the curse of the hairdresser

Ever since I was a wee little lad my mom had me on her arm like Gucci bag. I was her shadow. I’ll never forget how many of my Saturday afternoons were shattered to bits because I had to sit down in Andrea’s Hair Parlour and wait for hours until mom got her swag back. With the endless chatting, bickering and gossiping, who needed the STAR or ENQUIRER? as client after client reported to her like journalists feeding an editor.

Apparently the hairdresser is very important in a woman’s life. More important than a man, orgasms, clothes, accessories and maybe even money. While a woman will have multiple lovers or move from partner to partner they will not just change hairdressers. A woman will remain faithful to her hairdresser. A hairdresser gives women “beauty insurance” that no other person(or object) can offer.

Nothing changes a woman more than a great hairdo or a bad one. The hairdresser therefore becomes a sort of magician to her. A day at the spa for a beauty treatment has less of an effect on a woman than a session at the hairdresser’s. I’ve discovered that the best advice you can give to a woman who’s feeling down is to get her hair done.

Queens, princesses and film stars travel with their personal hairdressers, who thus acquire a status equivalent to that of a secretary or advisor. Hairdressers have become important businessmen, they do more than curl hair, they have boutiques for selling wigs and all sorts of frivolous accessories capable of tempting a woman who is in a good mood because she is feeling beautiful. Hairdressers know all the advantages to be found in exploiting feminine laziness and vanity.

Going to the hairdresser’s thus represents for most women relaxation, luxury and pleasure. She arrives in a pleasant environment where an entire organization is waiting for her in order to make her more beautiful. Now the woman can talk about herself and not to be interrupted.

Here’s what women talk about: EVERYTHING, EVERY DAMN THING -health, travels, parties, sex, relationship problems, the economy, relationship problems, gossip, and finally relationship problems.

It’s easy to see why the hairdressers and even the manicurists who have to listen to all these issues ten hours a day become a little jaded. If women only knew what the hairdresser generally thinks of them, they’d probably chat less in the chair and seek to get out of the salon in a rush.

Ladies try to remember that hairdressers too perhaps have a few personal problems. Take an interest in them, or at least refrain from weighing them down with yours as well. Let me also add that there needs to be a great respect for your time, the hairdresser’s time, the other clients’ time and last but not least, THE MEN WHO HAVE TO WAIT ON YOUR ASS TO GET STYLED!

the princess and the frog

At the risk of sounding somewhat superficial, I can’t help but wonder what’s at work whenever I see a “mismatched” couple. She’s cute like a button and he’s as ugly as sin or vice-versa. You readers probably ask the same question I do, “how did he get that girl?”.

What is ugly/attractive? Attractive is an adjective describing any object or concept which one finds appealing. Ugly is an adjective describing any object or concept which one finds appalling. Attractive/Ugly is not relative, it’s an absolute. Something is either attractive or not. Interestingly though, the things or people that are considered attractive/ugly vary across cultures and sub-cultures.

Back to the origin of this blog. I have a friend who recently married her boyfriend of 11 years. She’s gorgeous and he is quite the opposite (damn, I sound jealous and petty).  I bluntly asked her  one day about why she chose to date this gentleman. I also had a chat with a few female friends about dating an “ugly” man.

Most Jamaican women are of the view 99% of  men are cheaters and attractive men cheat way more than ugly men.

For the girl with no boyfriend and is sick of all the head games played by attractive men,  all she wants is an honest, trustworthy, fun man who can bring stability into her life. She’s a little less concerned with the package/wrapping and more concerned with the contents.

“Ugly man full a lyrics Garth”, that’s what a friend said to me. I laughed for days, but apparently the “ugly” man speaks confidently and says the right words to make her feel good about herself. It also helps when he’s capable of having an interesting and intelligent conversation. My married friend said her hubby is the funniest man she knows, he keeps her happy and smiling. He never gives her a reason to feel insecure or worry about some other woman.

Apparently women want a man who can romance them and make ’em  feel special; not only for their bodies, but also for their mind and soul (sounds kinda cliche). Another friend added that the ugly man must be awesome in bed. “If mi ago lay dung wid a ugly man, it haffi worth it”. I never asked my married friend about her hubby’s sexual prowess, but it appears she’s satisfied.

