HE’S OFFICIALLY A TEETOTALER

You recall Austin of Peptic Ulcers? When he went for a post treatment check up, Doctor Martin, seemingly in his mid-thirties, donning the typical white coat, ordinary specs and showing a tendency to tolerate beards all over his cheeks, looked straight at him and had this to say;

Please forget alcohol. 

For starters, Austin was never an active drinker. He popped in these stuffy and noisy places say once in three months and it had to be out of influence from friends. In other times it was out of those family gatherings events where men are compelled to drink to appease the so called imaginary ancestors. Speaking of family, it’s important to appreciate Austin comes from a family background stemming from the slopes of Mount Kenya. That’s said, I’m sure you’ve come across these breed of kuyus in social functions struggling to shed off a stereotype of harboring unusual appetite for alcohol. These chaps (and a considerable number of women) drink even when they meet for burial preparation activities.

By the way, I have attended several fundraisers in downtown Nairobi, in joints owned by kuyus usually with funny names like Magomano Hotel, Giathiniwa Cafe, Njogu-Ini Inn, organised by these lads where people literally drink heavily while the ceremony runs. Occasionally, your name will be randomly mentioned by the MC to escort a friend to the basket normally placed at the high table as he takes his contribution. Escorting in this aspect means chipping in to his contribution. You will rise with your beer firmly in hand, while adjusting your symbolic godfather hat whose colour will be complementing your pair of Safari boots and join the queue as you dance to a popular mugithi song.

For Austin’s case, he was not that type of a drinker you would find fixed alone at the bar counter, seemingly in deep thoughts, occasionally teasing the bar lady and having one those uncultivated pep talks with her. You know of these chaps, who walk to the bar formally dressed, straight from the office clinging to the Business Daily newspaper? They never sit at any other place apart from the counter. And if it is fully occupied, they’d rather hang around there for hours holding on their brown bottle, keeping tabs with their phones and sporadically engaging the guy seated next to them, in those tall seats.

For Austin, it was a different ball game altogether. He would never walk to a club alone. He had to be in the pack of other thirsty cubs eager and excited to catch up and kill the night courtesy of drinks. He savored the thrill that comes with drinking in the company of his boys, so to speak and the drama that makes the night wilder. Be it because of the guys seated next to them who would hide some bills much to the frustration of the waitress to the weirdness that comes with all types of drinkers. This was best captured in an article I wrote not so long ago; What Type of A Bar Patron Do You Make .

The good think about alcohol (not that I’m advocating for it) makes one more human if you take it responsibly. You see, these days we rarely say hello to strangers be it in matatus, not in the barber shop queue nor in the ATM line. We hold and keep it to ourselves. This never occurs in the bar. Chaps who have a cordial relationship with the bar counter are normally taken to be lone drinkers but that never deters them from bonding with the rest, with similar ethos. In fact as the hours speed off so does the silence. The more litres ones imbibe the more talkative one becomes, thanks to alcohol. Even when you walk to the washrooms and bump on this stranger as you do your thing, alcohol compels one to warmly acknowledge him, be it through a nod or a smile. This toxic stuff has a way of exuding the human touch.

From what I gathered from Austin, he is keen on ensuring he faithfully stays away from alcohol and its dens for as long as he lives. Of course to the much delight of his girlfriend who was openly against him taking alcohol. Well, she seems to have had the last laugh. But what would happen if he gets invited to one of those bridal parties, birthday bashes and dowry events. Will he survive the jabs and indirect ridicules from friends and relatives? Will his body have conformed to the tough laws passed without much consultation or notice courtesy of Doctor Martin? Martin should have prepaid him for this hehe and be like; well, you have two more months to drink and from then forget if alcohol ever existed in the first place. But that would still be tough for him especially on Fridays when he will be driving past his formerly usual joints and have them unrelentingly throw tempts at him. The familiar music, and mood will take toll on him too.

Being a teetotaler is tough, he quips. Nowadays everybody drinks. How does one manoeuvre life with this kind of stigma? To add on, the doctor also advised him to avoid coffee and lemon and any acidic foods. Meaning, Austin will not be in a position to even take an intern for coffee. Or rather he will take her and drink tea. How do you walk in to Java House – Nanyuki and order for tea? The intern will be taken aback! Tea should be taken at home or in the office not in Java or any other high end place that you could take your girlfriend hehe. She will indulge him;

Why kienyeji tea?

Blame the doctor. Coffee triggers heartburn.

Oooooh woisheeeee. Poor thing.

