Monday, November 12, 2012

Man from Above

So now the other day I came to the office whistling a light tune and at peace with the universe. Then the most unexpected thing happened.I got to the door fumbling with my bags and trying to fish out my access card from those creases it hides in every day when lo & behold I had a vision. The single most beautiful man I had ever seen. He looked like he'd been carefully & meticulously chiseled out of tall dark smooth stone by the gods of good looks who took their time with the task. He just stood there all nonchalant deep in conversation with someone my mind didn't register ... I was in a daze. Then he turns his gaze to me. And I quickly curse the fact that I didn't have the foresight to come to work in a dinner dress. Eyes lock. I'm enchanted. Just can't look away. Or do anything else for that mantter. A gentle smile. I could have fallen to the ground. Then idiot work mates come in behind me and break the moment (which in all fairness couldn't have lasted for more than a couple of seconds). I'm forced to gather my wits from all across the floor and go to my desk.

And as fate would have it, he was attending a meeting in a room not too far from where I sit. He had the voice of Angels singing to inform the shepherds of the birth in Bethlehem. But as fate would have it, I had a full day meeting booked off-site. Which was probably a good thing for my employer as I would never have gotten any work done otherwise.

I never saw him again and have no idea who he was.

That was the best work-morning I've ever had ...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Society's Unforgiving View of Singles

I've generally been settled if not a little apprehensive about my singly status, but all has generally been ok. I don't know if it's me, but of late I've been feeling the societal push on my back. Every where I go, it's this and that about marriage, couples, babies ... To be quite frank I'm getting a little sick of it all. To give you an example so you know I'm not just being a disgruntled single woman, let me walk you through a couple of instances in my weekend:

I was buying shoes and while negotiating price (I told him I didn't have the amount he'd quoted), the guy tells me na si I just call 'mzee' for m-pesa. And he goes on to give me a couple of choice tidbits about his own marriage and his wife's charming shenanigans. I smile politely and participate in the conversation, coz after all, who's not in a relationship? Right?!

I was drinking with some married guys and the conversation moved to something or other to do with family and when my opinion was sought a guy promptly chimed in "She wouldn't know; she's not a mother". I felt suitably slapped, took a deep breath and had a swallow. I know some may not understand why I was miffed, so I explain: unless we're talking about labour pains, I can have a comment on things parenthood as I live in society and pick things up. It's a bit like giving your opinion about paraplegics; you don't have to be one to have an opinion!

I went for a movie and the guy checking tickets at the door didn't quite hide his surprise as he looked around me and asked "1 only?" subtext: "You're alone???!!!??!! The horror!!"

The examples are many. And that's just this weekend! Point is, I have a hard enough time being single without having it rubbed in my face every step of the way. But I guess that's societies way of pushing for a balanced fully paired society!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Three is Company too

While I was away I learnt 3 things:

1. Love sucks
2. Always be your own Number 1
3. Pray

I was in an almost relationship that didn't work out and that, together with love, sucks. One can always seek consolation in the knowledge that there are so many relationships out there that are so fundamentally shot to hell that at times being alone sounds like a full fledged party.

Anyhoo, to lighter notes, a chick once grabbed my ass at a bar. No, she did not lightly brush against me, she was not passing in the opposite direction and accidentally graze by and she was not seeking out my wallet (seeing as I'm a girl who carries a purse). We were on a dance floor and the woman grabbed my butt! I was shocked beyond measure! Cannot begin to explain what went though my head. My reaction was I gathered my wits and avoided her like the plague seeing as she was eager to make many a pass near my rear!

So the question of the day (give me my 15 minutes of talk show hosting please) is this: what's all this about bi-curious women in Nairobi? Myth or reality? And 3-somes?

On my part, I've never been in a 3-some and was meant to experience it vicariously through a male pal who was promised a chick sandwich (though it turned out to be a hoax). What if you end up being .. you know .. a third wheel (think Ross Geller & his lesbian wife). Isn't that like the worst possible thing that could happen to your ego? And being chicks, will you spend half the time comparing your ass to hers?!

Life must be hard enough without certain other complications!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Gentlemen of Jazz - Sierra Lounge

The Sierra Platinum Lounge pulled a novel one on the Kenyan scene and held a Jazz night this past Saturday. The Gentlemen part of it sounded spectacularly interesting so I though why not? A couple of girlfriends and I made it a plan.