Money helps too! Women love stability in all areas of the relationship, but financial stability is probably#1 or at least in the top 3. It just so happens that my friend’s husband “financially comfortable”.


I guess in the end the old adage “never judge a book by its cover” is really true.  The frog may look ugly but the princess finds real beauty in him.

Material World – material girl?

Jamaican actress Andrea Wright aka DELCITA in the 2010 play “Ova mi dead body” said, “Love without money is like lemonade without sugar, it nah go sweet”.

We are living in a material world, where diamonds are still a girl’s best friend. The media seem to reinforce the “value” that it takes cash to care and if a man is broke he can’t get a girl. A woman can be impressed by a poor man and even end up in relationships with them, I’m one such example.

There are women who would never date a poor man, much less talk to him. The gold diggers everywhere, but if she didn’t want me because my pocket couldn’t fund her lifestyle, I don’t want her anyway.

I remember being raised to believe/think the man is supposed to take care of the woman (and family). The man generally goes to work and “brings home the bread”. Along with the idea of chivalry comes the assumption that man provides for woman. Even though women are independent today, the idea of man taking care of his wife/girlfriend financially is ever present.
Women are self-sufficient today no longer need to depend on men to “bring home the bread”. Women are just as powerful and financially capable as men, but that doesn’t mean that they’re willing to be their boyfriends’ providers while the men stay home.

I’ve come to realize women who are willing to “take a chance” with a poor man always consider the reason behind the man’s lack of funds. If he’s poor because of the circumstances he’s born into but he’s ambitious, women will take a chance. If he’s poor because he’s pursuing further studies or lost out on a failed business she’ll consider as well, but that element of ambition must always be present.

The ability to shower a woman with gifts is not necessarily what makes a wealthy man attractive, but rather, it’s the power that is associated with a man’s wealth. But since women and society have moved beyond the point of equating wealth with the qualities of “a good boyfriend,” there are other ways to win a woman over and prove your power.

Showing a woman how caring you are does not have to cost a fortune. Giving her the gift of time, attention, spontaneity, and caring has always worked for me. After all, the best things in life are free.
Be attentive to her needs. If she tells you she’s a vegetarian, learn to cook vegetarian or go to restaurants which have good vegetarian menus. Be spontaneous by planning a special day together, even if it’s just a walk in a park with some ice-cream.

Romance and spontaneity have more to do with atmosphere and less with the amount of the bill. You don’t need money to buy class and style. I’ve found ways to look ‘impressive’ without wearing the world’s popular/expensive brands.

I work hard to look presentable.  Being well groomed and staying in shape are 2 of the strongest tools a poor man can use to his advantage. You can look like a million bucks without spending the million.

In meeting women, I’ve found charming them with humor, wit and gentlemanly etiquette goes a far way. My bank account has always been slim but most ladies rarely pay it attention because there are other qualities which they appreciate.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been rejected before because of my state of being “too financially challenged” to meet her needs. Fortunately, that occurrence has been rare.

My advice to “poor men” or “financially challenged” men is … show women that you have a lot to offer — generosity, thoughtfulness, chivalry, spontaneity, being outgoing, romantic and fun to be with. As long as you’re still ambitious and driven, have confidence in spite of your circumstance. Focus on other parts of what you have to offer, she’ll see that digging you will leave her with something more precious than gold; that something is YOU.



That poor cheatin’ bastard

It’s a rare occurrence when a Jamaican man will cheat and admit to his friends that he  feels guilty. Recently, a good friend of mine was anxious to go have a drink with us boys. He volunteered to pick us all up or pay taxi fare and the drinks would have been his treat.

We all knew something was not right and soon it became apparent for as soon as we arrived at our little watering hole he immediately blurted out, and i quote, “mi cheat pon mi girl. mi luv har still, mi all want fi married to har, mi never mean fi do it. jeezas, she ago lef mi if mi tell her, but mi need fi tell har. unnu advise mi nuh”.

He was nervous, embarrassed, frustrated and cursing himself. He was next to tears. His face was like the face of guilt. I told him that there was nothing wrong with what he did and that many men have done the same thing. It’s what usually happens when a man dissatisfied with the relationship or an element of the relationship. It also happens when your will to to be failthful is trumped by your lust for other women & libido. Maybe cheating on his girlfriend would help him realize that they weren’t meant to be together. Don’t crucify me, I’ve got the purest intentions when I say this.

