OFFICE ROMANCES

 

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Office romance is as old as love itself. Its been brewed and given breathe in the high walls of office set ups and graced by likely and unlikely characters masquerading in formal dressing codes since way back. You’ll be shocked or rather amazed depending on which side of the conversation you sit, by the statistics of office coupling. A sizeable number of the workforce have at least on one occasion or another, succumbed to close office relations courtesy of the attraction magnetic pull triggered by long working hours. All be it for quenching lust or seeking genuine love, many get trapped by the blurred web of office affairs.

The interesting bit is, many employees find it annoying, naive and selfish to engage in office relations in as much as they’ve been in them too at some point in their careers. And, did you know women receive more shade than men when they fall prey to office romances. In fact, when women are perceived to be having a thing going on with their senior colleagues or immediate bosses its interpreted to as, a game of coercion for promotion in exchange of sexual favours in as much as, perhaps the woman didn’t make the first move.

But what makes staff vulnerable to these kind of relationships? You know, the more time people spend together, the more they become familiar with one another. The more familiarity grows the more comfortable they become with each other. The more comfortable two people are with one another, the higher the chances of them sharing about personal stuff. The more they share the more subconsciously they view themselves as a couple. While this unfolds the higher the chances colleagues will notice the chemistry in their friendship and start teasing them about it. Do you know so many relationships are cemented by the outside world in this context being office colleagues who start perceiving an office friendship as not just a platonic one!

Interestingly, 90% of office relationships are merely short term in nature. Very few pass the litmus test of leading to something tangible and worth writing home about. Short term meaning they span for less than a year but seemingly one year shelf life out ways many relationships in the outside world. Anyway, where were we; some office relationships die before they start or prior to making the first baby steps. Some vanish in the air before they get noticed by anybody. This is because they are built on sand and in haste. They are moulded by environmental factors and are circumstantial in nature. Meaning, the bigger chunk of the conversations around you two are basically about workplace stuff. Be it about your damn boss, office gossip and so forth. Such a relationship is not sustainable. Few have common values and shared interests outside of the office hence why they are chocked by nature. They say nature has humour.

Office relationships are annoying in the sense that, the consequences of the affair failing are dire. This is because colleagues get attracted by such pep talks doing round in the office corridors. And it’s never funny. They will dig in, gossips will crop up and allegations will be retold over and over again. If you are not careful, the information may even reach to your boss’s desk in very bad state and this may have a negative effect on your career. More harrowing, it might be against your company policy to engage in office relationships. Pleading that you were unaware will not save you but land you at the HR’s office only to be met with a gross misconduct warning letter if lucky not to be issued with a summary dismissal.

The most annoying thing with office relationships is that one tends to be chocked off by the partner. You see, you literally spend 40-45 hours in a week with him/her without even counting hours after you leave office. By the time you reach home there is nothing much to talk about since you’ve been bumping on each other on office corridors and worse still if you work in the same department, you might as well be summoned with the rest of your teammates by your immediate bosses for missing company targets or for poor performance. Moreover, you never can’t have your personal life and space since your spouse is always around you any day and time. And if he or she spots you being hugged ‘intimately’ by a colleague from the opposite gender, your guess is as good as mine how your evening will turn out to be like.

Office relations get over scrutinized by colleagues. Essentially, the pressure becomes too much and there tends to be a lot of public relations to be played especially when things aren’t working out well for both of you. Be it as it may, whether it’s a fling affair or a serious office relationship, a break up from this nature can be the worst of all nightmares you’ve ever grappled with. First of all, there is nothing like amicable breakups in office set ups. You recall my article on Amicable Breakups or Not. Well, it gets uglier by the day, nastier and leaves you dreadful. Office breakups leave you with a permanent punch on your face. They have the potential of making you lose your job or have a serious career take a beating and worst of all, get you paraded in court for allegations of sexual harassment. Before you hop in office affairs, appreciate that office romances and sexual harassment are intertwined and either of it can be used against you in a matter of time.

Plus, who is ready to work with his or her ex in the same office? On my previous post on Amicable Breaksups we delved deeply on the importance of cutting off exes from our lives. Now imagine, your ex being your colleague? Think of the emotional baggage that comes with breakups and ponder dropping at your ex’s desk to work on a particular task together that has a biting deadline. How awkward can that be! What’s more humiliating is helplessly watching your ex warm up to another relationship with another office colleague. Moreover, nature compels your office colleagues to take sides between you two depending on how loyal they are to each one of you. Eventually, such a workplace becomes a stress zone to work from. The thing is, we’ve got to be strategic and think straight with the right ‘head’ before jumping in to every relationship that presents itself right at our noses. We’ve got to think of the repercussions of the potential end even before we toy with the start.

Nevertheless, we all know of couples who’ve dated, gotten married and raised children still working in the same organizations. The thing is, its not a crime to harbor feelings for an office colleague as long as you do it with the right intent and having trusted your intuition. Life should be approached with an open mind and so should it also apply in an office set up. It’s highly important and healthy to make friends, network with colleagues and fuse into the array of office characters. However, boundaries must be set as the odds are clearly overwhelming.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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‘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.