I'm not much of a socialite but the idea of an evening jazz event complete with dinner struck me as a non-jeans event. So I went out of my way and picked out a dress (I never wear dresses other than at weddings and even then it's with effort) for the evening. As I was feeling very un-me-ish (what with the dress and all) I got there on time. 7:30pm sharp which was the time the event was slotted to begin.

My first impression of the venue was disappointing. The chairs had been arranged  the way they would be at a press conference; lined up facing the stage. I'd expected table seating. Then the venue is filled with pillars that seemingly erect themselves when your not looking blocking the view of the stage.

With my initial frown out of the way, I sat me down next to my pals and ordered up a drink. Being your average Kenyan I was very watchful of how the drinks were being dispensed. You see the admittance promised dinner and drinks so I wasn't sure if it was 1, 2 or 3 per person. Again as an average Kenyan, you can imagine the pulse of joy that hit me when I realized it was an open bar. They could belt out all the crap they wanted in the name of jazz but I'd still be happy.

It quickly became apparent that a jazz event is not the venue to snag yourself a man in this country. Absolutely all men present (save perhaps for the waiters) were accounted for. The one guy who seemed to be staring inquisitively at a far away spot in the horizon thus garnering himself an air of sophisticated mystery was probably just short sighted and trying to make out the band. And besides, his chick turned up before long.

So the first guy on stage was Anto Neo Soul. He has a good voice and sings well. For me, this was overshadowed by the way he went ahead to lecture us a number of times. First he called out the guys for not making an effort to dress up. Then he called all of us out for daring to speak in a pedestrian manner while attending a jazz event .. He called for more sophistication from his audience. Then he told us he was famous coz he's in Shugga ... Ita waaaaiter!!!

Next up was "The Itch". These guys blew my mind! I'd seen the main singing guy (who's name I can't recall or find online) walking around the lounge and had thought that he looked familiar in a commonplace manner. Kind of like that face that's always there at some music event or other. When he stepped up to the mic I realized that he was very far from the boy-next-door. And the way he carried those notes with eyes shut and head thrown back in total engrossment, made him very sexy indeed with his small shirt, fitting jeans and loose dreadlocks (Spinster focus!). I was happy. There's him but there's also the band. The way those guys played made it clear that they had a very personal relationship with their instruments and their fond interaction had payed off. I'm a rock fan myself and what those guys did on stage satiated my rock loving soul.

Maqbul was host and that was a good thing as he has an easy sense of humour and a great deep voice. So he informs us that Change Quartet (which had been my star attraction to the event) had changed its name to something that sounded like Gabon (maybe Cabon? Quoi bonne?) So seems they lost one of their number being the sax guy. And seems said sax guy pulled a dramatic move little before they were to get on stage. The show must go on. That being said they were OK. Couldn't help feeling a little sorry for them. Especially since they were playing immediately after such an itchingly brilliant performance.

For the Kenyans I must explain this. Dinner was made up of an array of bitings. I know that when I say this, what comes to mind are fish fingers, chicken wings and prawns. No. I think that what they served draws from the very etymology of the word - a bite. You'd get those Chinese ceramic soup spoons with a carefully measured cube of say pork on it. Then there was the fishy thing I came to learn was lobster. The oily thing I came to learn was lamb & rice. And a wonderful soup. To my great chagrin, these small servings filled me up. And besides, as a kawaida Kenyan, drinks through an open bar are far more impressive than food.

All in all I'd say it was a worthwhile evening.


I find that a lot of my friends have gotten themselves into relationships. Contrary to what I may have expected of myself, I'm not actually jealous. It's sad being left behind in the "not-picked pile". Sort of makes me think of that movie that would always come around Christmas time about a train that carried orphans across the US in the hope that they would find families to adopt them. I think everyone gets taken in the end, but I always think how awful for them as they go along and contemplate their fate! What if they're never picked? Anyhoo, back to the line of thought, I find that a number of my friends seem to have settled. They didn't find the man/woman they would have wanted, so are making do with the ones they're with. (Of course some are ecstatically happy with partners presented to them by cupid himself .. (*curses under breath*))

I find this so very sad. I know I'm probably a hopeless romantic but, No! People shouldn't settle for anyone else than their hearts desire, should they? My pal recently told me he's aging (he's in his early 30's) and his Mama is convenient. He doesn't have the energy or the time to go around searching for a soulmate, so he's settling. We'll be taking mbuzi's soon. Another lady I know says she's now looking to be kept by an older married man. At 40, she doesn't still harbour dreams of finding her own man.