Based on other things he said, it was obvious he loved her and he genuinely thought it was a mistake. None of us tried to convince him otherwise. We were all supportive of him and we were glad he felt the way he did. Well, we remained supportive until he made the suicidal comment “mi haffi tell har, an beg forgiveness”.

Now, I don’t know how many women honestly want to hear their boyfriend/man/husband voluntarily confess to cheating. Well, I suppose they want to know for health reasons. For  some women too, I guess they want to  know where their man’s head is at (no pun intended). They wanna know why the man cheated so they can protect against  a repeat, whether in the same relationship or in their next relationship.

Anyhow, we now had to intervene and convince him otherwise. After-all, with this approach he was likely to lose his girlfriend. We could either let him make a foolish mistake and lose his girlfriend  or  help him make the rational decision — deny/lie.
We are of the opinion  that if he wanted to tell her the truth, he might as well break up instead.  Forgiveness was unlikely and proceeding smoothly was an absolute impossibility. If he was really an honest  man, why would he cheat in the first place? The best thing would be for him to keep his mouth shut and pretend nothing ever happened.

We tried to justify why he shouldn’t confess to having an affair.

It’s likely she’ll dump you. Trust is like an egg, once you break it, it will never be the same. It’s gonna take an extraordinary bit of work to fix it and even after fixing it will never been the same. Who wants a broken egg anyway?

She’s going to be paranoid. The degree of paranoia varies among women, but best believe she’s going to second guess your every move. In the extreme case she may want you to limit the “unsupervised” trips you make. Yes, she’ll whip out ‘ye old leash’.

She’ll forgive but won’t forget. Until she forgets, it’s likely that she’ll think you’re going to cheat if you are tempted again.It’s likely to come up in quarrels or just regular conversation. The reminder will be constant and you can’t afford it;  I’m sure even now Kobe Bryant’s wife still yanks his chain about their episode.

Don’t ask, don’t tell.  This works in 2 ways: she knew of it and decided not to act on it, or she genuinely has no clue it happened. Either way shut the hell up, pretend nothing happened and never let it happen again.

So what happened to our friend? That poor cheatin’ bastard followed his instincts and told her the truth. Well, he misses her alot and now lives on his own in a new apartment.

General Advice

My advice to unfaithful men is to get out of their relationships. If you cheated, it’s not simply because you are a jerk. It is likely that you’re not happy with your girlfriend to begin with.

If you can’t man up and commit to your girl completely, then there is no point in wasting time on a hopeless relationship. Save yourself and her the trouble and get out.

When you leave her, don’t tell her you cheated, though. Remember, she has friends. You  don’t want any “negative publicity”; the world is small and it may limit your chances of getting with women she may know.

break up to make up (sex)

‘Tis the season to be jolly and some women know ’tis the season for men to break off relationships that may prove too costly to maintain.

Although breaking up is hard to do, make-up sex sure can make it all worthwhile.Experts all over the world agree that having uninhibited sex after a quarrel is a common way for couples to resolve conflict.

I believe that make-up sex can be healthy and that residual anger can add a little spice to what’s already a great experience in and of itself. Some people argue that it’s just dysfunctional behavior. I believe one of the best sexual experiences is that angry, raw, animalistic sex after a quarrel/disagreement.

There is a very thin line between anger and sexual excitement. Pent up aggression, just like sexual frustration, must be released every so often. And after lashing out with angry words, why not jump each other?

Women tend to be a little hesitant to be touched after an argument. Some may even want to hit the poor guy, but that can be a turn on sometimes. I’ve found that there’s nothing quite like a horny, angry woman.

*ladies, if your man displays bounty killer-like tendencies, then don’t hit him*

Depending on the argument (whether it’s my fault or hers), I could take control of the sexual situation. If she’s to blame, I do her like “I’m da muthaf–kin BOSS”; you know, domineering sex. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t throw her around like a rag doll. I’m aggressive but not abusive, I do the hair pulling, ass smacking and lotsa firm gripping while I’m penetrating.

Plenty of women love aggressive sex and if your woman is one of them, then show her that you’re boss in bed and give it to her until she’s sorry… so to speak.

