MISS RECEPTIONIST

receptionist 2Last Saturday I checked in at a doctor’s place for a random check up. I met an empty front office, well laid out, neat and inviting. I rested on the couch convinced that the receptionist would show up in a matter of minutes. She could be in the ladies, I thought so. Well, I waited for a boring 45 minutes, my only accompaniment being the diligent wall cloak that drooled at me, hanging a meter length above my damn forehead.

I stared at the pricey, clean, manicured interiors of this office until there was no more to stare. I went over my phone, camped in the social media apps, survived the heated arguments about Nakuru and Kibera rallies on Facebook,  toured Twitter streets and found them debating about the incredible CBK governor Patrick Njoroge and how he pockets a paltry sh.18,000 while giving the rest to the poor. I wasn’t convinced how a man of his stature could survive with sh.18,000 in Nairobi, never mind, I moved on. Across the streets were the financial and economy intellects the likes of Kenyanwallstreet and Aly-Khan Satchu debating everything from how Chase Bank will be less complicated than Imperial Bank to clean up, to how Tanzania gate crushed the oil pipeline deal between Kenya and Uganda and ran away with it.

I landed on Instagram and got dazzled by what I saw on that morning. Even after all this wastage of time, there was no receptionist to attend me. By now my patience had run out. My eyes got hold of this number artistically inscribed in a piece of artwork that was placed strategically. I called the number only to answered by a lady. Okay, I thought the voice would sound baritone and come stamped by white-like beards. Yaani I expected a Dr. Muthui* (Not his real name) to respond from the other end.

I went ahead and introduced myself before subtly throwing a complaint of how I had waited for a whole 45 minutes without being attended. The mellow voice changed in a matter of seconds. I could hear her cocking her throat and arming herself with all the ATT this world has got. This is how it went down;

 

It can’t be 45 minutes. I have just left 10 minutes ago for tea break.

 You can confirm from the security guys. According to my watch, I have been here for so long.

 It can’t be 45. I’m coming. (She went quiet.)

 (I hanged up.)

 

Before I screamed who cares about her tea break and how was that my problem, I had a tap on my left shoulder. It was my doting Angel hanging lowly and occasionally flapping his humongous wings. He calmed me down even before I got an explanation of how long 10 minutes were, in this part of the world.

She popped in. And there was an awkward silence between us taking shape. She was eager to meet this hell-of- a-client who was throwing shade to her amazing and futuristic career. She gave me a handshake and went straight to her desk. She had a Brenda Wairimu(Actress) resemblance. SmaIl face, a smaller nose, petite physique, extremely light skinned and a commanding persona. Dainty ladies have a way of commanding authority; if it’s not from their assertive voice, then it has to be their confusing hairstyle or resistful eyes or the miniskirts. Haha nature has a way of balancing things.

I inquired about the doctor and to my disappointment he was absent for that day. WTH!!………..How now. They should have placed a sticker somewhere or close the office.

I never like it when a day starts on such a low note. I left when we had made peace and even assured her I will be coming back next week.  That done, my Angel was at it again. This time hovering around me while I made my way out. He made me remember how lawyers accompany their clients from the courtroom heading to the parking bay ignoring the journalists.

 

What is it Angel?

 It’s time we wrote about receptionists.

 Well, I could try it soon.

You got me.

 Thanks Angel.

 

So, I thought about what makes a good or bad receptionist. Has anyone ever bothered to write about the different species of front office ladies? This would be hard to crack but interesting too.

Moody and Mean

These are customer care operators who make it our business to stomach their soaring levels of stress or bad mornings. You identify them by the moment you walk into a waiting lobby. They will pretend not to have seen you and go ahead to hit the keyboard hard, head lowered until someone walks from the opposite direction to have a word with them. That’s when they will be like, “sorry, how can I help you?” They also make long conversations sandwiched by disturbing laughters disregarding your presence and urgency.

Timid

Occasionally you will walk into an office and meet an extremely shy receptionist. She will hardly look to your direction and many a times have a voice that will not be audible. You will struggle to have a conversation with her and will leave with an unsatisfied look.

 Old Lady

You will find them mainly in government offices. They will be grey haired with loosely fitted specs and will take a million years to type a sentence. They will be motherly too, breathing heavily but quite reliable.