Meanwhile, he will have to take cues from renowned Kenya public figures who are established teetotalers to name a few; the celebrated radio presenter – Willi M.Tuva, Hip hop artiste – Octopizzo, the flashy – Jaguar, the high rolling – Victor Wanyama, Top Dj – Dj Joe Mfalme, local dancehall guru – Wyre  and Ladies favourite – Jeff Mote. I saw Larry Madowo in the list but wasn’t too sure if he is a strict teetotaler. I’m told Dhoty Family’s Dj Kriss Darlin’ doesn’t drink as well. As it seems, Austin is in a safe company of brave gentlemen who have arguably solid careers at their grip, taking the battle of teetotalling right at the doorstep of the drinking hearth. That’s pure audacity at best.

On the flipside he will have to cut links with his drinking buddies. This has everything to do with friends who never have any other agenda apart from always urging him to go drinking. It will be difficult for him but important, at least to save his health.

All the best Bro Austin! It’s time you did this!

Photo courtesy of Standard Digital Entertainment – SDE 

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WHO WILL MENTOR THE MEN IN US?

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When my Research lecturer gave us an assignment on writing a proposal, my mind juggled with so many topics for some days. Ultimately, my Proposal heading read; A STUDY ON THE PLIGHT OF THE BOY CHILD IN KENYA. It is no coincidence that I’m passionate about the male gender threats and prospects in this country. At times I will sound harsh to them (I included)with criticism, sometimes supplying sympathy and reassurance all in search of mentoring avenues for this incredible human species. It is also not a coincidence too, that this is the umpteenth time I’m writing an open letter to dear men.

I start by affirming the riddle; You never throw stones when you live in a glass house. My perennial criticism however, is not baseless but out of anger, shock and disappointment  on how low we have lowered the bar of qualifying to be a gentleman. That said I can confirm the following;

A majority of fathers have miserably failed to be good role models. A good number of us have also welcomed the idea that it is humanly normal to have several sidekicks, not even one at your disposal! That man is the greatest loser from the upsurge of single parenting is not being emphasized either. Alcoholism has shattered our dreams, emasculated everything will hold dear and disenfranchised our families. These four facts have costed us immense reputation and track record. They have weakened our enviable history we bequeathed from our grand fathers. Furthermore, they have peeled every tasty flesh in man’s legacy and reduced us to mere scavengers with no heritage to hold on; left us bare, feeling vulnerable and battling with exposed flaws.

Enough of that.

Fellow men, I confirm to have partaken in dealing with the burden of unprecedented pressure, contemporary man is grappling with day in day out. If it’s not to have a loyal wife, then it has to be a decent car then expectations evolve to an imposing piece of land, then a mansion worth inviting humans to attend for the official opening. That done, they call for a million dollar wedding and before that you save for a commercialised dowry occasion. From there you will be required to steer and show direction to a family set up that is bleeding from over empowerment. You will be expected to hold this same family in one piece dealing on the sidelines with a mother in law who is briefed daily on the metamorphosis of your behaviors and bank balance. You will also deal with mother in laws who will dare you to stress their too educated but fragile daughters. You will grapple with village men who expect something small every time you visit up country. You will either deal with it willingly or from their manipulative skills. Your kids will be expected to go to schools that cost an arm and a length. A lot will be expected from you in ensuring you give them decent upbringing. Dear men, I know the weight of expectations from close family members. Out of circumstances you will be compelled to be ambitious and opportunistic. In the end you will be worshipped for being wealthy regardless of where you amassed it from. The quicker your bribe your way to riches the sooner the celebrations will start otherwise the reverse is also true.

However, there is more that matters to man. To achieve all the above we need to cultivate a strong foundation. We need to bank and invest on mentors. But who will mentor us, really? To prove how tough it is for a man to celebrate his 35th birthday sober, spiritual, and full of life; here’s some of the challenges.

Not so long ago  a couple of my classmates and I gathered to catch up after we found out one of the day’s unit had been cancelled. A spontaneous convergence had taken place whereas the rest had hurriedly left on learning the news of cancellation of the class. Within no time, a heated conversation was growing and soon enough we were basking in laughter and tears of joy. The cost of leaving this elusive gathering was too high. I savoured every minute of this encounter since it’s not an often thing. You know how evening or weekend classes always have students in a rush even when it is unnecessary. If it is not hurrying to get to class on time then it could be to head home before the rains pound or before it gets too late to prepare supper or it could be to catch up for a big game with the boys. These students are always on adrenaline. Every single announcement of cancellation of class brings along its fair share of impromptu events and activities that must be honoured. In fact, these students live for the cancellation of a class!