 

 

JANET KANINI IKUA AND HER INCREDIBLE HUSBAND

Janet Ikua Luke 12:48 “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. “First things first. If you haven’t navigated your phone to the M-pesa section and selected pay bill and dialed 895790. Account Name: JanetKaniniIkua and donated whatever amount you are comfortable with, you better do so now. Otherwise I will assume you were among legions of whom flocked Carnivore Grounds last Sunday to show solidarity to the TV personality by purchasing I stand With Janet T-shirt for 1,000/-. I just hope so.

I have been following Janet’s story on her Facebook page about her excruciating battle with lung cancer. Amazingly, out of every post she has been jotting down of late, have left trace of a highly motivated person armed to the teeth with unmatched resilience. Janet even affords to make humour in her situation. She has defied all odds and hurdles brought by an illness that oozes stigma and threatens life. Surprisingly, we have come to appreciate how strong a woman she is. Indeed she has been a blessing in disguise to many a people who are struggling with a myriad of challenges in their lives let alone lung cancer. She has consistently sold the idea that one can come out of the woods all smiling and stronger. She has been educative, encouraging and inspiring all at a go. Janet whispers to us the importance of taking a day at a time and NEVER questioning God even when we feel bombarded by life’s hiccups. In actual sense she knows there is a reason God chooses us to go through some ordeals. They nurture our inner strength, help us improve our relationships with Him and make us better human beings.

In her own wisdom, she has taken upon herself to demystify many myths associated with cancer. She has gone out her way to do a detailed comparison about the state of health infrastructure in both Kenya and India. She has retold to the readers, the way of life in India from foods, hotel industry, transport system and so on. She has zoomed and brought to the fore the million dollar Medical Tourism sector in India which has won accolades all around the globe. She has even given incredible lessons to anyone who cares to listen including the Kenya Government on how the Health Sector in Kenya can be immensely improved to cater for the growing number of cancer patients in the country. She has painted a picture in our minds and psychologically prepared us just in case one of us is diagnosed with cancer. God forbid.

Armed with invaluable information which we didn’t even expect her to share, all we can do is to be grateful. Her cancer illness has proved she is a tough conqueror reinforced by a solid foundation of strong belief in God. To prove this, she refers to herself as a cancer victor and not a cancer patient. Personally she has preached to me through her posts. They have somewhat been a blessing to my life. As somebody said; motivation doesn’t last. It needs to be renewed as often as possible. Many of us find ourselves with scary pasts or intimidating life situations. According to Janet, everything falls to place once we are in an equilibrium state. Meaning; balancing our emotions, spiritual life and physical fitness. We are beings that require synergy in the running of our systems. With that, we can confront every odd. Appreciating that our happiness rests solely with us and that positive attitude comes from being our biggest fan and learning to forgive oneself, we can dare to confront the world. More importantly, Janet comes out as a woman of faith, a prayerful person who boasts of much wealth and wisdom of the Bible.

Seemingly, behind Janet’s ever available smile, warm face and the highly motivated persona is a man made of steel and coated with profoundness. A man with unequal measure of compassion, love and awesomeness. Ikua has boldly depicted that yes he loves by words and deeds. And Yes he can fight for the life of the woman of his life. He is the uncelebrated hero in Janet’s medical journey. He does his things quietly and diligently without bothering to bask in the limelight thereby offering the much needed support Janet would need. Ikua reminds me of an article I wrote early this year named Contemporary Men Deserve A Pat On The Back. He has single handedly saved our name. The man’s name. You’ll agree with me, the male gender has come under sharp scrutiny in the recent past, deeply cornered by a million vices.

Ikua has shown the world that indeed Kenya is not lost on the number of Incredible Husbands. He has continued to stand tall, risking all he has to save his woman. You can imagine faced with a situation of looking after your modern day kids when their mother is thousands of miles away not sure when she will come back. Her current home being in a hospital that has an atmosphere filled with shattered dreams, worried eyes and corridors used by feeble patients covered in oversize garments. A place with such nerve-racking operations that in fact scare hairs out of your head. Picture dealing with inquisitive kids asking now and then when their Mama will come back. Besides, trying to rise over a staggering medical bill amid harsh economic times only left to hang on hope and God. Now, going through that and emerging as joyous and hopeful is no mean achievement.

Unknowingly he has inspired many young men and underlined that nothing can’t be conquered despite the challenges, including when a scary disease comes in between two lovebirds. Janet and Ikua have saved the image of the marriage institution in this country. They are among the many not talked about successful marriages that have weathered all odds to remain a piece and intact.

In her words Janet quips; Cancer is not a death sentence. God can turn your mess into a message. Dear readers how I wish we copy paste such tremendous optimism to our lives. How far could we stride? How much could we achieve? You have nothing to lose by investing more on optimism.