How do these relationships progress? Does say the Mama in my pal's case know that she was just at the right place at the right time? If she does, does she care? Is she just so glad to have a man that she let's this slide? Does this come to affect their sex lives with each partner seeking fulfillment elsewhere? Is this the phenomena that keeps Jimmie Gathu gainfully employed in his'Fikiria' campaigns? Again for the other lady, is there a shelf life? A sell-by date? What is one to do if they find themselves rapidly approaching it?

In a slightly related story, apparently women in the southern part of this continent find women like me (and as such most women in Kenya I guess) very selfish. How dare you declare you want a man all to yourself? What about your fellow sisters? Have you no concern for them & society as a whole? There are not enough good men to go round! Mscheeeew!!!

I say live & let live!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Gym

I recently went back to the gym to try and get rid of Pot. Yes Pot is described as a proper noun as it's the one companion (second to God) who I can confirm has been a real presence with and (in profile) by me for the better part of my life. And the thing with Pot is that at any given time he always seems larger than he was before. So my friend's advice was to befriend Pot as he shall certainly always be there.

Anyhoo, I went back to the gym and was immediately struck by the culture shock that always gets me there. You see I went to the kind of high school that enshrined privacy. Our showers were closed stalls with 3 walls and a door and we had doors to our loos. The only person who ever saw your boobies was the school nurse when doing her intrusive kneading & pinching in the name of a pregnancy scan. Because of this background, you’ll never find a picture of me jumping over a barrier without my undies like a certain ex-tabasamu celebrity who will remain unnamed (reason being we don’t know said name). The point here isn't so much chastity as it is propriety.

In the gym, I will not be the one prancing from the steam room in nothing but the skin on my back and sitting around chatting idly with the rest as I wait to cool down. Yet this is exactly what happens. Women of absolutely all shapes and sizes throw self-consciousness to the wind and bear it all, all the while conducting conversations on the latest political intrigues! Aaaahg! I don’t care to see your backside or so much skin in one room! I’m happy to sweat it out in the aerobics class followed by a non-traumatizing shower!

What I’ve come to do is block it out. I try very hard not to look at people in the nude. I’m a little anti-social in the gym I guess as in the process of avoiding eye-contact, I keep my eyes firmly on my gym shoes (which have a stain at the bottom right corner). How do I change in & out of my gear? I actually seek out a stall to change inners as necessary. I’m the one who carries a few items of clothing to the shower to change once done (and thus spends more time in there than is strictly appropriate). I’ve noticed a few hostile looks (“Kwani anadhani ana nini hatujaona?”) but let me be me and I shall let you be.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Marriage -vs- Happiness

My neighbour is slightly younger than my father and lives with his girlfriend who's quite younger than me. I guess in this day and age that's not even surprising leave alone shocking. It's not the kind of story that gives you pause as you go about your day. If anything, you sit expectantly waiting for the rest of the story as surely, that can't be it!

I have no doubt that he has a wife and family elsewhere who he has left for the spring chicken. Contrary to what you might expect though, today I present this story from the man's perspective. I had an older workmate who did just this. He moved away from his family when his girlfriend got pregnant.

Although I'd been working there for some time when the drama unfolded, I'd never once heard this guy say anything kind about his wife. Not the one. So you can imagine my jaw dropping surprise when I met said wife and found that she was a stunner (I always admire women who find a way to age gracefully). This woman was (and I suspect still is) simply beautiful. My workmate (let's call him Tim) had simple problems with her; she simply drove him crazy. Examples:

"Yesterday I washed the dishes (remember this guy's age set is the type that wouldn't know where the kitchen is) and she washed them again saying she knew that I'd done it badly and wondered what I was trying to prove anyway. Why did she have to do that? Why can't she be more appreciative?"

