week, I promised some examples of my favourite men over 50. I’m
beginning with my father, who never wanted me to cook, clean and do
dishes, and instead opened fat files on me and literally shoved me, an
undeserving below-average student, kicking and screaming through “O”s,
“A”s and University. And who has always drummed it into me that life
is not worth living if you don’t give back.
there’s veteran journalist George John with his biting humour: “Ever
hear how people these days respond to questions in TV and radio
Then he cracks up. He is rooted in the age of articulate and informed men
who read widely, and were able to get up and speak impromptu in the
debating society for and against on any topic, from the works of Bertrand
Russell to cricket. Intellectually, he belongs in the class of men like
CLR James and Eric Williams. He speaks Bajan better than the Bajans, skips
in and out of our islands like they are towns in his homeland, the West
Indies. He looks 50 but I believe he is well over 70 or more than that.
And yet, like so many in that Old World, still a romantic: “I forgot to
kiss my wife before I left home this morning.”
Pantin is a closet poet and ace journalist whose work is equal to that of
his friends, Derek Walcott and Earl Lovelace, all of whom have hit high on
my men-over-50 list. They have mastered the nuances of both Standard
English and English Creole, and use it to razor effect. These writers are
documenting our age with wit, style, compassion and intelligence. They top
our list with honours.
nearly made it but his bitterness cancels his brilliance and makes him
irrelevant to a vast number of Trinidadians, whom he no longer claims
I vote for Frank Rampersad, a brilliant economist who has always had a
vision for a united Caribbean which does not sell out its natural
resources. His vision is documented in hundreds of papers, but Rampersad
has never lost sight of his objective - that of improving the lives of
ordinary people of our region through self-sufficiency.
the arts, the choices are obvious: The artist James Boodoo, and Peter
Minshall. David Rudder is not yet old enough to make my list, but he’s
up there the moment he turns 50!
business, a single name stands out: Lawrence Duprey, who believes in
investing in his own country and people.
journalism, one name: Keith Smith, who has always given the people of our
country a positive reflection of themselves. He is among the few
journalists who have a panoramic vision and an eye for detail. He is
consistently affectionate towards our people and demonstrates it with his
wit and generosity of spirit. In this way, he uplifts us all.
of our presidents past and present get thumbs up. Sir Ellis, Justice
Hassanali and Arthur NR Robinson. Sir Ellis for the creation of our
Constitution and his obvious celebration of life. Justice Hassanali for
his brand of goodness and wisdom, and His Excellency Mr Robinson, a man of
formidable intellect who will always be remembered for the fact that, at
gunpoint, he was ready to give his life for his country.
I vote for William Demas. In the one interview I had with him when he was
Governor of the Central Bank, we talked about everything from theatre to
politics. He called me up out of the blue when I was a fledgling
journalist “just to talk.” I’m sure he found my naiveté, and the
fact that I knew so little about him, amusing. In those conversations, I
learned as much about Keats as he did about the federation. Earlier this
year, when I was doing some research at the Central Bank, I came across
volumes of his speeches, and was astonished that an economist could be so
humane and so practical at the same time. I never got a chance to tell him
sure I’ve left out many other worthy men over 50, among them ordinary
citizens, who conduct their lives honourably in their dealings with their
parents, children, and country. I have also left out public figures past
and present who have given hugely to our people. My only defence is that I
am a committee of one, and a very limited one at that.
week, I invited responses to the topic of real men over 50. Here are some:
am 37, and while I don’t think I am a good man all the time, I certainly
try. Maybe it was my Catholic upbringing: we were made to feel bad from a
very early age.
I was told that I had committed original sin by the time I was seven years
old 15 times, I decided to pack it in and be really bad for a while,
especially to Catholics.
a result, I was sent away to boarding school in New England, where I
promptly undermined the American academic system (not in history and
I was such a bad boy - internationally - that people think I can’t be a
good man, especially here on Banana Republic Isle where Manning can still
remain a member of the Opposition.
rest assured, I have been trying to be a good man for a long time.
think your column articulated what I think most accomplished Trini women
feel, and the mixed-up signals men sometimes receive from it.
course, this doesn’t change the fact that all the local landscape seems
capable of producing are little boys, but that’s a whole other article!
found your article very persuasive and entertaining. I am not sure,
however, that real men ever existed (or still exist in an “over 50”
form) in the way you depict them.
can see that some men have, or used to have, those commanding and
competent qualities, but something has surely got to give.
the “perfect” real man surely cannot come naturally all the time and
the pressure will tell - be it through drinking too much, dressing up in
women’s clothes or being a closet gay!
I am just a jealous cynic, but perhaps some women still have an
unrealistic, idealised view of the perfect man.
men turn out to have feet of clay because they are men, not gods. At least
I hope this is the case for the sake of the rest of us wimpy males!
soooo true that some women are completely confused as to what they really
want in a “man”. I would like to share with you info about my real
husband is six years older than I. Throughout our courtship, and even now,
he still opens doors and pulls out chairs. He cleans the house, cooks,
sets and clears the table, washes the dishes, cleans the stove, does the
laundry, irons my clothes, rubs my feet at the end of a hard day.
he listens to me when I’m venting about my lousy day, offers me words of
encouragement as well as criticism, supports career decisions I make. And
he is great with children.
is not a man who is afraid to change dirty diapers or wipe runny noses.
And he cries during the touching parts of a movie or TV show. (He’ll
swear it was the flying insect in his eye.)
an absolute darling of a husband and, better yet, a gem of a friend to me.
So don’t despair, not all “real men” are over 50; my husband is only
31 years old. Hallelujah!!!
not ashamed to say it. Men are a phenomenal preoccupation of mine. I am a
youngish (?) 37-year-old woman, single and, yes, slightly jaded.
romantic veteran, you know, back from the spoils of war, reasonably
intact, but a little pained in some places. What do I think constitutes
the ideal man?
most common pursuit is to be loved. Build from that. Both sexes are
capable of that. Is that too simple? Yeah, I know, because even reasonably
intelligent people confuse love with other things such as lust, pleasure,
am now beginning to confuse myself which, as you know, was not the point
of this exercise!
don’t want to sound like an out-and-out pervert, but I happen to think
that fantasies may be an area where good, clean, fruitful fun and
understanding could be had between the sexes.
a warm-blooded (and I didn’t realise this until I was well into my 30s,
shameful), vibrant and reflective woman, I need and want an optimum level
of physical and mental titillation.
is an unusual combination in most men. They’re either well-endowed (if
you’ll excuse the pun) in one department and sorely lacking in the
that is a recipe for disaster and bad relations and jadedness, which I
think a lot of women feel.
the other hand, to be fair to the hairier sex, there are women who have as
much appeal (and I am speaking in the broadest sense of the word) as a wet
trade in any semblance of intelligence and innovation for a base and
slightly obscene notion of femininity.
usual, you display deep feeling for the things you write, a tremendous
sense of insight borne out of being deeply in touch with, and comfortable
with, your own feelings.
don’t just say this because I am a 53-year-old male (Ha! Ha!)
father is my ideal man. My mother and I are both very liberated women and
he understands this, but also realises the need for “good old-fashioned
trusts me and I am allowed my freedom, yet he is there for me if I need
him. I’m still his little girl no matter how old I get. He is a master
in the kitchen and gets up every morning to make me lunch. He is always
about him has helped me to realise just how much he means to me, so I
think I’ll go apologise for not cleaning out the cupboard like I
promised him to.
I’d like to hear from you men on your ideal woman. What attracts you and
what makes you stay? Women’s contributions are also welcome.