Men Only

This type pays homage to men only. They like it when men flatter with them for whatever reason. They highly have fun with serving the male clientele and even go to any length to please them.Typically, these are ladies who entertain a lot of men even in their personal lives.

The Multitasking and Smiley

These are best. They will answer calls from a different end as they take down your details while sorting out the files and reaching on the Messenger to give orders. They will depict high levels of energy, give genuine smiles and lend a keen ear. They will seem motivated and good at what they do. And the icing on the cake; they will recall your first name when you come back few days later.

My angel and I are so done with this challenge and on to the next one.

Blessed week Andreaders and may you Fiji all your good-for-nothing critics, competitors and haters.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

BATTERED MAN, PLEASE MAN UP

depressed-black-man-getty590That man is under serious s-i-e-g-e and crumbling faster than we thought may seem far fetched, however it is consistently being affirmed by daily scary statistics that bombshells anyone who cares to read between the lines.

Is man under a crisis? Yes. If we would measure the anger levels at the family level, it would shock you. We are angry and frustrated by so many things, but women seem to be leading the pack in throwing tantrums. From the look of things, they are not ready to sit down and have a conversation with man’s mediocrity and failed leadership. They are exhausted with stomaching facets that represent a man in deep crisis.

If our ancestors would resurrect now, they would immediately die again in shock. They would curse the so called men and their Maendeleo of Wanaume nonsense, for being nonstarters, complacent and weak. They would hurl their anger at the man’s kingdom for sucking up in cowardliness. They would blame the modern man for his feeble leadership styles and even go a notch higher to draw a sharp contrast with what happened then and now. If your grandfather was born in early 1900’s or earlier, I’m referring to him. A case in point, my grandfather was born in 1906, died 90 years later; aged, with a wrinkled skin, weathered body but not without a loud and solid legacy. He evoked awe and respect even on his deathbed. Rest in peace, Thuku Gathara.

What I’m I try to say? That the soaring number of men battered by women, is resulting from man’s very undoing. The fish rots from the head, as they say. Meaning man being the scion of the society owes everybody else an explanation as to when he will drop his nonchalance. Man cannot and should not play the gender card for being battered. No man deserves to be battered by a woman and if that ever happens then he doesn’t deserve to be called a man. Women never wake up and toy around with the idea of battering their men. They beat the betrayal of expectations. That said, no one should assume I’m trying to justify husband battering. My point is; the chicken have come home to roost. We are being reminded, that as men we have failed to live up to the expectations of the society.

Men have shown weakness and women have taken advantage of that. Meanwhile, while man is crying foul blaming women empowerment as his source of havoc, he still fathering a fatherless generation. And in anycase, where was he when the woman was being empowered? Why didn’t he agitate for the boy-child empowerment as well? The sight of a battered man should remind men that they have failed miserably in their quest to lead and steer a generation.

The future looks grim going by the statistics. To add salt to injury, the society is churning out very weak men who grew up with complacent dads who once in awhile slept in wet trenches drunk and buried by a myriad of irresponsible behaviours. We are dealing with a man who has abdicated his roles and assumed all will be well. Man has become ambition-less and too selfish. Actually what is hurting man today is his selfishness. That’s why he spends all his earnings drinking from Monday to Monday. While the poor man is dying of chang’aa and other illicit liquor, the middle class man is dying of mainstream alcoholism.

Consequently, the woman has repackaged herself and out of no options, has been forced by nature to fill the void. That’s why you spot many women playing the man-role; Being providers and family leaders. Man has sunken in his hollow and dimly lit dreams. The reality is, legions of women are raising families single handedly. What is more shaming than that?

The thing is, I’m worried and very sympathetic with the future. I’m shaken by what stories our sons will grow listening to. I’m doubtful if man will have manned up. How weaker will he be? How low we he have scooped? You see, not wealth nor class defines a weak man but his degree of upholding values and taking responsibilities. And by the way, a man is judged by his legacy, his provision ability and his family leadership style. Every man must walk to the measuring scale and be judged how manly he is. Them that invest and show concern about their legacies, who work hard in life to put food to the table and dare to hold their families in one piece, certainly have no symptoms to be battered by their wives.