"The woman constantly complains about anything and everything! I'm loathe to go home! Waiter!"

"Romance? The woman has no idea what the word means. Nothing happens in the bedroom no more."

His girlfriend (who we'll call Njambi) didn't have half his wife's looks, but she knew how to make her man feel special. She was (and presumably still is (- I've lost touch with these people)) a very imposing person and not too young herself but I guess she captivated his attention in a manner his wife had long since stopped trying to. He was comfortable and at peace when around her so it was difficult to begrudge him the decision to leave his family (wife & 3 kids) for Njambi. He chose happiness. He (presumably still) supports both homes.

So I guess this is a wake up call to women. You must have heard it a million times before but don't take your man for granted & don't be the source of his frustration.

Postscript: the neighbour in question is very comfortable about his anatomy/masculinity and I've seen him naked. Twice. I'm still trying to wipe the image from my psyche! Idiot hangs around his door stark naked ...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Miss Independent

Yesterday on my drive home I noticed that I'm a bit of a psycho driver. I'm not quite ex-matatu caliber but am well on my way. The crazy stunts I've pulled have me wondering and I even tinted the car windows so that men don't realize they've been out-maneuvered by a chick (for some reason that really winds them up).

I think it has to do with being used to doing things for myself. I open my own damn doors and fetch my own darn paper. I change my bulbs and shall open that jar if it is the last thing I do (which is why I need to buy things that have loooooong off expiry dates). I draw the line at changing my tyre ... and pumping it for that matter. Push came to shove, I could, but why sully my hands when there are so many young men willing to help?

In my mind, the above independence (if you'll let me call it that) doesn't work in favour of my getting hooked up. Why? Well it's so 2nd nature, that you just don't realize that the date who had initially wanted to drive you to the venue was left behind 3 roundabouts ago while you all but elbowed around with mats & proboxes for space as though you were competing for first place at the Rhino Charge!

My pal (a guy) says it has to do with age; the older you are the more comfortable you become in your own skin so you know what you will and will  not take. It's like if today some guy I were eying told me to do X or he would leave me I'd recommend Nakumatt (you need it we got it) as the store he should go to for the rope he should use to hang himself. I'm too proud & comfortable to take shit. Not to mean I can't bend (pun fully intended) just that I do not expect to be disrespected.

Maybe all the above is the reason why I'm single, but I'd like to imagine that there are men out there who are interested in the independent type. If not, well there's this blog ... and I can always park on the side of the road waiting for that other guy to catch up! :-)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The One Without a Picture

Every day I go to bed feeling guilty about something I should have done but haven't. This blog has been on that list for some time. I mean I have so many stories to tell: The neighbour I saw naked, the time I almost got into 3 accidents because I woke up feeling like an ex-matatu driver, the return of the guy I'm crushing on (1) and (2)  (2 different guys .. I agree, I'm fickle), why it is impossible for ex's to remain friends, the crazy ways of the West African man, my camera mishap ...

Let's start with the camera incident. I was breakfasting at a hotel where I'd been staying for the week. If hotel food is fattening the breakfast is the absolute worst part. I love pastry and there are all these delicacies that I wouldn't usually let myself touch just laid out in inviting layers begging you to partake ... Then what's breakfast without eggs? Why bother having eggs without sausages? And the fruits? List goes on and on. So anyway, while I was happily stuffing myself, the most beautiful man I'd ever seen in person appeared and sat at the table across from me. I stared. Shamelessly. Ogled. He may as well just have walked off the page of the top 10 most handsome men ever. I watched him walk. Watched him pour his coffee. Watched him open his paper. I was happy (food completely forgotten).

Then I snapped back to reality. I needed photographic evidence. My friend says take pictures first and tell the story later. It's like you now .. you can't really get a feeling of just how good looking this guy was. Breathe of fresh air & cold cokes don't begin to compare. So I fished out for the new phone I was still trying to figure out, fumbled for the camera, lifted the phone so as to look as though I were just browsing through texts albeit at an oddly high angle, and clicked. That's when I remembered (and/or saw) that the flash automatically kicks in.

Mortified. You remember that neat thing Moses did with the red sea? Part it so the Israelites could stream through on their way to the promised land? How did I wish? Wa! I pulled an ostrich. If I can't see you (cause my head is bent down so low) you can't see me either. I hop skipped & jumped out of there, and that is why there's no picture accompanying this post!