THE MAN WHO MADE THE REST OF US LOOK BAD

alphonse-kambu1 I wrote this article with a very heavy heart. Saddened and shocked by this rare piece of two legged animal disguising as a male human being. So, last week we were treated with a gruesome news item of a battered woman one Ruth Gakii formerly married to a UNEP working guy, Alphonse Kambu. I watched that story unravel on my TV and felt defeated. I have never been more ashamed, for being a man. Dear readers, allow me to vent my anger in this week’s article as I try to make sense of what drives a man like Alphonse to wake up every morning and report to work with a happy face. I’m eager to decipher how he sleeps free of nightmares in the dead of a night if his actions are anything to go by.

When he dons his sleek suits and powers his car to life, driving all the way to his beautiful office in Gigiri (I imagine every office located in Gigiri is beautiful), what goes through his head? Are there infighting camps in his mind pulling in different directions every day of his life, thereby paralyzing his rationality? What is his life like; is he sensitive to pain or does it work in contradiction as far as he is concerned? Can the world afford to have such a cold, uncouth and brutal man alive today? I sympathise with Ruth Gakii and her family for the emotional and physical pain they were exposed to, since Alphonse the dare devil came to their lives. You would be forgiven to imagine guys working in blue chip companies and multi nationals are the last that should be expected to be struggling with such serious personality disorders.

The fact that this dude has for years battled and battered this woman in order to gain custody of their only kid is the most unfortunate of sad news. The guy whom I understand ironically works as a legal officer in the Division of Environmental Law and Conventions – UNEP has for far too long bragged about how untouchable he is. This kind of impunity should never have been tolerated in the first place. UNEP is an organisation of no mean repute hence it should have known better and raised eyebrows first and dealt with this guy firmly and decisively instead of turning a blind eye and purporting to be concerned when the issue is no longer in their hands. Borrowing from good practice models, ideally, serious background checks for employees of such organisations should be carried out regularly and thoroughly.

I feel cheated by the so called promise by them (UNEP) to ‘co-operate’ with the investigators. Their issuance of a statement that their organisation does not extend diplomatic immunity to such-like gross violation of basic human rights should be treated with a pinch of salt. Justice delayed is justice denied. As far as the public opinion is concerned, it seems like it is the case. We all watch news and all can attest that this is not the first time we have heard of Ruth Gakii being battered and mishandled by her ex-husband. UNEP cannot admit to be in the habit of knowing its employees better through local media. It’s extremely sad and unfortunate, to say the least.

And who is more daring than this Alphonse Kambu guy who is literally vomiting on our shoes and spiting on our very faces, not once, not twice but many a times. How do you go to a visitor’s house and totally disregard him or her? Is that African! Beating up your ex-wife in front of her mother and your kid! Dude, get a life. Who raised you? Where on earth were you brought up? Did you grow up in a family set up or were you raised in a zoo? Who taught you to trivialize women and all they got? When your family back home asks about the well-being of your family, what do you tell them? Does your conscious disagree with you or have you compromised it along the way with your evil theatrics? Did guilt give up on you? I have not heard more despicable news this year.

Mr. Alphonse, when you take your lovely son back to the mum while drunk, what can be said of you. Extremely ignorant, reckless and sickly! How then do you manage to sit in your office on a Monday morning in that picturesque headquarters in Gigiri with well-manicured lawns, chirping birds, artificial falls and more of a serene environment and deliver on your work? Does the quietness of one of the ‘coolest’ locations to work in Nairobi lull your evil mind to sleep waiting for the next weekend to stir the elusive peace in Ruth Gakii’s world? Or are you a man of different personalities which are unleashed or trashed back to where they belong, depending on where you are and who you are with?

Meanwhile to the people of the little known (at least to me) Papua New Guinea; you owe us an apology. How can you ‘export’ to our great nation a ‘wasted’ man with a rugged personality? A demigod kind of guy who objectifies women and imagines he should be worshiped by all if not his ex-wife. A man who roams with utter arrogance purporting he cannot be apprehended by the police. Surely, Papua New Guinea you could have done better. Kenya is a civilised nation that upholds the dignity of all, including women and so we expect all diplomats to toe the line and respect that, period! Alphonse made me hate his native country and left to imagine he is the best they could offer. Before I cement that thought in my mind I expect sooner than later the government of PNG to furnish us with a sincere apology addressed to Ruth Gakii, her family and the rest of Kenyans.

As if to add salt to an injury, a celebrated local actor Abel Mutua made bad jokes about Ruth Gakii on The Trend Show last Friday trying to justify why at times it’s ‘okay’ to beat up your woman. That was extremely shallow and insensitive. Now, to the many ‘Abel Mutuas’ of this world alluding to why Kenyan ladies shouldn’t get married to foreigners as if to say Kenyan men are wholly gentlemen and all loving; shed off that pedestrian thought. And by the way it’s important for them to say this prayer after me. “Dear Lord, I come before you, requesting you, to tame my slandering tongue, and give me wisdom of being considerate of others and learn how not to hurt them through my mouth. Forgive me my sins, especially my reckless tongue. So help me God. Amen.”

Free advice to you Alphonse; Kids are the most sensitive human beings. They are very vulnerable and have sharp memories too. Don’t ruin your kid’s life for your own aimless selfishness. Your son deserves a peaceful life devoid of an unpredictable dad with unstable emotions. The greatest initiative you can do for his benefit is to keep off from his life. He has made no sin being alive. If you need to sacrifice somebody to satisfy your beliefs, you better sacrifice yourself.