“Please Don’t Go” Sex

If as man you’re at fault for the quarrel or potential break up, then you’ve gotta kiss some ass, FIGURATIVELY (unless literally kissing ass is your thing)

If sex is going to happen after one of these episodes, it’s going to be the very emotional and caring kind. It has to be earth-shattering. The man has to make her feel like a trillion dollars because you’re in a vulnerable position. Massage her, kiss her whole body softly and if you’re into oral sex, make sure her eyes rollover and she speaks in languages never before heard and make sure when she’s cumming she convulses like a demon is being exorcised from her.

When you give her that sweet “baby please don’t leave me, I’m so sorry and I’ll do anything to make you happy” sex, she just might forget what you were fighting about.

Sex Is Not the solution

Using sex as the solution to fighting is like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound — it won’t really allow the relationship to progress or heal.

If the desire is mutual, make-up sex can have a positive effect outside the bedroom. By releasing tension and passion in a sweaty, physical bout in the “romping shop” a couple can probably discuss real issues with a clear head.

After sex, couples should be able to talk to each other with clarity and a calm attitude. Who wants to talk after sex though? Usually she does, but since this is make-up sex I’ve found that it makes perfect sense to stay awake and resolve the issue in the “afterglow”.

For many couples, sex after an intense argument or temporary separation reassures them that the relationship can still work. There’s a certain feeling that the relationship is fragile after a fight and the intimacy of very passionate sex goes a far way in rebuilding confidence in the relationship.

So why is the sex so good? When two people quarrel, they get excited. That excitement can easily translate into a state of arousal, and consequently, mind-blowing sex.

Always keep in mind that sex is not the solution, but a means to an end — not the end itself. And don’t start fighting just for the make-up sex.

So go tell your woman that you have a bone to pick with her, and then put it inside her!

Women and lying

On average a man will tell 126,672 lies in their entire life, which amounts to six lies a day, and women are not much better when it comes to telling the truth. A poll carried out by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment found that women are less dishonest, telling three lies per day, or 68,796 in a lifetime.

The most common lie among both sexes was: “Nothing’s wrong, I’m fine.”

Hip Hop artiste Yo Gotti has a track called “Women lie, Men lie” which tells 3 important truths: 1. Women lie… 2. Men lie… and 3. Numbers don’t lie.

Regardless of the fact that nobody enjoys being lied to, it seems that lying within all types of relationships is common.  Most of us are guilty of a little lie now and again. I simply recommend that people don’t do things they have to lie about (easier said than done). Any type of relationship that’s filled with regular lies easily becomes hurtful and destructive.

Chris Rock told some truth when he said “men lie the most, but women tell the biggest lies.” He said men tell lies like “yeah of course I was out with the boys”. Women tell lies like “of course the baby is yours honey”.

Women often tell horror stories about how they’ve been lied to in past relationships, but I think women are as guilty of lying as men. They may have different motives, but a lie is still a lie.
I don’t think lies on a whole can be justified, but there are exceptions I’m sure. Either way lying is dangerous and damaging. I conducted an informal survey among my female friends and realised there are many different reasons why women lie.

Some women rather keep a man in the dark if there’s something about him she doesn’t like, so they lie. Many times it festers and “breaks out” during a fight/quarrel. It’s almost like they put up with some crap until their tolerance/patience wears thin.

You know what pisses me off? FAKE ORGAMS!!! You’re doing yourself, the man and the next woman he sleeps with a big disservice. If he thinks he’s good, when he’s actually not then the man will continue doing “his thing” and the bad sex is gonna continue with some other unfortunate woman.

When women have made mistakes in life or done things(people) they’re not proud of, they don’t want to be judged. So she’ll lie to hide her past. That’s what women sometimes consider a “necessary lie”. I say, find a way to be honest with the man ‘cause if he discovers later on from “another source” then there will be lotsa questions to answer and then some.

On that same matter of “necessary lies”, some women believe it’s less likely for her to feel hurt if she breaks it off with a man who doesn’t know the skeletons in her closet. The less he knows about her past, the easier it is to break up and move on. Odd logic for me, but in the mind of women it seems to make sense. I guess she’s protecting herself from vulnerability; some sort of defense mechanism I suppose.

Women lie when they don’t trust a man. Some info is sensitive and confidential and can only be shared when there’s absolute confidence that it won’t be leaked. She may have information she considers sensitive and isn’t sure whether to tell you about it. Trust can be developed over time and when that happens, those lies should stop.