Monday, March 19, 2012

To call or not to call, that's a dumb question!

We're women so we do this all the time: make the call we're just not meant to.
He said he'd call, he hasn't called .. why not send a friendly text to discuss that horrible accident that was on news yesterday? What of forward a funny joke we've heard? Or for the really ballsy types, we'll just ask him why he hasn't called.

The conversation (depending on whether or not he answers your call) may go something like this:

Him: Hello?
You (overly chirpy): Hiiiiii!
Him (a little over enthusiastic): Oh hi!
You (wondering if his phone doesn't have caller ID and even then, why he hasn't committed your number to memory as you have his):  I was just checking up on you ...
Him (never missing a bit): And I was just thinking about you ..
You (forgetting that you'd felt slighted only 3 seconds ago): Oh that's so sweet! Would you like to come over for dinner later on? I'm cooking your favourite!
Him: Isn't that grand! You're just what the doctor ordered! I'm at work now, how about I call you when I'm done?
You (gushing and blushing): Great! Let's talk then!

Then at midnight on a week night when you finally come to terms with the fact that he's not calling and you've gone through all the silly excuses you made for him, you tuck in to bed feeling sorry for yourself.

There are a thousand books and 15,000 articles out there that will described to you exactly why you must not even look at your phone in a manner likely to suggest that your interested in calling. And they all make the world of sense. But none of them are any help to a girl seated home alone on a night when there's no power with only her laptop for company whose battery is running dangerously low ...

The Sharp Tongued Rose

I must take some time to tell you about my house help. She comes in once a week and cleans the house, does the laundry, cooks chapos (I love chaps (- double entendre .. what do you know!)) & irons. Bless her heart she is hard working but she is the most opinionated person I know. I really wonder what happened to the days when employers were feared and revered?

Her oddities include:

1. I don't have a soap dish since my last help the-butter-fingered-one broke it. Rose (real name) gives a heavy sigh whenever she's passing by the bathroom and asks why I just don't buy another one. So much so, I actually bought one today. Is that what life with a nagging wife is like?!

2. Rose has made it very clear that her working conditions leave a lot to be desired and she has half a mind to go the KBC way and march on the street demanding better working conditions. 'Why?' you might ask? Because apparently the numerous buckets I have and have used without trouble are apparently too small. When really shall I make that little investment in a big basin?

3. She let me know that if I must insist on leaving my key with the watchman (who is another guy with a story of his own) she just couldn't work for me. And she was dead serious. They'd had their differences in the past so at what passes for an interview, she put that as her minimum requirement, right up there with pay negotiations.

4. Rose thinks I cook well (she eats what's in the fridge on her day in) but my food leans too much to Indian cuisine which is great but just not African.

5. One day when I told her that she need not iron my beddings (since I just don't understand why people do that) she informed me that I might just get lucky (meaning a man may come visit my bed) and its always good to be prepared.

Here's to Rose!

Monday, March 12, 2012


I got myself Eric Wainaina's new CD 'Love + Protest'. I really like it and think it's brilliant. It is unfortunate that Eric still doesn't seem to believe it possible to sing one genre of music throughout a single song; so your slow jam will always and unfailingly burst out into kyuk one-man-guitar-type beats at the end. Having said this (and taken it into account) this CD is great.

(Spoiler Alert - Not sure it applies to music but there you have it) There's a particular song I've been playing in loop for some time now. It's called (no prize for guessing) 'Mariana'. Song's about a poor guy (financially) who's in love with Mariana. He asks her to give him a year to pull his life together and tries one unsuccessful venture after another. When he sees that he's going to loose her for lack of money, he takes a drastic step: decides to rob a bank. After pulling off the heist, he gets shot while making his get-away and dies. (I think he leaves her the money he stole but I can't quite figure that part out). It has a lovely tune that just calls out and makes you listen.

I know it's silly but I find the story so beautiful in a romantic/fatalistic/dumb kind of way. Superficially it tells of a love so strong that he would have done anything to be with her. But then again, that's the kind of reasoning that sees those small side stories in the paper "Man kills wife and 2 children when she threatened to leave". Being single at thirty-something has lead me to be very cynical (well I've always been cynical but now I'm worse off). So the thought of a love beyond reason is comforting from a distance ..