ISN’T SHE A WIFE MATERIAL?

wwfYou met her accidentally on your maiden evening class while you searched for a vacant seat in that stuffy class. You found one next to this lady whom you gave a genial smile and which she responded cheekily. Your friendship was conceived almost immediately starting off as just ordinary desk mates. This was the case because the following day you made up late again and to your surprise you met a reserved seat just for you. From that very day, your heart taxied over the runaway of a platonic friendship, flying high to the clouds of happy hours never to land again. You could tell she was a simple woman from the onset. She didn’t wear any make up apart from a mild lip gloss that was applied to her already pink (read cute) lips. Her hands were not littered with fidgeting things. Her fingers had only a simple rosary ring. No necklaces or earrings. Her chest was closed up. No cleavage to be drooled at. Neither did she expose hectares of tempting, brown thighs to be ogled at. And she smelled great.

One random, lazy Sunday afternoon you got a call from her requesting you to take her to the market. (In this side of the country markets open on Sundays too). You were taking a siesta but quickly obliged to accompany her. This was a sign of greater things to come. At least you hoped. Wait a minute, which contemporary lady visits the market! I thought they shop in the malls even for veges and fruits. Not her. She religiously visits the market every Sunday to buy groceries for the week. She knows where to find the best tomatoes, yards away from her carrot vendor, a corner away from where she gets fresh fruits from Mzee Kinoti.

This is how it rolled;

So you hurriedly freshen up and meet her patiently waiting for you somewhere in town. You ask her if she’d take a cab to the place (market) since it’s quite a ka-distance which she vehemently declines. Little do you know she likes walking as much! Yes she can walk from Yaya Centre to town a place of kindu 5km without complaining. To you that was a big plus. So you guys walk doing long conversations and stopping now and then to take pics after your persuasions. You call it documenting life. On the flipside you badly need images of her in your phone gallery. She doesn’t mind photos. She is photogenic you know!

At the market she patiently shows you how to decipher a green-house tomato from the rest. She recommends you opt for the rest insisting green-house tomatoes have too much ‘chemicals’. “How to tell a greenhouse tomato is from their shiny appearance. And don’t pick the soft ones, they have a short shelf life.” She says. She holds your arm and drags you to a guy selling green bananas. (You literally listen to your heart race more). Which lady shops for green bananas, gosh! These are tasks done by our mothers and aunts. She throws Gikuyu names referring to different varieties of green bananas you’ve never heard of. You forgive yourself since Nyandarua County where you hail from is not known for bananas unlike Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Embu and such like highland Counties. As she mentions the names to the vendor guy, he responds as to whether that particular variety is available or not.

She turns to you;

Her: Do you cook green bananas?

You: No. I’m a bachelor. I don’t have the time for ‘elaborate’ cooking.

Her: Aha, (Gives you a funny look before letting out a sarcastic smile) what about in up country?

You: Not as often hehe.

Her: You are missing a lot. Green bananas are good for your source of fiber, vitamins and minerals,
and contains a starch that may help control blood sugar, manage weight and lower blood cholesterol levels.

You: Wow. You only 24 and know all these!! You’ll make a very good wife. Men adore women like you.

Her: You flattering me. Thank you though. (As she catches her breathe shyly).

You: (Your mind whispers words like – Can I marry you!!!…..God make her mine please. You know I need such a mama for my two forthcoming daughters)

Meanwhile her green bananas get packed and again she drags you to the mama selling onions. The mama throws a look at you two to suggest you look like a wonderful couple. Actually you act like one. She carefully shows you how to tell an ‘awesome’ onion from a not so good one. The latter has an elongated strip emerging from the tip. Ignore that type, it’s not the best. Look for one with a dry tip. You learn from her! She takes you to the carrot guy and boy! She knows how to bargain. All this time round, you thought your mum was the best in this league. No! As you proceed to look for nice pumpkins (Is she for real, pumpkins??) she explains why she had to bargain. The vendor guys take advantage of you once you appear looking posh and ‘middle class-like’. She learnt this over the years.

The pumpkin mum cuts her half the size which will be enough for the week. All this time your mind has convened an ’emergency cabinet meeting’ and resolved to seriously pursue this young woman. ‘The whole of you’ is convinced this is your Miss Right.

You are tempted to ask her; Did it hurt (The Coca-Cola Ad)
Her: Where?
You: Uki dunda from heaven!!
Her: Sorry!

Yaani how can you be this lucky to stumble to such a lass in 2015!

You walk back to town and escort her home as darkness creeps in. You also head straight to your digs and sit on your couch for 30 minutes without bothering to switch on the stereo or the TV to watch the news. Nothing seems to matter more than that afternoon’s experience. It was heavenly. You even toy with the idea that it might have been a dream.