I’ve seen women fake tears and much more just because they know how to manipulate a man. As far as I’m concerned women who do this deserve whatever karma delivers to them in the end. No sympathy from me on that call.

Besides fake orgasms, what pisses me off are those lies that women use to “test” a man. What kinda childish bullshit is that?  Some women claim that “testing” a man is meant to catch the “bad guys” before they get too close. A “bad” enough man will get through to you quite often after it’s too late and a “good guy” may relaise you’re lying and get turned off.

Parting advice

Any relationship built on lies will collapse in the worst way. I say be honest and call a spade a spade. Avoid doing things that you’ll have to lie about if confronted. That’s advice to men and women.

Mortality – just deal with it

The past 2 years of my life have seen numerous changes. Chief among them are the birth of my daughter and the deteriorating health of my mother. these two occurrences have left me torn. I’ve been on a bit of an emotional roller coaster, for in the midst of the joy of watching the little one grow, there’s the sorrow of watching mommy go.

These two completely opposite experiences have put so many things into perspective for me. Never before have I thought of death and my own mortality in such a serious way. There are times while playing with my daughter that I recall my days as a child playing mom.  Now, I can’t play with mom anymore; her body just can’t handle it. One day I’ll get to that point as an adult.

As my daughter ages, so will I and I must confess, it’s a scary thought. Deep down, while I’m not worried about what will happen when I die, the truth is that I don’t want to die. There’s a quote which states “everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die”; it’s so true.

I’m overwhelmed with emotion as I type this. It’s 6:37am and the little one is running around and disturbing the peace. A mere 28 years ago that was me. In another 28 years, she’ll assume my role as a parent and I’ll be headed in a similar direction as my mom. The cycle of life, sigh.

I brought up this whole mortality conversation with a friend recently, his response was that the main thing involved with not being able to cope with mortality is fear. Fear is caused by the understanding that there is no control over this fact of life. I suppose we all must accept it as the one of life’s truths. Once the fear is gone, I guess it is not an issue.

The value of life lies in the journey, and not the destination. Make your life be of value to yourself and as many as you can reach. Don’t worry about becoming “big and important”. Some of the most influential individuals that have ever lived are persons are people we’ve never heard of. Their influence was felt by their families and those in their communities. No matter how ‘unimportant’ you feel you are to the rest of the world, be happy you had the opportunity to influence others.

That realisation has made me more comfortable with accepting that I’m only going to be here for a time and one day I have to go. I’ve recognised that change is a neccessity, and so the only plausible possibility is acceptance.


Friends with the ex? Not simple at all

I ran into an ex-girlfriend yesterday. This was our first time seeing each other in about 2 years. The break-up was “clean” (mutual) and we maintained contact via Facebook; you know, happy birthday and merry Christmas. We’re both now parents and we compare ‘parental notes’, but our online exchanges never go deeper than that. Our face to face encounter was a little different from online. I’m not gonna get into what was so “different”, but it made me think a lot.

She and I shared memories that made us laugh and cry. We’ve taken those experiences and moved on. Given that our break up wasn’t “bitter” we felt it would have been ok to remain friends or at least just maintain a ‘civil interaction. Neither of us was the proverbial “heartbreaker”/”dumper”.

I must admit that I felt a lil weird (jealous) when she told me about her pregnancy. Thought to myself “dat coulda been my child if things were different”.  We were friends before we went down the relationship path but we’ll never go back to that friendship we had. When we chatted yesterday lotsa confessions came forth. Things like how we both reflect on the amazing sex we had and how particular perfumes/colognes or even music triggers a flashback.

As much as we’re ‘friends’ now, we won’t ever really confide in each other. How would we tell each other that we’ve got a hot date lined up soon or that we’re going to Hedonism for a wild weekend with the new lover? It would just be weird. I figure we could share other details with each other but, but new lovers and mates are always going to be a sensitive issue.

Remaining friends seems to provide us with the security blanket that we’ll always be in each other’s lives but just in a different way. We check on each other once in a while to find out how we are, but we never actually KNOW how we really are.

A certain level of passion and sexual desire still exists between us, afterall, that wasn’t the reason for the breakup. This is a recipe for disaster but we’ve decided that we wouldn’t go back there, but o lord we want to. I wouldn’t mind 1 night of unbridled “goodbye” sex, for old times’ sake. I’m confident she feels the same.