Must really get myself into a relationship ...!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Don't Pick!!!

Today I got a call from "Don't Pick!" I was in a meeting but couldn't hold in the chuckle. And the thing is, I don't actually remember who I saved that way. The only thing I know for sure is that it's a jamaa. I suspect it's the guy I met in a supermarket and in a moment of weakness, temporary insanity and looseness gave my number to. He begun bugging me almost immediately & as I'd unfortunately given him my main line, I had to figure out a way of avoiding his calls.I follow instructions so didn't pick.

Then there's "Avoid". This is the married man I once met while in the company of many who now feels that we should do coffee, watch plays, 'hang out' & hold hands. First, I prefer not to spend the valuable time of my early 30's looking taken. Then every minute spent with him is a minute not spent finding my own man. And what really does a married man want from a single girl other than exploring her great wit & intriguing conversation? Great though you may be, there is no benefit to my hanging out with you one-on-one.

A new entrant is "Miscellaneous Idiot". This is a guy who stood me up on some day and has since been trying to patch things up. His story went the way of the curly kit; died.

But don't blame me .. dating in Nairobi can be rather tough. There's a strange assortment of weirdos and people who just dumbfound you (like the guy who once told me 'You look like you have some cash ... I could date a woman with cash' - to give you a clue on this, the guy was just impressed that I had a job). Then there are all the cheapskates whose idea of a great first date is your cooking them dinner at your place (and perhaps hopefully thereafter giving them a 3 dimensional tour of your bed!) Then of course there are the brothers who take you to a petrol station to chew miraa and drink liquor while listening to music blasting from their Subarus (I swear I did not make that one up. Has happened to some girl pals & it just cracks me up. Seriously, they are sensible girls who were talked into a date at a petrol station .. and went!). Just cause it would be unfair not to mention them, there are those who feel like God's gift to womenfolk and let you know at every possible opportunity that you are indeed very very lucky that you have a slot of his time on that day.

I am a woman suffering.

Extra - I must end with this joke:
Whenever Jim's mistress calls him, his wife charges his phone. Why? Because he's saved her as "Battery Low" :-)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

5 Cheers for Women

I was challenged to write something about women that wasn’t in any way negative. No ‘my life is so hard because I’m a woman’ brouhaha … It was much tougher than I expected. Why? Coz it’s so much easier to laugh at the strangely inappropriate than to state happy facts.

Well here goes happy fact No. 1: I like being a woman coz we have breasts. I said it. I mean, as a jamaa you can’t really go round with low cut jeans showing off your junk. That’s just crude, crass & disgusting. With boobies on the other hand, it’s a given. I happen to be happily endowed and am always at a loss at what I get away with because of them twins.

Happy Fact No.2: You must have no qualms about using your femininity to get what you want. I’m not telling you to sleep with the boss to get promoted (that’s so 1980’s – and besides, if you really must, aim for the boss’ boss’ boss. More practical returns .. but I digress). Wear that short skirt if it will make your meeting go better. Lash out into tears when confronted by traffic cops for making an illegal turn … while talking on the phone … with expired insurance. Hold the bulb under the sink to clean it so someone else jumps to your rescue to change the bulb (and spare you electrocution). There’s no shame in it. That’s my story & I’m sticking to it!

Happy fact No.3 is the miracle of motherhood. I’m not so blessed as to have kids but watching my mother friends, I’ve realized that the mother-child bond is like no other. It’s unique, beautiful and well worth the effort of the pushing. God bless all mothers.

Happy Fact No. 4 – it seems that the male child was forgotten somewhere in Kenya’s (not-so) recent past and as a result, there are now more upwardly mobile women. I’ve heard many a guy complain that the tables are terribly turned against them and that given a chance, an equal opportunity employer is more likely to hire a girl than a chap. It’s thus a happy time to be female.

Happy Fact No. 5 – we’re generally speaking cleaner, neater, safer & fresher to be around. That must count for something no? I’m reaching huh? Alright, give us a No. 5 that fits the bill!

This evening, smile at a woman near you & tell her she’s lucky.