Marriage

Flashy Weddings And Keeping Up Appearances

Some years back, when I was still figuring myself out and what I wanted in life, I had this Kakibarua (small job) I was doing in my hometown of Nakuru and it so happened, that one of my workmates had a wedding coming up. He was a nice guy and of course all of us who worked with him got invited to the wedding. At the time, it was the advent of wedding shows which frequently showcased flashy Kenyan weddings on our TV Channels. Inevitably in our young, inexperienced minds, we expected such a grand wedding with an evening reception in tow.

The wedding turned out to be farely modest and ended by 5pm. We thought there would be a wedding reception afterwards which of course was not to be. Oddly enough, this is one of the weddings in my lifetime that I have attended dressed in jeans. I mean, literally all of us workmates to the groom who fell in the 20s age bracket, showed up in jeans as if we were attending a casual weekend event. I still have that particular photo on Facebook and it does not look anything like we were attending a wedding ceremony.

He must have been so disappointed in us although he made a good show of successfully concealing it. We didn’t even think of getting him individual wedding presents and only tagged along, to present the collectively bought table as the wedding present from the workmates of the groom. As if that was not enough, in our apparent disappointment with no wedding reception, we decided to spoil ourselves silly with drinks at a pub in town later on.

An African bride with her bridesmaids

An African bride with her bridesmaids

About a year back, I had accompanied my cousins for a goat eating party as we call them in our country. Now this, for my foreign readers, is a coated term for a wedding fundraiser. They call it goat eating party, just to attract more attendees since there will be nyama (meat) and Kenyans are known to love their meat.

If you have ever attended some of these parties, you definitely know how annoying they can get because you have to part with more money, than you had budgeted for. These are the kind of ceremonies where you get fined some amount of money for not introducing yourself loud enough for everyone to hear, speaking while the MC is speaking and just for being there.

This particular goat eating party was no different. And all because you want to fund a wedding that will be grand and remembered for years to come. By the time we left, we wondered why people didn’t simply save for their own weddings yet they could afford to hire an umarpket venue for a goat eating party.

I remembered these two incidents when one Kenyan man, decided to wow his in-laws by arriving in style for the dowry proceedings of his wife-to-be, complete with a convoy of vehicles and a helicopter, that caught the attention of Kenyans and the media. A flashy wedding would cap it all off. Just last Sunday, the guy in question was in the papers for all the wrong reasons. Apparently, he had made his millions to afford such a wedding, from swindling foreigners into buying gold. Well, we are yet to see how the story unfolds.

A wedding venue. Image courtesy of Google

A wedding venue. Image courtesy of Google

Kenyans will agree with me that there has been an over commercialization of weddings in recent times. A wedding nowadays, is gauged by how much money was used in arranging it and not so much on the value of a wedding, for a couple who have decided to spend the rest of their lives together. Kenyans are increasingly trying to outdo one another in just how they conduct their wedding ceremonies.

Since an increasing number of middle class Kenyans earn good salaries and are exposed individuals, a grand wedding is indeed made possible. But because we often have a budget beyond our means despite the good salaries we are earning, the annoying wedding fundraising cannot be totally ignored. So we will arrange for these and have disgruntled workmates and friends attend, some deciding not to attend the wedding out of their dissatisfaction from being forced to help in funding it.

We understand that African weddings are a community affair, but we do not want to part with our hard earned money, yet we can clearly see that both the bride-to-be and groom-to-be, have good jobs to sustain themselves. And so, in the wisdom that I have since attained over the past few years, I would gladly congratulate my former workmate for holding a wedding within his means. None of us was asked to contribute a dime to the wedding and therefore, it was shameless of us to come with our own selfish expectations.

Asking other people to fund your weddings and going overboard with the ceremony, just to make an impact, takes away the initial value of a wedding as a ceremony of being joined in Holy matrimony to the one you love. I have no issue with someone who can afford the helicopters, imported gowns and 10 tiered cakes on their wedding day complete with a honeymoon around the world. If they are making the money with their honest means, then it’s theirs to enjoy. However, it would indeed be a tragedy if stories such as the one mentioned above, came up just when they had settled down to start a family.

It kind of puts a dent in the perfect image that their weddings had created in the minds of the public whose attention they intended to capture. So if you intend to do a flashy wedding and lack the means to do it, why not scale down the budget a little bit? It may not be considered that entertaining or grand of a wedding but in the long run, it is the couple who matter and not what the attendees think or imagine.

 

Advertising For A Wife

Quite recently, I came across an article on the Nairobian, about a 32 year old Nairobi man who had decided to place notices all over the city advertising for a wife. Apparently, he had spent about Ksh3,500 on the whole venture and his notice included the specifications for the woman he wanted and a deadline date of March 30th 2017. Among his list of specifications was an insistence that the woman should not have kids and should be able to work in the farm.

