Monday, September 9, 2013

A Slap in Time Saves Nothing

Once a slap is let slap, there is no purging it from the memory. It is violence, even if in microcosm. A slap may betray a halfhearted expedition towards someplace that’s anywhere between corporal punishment and barehanded, homicide-minded assault. Doubtless it is a decided abandonment of words as a means to exhaust or satiate wrath. A slap says to its victim that the regard in which they are held by the perpetrator is subterranean, nay, below sea level. An inevitable insinuation of spite accompanies a solid slap, not to mention flushed cheeks, hot ears and perhaps moist eyes - balancing tears.

But men who slap women are not to be encouraged, lest other injudicious barbaric habits gain the ascendancy in this alleged civilization we live in. Besides, all breeds of feminists are waiting in the wings, crouched amidst the foliage, poised to pounce upon whatsoever imprudent purveyor of “gender violence” may happen to pass by. Fade to black, then to a courtroom scene, in which the complainant delicately sobs “and then he slapped me!” so that an outraged hiss escapes the jury while a stern judge refuses to peel her withering glare off the malignant defendant. The man may swear the woman cornered him, invited the beating and insisted upon it, but it’s still defies the code of chivalry and runs afoul of a few constitutional clauses and plain old political correctness.

Yet all is not lost for such brutes. Certain ladies like “bad guys” who break every rule in the book. I always thought that this was a manifestation of “self-destructive tendencies,” but I finally understand: it’s the movies what’s done it. Far as I remember, mothers warn their daughters to avoid associating with such characters. But the movies portray them in leather jackets and slovenly shaves, to the backdrop of grating electric guitars trespassing on the limits of harmony. Or take the “gangsta rapper” character, whose gun and x-rated language are fashion accessories more than anything else, and a hip hop beat underlines the utter daring in his every swaggering step.

I’m not being flippant here. One recent high profile slap in Nairobi’s corridors of power merely coincided with similar events in the lives of somebody close to my heart. The parallels are however too many to bother narrating both of the tales. Let it suffice to say my buddy’s girlfriend spent an inordinately long time murmuring discreetly, and later laughing suspiciously and uninhibitedly, with a strange-looking bad boy in a dark corner. My friend, who had been stewing in his insecurities the entire time, waited passively some distance away while the apple of his eye had a merry old time with a ne’er-do-well. Eventually it turned out that while he brooded, he had also been preparing his palms for a sequence of hot slaps all the while. So loud were the slaps, and so fast did they succeed one another, that it is still a major scandal to this day among all witnesses and overhearers, and a bit of a relationship dampener to them both. But I’m advocating reconciliation.

The moral of the story is, bad guys are overrated and not worth slapping a woman over. In fact, there’s nothing worth slapping a woman over, even if she “deserves” it.

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