The Making of the Pinoy Male
By Krip Yuson
You’ll have to understand us, forgive frailties and faults.
We were raised by all-too-caring mothers, some so nervous that we couldn’t wander off into the dirt as toddlers, let alone try to taste mud or any refuse. Any early attempt to scale a table or stairs, and they came rushing to snatch us off from peril, cradle us close to their bosoms.
It was the opposite of tough love, all that TLC or Tender Loving Care, inclusive of incalculable zeal in protecting boys who will be boys. Consequently, at some point we had to shed off the wimpiness and stand up against bullyboys in school or out on the mean streets, then try to turn macho ourselves. We joined in on the posturing as cocks-of-the-walk.
It was a fawning matriarchal society that raised us. We had to cut ourselves loose.
We had to play basketball and learn the dirty tricks. We faced up to those who dared us to fisticuffs in some secluded spot in school, or outside the gates. As we strengthened bonds of camaraderie, we got into group brawls as a way of earning badges of loyalty and courage.
We were simpletons in many ways, simply making sure that we honored a code of nobility when it came to barkada, as a micro version of the responsibility to the barangay, earlier the balanghai, that our forebears had to abide by.
Oh, we still made a show of allegiance to parental authority and guidance. But we knew when it was time to seek our spot in the sun. Much as we loved our mothers, grandmothers and aunts, and for the most part respected our fathers, grandfathers and uncles, the rest of the world attracted our interest and fascination.
The Making of the Pinoy Male
First off, we fell for the girls, then the women. We became fathers and raised families, joined the work force of lawyers and businessmen, policemen and politicians, learned to play along in games of accommodation and, in not a few instances, corruption.
Instinctively, we accepted the demands of power, how to kowtow to men of stronger influence, and how to wield power ourselves.
Oh, some of us accepted the fate that chromosomes dictated, and went out of the closet early or late. Some became masterful gays, while others found themselves on the receiving end of homoerotic relations. While a few chose to go transgender or transvestite, many continued to suffer the early affliction of homophobia. Thankfully, there are just as many Filipino males who are models of acceptance and appreciation, more than tolerance, when it comes to LGBT rights and gender divides.
Many still think they’re God’s gifts to women, exercise narcissism and abuse, think nothing of cheating or racking up mistresses. The blowhard, the power-tripper, liar, thief, scammer and murderer walk among us; they are legion. And many are the moral cowards who will bend over in the face of misrule. But there will still be stalwart heroes among us.
The Pinoy will sail the world for family and economic advancement. And he will sing My Way in a false key, drive neighbors batty with blaring karaoke, pay fixers for expedited bureaucratic papers. But there are enough of us who will fight for our islands and our patrimony, just as generally we will raise our children with the best of intentions.
That is how we honor the mothers who comforted us, right or wrong, but ever close to their loving hearts and minds. And the good fathers, too, with all their jokes and lessons. Simple or complicated, that is how the timeline goes for the enduring, perennial Pinoy.
Esteemed writer Krip Yuson has earned distinctions as a literary author of over 20 books – from poetry, short stories, children’s stories, biographies, and translation. A Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature Hall-of-Famer, Krip regales us with his musings on the Filipino condition via his column, “Illuminati.”