Men must live under certain realms not only to satisfy societal expectations but also for the case of proving they contributed something small to society’s civilisation before death plucks them. According to sociologist Steven L. Nock, a man must live under the principle of creating more than he can consume. This is basically living well aware of the fact that our kids and grandkids will judge us critically with what we accomplished or didn’t. In that regard, they must shape up and be counted as gentlemen. They must leave indelible marks that coalesce around adding value, power and strength to a society. Our eulogies shouldn’t be decorated by adjectives that feel out-of-place and detached to the persona.

It’s therefore sad if the contemporary man can be bothered with if or when he will ever be battered by his wife. Now, to those battered outside of what I have alluded above, then that’s an isolated case which should be treated as such. Otherwise the bigger majority are being battered due to their slackness, laziness and failure to man up.

“Our forefathers had civilization inside themselves, the wild outside. We live in the civilization they created, but within us the wilderness still lingers. What they dreamed, we live, and what they lived, we dream.” -T.K. Whipple

Have a reflective Easter holiday!

‘LOVE’ – YOUNG VS OLD

quarter baked menLess than two weeks ago, Nanyuki woke up to very sad news of a 64 year old killed by her supposedly boyfriend who is only 22, crudely in what was alleged as a ploy to take advantage of her wealth. Well, a 42 year gap is what it is and no man can convince me it had anything to do with love but a quest for free money and feeding curiosity. Did they say curiosity killed the cat? Never underestimate the power of clichés. While some say the elderly woman was in pursuit of a companion, I dare ask you; When did a hot blooded, rugged and uncivilised 22 year old learn the art of companionship? Not even 26 year old ladies date 22 year olds dudes. But anyway, I register my sincere condolences to the family and friends of the bereaved.

Away from that; over the few years I have lived in this town, I have come to identify a certain clique of well dressed, nailed polished men, who seem to have mastered what works with their bodies. Blokes who go for weekly haircuts and who have half of their budget going for trendy clothes and shoes and fancy phones. Guys who live large and exhibit a taste for the fine things in life. Once in a while you will spot them in posh, borrowed cars making rounds around town leaving a trace of disturbance from the roaring exhausters or music from these high end cars. They are local celebs, if you may. Bragging of well-connected networks and rich friends at their disposal. You will never fail to find them in every worth-the-talk social gathering that comes by, be it house parties to outdoor events where they endeavour to leave their signature mark, which is causing a stir. From the rides, dressing code or ladies who stick to them like flies, they will form conversations in every salon, class and chama meeting.  And they love this feeling of being the center of all attention.

But there is a twist. Who finances their deluxe lifestyles? You will never meet them in office corridors in haste or along the streets walking pensively with documents. No. Theirs is a always a nonchalant attitude chilling with the alike boys on top of eye-drooling cars on a Monday morning in strategic places around town, in shorts and tight T-shirts, funny hairstyles, flashy phones and commandeering demeanors.

To what may not surprise you by now, they serve as fodder for the secretive and little known market of sugar mummies. A carefully knitted and subtly operating, intriguing world where relatively older women feed their obsession out of the ever available supply of lustful, money-hungry young men in their twenties and early thirties. For a long time the market has been well guarded from the public eye but going by the trends of late, the players have either been found pants down, or rather choosing not to pull any breaks nor giving a damn about the cat getting out of the bag.

Here the affluent women some as young as 40, wrestle out with them in octogenarian years. They come fore to shop for good looking young souls who can diligently calm their baffling appetites in exchange of some tidy sums of money. How these guys fool the rest of us; is that they still maintain their oblivious girlfriends or if not harbouring a string of mindless call-girls just to cover their untamed desires.

This reminds me of a story I was narrated by a colleague sometimes back, how having attended a function with a couple of friends, they decided to visit an entertainment joint to unwind. A few tables away, seated women in their mid-fifties who apparently began eying the young men who had accompanied my colleague. In a matter of time, these poor blokes had been courted, sensualized and shifted their base to join these lecherous women. My colleague and her female friends had to deal with this defeating surprise for the better part of the night.

Where these poor men ended up that particular night after a treat of free drinks, presumably triggered an erosion that wiped away all their genuine and faked integrity, conscience and innocence. Who knows how many other bad decisions they have made since that night? Did their spouses ever got wind of this storo?  Probably not! Women who go wooing young men in nightclubs have very high chances of manipulating a brood of other headless men under the disguise of money and enviable lifestyle.

