One of my favourite pastimes is to jog in the early morning. It really relaxes me since I spend much of the time absorbed in thought planning my day, praying, or letting my creative juices run free on a pending project. Which is why it surprised me when an aunt mentioned that she passed me every morning, and my face always looked so ‘stern’. I thought about it for a while, then I said - “Oh, that’s just to prevent people from speaking to me.” Now, I know how that sounds, so as I explained to my aunt, let me explain to you; most mornings when I jog, I am usually at the receiving end of many comments about my private and not-so-private parts. I’ve gotten the run down on my skin colour – Brownin’; to my size – Slimmas; to my age – Mummy; to the most detailed descriptions of my rear end and other unmentionables. When my aunt made her comment, I realised that over the years I had in fact subconsciously donned this stern expression to buffer these raucous observations.

My conversation with my aunt led me to ponder a very sad thing – many Jamaican men believe that once a woman is out in public, her private parts become a communal object, right out there for their general pleasure and entertainment. Now, I am not saying that women are not objects of beauty, and that men cannot respectfully admire the appeal of our bends and curves… but do we really have to have a running commentary on parts that we’d rather forget about till bath time? Who cares how much you’d like to squeeze it? Get a squeaky toy and get over yourselves!!! 

Just this week, a man walked past me and described my apparently very healthy ‘parts’. Usually I would have made my face a little sterner and trotted by, but unfortunately for the poor fellow, I was still smarting from my ponderings. I stopped and said, “Did you want to say something to me?” Poor fellow blinked a couple times, then stammered… ”Well, true you is so fit and beautiful, you look like you know ‘bout eating right and exercisin’, so I was wonderin’ if I could walk and talk with you.” One thing about Jamaican men – they’re quick on their feet. I explained in my sternest voice that there were better ways to start a conversation, and he sheepishly agreed and walked off.

I pumped my fist victoriously and cheered myself into another jog ….Yes! I had used my power and taken back my ‘V’! Then I heard his familiar voice shout behind me, “But don’t exercise too much and lose too much weight off dat fat ---------!”

I sighed and slowed into a walk, lowering my pumped fist, covering my communal ‘V’.


Melanie Schwapp1 Comment