By the sweat of his brow

Today I simply want to applaud men and work.

Watching men work is such an interesting phenomenon. When men do hard labour, it is poetry in motion. I mean men pick stuff up so easily and they move with such grace as they flow through the tasks that to a woman may seem monumental.

And it is almost as if they truly enjoy these tasks and I truly believe that men like to work; they really do.

I just travelled abroad recently and observed men working; everywhere! In restaurants, clothing stores, party places, grocery stores; you name it and they were there. And do you know what else I saw? I saw them with happy faces, great customer service and a genuine appreciation that they actually had a job and an honest way to make a living. I saw one guy in a restaurant, good looking, young and strong, with a mop bucket in his hand and a beautiful smile on his face while he was mopping up a mess on the floor!

And I thought wow, now here is our problem in the Cayman Islands. Not too many in the younger generation or the male population are whistling while they work in these ‘menial’ jobs even though they may not be skilled for much more or even just simply have been affected by the economic downturn and are maybe “in between” jobs. However, those men that I observed, some with wedding rings on their finger, had apparently embraced the bigger picture. Times are tough and you do what you have to do to make an honest living to take care of yourself and in some cases your family and have money in your pocket to live your life.

After work that mop bucket is put down, you have had a bath, the clothing is changed and no one knows or cares what you do for a living; mostly they just care if you can sustain yourself and are not a burden to anyone else.

So my question is: have we missed that somehow and how do we get it back?

We need men to step up to the plate and take care of their responsibilities. We have travelled too far from tradition where the sweat of our brow is how we shall eat and somehow we have gotten stuck.

Remember when men were the head of the home and when they actually took care of the family?

Women are providers often by default but this does not in any way promote that men are to be taken care of financially because he does not want a certain job.

What does that mean anyway? Are you working? Do you have your own money? If the answer is no, then there should be no excuse for not wanting to work certain places that are honest and a way to make a living. If you have children you should be able to provide for them, if not everything, then at least the essentials. And ladies let us just stop making excuses for our men to not live up to their responsibilities and get out of their way so they can provide for us as they should.

Yes we are independent and have our own money but from this angle it looks like we have made it too easy for men to not do what they are supposed to be doing; taking care of business. Our independence has crippled them and now we are exhausted from carrying it all. Tired of being the woman, the nurturer, the provider, and just plain tired!

Maybe it is time to get back to that mentality of “the sweat of your brow does feed you” and see where that gets each of us. Work is good and feeding yourself is better than anything so run tell that! And tell me how your week is going at [email protected]

Catherine Tyson is the author of I’m Somebody’s Mama and host of the Lighten Up Show With Catherine Tyson on Cayman 27.


  1. What a bunch utter utter hogwash !

    It is literary garbage like this that enforces the stereotype that men, black men in particular, are only good for manual and menial labour…

    And should aspire to nothing more.

    And this theory is now being enforced across the labour forces of the industrialised countries.

    In Britain today, you go into businesses and financial institutions and you do not see even ONE black male behind a desk or counter, not even ONE.

    Go out back, and you will see them doing the maintenance and janitorial work, taking out the garbage etc etc.

    Go into the factories and you will see them, those who can get the jobs, doing manual and industrial labour.

    All work is honourable, no question on that score…

    But when an individual’s natural abilities, talents and sometimes even educational and professional qualifications are ignored and disrespected…

    For the stereotypical garbage written here in these comments, it is nothing more than the enforcement of a modern form of slavery.

    For some, an honourable death is far preferable than a dishonourable life of living as someone else thinks that they should…

    Rather than living life the way it was intended.

    It is no wonder then, that the membership in gangs and criminal organizations is always on the rise because, for some…

    Death before dishonour is the creed by which they live.

  2. Hogwash and Bull crap, I know men with a degree doing work pumping gas, cleaning toilets, and much more.. I know the writer cannot speak for all women, and I am sure I cannot speak for all men, but you have got to be kidding!. But no, you are not kidding, I read this somewhere in the pages of The Making of a Slave..

    Therefore, if you break the FEMALE mother, she will BREAK the offspring in its early years of development and when the offspring is old enough to work, she will deliver it up to you, for her normal female protective tendencies will have been lost in the original breaking process. For example take the case of the wild stud horse, a female horse and an already infant horse and compare the breaking process with two captured n-word males in their natural state, a pregnant n-word woman with her infant offspring. Take the stud horse, break him for limited containment. Completely break the female horse until she becomes very gentle, where as you or anybody can ride her in her comfort.

  3. so agree with fiery below, and have to say only completely read a few of the articles and the author continues to stereotype persons unemployed, just get up and get a job, take whatever is there, etc etc etc…. many men (and women) have earned by the ‘sweat of his brow’ and are now globally many of those persons are unemployed but not by their choice.

    It’s one thing to claim to be trying to encourage people but in an effort to TRY to appear so optimistic and nurturing this author continues to simply boast between lines of insult against people in rough periods, as if getting a job is so easy.

    Not all of us have cushy CIG jobs that pay us good money to collect rent, hire relatives, allow us to use our money to pay for our own shows or work in other departments because our job is so ‘flexible’, yet we offer the smiles while doing our menial jobs and don’t need to brag about it.

    But I agree it can be fun to watch men at work!