What we are dealing with as a society is a case of a generation using short cuts to make ends meet. We are a people who are of the opinion that the end doesn’t necessarily justify the means. We want overnight wealth built on quicksand. On the other hand, the world is littered with an elderly clique of humans who have trashed decorum and anything that sounds right. Fairly wealthy men and women who have dared to have their cake as well as eat it.

For the sake of playing the devil’s advocate; why would women of age, fantasize young lads. What is it that their age group male counterparts can’t fulfill? Who created this void and what do these boys guarantee? Is it the pot bellies or maddening drinking that’s a problem? Is it that these ladies skipped a stage in their lives of dating and what-have-you? If that was the case, who permitted them permission to transfer their baggage to the younger generation?

Now, the tragedy is, evil triumphs when enough good number of men do nothing.

 

 

LADIES WHO WON’T STOP OFFERING ‘TEAM MAFISI’ SOMETHING TO BITE

ttthighI’m perhaps hugely conservative when it comes to politics of how women should dress their bodies. Truth be told, no man worth his salt is pretty comfortable when his lady displays her assets all out for anybody who cares to ogle at them. Take this to the bank, any man out there who walks with a lady flaunting all her skin must be wading in the sensational initial stages of dating. After sometime the same guy will drop the excitement exhibited by the popular Team Mafisi Sacco and Team Mabweha Sacco squad (Note there is a difference) at salivating over his chick. Vaunt your body in your digs but don’t parade it out there for every lad to analyse and draw imageries over his defeated mind. Some ladies would ask, how is that their problem? 1 Timothy 2:9 the Bible reads; I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

I remember at one time, my day job boss allocated me some task on bookkeeping for one particular restaurant. Incidentally, I came to realise save for the MD who was an intimidating, bald headed mid-forties chap, the rest of the Management including the Operations Manager, H.R.Manager, dropping down to the lower levels of Assistant Accountant, MD’s personal assistant and the receptionist were all females. I have nothing condescending to write about female employees, in any case 70% of my colleagues are females.  (But not once have I agitated in the meetings that we need gender balancing, only for the H.R Manager to shoot me off saying there are hardly any employable guys in the job market.)

Back to my storo, the interesting bit is; all these females wore skirts or dresses that over exposed their thighs. Deliberately or otherwise, their wardrobes had nothing to do with anything that extended below their knees. To them, that was not bold enough and quite unfashionable indeed. The receptionist was arguably the head of this informal department that raised temperatures and raced our blood flow unnecessarily.

Truth be told, brown complexion ladies in these handkerchief-long dresses cause more traffic than the rest. (High five to all my dark skins friends, I have nothing against you. Indeed our friendship knows no colour.) You get my point. This receptionist was an Asian-like breed. With curled, long hair that often danced at her waistline. Yes it was that long. Her legs were unblemished, screaming yellow. Gai!! And a baby face that seemed to have literally jumped over the adolescence stage. Teaming up with rest of the usual suspects, you should have seen the confusion these lasses brought to poor men’s souls working in the kitchen, waiters, security guys or chaps delivering supplies or patrons checking in to book for a weekend getaway.

This reminds me of one Mr. Otieno working as a barman in that place. He was one hell of a long man. (Long in the sense of somebody who had a height that is beyond what is conventionally accepted). Big up to this guy for orienting me to the a million varieties of whiskeys and taking his time to ensure I understood the difference between a gin, scotch and a rum, while I was familiarising myself with the stock schedules. If he was to read this piece, he would attest to what I’m writing today. Of ladies who left our mouth agape and helpless.

I kept questioning Mr. Otieno (was the most friendly bloke), of how they survived with all these collection of unmasked thighs, padded by unperturbed legs in high heels longer than hills in Kisii land. I could touch the pregnant levels of distraction hovering over those quiet corridors. If only the office walls would speak! We were one bunch of cornered souls questioning why life had to be this confusing. But why would a lady have a wardrobe of micro miniskirts from January to December. Is it esteem issues or simply something to do with a personality. Like the whole idea of being drooled at by poor men could be, lifts her moods in the morning or scares away Monday blues. Mr. Otieno and I wouldn’t answer this question. The more we indulged at it, the more intriguing it became.