He also made a point of mentioning to the Nairobian reporter who did his story, that he was not interested in Nairobi women as a result of their indignified ways. And that so far, he had started narrowing down to his choice despite the fact that many pranksters including men, had already contacted him. Well, that is the most stupid thing I’ve come across since the year started and here’s why.

I find it very stereotypical when men living and working in Nairobi thump their chests and declare, “Mimi siwezi oa msichana wa Nairobi” (I can’t marry a Nairobi woman). Then what are you doing in Nairobi?! Pack your bags and relocate back to the village where you will find a village woman of your choice! Even more so irritating, when some Nairobi men arrogantly assume that a Nairobi woman, is just like the rest of the “bad” women they have been involved with in the past.

A workmate of mine once asked me if I was married and I replied in the negative. He then went on to ask if I had children and I replied again in the negative. Then the fool said in a huff, “nyinyi wasichana wa Nairobi mnadanganyanga hivyo na mko na watoto nyumbani” (you Nairobi women pretend that way yet you have kids back in the village). Were it not for courtesy, I would have smacked him right in the face. Why was he asking me if I have children yet he supposedly knew the answer?!

Nairobi men I speak to you today, those stereotypes that you have over time developed about Nairobi women are the reasons why you are probably still single in your 30s.

Image courtesy of Google

Image courtesy of Google

For someone to even think of advertising for a wife and with such dumb specifications like she should not have children, I think quite a number of Nairobi men are fumbling in the dark. Those horror stories you were once told about evil Nairobi women, are probably lies from a male relative or friend, who was unlucky enough to date a particular woman lacking in morals. They lied to you and you foolishly believed them and began viewing all Nairobi women as conniving witches only interested in money that you may not even have.

I find it insulting for a grown man to look down on a woman who has a child to show for a past relationship. Would you have liked it better if she had aborted that child and then proceeded to lie to you that she had never been pregnant before? I wonder. Along the way, I stopped being judgmental of single mothers as I have personally been a product of a two parent home and eventually a single parent home. Before you decide to judge a woman for having children out of wedlock, find out what happened first with the child’s father. You are equally not a saint. Or would you like us to believe that you are still a virgin male at 32?

Enough of this nonesense about Nairobi women or town women being this or that. Are you even looking in the right places for the right women? If my memory serves me right, one Nairobi woman/girl if you would like, since we have developed a Kenyan habit of referring to women in their 20s as girls, recently married her Nairobi man in a union that cost only Kshs 100. Before all these other companies chipped in with their contributions of a grand wedding, tiered cake and double honeymoon to Diani in Mombasa and Dubai, this Nairobi woman agreed to be joined with her fiance in holy matrimony, that only cost Kshs 100 for both rings. I repeat for emphasis. She did not exhibit any signs of being materialistic as the stereotype often states.

So if you are working as a security guard at a firm in the city and are busy setting your eyes on a lady professional in the company that you man the doors for, do you expect her to fall for your charms? Don’t you see the disconnect there and that your priorities, let’s be realistic and honest for once, may not align to each other’s? I have been an employee before and I’ve had security guards and other men too not only the said profession and with all due respect, at the place I worked at hit on me. I made it a point to politely make it clear that I wasn’t reading from the same script. Not because I was a snorty, materialistic Nairobi woman then, but because it was the honest truth.

Oh, I understand that some of these women you are trying to hit on and hint marriage at are not even in good careers but still resist your advances. Did you take your time to read the signs of whether she was on the same page as you or you proceeded to simply announce your intentions, assuming that it’s traditional for a woman to readily agree to settle down with any man, who exhibits signs of being serious?

Wake up and smell the coffee! There are rules to the attraction game and you should never proceed with your advances on a woman, who clearly shows the signs that she is after your money and does not even seem to care about you. Because you just know it when someone is golddigging you!

Don’t lie to us Nairobi men, you knew it when she always contacted you when in some financial need. But for one reason or another you chose to ignore all the glaring signs just like we women have a habit of ignoring certain obvious red flags. It’s a human need to want to feel loved and to strive to achieve that. Probably that’s what makes us ignore some uncomfortable truths in our dating life. But hey, I’m no moral judge! Been there, done that!

I simply implore on men who hold onto the mentioned stereotype, to kindly consider changing their views. Not every Nairobi or town woman is no good and you probably just need to work on certain aspects of your life to attract the right people in your life. I’m not sure if this man advertising all over for a wife will be successful but I’ll be honest, it’s just dumb.

 

 

Why Our West African Brodas Will Always Be Appealing To Kenyan Women

I must admit that this is a topic that has fascinated me for a while. These West African brodas( that’s how they pronounce brothers there for those who are wondering) who land in this beautiful country of ours and within months, have managed to successfully date this Kenyan damsel, who had proven outta many Kenyan men’s league for ages. What is it about these men that makes Kenyan women go gaga and agree to settle down with, after the entire society had already written them off as “too old” for marriage? Talk about classic stereotypes.