One week after, you invite her for lunch in your house. This is bold. Yes, you cook for her. You get her by surprise since the two of you had strolled from church together when you asked her for lunch in your digs. It’s important to also note she is quite religious. I judge religious people by the time they wake up to pray. And for your information, she has an alarm that wakes her up at 5am to pray for 30 minutes. This turns out to be the conversation as you walk from church. You have lunch and then she insists on doing the dishes! That’s a wife material type, right?

You then make her watch Fast and Furious 7 since she hadn’t watched it (She is not so much of a movie person) and then request her to accompany you as you check out to do your monthly shopping. You recall her recommending a very distinct house freshener which lasts longer than your usual picks. She also makes you buy a designer deo that befits your character and which makes necks wag in your office the next day. The most memorable part comes by when you make way past the kitchen cleaning stuff. She gets like; “I didn’t spot any steel wool in your kitchen?” This is so true since the last time your sufurias were thoroughly cleaned using a steel wool was when you sister passed by your house 4 or 5 months ago. You pass by the utensils and again she advises you to buy Luminarc branded items as they boost of high quality next time you furnish your wall-unit. She introduces you to lentils (aka kamande) at the food stuff section emphasizing they are good for stabilizing blood sugar, lowering cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart diseases.

Several months down the line and after a cluster of interactions you realize she is never interested in your phone. She never touches your phone even when you dash to the bathroom or walk out to buy milk. Again this is a big plus. Phones kill relationships and make partners die of knife stabs. You also happen to taste her unrivalled cooking skills. She doesn’t buy chips, she cooks them effortlessly. Same case to puncakes and chapatis. She can do it in the morning as she prepares breakfast at one end. Multi-tasking is in her flow of blood. This reminds you of another thing, she will light a jiko in no minute as she pills potatoes and as she also cooks porridge from the gas cooker.

Her other talent is in home remedies. She is big in this. Always at her fingertips. From heartburns, nausea, sensitive teeth, small burns, baby fevers at 2:31am…..she walks with a ready prescription. And something else I forgot; she likes ironing clothes for her man. She will go through your wardrobe, cull clothes that suit your day theme and iron them for you. She is that lady who believes in waking up an hour before the husband, to prepare breakfast as she cleans the house. Another added advantage is that she is a sucker for body fitness. How about that?

You reliased she is extremely coping. You can easily leave her with your mum inside a smoky hut on a rainy afternoon as they cook mukimo (a Gikuyu traditional food that some idle simpletons throw shade at), go sleep for two hours and find them later, happily preparing tea in the same spot and keeping warm from the glowing hearth of firewood.

One year after you meet, she has steadily remained loyal to those principles. The question is; isn’t she a wife material? Can wedding bells ring now!!!

DR.STACEY, KAGESHI AND MY LIMPING LEG

FemaleDocHardly 24 hours after I published my last week’s article dubbed Of Tummies And The Struggle which I had disclosed of my ailing right foot, I found myself seated in waiting area of this hospital with white, leather sofas, staring at the humongous TV, preoccupied with lost thoughts. So much was going through my mind at this time as I hate visiting hospitals. Kageshi can attest to this. I only visit hospitals as the last resort when all the home remedies fail to work. The room was dead silent apart from the TV on low volume. My face was in pensive mood, sympathising with my leg and regretting why I ever did the exercises in the first place. Minutes before I checked in, I had a lengthy conversation with my mum who assured me everything will be okay. I would tell were it not for the distance, she badly desired to accompany me as I visited my doc. This happens so many times. My mum has never accepted I’m a grown up who has developed thick skin along the way in my close to three decades of breathing life. Talk of African Mums.

I had just walked to the receptionist who by the way was a guy. Very unusual. He pulled an artificial smile and asked my name and other personal details. Immediately my Boy-Child activism checked in considering receptionists are in most cases petite ladies. I was glad some employers are now employing people based on their capability and not gender. 10 minutes after, a brown young lady with pronounced chick bones and big round eyes and a WEAVE emerged from the Consultation Room donning the symbolic white coat. She looked 28. Don’t ask how I guessed her age. My heart skipped. I didn’t recall the last time I was treated by a female doc. Actually it had not happened before!

Back to my ailing leg. Kageshi came to mind. I smiled shyly when I rolled back thoughts about how for like 5 days before I gave in to visit the doc, she unrelentingly massaged my feet with a warm (read hot) towel to ease the pain daily. At times I would let out a deep sigh when she pressed my right foot so hard as a way of ‘curing the pain’ with the hot towel. She was like; “This is not the time to be gentle, I need to see you walking again, Love?” I felt like a 7 year old boy being nursed his feet by the mum. And by the way, the whole experience turned out to be very romantic.

So, I was called in to the Consultation Room. Dr.Stacey warmly referred me with my first name, Andrew. I was quite impressed. I get very excited when people call me by first name looking straight to my eyes. Does it happen to you too? I narrated to her my troubled story while she made notes with her sleek pen. She directed me to a high table across the wall where I had to remove my shoes. She assessed my foot, asking a million and one questions. She then asked about my profession! I told her I’m an Accountant which I promptly regretted saying so. I wish I told her I was a Writer who has a passion for telling serious stories with a humour-like touch. And she’d be like; “A Writer? Wow! That’s nice. So it pays your bills and supports your family?” And I’d be like; “Not exactly. I blend it with ‘small’ hustles here and there. I do preambles for websites and other stuff.” Her face would reserve any more questions hehe. She twirled my foot with her tender hands which had well trimmed finger nails and at some point I noticed her huge watch which commanded attention. (From men circles; ladies who don huge watches are taken more seriously because of their seeming boldness).