I know at times you get stuck in traffic and sneak your eyes to the car interiors of motorists on the parallel lanes. Many a times you count not one or two female drivers with their uncovered thighs and all their extended families all out, sitting pretty in traffic scrolling over their phones. I’m not sure whether there was a memo dispatched before I was conceived that female drivers should drive while exposing their thighs. A section of readers will raise qualms with my reasoning citing how is that my business and why I am objectifying the female gender. Point is, I have consistently been vehemently against demeaning of the female gender. However that shouldn’t be construed to allude that as a society it’s okay to encourage ladies to walk in town with thighs widely exposed in order to look cool. It doesn’t sit well with my conscious. Forgive me.

In essence females obsessed with showing lots of their skin are actually perpetuating female objectification. They encourage men to pry on them lustfully. It’s not a question of men being unable to control themselves but of ladies inviting men to the mentality that they can be sex objects, you know!  Case in point; there has been a quiet discourse as to if the very beautiful Dj Pierra Makena uses her sexual appeal to advance her popularity ratings. If in doubt, visit her social media platforms. I’m also reminded of a YouTube clip of her in the gym hoping over this chap hanging on some suspended bars at his waist line, while she’s dressed in a hot pant she goes ahead to perform some very sexual exercises. dj Pierra makena

I recall one time Kageshi was upset by a rogue music video clip that happened to play on the TV screen that had chaps well-dressed but on the other hand, their female counterparts hardly covering anything. To that extent who would be accused of objectifying ladies? Why can’t video vixens dress decently? The very same ladies who lecture us on social media about how they should not be viewed as sex objects are the same that dash out on a Friday evening for a night of reveling, and in the process making it our business to familiarise with every scar on their upper leg or where their stretch marks start and fade.

 

 

MUSES OF AN ACCOUNTANT – WHEN AUDITORS LED TO YOUR WEIGHT LOSS

AuditorsAccountants will agree that it’s all fun and games until auditors come knocking. A day with them is what accountants dread for, in an entire year. They scare the shit out of you. Their demeanor is akin to that of a parent scrutinising a report card of their standard five average performing kid. If there are times accountants cut weight or suddenly ‘fall sick’ avoiding the office is during audit time. Emails from auditors not only intimidate but also threaten, reading between the lines. Their emails will creep quietly and lie on your inbox for 5 – 10 minutes only to bite hard, your damn face the moment you click on Microsoft Outlook. What they will leave behind is a trace of receding hairlines or white hair sprouting on your ‘bald-vulnerable head’, even before you hit 30 or impregnate a lady. No pun intended.

To start with, they will send a list of items they expect to be kept ready beforehand. That email will go like;

Dear Andrew,

Subject to the scheduled audit of company X for the financial year ending (say 2014) to commence on (insert a date), we kindly request you to prepare the following, before then as attached below. (A trail of like a million items will be listed in a word document from log books, original bank statements, lease agreements, title deeds, I – Tax returns and their stamped bank payment slips to payrolls etc.)

Kind regards.

The email will be brief, authoritative, and cold. Poking and putting you on the hot seat. In other words, you as an accountant will be tasty meat ready to be ravaged, ‘dismantled’ and ‘feasted’ by hungry auditors keen to find mistakes, assumptions and irregularities in your course of work. From the very minute you will read that email, the next one week or so will be yours to run all over the office, ransacking through tired and dusty files, pulling and pushing cabinet drawers and begging misplaced crucial documents to show up for a hefty reward. It will be your week to do the ‘final audit’ of your work before the big kahunas land and update on their social media platforms; #OutoftownAudit. They will have bade goodbye to their clinging girlfriends or two year old sweet dolls and be like; “Daddy will be back in 5 days.”

I week later they will spend a night in a town near you. Haha. They will have called you at 4:31pm to confirm they will be in your reception area at 8:03 am the following day. That will cause shivers around your belly or a random heartburn. You will smell hell coming your way to skin you alive. Come the D-day on a chilly Tuesday morning, your boss will call you to his office and introduce you to Chiranjeev Khan and Simon. Pulling faces that will look eager to tear you into pieces, they will give you a subtle smile. They will have worn unironed T-shirts and fitting jeans. (They work for a mhindi audit firm in the heart of Westlands – Nairobi.) You know of these audit firms with weird mhindi names. As your boss tries to break ice with them, their fingers will be hitting hard the keyboards with their heads bogged down at their laptops hardly bothering to give your boss or a poor you, any technical glance.

