Last week was a bit somber. We plunged into this dark cloud of post-election violence so this week we can get into something light, something fun. A pine-cone scented towel of laughter that clears our dark skies. My friend called me last week,—‘Buddy, if this happens to wash to your shores and you read it, know that I needed a story for the week and it is a good friend that can be a good muse.’—after we got the, “How are you doing” and “How have you been” niceties out of the way I asked him if he is still with that girl of his?
I have met this girl before. My friend invited me to meet her in one of their rendezvous at Garden City Mall and images of her are still doing laps behind my eyelids. She was tall: long of legs, small of breasts and small of buttocks. Her hair was done in braids, she was wearing blue fitting jeans, black boots and a black jacket. What did I think of her? I was just happy she wasn’t one of those overconfident women who wear their bra on top of their blouse. I was prepared to play my part. You should never have ill opinions about your friend’s partner. Different men see different things in different women. It’s never your place to play the jealous mother-in-law. You might think, “Ah, she doesn’t suit him at all.” But then, there are things she could be doing when the lights go out that completely suit him.
You never question the people your loved ones chose to have affections for. If God forbid, one day your brother brings a lunatic home, it’s never in your place to point out that she is in fact a lunatic. By virtue of him being your brother you respect that lunatic, you even get into banter about movies and lipstick and you don’t think aloud what it is he sees in her and why he couldn’t just get a bag of chicken instead. Speaking of chicken, we sat down at Chicken Inn to have a late dinner, the chicken there is excellent, a bite makes my taste buds moan and my toes curl in my shoes. I am a sucker for the quarter chicken and fries ensemble.
We made small talk and as we were talking I noticed a certain bossiness to her. I know the feminism wave is all the rage right now and I’m okay with it but even with the wave you don’t expect someone to go out of character when they’re meeting their better halves friend. You’ve probably been prepped beforehand that today is the day to be sweet as pie not the day for a shit-storm. When you’re meeting the people who are front and center in the life of the person you have affections for, you wear your best behavior cardigan. You dig deep into your ethics class in a way that, if someone were to look at you from a different angle they would mistake you for St. Thomas Aquinas.
But not my friends date, It was the way she asked (demanded) that he take another photo of her because she didn’t like the one he had taken before. It was the way she said her hair needed maintenance then proceeded to eye my friend in a way that made his eyebrows pinch together and made him push the conversation in another direction. I didn’t say anything, I just ate my chicken and hoped they were teasing each other. Couples, if you have been around them you have noticed they have weird love languages. Some keep touching and leaning into each other, some punch one another on the shoulders and others can’t stop arguing. Whatever it was I thought it was in the name of love. I was excited, if all went okay this would end in a ring and a white gown and I would soon be invited for rice and cake. Hell, I even had a real chance of being the best-man.
Back to the Phone call
I asked him if he is still with that girl of his and he asked me which one and the question hang in the air as if he had struck a gong. Men are very territorial, there is never a question of, “Which one?” when there is a girl somewhere who we feel could be the mother of our kids. In fact if you want to know if a guy is serious, ask him how their girl is doing and he will giggle like a child and even if you’re on the phone you will feel their face turning a bright pink. I was forced to describe the girl.
“The tall girl, the one who was bossing you around like a two year old.”
“Oh, huyo? Huyo niliwacha kitambo.”
I had a long, hard laugh.
“Mbona uliwacha story zake?” This was followed by another bag of laughter.
“Vitu mob, kama kunipigia, kunitisha pesa ya maintenance, ama nimekaa nimerelax, kidogo text inaingia ati nimtumie pesa za kalunch. Relationship ya pesa siwezi.”
“Ati kalunch?” I’m holding my stomach at this point.
I comforted him and told him that you know a leopard by its spots. I told him he will be seeing them from afar, here on out.
I couldn’t stop laughing because I have come across two or three such women. I understand and completely agree that the man should be the provider, even in this harsh economy and this world of feminism where a lot of women feel submitting is outdated—feminism is different things to different women. Some women feel it’s about equality and others feel it’s about the man cleaning the house and lifting her legs to vacuum while she’s reading the latest copy of True Love magazine. I’m of the school of thought that masculinity should evolve and accommodate the woman who is waking up every day, more self-aware, more confident and more empowered. Women have dreams, drive and ambitions just like men do and if they serve at our pleasure it’s a choice not an obligation. That being said there are still rules of engagement when it comes to coupling.
When you’re getting to know a woman it makes sense to spend on a restaurant because you want her to feel that you can take care of her and you can eat in nice places, every so often. It makes sense to take her out for a picnic, it even makes sense to take her back to your place and cook up a storm in the kitchen because you want her to feel at home and you also want her to know that she won’t starve or the house won’t turn into a pigsty if she’s ever indisposed. But it doesn’t make sense to start footing her bills when you’ve known her for two minutes. That makes her kept and that makes you a sponsor, not a boyfriend.
We live in a world where people have different preferences. One size does not fit all and whatever works for a certain person won’t work for another one. Some women are happy home-keeping while their man brings home the bacon (hopefully in a bag that is NEMA compliant). While some are happy in a relationship where they share the chores and the bills. Yet others are happy with their arm coiled around an elderly man, probably with a receding hairline and a limp in his walk, asking “Niaje kalunch?”
Ps: I have been thinking of a name that suits the awesome readers who pitch tent here every Wednesday. ‘Guys’ felt so plain and if there’s one thing we’re not, it’s plain. I went as far as looking up the Spanish translation for ‘Guys’ only, it sounded like a name you give a schlocky brand of kitchen soap, not Kisauti readers. I finally got a name, “Sexy Friends,” It rolls out the tongue like butter and I think it’s a name that suits the readers of this blog, after all our tagline is, ‘Words Like a Little Black Dress.’ What do you think, Sexy Friends, do we have a name or is it back to the ballot?
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I like to think of myself as a reader who writes, a Pan-African who thinks with the tips of his fingers, but when I’m not molesting the keyboard I’m usually destroying yogurt (not Frusion) or staring into the vastness of space.