The "Pull Me Down" Syndrome—Any Gender Preference?

Discuss at various fora often conclude that women are worse gossips than men....or that they tend more to succumb to the temptation to clog each an+-others' wheels of progress. Hmmmm.... Is this really true? Or are we just given to baseless assumptions bereft of any statistical or empirical backing?

I have written about the chairman of a medical association who went around snitching staff of colleagues on pretext of checking on welfare of members. He waited for you to look the other way, then slipped his complimentary card to your best employee, and doubled the salary you pay her! "Mr chairman" is a male.

I know a guy who openly snitched my patients on being invited to be a surgical assistant...though he possesses no visible surgical skills of his own. He pretended to be the one in charge of the surgery, spread this lie far and near and even claimed I was understudying him! Our private practices were not far from each other. Another male...

Another individual scheemed my landlord into ejecting me from the premises I used for my practice. The landlord had been his patient long before I came into town.....still is.....thus the link. My practice was near his. Also a male.....

Yet another person....elderly notwithstanding....was in the habit of backbiting me. I am a doctor, he a stark illiterate....and ditto all his kids! He is my uncle....another male!

I must not forget to mention another fellow. He got hired into govt service before me. So, he saw the place and space as his....and his alone. He regularly bought clandestined gifts for officials in charge of postings and redeployments at the board. And as he did so, he would seize upon such visits to malign his colleagues. His motive was as bizzaire as it was childish....to ensure that he was never redeployed out of Ikorodu. His private clinic needed to be near his govt job for relevance.....patient transfer.... Still another male!

Medical students and residents are practically examined in a round-robin method called the Steeple Chase... So all candidates see same specimens....but in a step-wise fashion. But candidates who are ignorant of the questions asked have a tendency to unfocus a micoscope, slide the point of emphasis out of view on the microscope stage, transfer the pin on an anatomy or pathology specimen....all in a desperate attempt to mislead other candidates! Such dangerous pranks were commoner with male students.

No need to state that my room-mate in the medical school was a male. It was exam time. We had read far into the night, so body was expectedly weak. We returned from the morning papers at 12 noon. Afternoon papers were to start at 2pm. We wanted to use the 2-hour interval to revise quickly for the afternoon papers. Nothing wrong with revising....only that I did my own revision reclining on my bed with my head resting on the wall.

My roommate sat reading on his bed....next to mine. No need reminding my roommate to wake me up if I slept off....but I actually did. I woke up 4 hours later....long after the exam! My roommate left for the exam hall without me! He claimed he needed not to wake me up for I did not ask him to! I kept insisting that I did. Our friends said it did not matter if I asked him to wake me up or not.....how could he have left me and gone alone to the exam hall? Asked what time he left our room for the exam hall, he replied 1.55pm....5 minutes to exam time! Some friends even said they asked him after me in the hall and he replied he knew not my whereabouts!!! I had a hard time convinvcing school authorities my absence was not intentional. Absenteeism from exams without prior permission usually led to summary expulsion! My petition scaled through....but I lost a year! He showed up in my new room 2 years later....looking contrite. His mission? He said his God had mandated him to go seek forgiveness from all persons he had offended! He had always been a born-again Christian.

And there was this cousin who I "squatted" in my new room. He was not a student of the college or an undergraduate in any guise. Simply a loafer who sired his first issue at 18! We felt we could motivate him to a life of academia if he mingled with academics. He was well accepted by my friends. I never believed in "juju" so I joked about the "juju" my new roommate placed in his wardrobe. My cousin told my new roommate I said the "juju" was targeted at me.....thus soiling our friendship.

My new roommate said the "juju" was for his protection and not targetted at anyone. I reported my cousin to our relations who called a family meeting to which my cousin and I were invited. My cousin came with a Koran with which he swore. He also came with his daughter with whom he deniedly swore he said no such thing to my new roommate. He swore that...'may he bury his own daughter if my "accusation" was true'! I suspect they believed him.

So my submission.... Man like other animals, is wicked and selfish. The predatory nature of man knows no gender. It is our variable individual capacities to inhibit or constrain this innate nature of man that makes the difference....not our gender!

Dr Tosin Akindele is a Lagos-based Medical Practitioner, a former Secretary of AGPMPN Ikorodu zone , a former Secretary of the Quackery Committee of AGPMPN Lagos State Branch, founder of Analytical Minds, a good health advocate and social critic.

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Articles by Tosin Akindele