Please note that after interacting with Kenyan women who are married to or in relationships with West African men and careful observation, I came up with the below list of reasons;

1.West African Men Are Expressive

A Nigerian man in Nigerian inspired attire. Photo Courtesy of Google Images

A Nigerian man in Nigerian inspired attire. Photo Courtesy of Google Images

West African men are quite expressive. From the way they talk to how they dress. One time I was at the Hub in Karen with some of my relatives and this obviously, West African guy that for some reason looked like someone I had seen before on TV or a magazine, was in all white. From the African inspired shirt, to the trousers, to the sandals. In his company, was this tall, svelte, fashionably dressed lady in jeans and heels whom I had no way of telling if she was Kenyan or equally West African.

Now Kenyan men are going to bash me for this, but you rarely get to see a Kenyan man in all white and sandals and still make the sandals look fashionable in addition to looking damn good! Our Kenyan idea of a man being extremely smart is the official suit. Blame “this official suit looking good” mentality on the British colonial influence, but it has taken a long while for us to see Kenyan men play around with color and other styles that are still dapper. Trust these West Africans to dress in all these bursts of color and still look manly enough, for Kenyan women to literally feel like throwing themselves at their feet.

A West African man will not feel less manly, for expressing himself to a woman about how much she means the world to him. Every woman, not only Kenyan, would want to hear it from a man she’s with that he loves her to the moon and back. We have our own cultures back here in Kenya, that frown upon men expressing their emotions and perhaps prevent our men, from going all expressive about their feelings. I don’t know about the West African culture, Ghana and Nigeria and the likes and what they think about an expressive man, but their men are not about to shy off soon from adorning their women with expressive declarations of what they feel about them.

2. They are providers

I’m not trying to imply that the Kenyan men are not providers. As a matter of fact, just so you know, I have never dated a West African man. I have only interacted with a couple. However, the West African man came to Kenya and took provision to a whole other level. Of course there are those West African men who have landed in Kenya while making money in unscrupulous ways, to be able to throw it carelessly on “trivial” things like spoiling Kenyan women silly.

Kenyan women on the other hand have a reputation of being materialistic. We all get lumped in the same category of golddiggers even though some of us, might have no interest whatsoever in the materialistic things a man has to offer. Kenyan women equally have an East African reputation of being aggressive if the number of single women, successfully raising their children on their own while catering for the childrens’ every need, is anything to go by. Plus there’s a new crop of men who simply refuse to provide for whatever reason.

So it’s not like women generally latch onto men for money purposes. However, the feeling that a man can actually provide for your every need and feel no strain nor complain while doing it, is quite refreshing for a woman. And this is where our West African brodas got the script right. They will provide and provide to their maximum abilities. And especially if he is an upright, law abiding citizen, a woman can’t really complain, can she?

3. Their culture is fascinating

African Print Fabric. Pinterest

African Print Fabric. Pinterest

There’s a fascination with West African culture in Kenya. I mean, we consume enough afrobeat music from West Africa already! Do they listen to our Kenyan music themselves? I have no way of telling. It’s a different culture altogether from their accents, food, names, how they dress, how they act. Even the West African man’s physical build is slightly different from the Kenyan man’s. Different is sometimes fascinating to a woman. It’s a mystery that a Kenyan woman would like to unravel. So coupled with the other two reasons, I believe we are still going to witness many Kenyan-West African unions in future.

Thoughts? I can take the stones thrown at me 😛

Do African Women Really Need Husbands To Keep Them In Check?

What happens when an African woman gets married?

  • People in society take her seriously.
  • She is no longer considered a threat to her married friend’s husbands.
  • She gets to sleep with one man.
  • She now has somebody to keep her in check in terms of taming her once ill habits while still unmarried.
  • She can now be accorded the status of a respected mother once children are in the picture.
  • She has a title while being identified as Mrs. So and So.

What happens when an African woman fails to get married and especially if she has children or a child from a previously failed relationship?

  • Every perverted man now feels he has the warrant to hit on her.
  • Her married friends can be excused for secretly considering her a threat to their marriages.
  • She is untamed because she has no figure of authority in the house.
  • She must be slutty for choosing to remain unmarried and especially if there is evidence of children.
  • Who beds her?!
  • She probably set unrealistic standards that ended up in her being single.
  • She is damaged goods.

And what happens when an African woman fails to get married, has a child/children or no child and is highly successful in her career?