Anyway, we laughed and sympathised with each other on life’s experiences. The dominant topic of discussion was about the plight of men in this day and age. Why this arose was because a lady who was scantily dressed made a mistake of passing next to us. Yes she was badly dressed. She had a kikoi to cover her exposed thighs given that she would sit down at some point in the day with her waistline-long dress. I never get the drift but I leave it there. That dressing was a game changer to our conversations. Thanks to her, it resulted to us sharing the most fundamental aspects of life. We came clean and unashamed of our past mistakes. For once, there was no judgment or eye -rolling.

A lady in the group spoke of how one of her male colleagues who by that time was a bachelor had been trapped in a love web with a lady that used to clean his clothes over the weekends. The banker dude had fallen for a Mama Fua. It all began when the said lady started by leaving some of her items in the bachelor’s digs every time she came for her kibarua(hustle), deliberately. This dude didn’t decode the signals right on time until she left her undergarments. They guy still unperturbed remained mum. The following weekend, Mama Fua came late and so her task ended in the late hours as well. She said she was worried to go home in the night. It was risky for her. The guy suggested to escort her but his suggestion was outwitted skillfully by Mama Fua. Mama Fua spent the night in his house and ……..one thing led to another. Whatever magic that lady used worked soundly.`

Since then, the poor guy fell for this damn woman with all his naive heart and soul, wealth, time, inheritance and with any other resource he owned. Oblivious to him, Mama Fua was a single mother. Daring enough, she brought her kid to live with the new dad. It became impossible for this man to cut links with her. Friends and colleagues tried in vain. When word reached the dad, his result to anger and condemnation bore no fruit. The only thing that worked was to literally pack the belongings of his son, uproot him and leave Mama Fua with the house all for her. He had to also influence a transfer of his son to another station in a different town. It worked.

We moved on to this bloke who confessed to have been enfeebled by this female colleague with unrelenting and disturbing theatrics to woo him. Clearly, this guy had been pulling uninterested looks to this chic who in turn seemed not to be in short supply of tricks to lure him persistently. He got trapped to this female colleague type of play. He naively chose to play in her court. By not admonishing her and telling her he was not comfortable with her moves, he made the lady assume silence meant affirming her motives. Not once, did this ingenuous guy find his coat sneaked in some scribbled notes confessing her love to him.

At another end, a guy broke to us how he dated a lady who was few weeks pregnant by the time he started hitting on her. Oblivious of what was to shock him, they warmed for a relationship with the lady throwing all the signals that she wanted to be laid as soon as possible. Were it not for Jesus who did a miracle to this lad, making him be patient enough, by now he would be paying school fees to a son or daughter he didn’t father but having been convinced it was his.

From my assessment, the society has negated its role of mentoring and looking after young men with the presumption that having gone through campus/college life, they are mature enough to make sound decisions and steer a life independently. On the other hand, too much concern is put to ladies which at some point means living with their relatives even with they get jobs. They are monitored constantly and every decision they make questioned by their parents. They truth of the matter is, young men soon after getting employed and living away from the watchful close relatives, fall into the gaping holes of naivety. They are never advised beforehand, that living in far a town away from family comes with a lot of trust and responsibility. Lest they will be swallowed by conniving eyes and tricks of swindlers who come armed with the so called love. The most regrettable mistakes men make don’t happen when in High school, not even in Campus or thereafter but during their formative years of employment. Evil has undying love for new money.

Guys with promising career prospects are getting duped so cheaply for lack of solid foundations and principles. They are dating and divorcing interchangeably. They are marrying the wrong spouses out of peer and societal pressure, raising kids they didn’t sire unknowingly, get battered and humiliated by their so called wives and scamper for help in bars when they meet female barmaids, who devour on whatever else that is left. In the end, we bury these promising young men, in their miserable state having been drowned by alcohol, HIV, depression, senseless society pressure and anything in between.

What young men are pleading for, is the society to churn out enough good role models who can advise them from childhood to even when they attend parents’ day meetings (before they are abolished by Matiang’i) and beyond then. Men need to be monitored, held accountable and reassured that there are people out there who cherish them and hold them highly. Parents should also cease from imagining that since their sons have landed fancy jobs after campus, that their parenting concludes then. In fact real parenting commences from this stage.

A very Happy Birthday to one Joseph Wairia a huge fan of this blog back in TZ….Bro, may you live to be a great daddy.

