeing with these customs let’s take a look at the things we celebrate: Sweet Sixteen, once upon a time it marked a young girl’s coming of age and used to advertise that the daughter was ready to be married (uh huh now you know); in latin american countries they celebrate Quinceañera (their version of sweet sixteen but at the age of fifteen); in Jewish culture a boy comes of age at thirteen (Bar Mitzvah) and girls come of age at twelve (Bat Mitzvah); in Italy and Poland they celebrate the eighteenth birthday. Although . We can agree that not even at 18 years no one is ready for marriage, worse at 12 and 13. What about children being married off as young as 5 or before they were born? I read an article featured in the June 2011 National Geographic called The Secret World of Child Brides (page 78). It featured traditional customs – some illegal but still practised in secret – in India (yup you gonna stop hating me now). Now this is where I draw the line because these poor babies have no clue when the ceremonies are being performed and they grow up hating their ‘oily grey back’ husbands and are miserable.

Thanks to a changing world these practises are being eliminated. That’s good for the children, they can enjoy their childhood, get an education and make their own choices but what happens when you wait too long? There are some women who have been successful in their careers, accomplished all they could without the burden of maintaining a family and answering to a husband, realised in their 40’s they want to get married and have children. What now? As the above excerpt said, a woman’s reproductive life is shorter than that of a man. Besides who wants to marry an old woman? I’m not crude but that is the way of the world. Magazines are filled with 15-year-old models, there are many age-defying potions and anti-ageing creams everywhere being advertised in your face every minute of every day. Of course love can be blind and you may find someone who loves you for other reasons and yes medical technologies are improving even grandmothers can have children, but is it the way it should be? Depending on one’s personal reasons they can get married at any age but marrying young is ideal for many reasons, just to list a few:

  • To build a family the younger the woman the more likely she bares healthy offspring with little or no abnormalities (the possibility of child born with Down’s Syndrome increases as mother-to-be approaches her 40’s).
  • Having children before the age of 30 reduces the risk of developing breast cancer (this sucks! no pun intended).
  • At about age 35 mother-to-be is considered high risk for miscarriage, eclampsia, stillbirth, death of both herself and baby (I did not want to mention this but let’s face it).
  • If marriage fails there is still time and energy to pursue another one (lessons well learned).
  • You get better mortgage rates.
  • You get better insurance benefits especially if you are healthy.
  • You stand a greater chance of actually spending a lot of time with your grandchildren.

I’m sure we can think of more. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally against Child Marriages. No one should ever get married that young and being a grandmother at 22 is not cute. However, I believe marrying between the ages 24-33 ,at least, is young enough. In this age range more than likely one has a degree, a job, is better at managing finances, have goals and some sort of ambition. I have quite a number of my high school mates who have married before 30 and more have had children before this age too (yes they are educated, are employed and own their own businesses).

Scarlet Letter ‘M’: Rules of the Game

Here in Jamaica all social characters have nicknames or street names, or become such nicknames, for example, “Babylon” means Police (the general view of the police is not positive at all); “Nanny” refers to the Jamaican $500 note because an illustration of our only National Heroine, Nanny of the Maroons, is on it. Therefore the roles we play in our lives are no different. When a man and a woman are married to each other, they are called Husband and Wife, which we now refer to as “Hussy” and “Wifey”. We know the institution of marriage (or any long term relationship) has been plagued by outsiders for centuries. These outsiders are called “homewreckers”, be it man or woman, however it’s the woman that is more reknown for this role. So, if you cheat on your loved one then you are giving “bun”. During these last two decades, give or take a few years, a homewrecker in Jamaica is called “matey” (or “bunner (wo)man”: a term recently popularised by famous local talk show host).

Despite being frowned upon for many years, most women still choose to be a matey because she receives almost all wifey priveleges, but most importantly because she is not the one being hurt and deceived. In addition, there is a paradigm shift in the concept of matey in our local dancehall music. In the 90’s the matey was put down and condemned but now is revered, praised and seen as a necessity (whether to improve a marriage or for his or her own personal gain). There are some celebrities who are “mateys” and came out the winners (Angelina Jolie, Alicia Keys), while others fell flat on their faces (Fantasia). The success of the matey depends on a lot of rules or guidelines that will almost guarantee a long term relationship with a spouse. I will list some below but not in any order of importance:

  1. Be invisible to the wifey/hussy, their family and friends.
  2. Do not expect to become the wife or husband.
  3. Take what you can get and leave.
  4. Do not confront the wife/ hussy in any way.
  5. Do not fall in love (in otherwords don’t be a Marilyn Monroe).
  6. Keep calls, appointments, texts, emails within a respectable time schedule to avoid suspicion.
  7. Never say anything bad about the wifey/hussy.
  8. If you have been identified as the matey, then it’s time to move on, it will only get uglier.
  9. If you are seriously looking for a permanent stream of income by all means have a love child (case in point: Schwarzenegger).

Knowing the risks of being a matey, would you still want to be one? Why or why not? Also, please feel free to discuss the rules by adding your own rules or discussing any of the points mentioned.