Men in uniforms


We’ve dwelled on the selfie photo trend. Let’s just say we’re over it. It’s trendy. Full stop.

Men in uniforms, on another hand, are said to be sexy. They may even have power.

Like a bear in a cage I’ve been trying to rationalise a selfie of an old school friend while on an army exercise somewhere on the island.

We’ve all heard army ‘mate’ stories. Not only about how they spend more than two years flattering the whims of their supervisors for no apparent pride. But also about the aftermaths; the occasions when they return to ‘base’ for a day, or two and prove their dedication.

As if it wasn’t enough knowing that most, if not all Cypriot household treasures a gun of their own. Just in case.

But what happens when you come across a photo of your sexy friend in uniform holding a gun in his hand; Smiling. What happens when the single selfie photo becomes an entire album of a selected  photos of his ‘day out’? Photos of guns, of dozens of men sitting around seemingly doing nothing as they pose behind an array of guns set up in the foreground, on their tripod.

Maybe it’s because as a woman, I have never had the opportunity to go to an army camp or live first hand what happens within these institutions, and that’s why I can seem to place myself with regards to this. But perhaps what we’re talking about is social media’s capacity to cross the line from imaginary to reality and not men looking sexy in uniforms. Never dismissing that their power is in their guns.

Published in The Cyprus Weekly Newspaper May 2014. @MelissaHekkers

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About Melissa Hekkers

I am freelance journalist and author, who has frequently been featured in mainstream news outlets and other publications in Cyprus. Recently, I've been focusing on developing my writing, promoting my own books and teaching creative writing to children and adults. My most recent publication (2020) - Amir's Blue Elephant- pushes the boundaries of creative non-fiction, and recreates the moments that marked me the most, whilst volunteering in refugee camps in Lesvos, Greece, and during her ongoing involvement with the refugee community in Cyprus. In 2018 I published My Capre Greco Mandala which is the third in a series, an interactive colouring book about the biodiversity of the Cape Greco peninsula in Cyprus. My Akamas Mandala, the second in the series, is a colouring book inspired by the variety of endemic plants found on the Akamas Peninsula. In 2016, I published My Nicosia Mandala, the first of the above series, an innovative, interactive colouring book about the historic fortifications of the old town of Nicosia. I also focuses on silenced communities in Cyprus: I writes about migrants and refugees, both as a reporter and a features writer; I profile them and teach them creative writing skills. In 2007, soon after graduating with a Communications degree, I published my first children’s book in both English and Greek entitled Crocodile, which won the Cyprus State Illustration Award. In 2012, I launched my second children’s book Flying across Red Skies (in English and Greek), using an experimental approach to literature, for which I was nominated for the Cyprus State Literary award. My third, similarly well-received children’s book was Pupa (Greek and English), published in 2014. In between the last two books, I published my first free-verse poetry book entitled Come-forth. In 2019 she was contributing author to the anthology Nicosia Beyond Barriers: Voices from a Divided City, published by Saqi Books, London

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