The next two days will be your longest days alive. Seated on a round table, everyone busy on their laptops, sipping coffee every now and then absent mindedly, with files littered all over, this will be marked by; explaining of transactions, justifying figures, presenting supporting documents, searching for emails that resulted to some of your decisions, printing stuff, combing through documents in your computer, hurriedly noting down important information and more of explaining. These will be the days you will return home in the evening with a sweaty shirt, weary red eyes, unkempt hair and fatigued legs. In an auditor’s world, every shilling must be accounted for, transactions scrutinised and books dissected to unearth and sift the truth. Astute auditors must find mistakes. In any case, that’s what they are paid to do. They will cut you into size with their inquisitiveness and milk as much information from your unwilling mouth. To them information is their weapon. The much they amass the better for their ‘battle’ with you.

At the end of it all, your mediocrity will be exposed. You’ll be frog marched to your boss and if he is also part of the scam, the whole accounting department and the management will be whipped to the directors to report your shoddy work and dealings. This does not happen literally but through emails copied to like a dozen people of individuals who call the shots in your organisation. This may also happen through boardroom meetings that go ahead to strip out any integrity in you, leaving behind a mere skeleton of you. If all this does not yield much and probably due to you not co-operating much, auditors still have one last bullet of releasing a damning report in what they call in the financial world, Qualified Report. This alone can cost the future of your company.

Any lady that commits her life to an accountant must be made to understand of the consequences. That, as women have their time of the month, so do accountants though annually. When hell breaks loose and come crumbling down on their lives. When anger, resentment, pain, fear and anxiety converge in one place to hold their annual AGM, in your life!. These are the days that accountants struggle to tie a tie, leave a well prepared cup of tea halfway done, and hit a a motorist’s side mirror before making their way to the office. In and around this time, they will drag their office work to their bedroom away from the TV and playful kids. These poor things will gaze at their laptops, exporting reports and dissecting them further just before dinner gets ready. The least the likes of Kageshi and her fellow partners committed to chaps in the accounting field can do, is to have a health insurance for their families. You are never too sure.

Auditors are called to be objective in their course of work. Not to be compromised or seen to cut deals with their clients. They are key instruments towards ensuring integrity and professionalism in the fiscal world is cultivated. Incredible accountants on the other hand, combined with sound management do not have much push and pull with auditors. In the end, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

Check out my Facebook Page; andrewismme.com for regular, half serious stuff that will help you unwind and recover from a day’s harsh torrents.

AND SHE REACHED FOR A CIGAR!

Female smokers Nairobi CBD has five designated smoking zones which typically are not women friendly. (Hahaha sounds funny). Yes smoking rarely pays homage to gender or financial muscles. Not even to that slim lady in dripping dreadlocks in the heart of Majengo Slums to the swanky and sophisticated corporate woman who chairs boardroom meetings where her gender is normally outnumbered by her male counterparts in dark suits and well-trimmed beards.

Nairobi’s public smoking zones are perforated, congested and stuffy. No woman who spends her money in the spa would swing her hips inside a smoking zone filled beyond capacity with all the usual suspects who walk in unbuttoned shirts revealing their over-hairy chests. These female smokers park their cars in the middle of nowhere and puff, if not from balconies of their homes or from open air areas of pricey restaurants, where they cross their high healed legs, wearing dark leggings and skirts flagging up at their waistline and smoke as they view Nairobi’s beautiful landscape. And they never forget their menthol chewing gums meant to kill the smell.

With that in mind, I asked myself; who dates these women. I decided to do a simple research by asking eleven guys via my Whatsapp if they would consider dating a lady who smokes and that said if they would also opt for a marriage with her. Nine of them responded with an affirmative NO, emphasizing how they would not stand such a girlfriend while two said that was not an issue that would affect their relationship. I wasn’t surprised by the nature of the responses. We are still a reserved society that treats female smoking as an extreme taboo. It’s sort of ‘unfair’ to the female gender because the same apprehension is not replicated to their male counterparts. I personally detest the whole idea of smoking. In fact I can’t think of any of my close friends who smoke, male or female.