 

 

 

THE CORNERED MALE SPECIES

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Do they say the fish rots from the head? Come to think of it and while at it, ask yourself how you’d describe the chairman of Maendeleo ya Wanaume and these three adjectives would surface and do justice; a tired, laid back and comic guy. Who even appointed him if he wasn’t elected? And speaking of elections, how didn’t I not have a heads up! For men to be taken seriously in this country, we need a man worth his salt at the helm. An eloquent kind of guy, with stamina to steer an array of men battling with pot-bellies and receding hairlines. Type of a man who can resuscitate our emaciated reputation and take a bullet for the millions of us who grow beards. He should be that guy who can nurture a sense of belonging in the Man’s Kingdom by challenging us to provide leadership in our families.

But more fundamentally, what is ailing the Y chromosome? Has man been overrated all this time round only to lose his oomph in the 21st century? He has weathered and left bare and naked over time. Naked in the annoying truth of high appetite for lust and alcohol. He’s been reduced to a ‘thing’ that’s wading in moral decadence. He is now disintegrating in big and small pieces at the very feet of a bewildered society. What happened to the traditional male with all his aggression and protective syndrome? It’s an open secret that members of the male species have been cornered. We’re embarrassing ourselves in the open if not tearing up the little credibility we brag of.

10 years from now, I can only hope I won’t be caught up in the cobwebs of being chauffeured in an intimidating car to the G.P.O area, to fish out hot lasses at the bus station hanging on their weekend bags and glued to their phones. God should also forbid the mere thought of flying my P.A to Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club somewhere in Nanyuki for a weekend of escapades as my lonely wife pulls duvet in our elegant mansion agonising over my behavior. The reality is, having a 20 something years old sidekick as a married man, is very fashionable nowadays.

Sampling the recent incidents that have been unfolding right in front of my TV screen only leave my conscious in a state of jeopardy. I feel ashamed even while all alone in my house. You can imagine if I had a 3 year old inquisitive son, propping those queer questions right in my face. Like, “Dad, who is Mugo wa Wairimu? What did he do?” How I’m I supposed to respond to such a question? Speaking of Mugo, is he aware that by the time a woman walks to a gynecologist, she is already unwell? Raping her while in a sedated state is too inhumane in my opinion. It shames me as man. It puts burdens to hundreds of families who ever took their family members to that clinic all because of a man who can’t contain his libido.

What of when your uncle appears on TV heavily drunk, with a disillusioned face, overgrown beards and smelling like a corpse. How does my son put up with such a close relative? I need to have an idea of how Kenyan fathers survive in their houses at 9pm while watching despicable stories unravel on the screens. Men should think twice before indulging in some of these things. We don’t live in a vacuum. We have people who look up to us. Who expect mentorship and inspiration from us. If all that is in our mind is a comprised conscience choked with evil, how will we manage to guide a whole generation pregnant with expectations and hopes?

I was taken aback few weeks ago and even shared my anger on my Facebook page andrewismme.com of this chap who found out that his wife was cheating on him. So he ambushed her and beat her mercilessly. What ignited my anger was how bystanders mostly men, gnawed their teeth in unfounded excitement while they recorded the ordeal. That was so shallow and annoying. How do you watch a woman being mishandled and all you do is display your unashamed joy? The last time I checked, men were called to be protective beings. This chap should have simply separated with the wife or report her to Njuri Ncheke.

Sadly, men of the cloth whom ideally should be busy instilling values in us are in fact outdoing each in embracing the vices. Just the other day while flip flopping TV channels I came across a story of a pastor who was wedding without having consulted his 1st wife. Such like stories have been retold to the umpteenth time. Granted that this way of life persists for some years to come; will we ever have a society? The male species has failed miserably in upholding the value system of a society. From the Ng’ang’as of this world to matatu conductors who purport to be our moral police thereby stripping women ‘badly dressed’, we have sunken and buried the male species in deep shit.

Having said that, what’s a better place to reflect, seek healing and guidance than through the bible. Ephesians 2:1-5 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved.

I’m calling on the male species family for whom I am a member, to rise to the occasion and redeem our image. For so long we’ve steered the society in the wrong direction. It’s important to appreciate men have been bestowed with heavy responsibilities and it’s unfortunate when the Animal Kingdom behaves better than many of us.