Leaving the past behind is hard, but I’m glad we don’t see each other in person often. Otherwise we’d end up just lingering in each other’s lives and that would make it harder to move on. It’s almost like keeping one foot in the past, and another struggling to go forward.
I believe it’s a better idea to leave things with pleasant memories of the other person, rather than potentially doom a civil relationship.

In a perfect world, the ideal would be for exes to succeed at being friends. But in this world where bitterness, jealousy, passion, and human nature exceed reasoning and rational thought, it’s impossible in most cases to remain friends with an ex.

Moral of the story

Unless you and your ex were the best of friends before, you both broke up on the same terms in a perfectly mutual breakup, you’re both comfortable with either of you seeing new people, and have a policy of total honesty, you’re better to leave the friendship behind … along with the memories.

Marriage – good stuff

Recently I wrote about not rushing to end single life. Shortly after posting, some of my married friends contacted me speaking about their “wedded bliss”, others complained about life with their spouse. Since I’m all about being balanced, I thought it would only be fair to “big up” marriage.

Statistics locally and globally show a decline in number of marriages annually. There are numerous reasons for this but that’s not what this blog is about. A single female friend commented to me the other day that married men might be a dying breed and ‘marryable’ men might need a lifeline soon too.

Marriage for many men is a scary prospect. We love change and marriage doesn’t seem to offer many options or freedoms. I’m however minded by the fact that every woman/wife is different, so a man must make an extremely careful choice when considering a mate to be with permanently.

Many men think marriage is for suckers/whimps. Some view it as the final nail in their coffin, but still hope to get married someday. Truth be told, I think being married is ultimately way better than being single. Marriage is a lofty ambition that I will attain long before

Various studies have indicated that HAPPILY married men tend to outlive single men. A 2006 study performed by University of California researchers contended that single people are five times more likely to die of infectious disease, nearly 40% more likely to die of heart disease and twice as likely to die accidentally. Other studies suggest that the rate of mortality is a whopping 250% higher among single men than it is among married men.

Another married friend of mine pointed out that being married means sharing expenses. He (and his wife) can afford things they would have a real challenge acquiring individually. I love being a father and it’s one experience almost every man wants, but don’t have a  hav to be married to start a family. However, marriage is the most stable and secure environment in which to start a family. Plus when you’re married and raising children you avoid the clumsy ways of describing the “other” parent. You know, like “Baby mama/daddy” or any other such description. Marriage, another friend says is an investment in the future. He’s 53 and says he doesn’t regret giving up the wild orgies of his single 20’s. “Garth, mi nuh sexy like one time. Dem young gal yah wouldn’t want me now, is me money dem woulda want. Mi wife love me and she want me so dat we can gwaan grow old together.” I agree with him, neither of them will have to ‘age alone’.

Years ago I tried an experiment. For 6months I wore a wedding band just to see how my exploits with women would change. Women love a taken man. The ring made very little difference to most of the women with whom I flirted. They all found it amusing after I revealed that the ring was nothing more than an experiment. So I guess a married man’s ego can be stroked should by women who are “attracted to the ring”. Hopefully he’s a faithful husband who won’t allow any woman but his wife to stroke anything else of his.

Business favours married couples. Insurance, taxes, home loans, car loans you name it, it’s all easier to access if you’re married. Is anyone gonna lobby against that?

Married couples know each other; they have a feel for each others’ bodies and are aware of their partner’s fantasies. As a result, married sex is better than single sex. A long, stable relationship lends itself to sexual experimentation. Admit it; there are things you’d love to try in bed that you’ve never told anyone because you were afraid of being judged. But in a long-term relationship founded on trust, you can give voice to your innermost desires.

I read online that married people are happier than single people. I have trouble believing that because most of the miserable people I know are married, lol. Anyhow, a recent study at an Australian university shows that married men are happier than single men. In fact, married men are 135% more likely to report a happiness score than single men. The U.W.I. should carry out a similar research in the Caribbean.

I’m sure there are lots more great things to highlight about marriage, but until I take that step I doubt I’ll know what those things are.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not married! All I did was have a conversation with a few of my married friends and did some research online.



Jamaican gas prices and Petrojam

For almost a year now I’ve posted a #WeeklyGasUpdate every Wednesday on my Facebook and Twitter. I note the difference in people’s reaction to the prices. A decrease rarely gets a comment/response, but when there’s an increase then people get all pissed and start cursing Petrojam and the government.