I wished I asked the million dollar question Biko poses to the swimming pool guys from Malindi to Kigali or the chap who pushes him in a wheel chair when he gets diagnosed with a blood clot. About their most interesting clients. I’m not sure how Dr.Stacey could have responded to such a question. Probably I could have got her off guard or maybe she would have complained of the patient becoming very intrusive. While she attended me, I ransacked her ‘office’ with my eyes from her table which had several medical journals stashed nicely, a medical dictionary, two novels next to her snazzy phone and a lip balm. There was a newspaper too. (And that’s how you judge a lady’s age). Her huge handbag was placed at the corner of the table and car keys resting beside the bag. Anyway, after the assessment of my leg she let out the bombshell. That my leg would be immobilised for two weeks. A shocked me was like, “really?” And she pitched an affirmative YES. She went ahead to wipe my feet, applied a creamy stuff and massaged my foot for 3 minutes. She then firmly tied a bandage on my ailing leg and let me off the hook wishing me quick recovery and requesting I go for follow up checkup in a week’s time. (Which is tomorrow).

What Dr.Stacey didn’t warn me about was that, the first two nights would be the longest nights I ever endured. Dealing with a heavy and uncomfortable leg was a nightmare in itself. I wasn’t able to even stretch my right foot. (Thank God for sound health). I thought of so many things during these nights. I came to a point of appreciating more, breastfeeding mothers. Waking a dozen times in the night to lull a stubborn baby and still manage to wake up early to prepare for jobo. Wow! Respect to this kind of women! Their sleep is always interrupted. That was me and my leg waking at 2:01 am to soothe it to ‘sleep’. The situation was so bad on the first day that I didn’t realise it was a Friday, a night to watch a programme I fondly like, The Trend. I slept before 9.

Dealing with kids in the neighborhood who’ve been telling me Pole (sorry) with sympathetic faces has become a norm. Not to mention tussling with a thousand questions from all the souls I meet. It has been worse when they expect me to take time in narrating a detailed account of what happened. This is so draining. Gai! When I dashed for my weekly shave, Shemas my barber laughed for a whole 10 minutes after I explained what transpired. That I was jogging in my digs and twisted my leg in the process. He couldn’t understand how one can jog inside a house. My boss was also visibly shocked. When I walked to the office last Monday morning in open-shoes with a bandage tethered in one of my legs, he looked lost until I explained. He was like; “Andrew you are too young to start messing with your legs.” My brief response was; “It happens” punctuated with a fake smile.

I salute the two incredible women; Kageshi and Dr.Stacey who came in handy when I needed a lot of reassurance. One thing I have learnt is that it’s never the same when you can’t walk normally. You get tired easily and naturally can’t do some tasks the same way again. It’s also not easier when one leg is rendered inactive. Appreciate and give thanks for good health and while at it take extra caution while exercising. It might save you a fortune.

DOWRY DAY IN EMBU

dowry D-day will finally be here. Culminating a series of family and friends meetings all for the sake of ensuring this day turns out to be a success. As I’ve said previously in this blog, as weddings are huge to ladies so are dowry occasions to men. A man who goes ahead to pay dowry, is not a small man. In actual sense, in his circle of peers, he stands to cement his territory for having ‘fully complied’ with traditions. It’s important to also appreciate; the occasion is financially draining at this day and age, coupled with a commercialised aspect in between. So any man who commits to go full throttle deserves a pat on the back.

You being Stevo’s (Stevo is the dude paying dowry) insider cum confidant, you’ll have been sneaked to this Whatsapp group of his inner circle which essentially deals with the nitty-gritty of the big day and ensuring all plans take shape. Meanwhile for Stevo, he’ll leave nothing to chance. From text messages to lengthy phone calls, a total of 200 friends, family members, colleagues, business partners, acquaintances and so forth will be invited to these endless evening meetings. Mind you only half the number or less will turn up. You’ll gather, deliberate and raise money. For young lads it’s never in vain. In fact, if you never show up in such meetings, nobody will show up when you’ll be in the same situation. Talk of Karma! But more importantly, it’s more fulfilling being part of your friend’s life achievements especially when it requires of you to support.

According to my kienyenji research, three out five ladies from Embu are paid for dowry. I’m even sure most of my readers have attended a dowry thing in Embu, meaning there is something special about Embu ladies. The jury is out. We leave it at that. So, on this day you’ll be embarking on a journey to Embu. This gets so exciting for guys living in Nairobi, for no good reason though. Putting a bunch of crazy friends in a convoy of cars, to transverse up country with all the fun that comes by, becomes too costly to miss. You’ll be cruising along Makuyu stretch, on this first Saturday of the month, nodding to some good hip hop music from the talented Khaligraph Jones. There will be heavy traffic but this will be overshadowed by smell of fresh air outside of Nairobi (pun intended). Observing humans all the way from Thika Road to Makutano Junction busy selling their wares across the highway, or far in their farms tilling, brings out tremendous patriotism within us.