  4. It surely does not sound like you want to just applaud men at work, but feel free to do so. Go up to every man sweeping the streets today and say ‘Thank-you for your work’. Then go to a law firm, ask to speak to a few males and say ‘Thank-you for your work’. But do not write an article bashing the men of this country who do not work, for you know not of their circumstances and have no place to judge anyone who can or cannot get a job, regardless of their sex. You want men in this country to work more? Then hire them, speak to your acquaintances with connections, and look into getting more men to work!

    On another hand, you could just continue to belittle the men in this country who do work (oh, but are they not smiling enough for you Ms. Tyson?) to make ends meet, and the men who live cushy lives because they don’t appear happy enough for you. Sorry that they’re not all skipping about happily like they’re not actually doing their jobs.

    Watching men work is such an interesting phenomenon. Why? Why is it interesting to see people of one sex doing a job? Because many of them sit on their bums all day that’s what you seem to think. That’s not the case. There are the youths who can’t get a job despite being qualified, and there are the youths who never wanted a job more than to live on their mother’s couch watching television all day or BBMing all day who may or may not have a night-life socializing with friends and dipping into drugs or alcohol. The latter youths (male and female) are the ones you should be targeting Ms. Tyson not all men who may not have jobs, or are not happy enough with their jobs, that fit your standards.

    As far as I’m concerned, I see men and women doing the same hard-labor jobs every day. I see women working unloading trucks, just like I see men doing – and in the same poetic, gracefully moving way.

    If men like to work, they really do, then there should be no need for this article, in theory.

    You just travelled abroad recently? Tell us all about how your job allows you to travel to where you can visit restaurants, clothing stores, party places, and grocery stores. You saw them with happy faces? Then you must’ve gone somewhere really nice! Again, tell us all about it! Oh, but you’re a writer/talk show host of your own talk show who gets paid to type and talk all day – something most unemployed people would see as being an easy job.

    Here is our problem in the Cayman Islands? Our problem in the Cayman Islands is the economy, as is everywhere else not just here. How would you be whistling away doing construction work under the hot sun from dawn ’til dusk. Or scrubbing a bathroom floor and cleaning toilets in the prisons? I’d like to see you try those jobs and see how loud you whistle.

    Some with wedding rings on their finger. What does marriage have to do with this? Because they can afford to be married? Maybe someone else paid for the wedding.

    Those lawyers I talked about earlier? Not too much literal ‘brow sweating’ happening. They’re working hard, in a different environment, feeding themselves and their dependents. Just like every other employed man, woman, and youth in our Islands. Nobody here gets a job to put it away for nothing. Our hard-earned dollars go to feeding ourselves, or our families, or for our futures like continuing education or paying for those of our children.

    This tradition that you speak of, and want to get back to so badly like going out to Sea at 15 do tell.

    We need men to step up to the plate so we women can sit back and relax? In years past, women have fought to become equals to men, and it sounds like you want to go back to the tradition of the dominant bread-winner being the man. What is wrong with the woman in the household being the one to bring home the bacon? As far as I’m concerned, nothing. Even if the bacon is feeding their teenagers who can’t or won’t get jobs (see above).

    What we need the men in this country to do is to be men and step up to the plate of fatherhood. No man should have to work and feed themselves until they have a child. Because if it’s a cycle, they won’t have to work because their fathers will be feeding them like they should be. But the cycle starts once the child has a child and must take responsibility and go out to do what they need to in order to support their own child.

    Women are providers often by default but this does not in any way promote that men are to be taken care of financially because he does not want a certain job now that made me laugh. So what you’re saying is that those men sitting on the couches of the women who they bum off of for financial support are doing it because they don’t want to go out and become janitors to be financially independent? When they can be lawyers? But they can’t become janitors because they’re too over-qualified, and they can’t become lawyers because no one will hire them.

    Ladies let us stop making excuses for our men to not live up to their responsibilities and get out of their way so they can provide for us as they should We have made it easy for men to not do what they are supposed to be doing; taking care of business. Our independence has crippled them and now we are exhausted from carrying it all Ms. Tyson, that is very sexist of you.

  5. Alloverl

    You really have all that time and precious, valuable words to waste on the drivel written by this condescending, arrogant, ignorant ***** ?

    As all the men from her own community and circles would be working men (on confirmed, work-permit) jobs, I again have to assume that she is speaking about Caymanian men, both working and non-working, as Caymanian men are probably the largest of the unemployed groups of people in Cayman at present…but not those doing particularly menial jobs.

    I interpret her comments to mean that Caymanian men should dare not aspire to the jobs that the men of her own background have…and settle for the menial jobs that are earmarked for them…and make sure they give her a big, happy smile while they’re at it or else they will be considered to have a bad attitude…by her own arbitrary judgement.

    Actually, I run into people like her everyday…and my non-smiling attitude only makes them understand that they should give me a wide berth…no need to be a hypocrite about the fact that we are not friends and do not mean each other well.

    Another of my comments on her article has not been published here by Caycompass and I guess they have their reasons so I will try to be more diplomatic with these comments.

    My advice to this writer would be to approach some of these non-smiling…and according to her, non-working men that she so carefully observes…and chooses to comment about…

    And express these opinions of hers to them in person…

    The results might be very interesting to read about, to say the very least.

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