I’ve been asked if I work with Petrojam, the answer is NO!

But I figure if they’re not doing the public education that needs to take place, I’ll fill that gap in my own little way.

As a public service, let me breakdown how this whole gas price thing goes

Poor Petrojam

Petrojam is a limited liability company; jointly owned by PDVCaribe, a subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ). The PCJ is a statutory body created and wholly owned by the Government of Jamaica.

The General Manager is responsible for daily management of Jamaica’s only petroleum refinery; however the ultimate internal authority is the Board of Directors. The Board is comprised of an equal number of Venezuelan and Jamaican Directors.

Petrojam was established in 1982 when the Government of Jamaica purchased the Esso Kingston Refinery, which had been built, and operated by Esso since March 1964. In 2006 the Government of Jamaica sold 49% of its shares to PDVCaribe.

What Causes High Oil Prices?

Like most of the things we buy, oil prices are affected by supply and demand. More demand, drives higher prices. Demand ebbs and flows depending on time of year and the various consumption habits of the public. However, oil prices are also affected by “oil price futures”, which are traded on the commodities exchange. These prices fluctuate daily, depending on what investors think the price of oil will be going forward.

What/Who Affects Oil Supply?

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a cartel of twelve developing countries made up of AlgeriaAngolaEcuador,IranIraqKuwaitLibyaNigeriaQatarSaudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. OPEC produces 46% of the world’s oil. In 1960, they formed an alliance to regulate the supply, and to some extent, the price of oil. These countries realized they had a non-renewable resource. If they competed with each other, the price of oil would be so low that they would run out sooner than if oil prices were higher. OPEC’s goal is to keep the price of oil at around $70 per barrel (that’s only a goal). A higher price gives other countries the incentive to drill new fields which are too expensive to open when prices are low. Non-OPEC countries include USA, Canada, Russia, China, Norway, Brazil and others.

Oil Demand

This varies among countries. A country’s demand for oil depends on factors such as population, climate, level of development, whether it produces its own oil, transportation systems, and the size of the productive sector among others. I’m no economist, so I’m open to be corrected/updated. The U.S. uses 20% of the world’s oil. The European Union is the next biggest user, at 15%. China only uses 10%, but its use has grown rapidly. (Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy, CIA World Factbook)

What Affects Oil Price Futures?

Oil futures, or futures contracts, are agreements to buy or sell oil at a specific date in the future at a specific price. Traders in oil futures bid on the price of oil based on what they think oil will trade at. They look at projected supply and demand to determine the price. However, if traders think the price of oil will be high, they create a self-fulfilling prophecy by bidding up oil prices. This can create high oil prices even when there is plenty of supply on hand. Once this starts, other investors will bid on oil prices just like any other commodity, such as gold, creating an “asset bubble.

Relationship between Oil Prices and Gasoline Prices

Crude oil generally accounts for 55% of the price of gasoline, while distribution and taxes influence the remaining 45%. Usually, distribution and taxes are stable, so that the change in the price of gasoline accurately reflects oil price fluctuations. Gas prices are also affected when production lines are disrupted or are down for maintenance, or when there’s a war or civil unrest or when major natural disasters occur.

Petrojam buys crude oil then sells refined gasoline to Marketing Companies like Shell, Texaco, Esso, Total, Epping and others. These companies add their respective mark-ups based on various factors, I don’t know what those are, but I figure it includes the costs to distribute the gasoline to the various gas stations from which we buy.

Additionally, Jamaicans pay 15% of the value of gasoline as an ad valorem tax, in addition to a specific tax of $16 per litre.

These gas stations are usually a part of the Jamaica Gasoline Retailers Association. Each individual gas station has its own sets of overheads and that determines what you pay at the pumps.

Knowledge and action

Remember, oil is traded daily. Petrojam does weekly updates of its prices based on how the price of crude is determined by oil price futures and OPEC. Venezuela, with whom Jamaica has an agreement, is a part of OPEC.

JGRA members and other gas retailers purchase from Marketing Companies or directly from Petrojam then add their respective mark-ups.

What we need to do is monitor the price updates from Petrojam and STOP SUPPORTING GAS STATIONS THAT ONLY INCREASE THEIR PRICES.

We need to be more efficient in our use of the commodity – CONSERVE!

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