Thursday, April 18, 2024

TONI THORNE: You have to make your own man


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I HAD THE privilege of spending last week in Tobago.

I was invited by the Tobago Tourist Board to film for Tobago Jazz Experience. It was an unforgettable experience goat-racing, going to Nylon Pool, singing along to Lauryn Hill, visiting Argyll Waterfalls and mawlsprigging crab and dumpling.

On the final day, I was invited to film at the Forbes-acclaimed Villa Being which is owned by Dr Auliana Poon and her husband.

Forbes described it as the “most fabulous villa in Tobago” and although I was the guest of the property a few days earlier at designer Claudia Pegus’ star-studded private event “Leve”, I welcomed the invitation to exclusively film at the property.

I could go on about the fabulous architecture and the “clothing is optional” policy of Villa Being, but one of the most interesting experiences would have to be my conversation with Poon.

Poon is a very accomplished woman in my estimation. She heads a tourism intelligence international consultancy with clients from Abu Dhabi to Australia. Her first question to me after discussing my business was: “So when yuh getting married?”

I found this intriguing. I thought that my “accomplishments” would have caused further questions about my business and my plans for a simultaneous career in law. Instead, Poon took a detour and asked me about marriage. I smiled. Like You Can Have It All author Mary Kay, Poon believes that having a man is also a major accomplishment.

I explained to her that in order for me to get married I have to find the man first. She replied: “Listen, you have to make your man. He is not going to come ready-made yuh know!”

Make your man? Yes, ladies, apparently we must make our men. Many of us like to find these “established” men. However, Poon believes that you should ideally find someone with potential and help him to build. I have a friend who argues against falling in love with potential but I see where Poon is coming from. If a man has certain qualities that we can work with, why not help him to grow and develop into what we want (and he wants) him to be? Is this idealistic? There are certain things many of us stipulate a man should bring to the table. For me, you don’t need a house and a six-figure salary, but I like flowers, I like eating out and I enjoy fun experiences. You need not pay my rent or offer me breast implants.

Our conversation ended with another interesting sound bite from Poon. She echoed the sentiments of my great-grandmother who would always say to us: “Love who love you not who you love.”

Poon went on to say: “You need to be with the person who would die for you because if the man really loves you he will improve himself to your standards and meet your expectations”. I can see and relate to this. We have all had men do things they “have never done before” because we like or expect it.

I read this article aloud in our office prior to submission. I was labelled a hopeless romantic and all the ladies in the office replied: “O . . . Toni . . . please . . . they are all crap. Mek yuh man, wuh?”

Toni Thorne is a young entrepreneur and World Economic Forum Global Shaper who loves global youth culture, a great debate and living in paradise. Email:


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