Sunday, February 22, 2009

Will the real men please step up!

As we race into the luurve month, hearts pumping, spirits soaring, the love theorists say we should be more alluring than ever. Scientifically, physically and well, even spiritually of course, it goes without saying that when you ignite the inner glow, it’s magnetic.

Now, I’m all for the glow, before, during and after, but maybe we need to think a little longer about the baggage the magical love connection brings.

As for magnetism, the negative attracting the positive or vice versa is a tricky conversation in South Africa these days. For when we think of love; rising in love, being loved-up, loving each other and its inherent risks , the positivity is tinged with that difficult question – is he or isn’t he…HIV Positive? Is she or isn’t she HIV positive? Statistics show that only 1 in 10 people here know their status which leaves the scary reality of Russian roulette as we consider running through the love rain with or without a rain coat.

The Soul City Institute – a health promotion and social change project based in South Africa, uses innovative television dramas, radio programming and more to work at the heart of the matter – behaviour change.

Just yesterday, I heard one of the Soul City senior executives eloquently outlining the task at hand on a local radio talk show. Her thoughts stopped me in my tracks. She outlined how the ABC of AIDS management (Abstinence, Be Faithful, Condomise) has failed to work because people are inconsistent in applying the rules. So, condoms might be part of the mix in the early heady days of romance but after three to six months of sexual relations, the condom is often relegated to those on the prowl. A negative HIV test not withstanding!

Soul City operates across eight countries in Southern Africa and the clarion call is for the conversation. The talk show guest presented an idea which I found fascinating because it was so simple and at once ludicrous! But what if, it could be done?

Mr. Philanderer's story
This is what she proposed as a way forward: Picture the scene; Mr Philanderer calls his multiple concurrent partners together a meeting. Let’s say he has four sistas in tow. He is concerned about his sexual health and he wants to make sure he’s spreading the love responsibly.

So, says the Soul City executive, given the fact that he’s rolling with four regular partners, he should consider the conversation. A discussion about how they can all work together to protect themselves as they share the love.

I’m still working on Scene 1 of this almost farcical scene. But maybe it’s not such an impossible thought. It probably begins with how he starts the conversation before the sistas become bed partners. The moral arguments aside, let’s face it; most concubines know and often accept that they have company.

Woman enough?
Would they be woman enough to be upfront and speak collectively about how each would protect the other? Would the brothers be man enough to step up to the plate? If so, I see room for many more fascinating conversations in the luurve month and way beyond.

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