Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Carolyn Cooper 1: KC old boys 0

Published:Monday | November 17, 2014 | 11:00 AM
Michael Abrahams

Michael Abrahams, Online Columnist

Kingston College, KC, Fortis. Whatever you want to call it, this high school is one of the greatest institutions in Jamaica, with an impressive history.
They have the longest winning streak in Champs for boys (1962-1975), have won the Manning Cup and the Sunlight Cup on multiple occasions, and are the current champions and most frequent winners of Schools' Challenge Quiz (11 victories).

The list of distinguished Jamaicans who attended Kingston College and have contributed to the development of our nation is so long that I would not even attempt to start it here, and the unity of their past students is incredibly powerful. So, how could such a large number of big 'grey-back' men from this formidable institution allow a little 5ft 5in woman to totally discombobulate them?

The brouhaha stems from an article by Professor Carolyn Cooper published in The Sunday Gleaner of November 9, 2014 titled 'KC old boys desire male sex'. Her column dealt with the fact that the Kingston College Old Boys' Association (KCOBA) decided to exclude women from their annual dinner this year.
The tone of the article was definitely tongue-in-cheek. The double entendres used, from the title of the article to stating that they "want to play with themselves at their annual dinner", totally cracked me up.

It is obvious from reading the article that the term ‘male sex’ referred to biological categorisation, not the sex act, and that "playing with themselves" was not alluding to masturbatory activity at the dinner table. She also provocatively cast aspersions on their sexuality, referring to their former classmates as "high-school sweethearts" and stating that "it's quite possible to fake orgasm, it's impossible to fake erection".

In passing these remarks, Professor Cooper scored the awesome trifecta of opening up a Pandora's box while kicking over a can of worms and stirring up a hornets' nest. With the pandemonium that ensued, one would have thought that she sprayed the contents of a can of Ebola into the school auditorium. To be honest, even that would have probably caused less distress, for to suggest that a man may be anything other than straight in Jamaica is apparently grounds for all-out war.

The response to the article has highlighted how homophobic our society really is. Kingston College old boys have so much to be proud of. If one is confident of one's sexuality, the mischievous comments made by Professor Cooper should cause zero distress. Had I been a past student of KC, I would have called her and said, "Carolyn, how yu so fool? Yu jus bad-mind true seh yu neva go dere. Or, is because a KC man did gi yu bun? Woi!" And that would be the end of it. I would move on.

Professor Cooper's statement about KC old boys desiring male sex actually describes the behaviour of many Jamaican men. In his stand-up comedy routines, Owen 'Blakka' Ellis sometimes comments on his observation that Jamaican men tend to be homophobic but homosocial. His observations are accurate. Many men would go to work, for example, at a construction site, and work all day with other men, then go to a bar after work and drink with other men, and then play dominos with other men, leaving them with little time to spend with their spouses when they go home.

In all fairness to the KC old boys, I have no issue with them not wanting to dine with outsiders. Sometimes people just want to spend a little time with others that they have shared common experiences with, to reminisce about their escapades. And to catch up.
This is not about sexism, misogyny or chauvinism. It is about brotherhood. About being part of a fraternity. With spouses around, they may feel restricted. And, for crying out loud, it is only for one night. Not every Kingston College function is like this. I think that they need to be cut some slack.

But Professor Cooper's naughty comments explosively burst the fragile and inflated male egos of many of the old boys, sending them into a tizzy, to the point where the president of the KCOBA, Dr Patrick Dallas, sent out a letter to past students "appealing for calm" in the aftermath of Hurricane Carolyn. In all their excitement, they failed to realise that controversy to her is like blood to a female mosquito.

The nutty professor deliberately set out to poke fun at them and ruffle their feathers, and they reacted like fish, taking the bait hook, line and sinker. (When I said ‘fish’, I really meant ‘fish’.)

I am sure that this is the response that she expected, and the Fortis men have given her exactly what she wanted, because this is the kind of stimulation she gets off on.
The brave fell and yielded. They allowed themselves to be manipulated into pleasing a weird woman and fulfilling her sadistic desires and warped and twisted fantasies. So, you see, they really are not gay at all; just freaky.

Michael Abrahams is a gynaecologist and obstetrician, comedian and poet. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and michabe_1999@hotmail.com, or tweet @mikeyabrahams.