You’ll make it to Embu town some minutes after noon and pull off at an agreed rendezvous. Here, you’ll finalise logistics as you sip quick tea and as you await souls from the rest of the country which then you’ll proceed as one longer convoy. It never gets this blissful. As all these unfold, you’ll quickly fall in love with Embu town. Apart from realising natives here speak with ‘heavy tongues’; you’ll savour the clean air and environment. The roads will be up to standard too with hardly any street family in the vicinity.  Before long you’ll again embark on the final part of the journey after conducting some short prayers, seeking blessings for what’s ahead.

Embu is beautiful gosh!!  From the very green forested farms, to the range of sleeping hills, to the smell of fertile and rich habitat. Rivers will be draining quietly to the lowlands as bulls pulling carts make headway to the highlands. And this will be such a big deal. Your bunch of friends will scramble to take pics of bulls pulling carts. It never happens in Nairobi you know! And funny still, not in their up country either. That work is done by donkeys. The day will be chilly but won’t erase the joy drawing from your faces. The atmosphere will be akin to Limuru Road heading to Gigiri. Birds will be chirping in this fresh ambiance with beautiful roads that meander through the calm and serene locations.

After one hour or so drive, cars ahead will start hooting noisily with their hazard lights all out screaming, “The visitors have finally arrived”. Why do Kenyans do this! hehe. Waking an entire village from car hooting. Again you’ll realise Embu people don’t fence their homesteads. At least for many. After further prodding, you’ll be reminded there is a relatively low criminal rate in Embu. In other words, Embu, Meru and Kirinyaga people have a history of strong belief in traditions of not trespassing nor pilfering. You don’t just go stealing, you’ll be made to regret.

Anyway, the turn up will be impressive going by the number of excited assemblage and variety of cars parked outside this homestead. And that’s how you judge a man. By how many friends and family members he commands….. Few minutes after, women will lead the pack in traditional songs suggesting the visitors have arrived while making their way to the gate, carrying baskets of shopping, mainly food stuff. In Africa you never visit empty handed. (This shopping is shared among the welcoming women, it’s not part of the dowry price.)

The guests will be ushered to the preserved tents and once settled will be invited to queue for buffet to calm their murmuring stomachs. Appreciate that the man paying dowry entirely foots the food budget of the day. Speaking of food, it’ll be a combination of traditional foods like Mukimo (An Agikuyu traditional meal), Nyama choma, fries, pilau, plain rice, black beans aka njahe, peas, fruits and veges. There will be sodas and mineral water too in plenty. This will be followed by family preambles conducted by this fairly young MC with a heavy accent too.

Interestingly, as this happens Stevo will be directed to a certain room to identify his wife from a group of 15 ladies divided into three groups and tied with lessos from head to toe. If he makes a mistake of identifying wrongly, he’s penalised a colossal amount. Luckily for him, he manages to identify her from her shapely hips and the fact that he had entered into a deal with her to pose in a certain way, makes things easier for him. (This is a top secret amounting to corrupting the system and punishable if discovered.)

The day becomes more eventful when Stevo and the wife change to traditional attires and are taken through more activities. The highlight turns out to be when Stevo is served porridge from a calabash but not before a series of other theatrics according to Agikuyu traditions. (The husband doesn’t just accept porridge. The wife must sooth him by polishing his shoes, combing his hair, cutting his nails etc..).Later all the guests are served this nutritious porridge as close family members from both parties make way to a highly guarded room for dowry negotiations.

This will take an hour or two before the white smoke is seen coming out of the hut, signifying a deal has been arrived. Part of the negotiations will involve Stevo’s side officially delivering items demanded by Wazees from the other end. This include five FAT goats, ten crates of soda, five crates of beer, a 90 kilogram bag of sugar, a 20 litre bucket of fresh honey, two pairs of bed sheets, a blanket for Stevo’s father in law and the icing on the cake; hefty loads of money. Meanwhile for the guests, it’ll be time to catch up, exchange pleasantries, network and move around while taking dozens of pics from the picturesque view to flood the IG later amid some good entertainment and more drinks. (Again it’s important to appreciate no matter how long the negotiations take place, the visitors aren’t supposed to spend the night in their laws homes.) The hallmark of the negotiations will result from donation of one crate of beer to the visitors as a sign of appreciation.

By now, it’ll be minutes to 7pm when you’ll power your engines back to Nairobi for the After Party where you’ll get down all night celebrating a life’s achievement.

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.

WHAT LIFE MEANS FOR A BACHELOR

Depressed-Man-The-TrentYou are 27. Sitting pretty on a six figure salary bracket. Your colleagues have been making these jokes of how your weight gain has been directly correlated to your steady rise on the promotional ladder. Sounds true. On the side, you are servicing a car loan, doing your Masters and a proud owner of several parcels of land. You seem to be doing okay as far as career and financial muscles is concerned. You feel satisfied to have achieved quite a number of your goals, few years shy of hitting the psychological age. 30.