ENOUGH OF CHOPPING OFF OUR ‘THINGS’

ggffaa What would give a 25 year old woman, gusto to chop off his 26 year old man’s private parts? That’s a very young couple, to start with. How does she pose and where does she hold? Does she initially quarantine him and carefully cut off these parts King’angi calls transforma? Or does she batter him down and do these things while he lies low helpless, since his weak anyway, in body and spirit and because men can’t scream for help when butchered by their wives!! Does she strap you up like they tie cattle in the village during deworming season in a cowshed. Am bothered by my mind not reconciling with a picture of lady daring to get hold of me armed with a kitchen knife not to stab me but to chop off! auuuch. Dear women whom some married so blindly, you’d rather shoot him if you are too offended than torture him with such an ordeal. In my opinion that’s the ultimate humiliation a man can go through. Men are sensitive people and they care about perceptions especially when its about their immediate families.

Ladies, if you are so mad with your man, just pack your belongings and go back to where you came from, or somewhere to start life. Its way rational than castrating an already circumcised man to vent your anger. You cannot just be chopping off our most treasured body parts to make a statement to the whole world on how frustrated you are with your alcoholic man. It doesn’t justify anything. If you make your bed, so must you lie in it. You’ll go and rot in prison, and if you bribe yourself out as many do, you’ll live with humiliation too, forever. Young boys will be warned by their mothers to keep off your daughters and family. Fellow women will isolate you and for a long time you’ll be your village’s outcast. Life will be terribly tough for you, especially when neighbours and erstwhile friends befit you with this kind of stigma.

Chopping off a man things is not only barbaric, but so evil. How does your mind convince you to get hold of that knife that pills potatoes and decide to misuse it. Do your kids stand there wondering what’s happening or do they peek helplessly. You’d rather go and commit suicide and live us in peace. I don’t want to compare you to those dogs that mauled to death that poor watchmen. Enough of that. Until when will society be treated with this kind of awkward stories when a family gathers to have dinner? How do you look at your mother or kid when these headlines emerge on our TV screens? From Whatsapp groups to the maize vendor across the road, to the salons, these terrible news are retold over and over again by sorry lips. We’re baffled and annoyed. Parents from Nyeri are a worried lot that their daughters might lose market. It’s not a fuss. Stereotypes in this country sell big time. Personally I’d think twice when dating a lady from Nyeri not because of anything else but apprehension. You are never too sure.

Having said that, lets switch focus to dear fellow men. We’re battling an unprecedented war. We’re under what Kimaiyo would call s-i-e-g-e. You male species that have chosen alcohol over marriage, your rightful place is hell. You cannot be imbibing something that can power a plane, discolour growing grass, make you smell like a walking sewer and claim to be a man. Men are not supposed to have protruding, red eyes and shaking fragile bodies because they’ve not cocked something. You are sinking deep this name called MAN. When women, reach a point in life of holding demos because you’ve miserably failed to impregnate them(Is there a better word), not because you are impotent but just because you chose alcohol over them, then society is shuttered. Am overwhelmed by this kind of stories and the humiliation men are going through because of an addiction that threatens posterity generations. For how long will we be the laughing stock of a nation. Why are we giving young boys a hard time while growing up? There is nothing that crushes a society than an identity crisis.

I feel ashamed of women lamenting of men performing poorly in bedroom affairs due to alcohol. Is it a curse or evil spirits sent to finish the Gikuyu men and generally most men in this country? Its a matter of concern when only a handful of women somewhere in Limuru get pregnant after years of marriage. Its a tragedy when nursery schools close down due to lack of pupils. Not that they are denied the right of going to school but because there are none! What does the future hold? The lucky that manage to conceive sire weak kids because their dads have replaced blood flowing in their veins with alcohol. This menace have made these chaps to also lose appetite for food, am told. How worse can it get?

Its funny how creative Kenyans can be, attributing this madness to all sort of allegations; some citing these cases as solutions to tyranny of numbers to others that can’t be typed. As a society, we must have a sober meeting point and indulge on why men from particular regions have succumbed to alcoholism. Why is bar businesses booming than any other sector in these regions and why? Is Mututho hands on or is it all about PR? Is there a deliberate supply of killer brews in certain regions? Why are bars opening hours not enforced and what are the consequences? Why have chiefs in areas witnessing upsurge of illicit brews not been sacked and brought to book? These queries if answered will be the first step in containing alcohol euphoria by men of this country. By so doing will be beginning to find a solution in addressing this peril than when women decide to CHOP OFF THIS THINGS. THE LATTER IS MORE DETRIMENTAL, INHUMANE AND REGRETFUL.