Having said that, the two gentlemen who were of the view that smoking for ladies is not such a bad idea represent a crop of society that is gradually accepting that female smoking is cool and trendy. Making it to the infamous list that has many of our borrowed Western cultures. Our grandmothers didn’t smoke. At least not for the two I know of. It was a man’s affair. But the Y generation will have none of that. They will colour their addiction with words like it’s just a shisha escapade, which is still smoking at the end of the day.

Why I’m also writing about female smoking this week is out of an encounter with a lady who walked to the office and happened to speak to me. At least I could smell her breath. It was very confusing. For a lady to be smelling cigar is a big deal to me. In fact it’s unacceptable. It’s simply not right. This lady was smelling cigar at 10am on a dull Monday. That tells me she is an addict. After further digging here and there I found out she is married to a white guy. Again I wasn’t surprised. Some women will do anything to appear ‘cool’ and to appease the mzungu guy.

I remember formerly working with a colleague who used to smoke. She carried this demeanor of a very innocent lady. She was a Muslim by faith. She was petite in size, very young, with a flawless skin and sweet eyes. She had eyes that could easily lure you to fall in love and ‘forget your people’. Anyway, she would sneak out of the office at 11am, walk down stairs hide somewhere and puff. She would then comeback looking pale, chewing and putting on a naughty smile heading straight to the dispenser to get some water. She would smoke at least thrice between 8am – 5pm. It happened for so long until we came to a point of accepting it was no more of a big deal. Initially, she used to keep it as a top secret. But anytime you would go to her desk, you’d smell cigar and ignore it not imagining such a beautiful lass would smoke. Not even her lips would leak anything to imply she smokes. By the way, how do ladies manage not to have those dry and dark lips smokers usually have? Overtime, she gave up on the baggage and decided to let the cat out of the bag. That smoking was part of her life.

The first time I had a close shave with a female smoker happened back in 2009 when I convinced my very good friend Kelvin Muteru to accompany me to downtown Nairobi to meet a former primary school desk mate whom I hadn’t met in like 10 years. I didn’t like the idea of meeting her alone. I was new in Nairobi and quite naive as well, then in my maiden days in college. It was an emotional encounter meeting a desk mate after 10 long and eventful years. Surprisingly, she hadn’t changed much. She still had the same complexion, personality, smile and laughter. But she had dreadlocks and her eyes were unusually red. Her lips didn’t say a thing about her smoking addiction, neither were her teeth.

Kelvin and I were dead broke only surviving through our parents pocket money which was not much especially for me. After exchanging pleasantries and the usual talk of how have you been , she reached to her pocket and unleashed a cigar. She called the waiter and asked for a lighter. She lit her cigar, pulled a humongous puff and let it on our faces. Burying Kelvin and I with a bluish, toxic flame that lazily wafted in the air. We both looked at each other, confused and in awe. Our eyes wide open and our foreheads full of visible blood veins. Have you ever heard of baptism with fire! That was one. Nobody saw it coming. That she smokes!!!

The conversation was never the same again. If my mum would only imagine where I was and in accompany of whom! God bless our parents I do not recall what we discussed post the ‘baptismal’ but I fondly remember her saying smoking was a normal thing that shouldn’t raise our hairs. We were very brief with her for obvious reasons. The more we hanged on at the joint the more costly it became. Soon after we got back to school, all my friends had gotten wind of my ‘smoky friends’ courtesy of one, Kelvin.

Bottom line: Smoking is extremely hazardous for either gender. Let it go if it’s a hobby before it develops to a habit.

GOOD OR BAD: METROSEXUAL MEN

metrosexual men Questions abound, every contemporary man alive ‘struggles’ with a degree of ‘metrosexualness’. The big question is, where do you draw the line between looking sharp and being overzealous. A metrosexual lad is oftenly very in touch with his feminine side. Google defines a metrosexual male as a young, urban man with an interest in fashion and fine taste. Having said that, there is nothing wrong with a bloke looking good and smelling awesome and having tender hands and trimming his nails after 3 days and going for a haircut every five days to conceal the receding hairline and shaving his beards every two days. A man got to invest in himself in 2015. That’s why legion of lads invest time to sigh and sweat at the treadmill to drop body baggage, gain abs and look edgy.

