My father was a brave man. He was well-known in our town for being a man of courage. Because of that, nobody messes with our family and because he is brave, he had a lot of women (Oh the perks!). Before he married my mother, he had many fruitful love lives in the past. That said, I have many siblings from my father’s side.
Sadly after super typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, I lost both of my parents, my younger brother and many of our relatives. Who is left in our family is me and my older sister.
As my cousins and relatives reconnected, they feel the ‘need’ to repopulate because we lost many family members. Now here is the funny part, I know that Filipinos have a machismo belief we got from the Spaniards. Machismo is the sense of being manly, the concept associated with “a strong sense of masculine pride”, a denigration of characteristics associated with the feminine. It is believed that males are perceived to be more masculine if he has a girlfriend or many girlfriends. Because I do not have girlfriend yet, my aunts and relatives are pressuring me to get one as if it’s as easy as going to the department store and taking one at home.
It seems to me that they are expecting me to be like my father — one with many girlfriends and many children. I would always ask them with “Is it really compulsory?” in response. But what I really mean is, do I really have to be like my father?
I don’t understand why they have to pressure me on that matter because I am not like my father. Even though I had the chance and I can have a girlfriend if I wanted to, I choose not to, yet. I can’t replicate what my father has done to my mother. If they only knew the heart aches and the emotional pain he brought to our family because of his womanizing vice. With that experience, I stand strong that machismo belief is wrong and should not be followed.
However, because of that decision, I oftentimes hear my cousins and relatives talk about me being gay. I find it so annoying. Would you really perceive someone is gay because he has no girlfriend? Seriously?
If having too many girlfriends make other guys happy, it’s their choice. But I don’t want to be compared to them because I have my own decisions and beliefs. I know that only few guys will agree with me on this, but I believe that I can only have a girlfriend when I am emotionally, physically and financially ready to have a family.
I want the teenagers to wake up and make a mature decision for themselves, not the decisions motivated by their peers. I want to break that chains that infected the Filipinos’ mindset. The belief that was brought by the Spanish colonization. The belief that pressured and brought teenage pregnancy to young women. The belief that stopped the youth from achieve their dreams. Machismo chains must be broken.