Remember Sarafina? It was a South African movie that introduced me to apartheid in SA and the ‘toyi-toyi’ dance. There, mini-skirts and mini dresses were donned with such charisma and simplicity. They did not attempt to pull them down or hide their yellow thighs when they bucked their knees up as they danced and demonstrated in the streets. Their defiance to intimidation gave such an air of confidence that Kenyan ladies should borrow. This is neither about miniskirts nor Sarafina, it’s about tenacity. But I can’t just jump in without warming you up. We’ll have to start with this one lady, my friend, Sue. To understand some gradations of tenacity you have to know where it started.
At 24, I care for my health more than my looks. Okay, we are getting off to a bad start. I lied. I care for both. Thus, I jog thrice a week for an hour. More for my health and I’ll tell you why. When I was 15, I went for a checkup and oddly, my doctor gave me an appointment with a cardiologist. He said my heart rate was too fast signifying an allergy to medication or something. So I showed up the next week. My only worry then was the two male doctors that touched me, for the first time. They took turns at my left breast, fondling (another lie), then massaging the cold gel on the underside where they were just filling out and then placing the cold metal thing that was connected to the scanner. They called the procedure Echo. There was a whizzing sound from my heart. Like a donkey’s bray. Heee without the hooo. I was slightly perturbed. But the hand on my breast! Then on the screen, there were bubbles leaving my left ventricle!
An email popped up my on computer screen this morning. My friend was telling me how he’d gone against my advice about not calling his ex. We had met in town to imbibe a bottle of merlot on Monday evening. He said he needed closure. So they met up Tuesday. His email was to tell me he was happy he was doing much better than the ex. “Did she loose a tooth?” I asked. It’s alright. It’s ego and it is fragile.
Some men will deride women every chance they get. They call, and if we dare call back. Lo and behold! Desperation. They text and if we respond on time, they couldn’t conclude we are cultured. No no no. We are sitting jaded in our forlorn boudoirs waiting for that one text that will shed a nuance of light into our otherwise oh so boring lives.
We couldn’t possibly have careers, families, studies, friends, hobbies or relationships to concern ourselves with. We are either reed thin or too fat, too dark or too light, too excited or too boring. We don’t have dreams to realize, we don’t think through our decisions and how could we possibly pick the guy to respond advances to? No way. They, picked us.
Stay with me people, it’s not a sour rhetoric of a feminist, this is going somewhere.
Let’s start at the chase. Usually, the guy will make the move. He’ll see you in church, on the street, outside Blue Mosque, in the bar, on Linked-in or Facebook. You might notice him before he does, but then you’d watch your manners. You could send an innocuous glance, smile or friend request. Then, kaboom, he’ll strike. The game of pheromones.
He’ll say you look familiar. You have that face. The one he might have seen earlier at a soiree or when he used to work in Dubai. He knew a lady with that face. She used to like guavas. Could you possibly like guavas? Because there’s a whole field of guavas in his bunduz somewhere in coast. Would you like to go for a guava-seeking trip? You’ll listen, tongue in cheek, and evaluate your options, list the pros and cons then say yes or no. If yes, the longevity will be decided upon after a test drive.
He texts every other hour and in between, scouts you on skype and facebook. You know this is happening but you do not name call. It’s not desperation on his part. It’s background checking. If it’s him, then surely, we can forgive these fallible human elements. C’est leur droit.
He’ll finally get the invite over at her place. He can barely stop squirming and will insist on coming too early (unintended). You make up an excuse and have him when ready. He finally comes and he’s bourbon smooth. Sexual tension maybe so high it makes a sun-lit room at midday look foggy. So you tear the flimsy barriers off each other until flesh meets flesh. Male labours to prove he indeed deserves the time. Female returns the favour. It’s discovery channel.
Days, weeks, months or years may pass and you may not be interested in anything permanent. You hook up for other sessions but passions have certainly gone down. They are supposed to. He will write randy texts when he needs ‘a distraction’ as they call it. You will write back. ‘I want the d,’ Sorry the D’. (We have to fortify the ego even though they are secretly aware of their size.) But isn’t she supposed to use you for ‘a distraction’ too?
I doubt men ever see themselves as the hunted. That behind these prude faces we sometimes wear, we too pick prey and plot a sly trap to catch. That for each dose of want they have, we have ours too. That we can use and discard too. Not financially, sexually. In our times, some men will shamelessly but covertly gold dig too.
My cab guy says he’ll cheat because of ‘utamu wa kuiba’. He tells the other woman to call him in the middle of the night and fake an emergency. When he comes back in the morning, he leaves some cash on her side of the bed to prove he was indeed limaing for the family. I asked him what he’d do if he caught the wife in such a situation. His firm answer was, ‘my wife can’t cheat.’ My girl Ruby and I chuckled at this.
I do not endorse any of these habits – the cheating, mocking or the chest thumping by either of the sexes. But it’s better to accept that if you bite, accept and expect to be bitten too. Most men will quickly say that we can’t be equal since we refused to pick up the check. But if we provided accommodation, we equalized.
My friend comes complaining every other weekend that the girlfriend is the clingy, jealous type whose ‘worth depreciates’ every time she calls at an odd hour. They are celebrating their third anniversary this year. I wish he’d shut up.
Do I sound like am planting an attack on our beloved men? I’m not. I love them: their large shoulders, deep voices, long fingers that sometimes make me stare when my man is eating. How he shrinks the spoon with his hand. Their long legs, the intent gaze when watching football, Trevor Noah or just you. Men are great. They protect, provide, and open jars. They nibble on your neck and massage your feet. Yes, I love men.
However, some men will bad-mouth women with such malediction. Then expect our well bred selves not to say a word. Silence is golden. Yes, but not always. Others want to see their exes flop. It’s alright but veil it, ey? Here is what, if she texts you twice a month, she’s just civil. If she hasn’t seen you in five months but seems happier than a lark, it’s not Jesus alone that’s making her happy.
It has been a while since I last wrote. It happens when all of a sudden you are the guardian of a teenage girl. That is a longer story for another day. But for now, I am sending an olive branch. I’ll be consistent.
Now that we are done with apologies, when’s the last time you got slapped. Wait, have you even ever been slapped? In fact, am seated here wondering the average age when a woman gets slapped? Not an innocuous spank on your derriere. Those are usually not life threatening. Some ladies even like it if the spatial-temporal factors are well matched. Oh, and don’t let your hypocrisy reign unchecked ladies. Well, unless the spank is delivered by the huge street boys that hang around the Westlands Post Office or near Kenya Cinema. A friend once found herself in a passionate kiss with a street boy outside Kenya cinema, obviously without her consent. But I digress. I am talking of a strident peril-laced smack across the cheek that could well mean an appointment with a dentist or a psychiatrist.