I’m not sure though of a man whose number of shoes occupies more than half the shoe rack way outnumbering that of the wife or them that carry water cans everyday while checking-in to the office. Is it okay, ladies? Somebody advise me if ladies are attracted to such kind of men. You know of guys who worry more about meeting their hair stylists than honouring a client appointment. They will cancel your meeting at the last minute to honour a spa experience. Their favourite hobby is to shop. From jewelry, watches to men’s magazines. That’s their thing. One positive thing about metrosexuals is that they are epic dressers. They understand their bodies and what works for them. They stand out in occasions with their fitting suits or powdered noses if it’s not their illuminating watches or their general flamboyance. Their IG timeline is dotted with pics from the gym showing off their cubes or biceps. They crave for stares in the streets. It works for them.

By the way, all metrosexuals have tried modeling or have rather been made to believe they are the next frontier in modeling. In fact all models are metrosexuals but the reverse is not necessarily true. You will spot them in town, walking noticeably, with their typical beige leather bags hanging in their shapely arms and in trendy pants and shoes better than yours. I know of guys who visit the washrooms every now and then clandestinely not to pee but to adjust their ties or have a look at their teeth. Speaking of teeth, these chaps go for teeth whitening every two years. These are same dudes who carry perfumes in their cars to spray themselves during lunch hour. Interestingly, every time their spouses request them to assist in house chores they worry of their manicured hands. What of guys who visit the salon to be shaped their eyebrows or for a pedicure treatment which they will then suffocate us with endless pics in Instagram! Thank God none of my sisters was married to such dudes. I probably would have compelled them to divorce by now.

Sometimes back I checked to this office somewhere in Adams Arcade for an official engagement with Mr.X. All went well until my nosy eyes landed on a lip balm resting unperturbed at one end of the table. I excused myself to go to the washrooms. That was too much for a 9:00 am meeting. How do you hold a conversation with a bloke who every 30 minutes gets back to dig his lip balm to ‘moisturise’ his lips? I should have borrowed notes from his wife because I knew he was married. Did his father in law just let this pass! Like he turned a blind eye and approved his daughter to be waking up next to a man bothered by his lips which not even a morning peck would dare ‘moisturise’ them. How now!! Mzee, you must be kidding me. Kwani how much was the dowry price? Or were you flattered by the hired helicopters that made your only daughter talk of the village for an entire year. In some cultures this habit can deny you a wife. I don’t want to say it’s gayish. You know the term ‘Gayish’ has been reduced to a dustbin where we dump every ‘unmanly’ trait we don’t agree with. I would rather describe the behaviour as just disturbing. I don’t know about you.

That’s aside. A month ago, my barbershop introduced a new product called ‘Facial Scrubbing’. In fact Shemas, my barber excitedly relayed the news to me imploring on me to try it. I categorically turned down the request. How a man with beards would lay his fingers on my so sensitive face in the name of scrubbing it to make it ‘smoother’ is something I was and will never be ready for. At least not when performed by a man. This is something I have never conveyed to one Kageshi because she would throw tantrums from here to Nineveh City in the Bible. ( A city where God sent Jonah to inform it’s dwellers to repent and turn away from wickedness and violence lest God would destroy the city during judgement). She would go like; “Hiyo ni facial gani ya 1200/- (How can a facial treatment cost 1200/-?) Why are you wasting ‘our’ hard earned money with things I can do in the house?” A man’s hand meandering through my face in the name of making me look ‘flawless’ would literally kill my conscious. And what would I do as he massages my face; Close the eyes and smile to myself as he moves his damn fingers down my chins, to the jaws and crossing over to my forehead occasionally encountering an annoying pimple, as I seat pretty and worry no less about life. This whole thing can’t seat with me. I shudder to imagine such an experience.

The thing is, metrosexual men are the new breed of a contemporary man. They are shedding off the traditional male stereotype, willing to push the envelope further, thinking outside the box and embracing a more sensitive approach to their looks but depicting lots of security to their sexuality too. The flip side is, women have been left to contend with a very self-aware male species that cares big time about his image and manners. The only problem is, when obsession with one looks interferes with one’s life then that’s not manly.