Mark Wignall | At Christmas, all she wants is money
Many of the young men who I interact with at street level agree with my idea that their financial viability has to arrive before they start using penis power over the young women they feverishly desire.
"I've always said it, but you guys only grudgingly accept it. Before you try to find Miss Right, you have to begin to earn a regular money and learn to become Mr Right," I said to Jeff.
Jeff has been 'moving with' his new girl for three months and was seriously thinking of disappearing to the country over the Christmas holidays because of the demands she was making. "What sort of demands," I asked the 30-year-old mason.
"Money fi buy hair an shoes an fi put in har pocket. If mi give har dat, mi a go bruk. Dat can't work," he said. Jeff has a young daughter from a previous relationship, and after listening to him telling me how much his mother cares about the child, I suggested to him that maybe he would be better going to the country to hide out with his mother and be with his daughter.
Jeff's immediate problems was sex. He believed if he didn't lay out the cash (about $20,000) on his new girl, she would use sex as bargaining power. No money, no love. When he left, he was still trying to figure out how to use the promise of money as leverage for sexual favours instead of the actual delivery of cash. Kind of like a politician overpromising and under-delivering.
Some of the young men who had to be hustling at work, even on Christmas Day, did not exactly share Jeff's sentiments. "Mark, you would be surprised how many of us don't have a girl wi can call wi own. Is jus pure borrow business. Yu right. If a man have a steady money coming in, him can afford to say that that is fi him girl, but we can't do that. Everyting is a hustle. Di work and di relationship and di sex," said Desi, a man who drives a route taxi owned by another man.
The extent to which relationships are mostly transactional are, unfortunately, magnified at Christmastime when the essence of the season ought to be about unselfish caring and sharing. But, money has long been the clarion call there.
In 2010, a DJ from Sterling Castle, named Anaconda, did a song titled Tell him Ta Ta. The song started with, 'If yu man nah gi yu everyting dat yu want, all yu gotta do is walk, an tell him ta ta.
'Yu ask him fi money and him sey him have none, all yu do is jus walk, an tell him ta ta.'
The song had a catchy beat and all the rhythmical elements seemed to be in place, but when I spoke to young men in the area about it, they were 'bunning' it.
"Wi nuh want nuh song a warn woman bout wi likkle tricks and scams," one steelworker told me. Another said, "Di song really nice, but woman is in a constant war wid wi and Anaconda lyrics a support dem. Wi not into dat."
I admitted at the time, total amazement.
With the holidays winding down, the men who were in hiding will soon have to leave the bushes and return to face the music. But, as in most things, there is supply and demand. The women they return to may well have fared better without them, and the men will be forced to start all over again, scheming and fooling themselves until another Christmas rolls around.