What’s all the fuss about hitting 30? Well, life before and after 30 is as different as day and night. Hitting 30 without a family to show, or diapers to change (for your son or daughter) or better still, Instagram pics of you lulling your 3 months old, Baby Newton to sleep, is overwhelmingly defeating.  At 30, your passi insists you must join church’s Men Association group. It’s also at 30 that you’ll succumb to your brother in law’s demands of dragging you to this chama he belongs to, that trains men who’ve come of age, cultural traditions and their role in family. This is huge and somehow intimidating because you’ll happen to mingle and make small talks with men the age of your dad as you prepare some nyama choma in this picturesque getaway. You’ll also be expected to tell them what you’ve achieved and how your vision looks like. In other words, you’ll be groomed from a boy to a man.

Enough of 30. Your family back home is anxious, and dealing with the elephant in the room; waiting for this day that you’ll call them on a Sunday afternoon, booking a day on their calendar when you’ll finally and officially bring a wife home. On the side you are also grappling with business partners on your side hustle who unrelentingly have not given you any peace of mind, all in the name of showing care for a brother. You recall this day, one of them drew for you a sketch of how badly you are faring. That you should have married at 25 (two years ago) so by the time you hit 45, your kids will be in college. Otherwise as it looks now, at the age of 50, you’ll still be attending Parent’s Day meetings somewhere in Nyeri County because you believe schools in that part of the country perform very well in national examinations.

But that’s easier said than done. I mean, from your toes to your receding hairline, to every part of your body is in unison that you should be married by now. That’s not in contention. But the big question is, who is there to be married? Is it these contemporary ladies whom when you invite one for a dinner date, comes with half a dozen of her ‘girls’ pulling unashamed ear to ear smiles. A very high percentage of ladies view and judge men with financial lenses. Ladies listen; I once schooled with this guy who didn’t even complete college for lack of school fees. He was a great friend of mine and still is. In fact we’ve shared the same circle of friends for the last 7 years. We didn’t drop him because of his financial woos then. Not that we were any rich. It’s through God’s grace that we survived. To cut a long story short, this dude married when still trying to make ends meet. God honoured his resilience and hard work. These days, he uploads pics on Facebook of his wife and him crisscrossing the country for holidays. Flying his family for 5 days at the Coast is no big deal to him!

But how many bachelors will ever be lucky as this dude? All we have are ladies living a larger than life lifestyle. Who can’t do laundry because of their manicured nails and instead, pay someone to do so as they go doing ‘facials’. The same ladies with an alcohol tolerance thrice more enduring than yours. Who show off these phones the same price to a plot of land somewhere in Nyahururu. They also suffer from impatience and are addicted to instant ‘success’ and its glorification. Bachelors are going through tougher times than their dads or grandfathers ever did. The game has turned out to be too complex, riskier and expensive over the years. The only ladies meeting your criteria are in fact inviting you to their wedding committees if it’s not the actual weddings or baby shower visits!

Back to the story, you once happened to take this hot intern for a coffee date only to regret the very thought of it. Once settled, she asked this waiter with a glowing skin and colgate teeth peeping from her suggestive smile and of eyes that literally weakened every joint of your body, if there was anything on offer apart from beverages. She ordered for red wine. You were taken aback. She tapped your arm and was like, “bring him a cold Tusker please”. You pretended to be this open minded fellow and went on to spend almost 4k on a Monday night obviously not budgeted for. By 12am a visibly drunk intern dashed to the washroom and an opportune moment presented itself. Your endearing waiter was standing strategically behind you. You’d smell her scent and manage to see her from the corner of your cornea. You reached to your wallet and chomwad a business card and placed it in her hands accompanied with a small tip. She gave you a face that read, I’ll be waiting for your call. The next day, your intern dropped by your office to thank you for the epic treat. She sat on your table with all her endowments, her cleavage half out, acres of thighs to graze and a long weave overshadowing her back. If only she knew how much it costed for that random date. Haha. Since she proved too expensive to maintain, the alleged affair died as fast as it had sprouted.

Interestingly, you have this relatively young, married friend who seems to have all the qualities of your imaginary wife. In fact on the few times, she has invited you for coffee, she insists on paying the bill. (When married women, be they classmates or friends invite you for coffee, it has to be strictly coffee.) She even lends you money within a short notice, when in a fix. She complements your dressing and actually goes ahead to ask where you bought that watch that underlines your tastes. To make matters worse, she throws subtle advances at you leaving you more confused. You certainly don’t want to ruin somebody’s marriage for the very simple reason of never wanting to imagine your wife ever contemplating cheating on you. (Especially with an unmarried chap).

Every year the HR pops to your office to update your medical insurance details and goes like;”Any dependant or wife so far?” And you respond with a NO that ends up to invite a loud, awkward silence between you two as she finds her way out.

The only thing bachelors are in need of is family love and communal prayers akin to my shosh’s ‘deep prayers’ at 3am for them to survive through this jungle of temptation, deception and remorse.

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.

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