  • Well, some influential man contributed significantly in her climb on the career ladder.
  • She’s free to use her body in whichever way to get ahead. No inhibitions. I mean, she has no husband…

About two weeks back, I attended a Girlfriend’s Confidential Talk in Nairobi and when the floor was opened for women to share their views, literally every unmarried woman mentioned something concerning the pressure to get married that some were already facing. The theme behind the talk was totally different but it was not long before the conversation veered off toward marriage and the expectations that the African society places on women concerning it.

A Ghanaian traditional marriage. Photo courtesy of www.pinterest.com

A Ghanaian traditional marriage. Photo courtesy of http://www.pinterest.com

There’s a notion in Africa that a woman needs to have a husband in order to be kept in check. Single women in top positions in our country have often been criticized bitterly concerning their marital status. It almost seems like nobody in Africa wants to believe that someone can remain unmarried at a certain age and be totally normal. There has to be something wrong with that person according to many. And it sometimes goes both ways with unmarried African men in their 40s and 50s being considered selfish and irresponsible to choose to avoid starting families.

African women approaching marriageable age with no fiance in sight have been known to go to crazy lengths just to speed up the marriage process. I was a child or pre-teen then, I can’t remember, when some preacher decided to show up in Nairobi with a promise that after his crusade, all the women present will be contacted by their future husbands. As ridiculous as it sounded, Kenyan women turned up in droves all jostling to get space in the already crowded stadium where the crusade was being held.

The pressure for an African woman to get a husband is pretty much intense. As you approach your late twenties and seem not to have an eligible character in sight, your elder sisters, mum and aunts will begin questioning frequently when your boyfriend will be visiting. I think the most appalling thing I heard from a close relative was to hurry up and get married before my arms got flabby. Apparently, according to some, women age faster than men. And in Africa, we do not quite want to believe that an older woman can indeed get a husband.

We associate marriage with a woman having a husband who ensures she tows the line. No wonder all the tag names that single women and mothers have to endure being branded. Marriage is a wonderful thing but many times the “Wives submit to your husbands” Biblical phrase is usually taken out of context. Marriage is then made to seem like only the woman has an obligation to the husband to be obedient and to follow his direction.

We forget the Biblical phrase “Husbands love your wives just like Christ loved the church”. So it is not only women who are obligated to obey the husband and to submit to him and to allow themselves to be kept in check. Husbands have an obligation too to love their wives unconditionally. How will it be possible for a woman to submit to a man who does not show any slightest signs of love for her?

Love does not only encompass romance and sex. There are many aspects of love that ensure that the act of submission of a wife to a husband is easily and willingly, effected. Love includes care, support, understanding, encouragement, wise counsel, guidance, tolerance. It is only when both African men and women understand this that the stereotype of African women needing husbands to be kept in check will go.

As a matter of fact, you do not need a man to keep you in check. Your own individual principles are enough to keep you in check. Every person has different principles. Principles are varied and choosing to be and act in a certain way depends on an individual’s perspectives. So even if an African woman who has always been a rebel got married, a husband will not successfully change that. It may even be a cause for their separation or divorce. And that is the main reason why compatibility in a partner is particularly important when choosing someone to date possibly leading to marriage.

I feel like many African women fail to reach their full potential while single because their minds are preoccupied with the pressure to get married and the fear of their success while single being associated with sleeping around. Marriage is a personal choice and there is absolutely no wrong in a woman choosing to concentrate on career and fulfilling her dreams first before settling down in marriage. We all seek self fulfillment at some point in life.

It would indeed be a tragedy if a woman rushed into marriage to beat the biological clock and got kept in check by a husband so much that all she ever wanted to achieve got buried 6 feet under. We need to understand the concept of marriage rather than confusing it with a husband’s right to domination of a wife. Because this whole keeping in check argument is in essence a form of patriarchal, chauvinistic thinking needing to be done away with.

Thoughts?

 

I recently got the opportunity to join the contribution team of Conor Boyle’s amazing blog The Conversation Room. You can keep up with some of my posts and Conor’s work on http://www.theconversationroomblog.wordpress.com

 

 

The African Pressure For Grandchildren

Slightly over a month back, 27 year old Kenyan woman Jackline Mwende suffered the brutality of domestic violence when her husband of 7 years, Stephen Ngila chopped off her hands after a gruesome machete attack in their home. Reason behind the attack; In their marriage period, Mwende had not borne him any children.

However, the story takes a turn for the worse when it came to light that the root cause behind the couple not having any children was in fact due to Ngila’s infertility. This had been previously proven at a clinical facility. But being an African man sadly with the chauvinistic thinking that men cannot fail to produce offspring, Ngila went ahead and attacked his wife. Slashing her across the face and back then chopping off both of her hands.

Jackline Mwende on the left with injuries after the attack and her husband, Ngila on the right after arrest by the Police. Image courtesy of nairobinews.co.ke

Jackline Mwende ( left) with injuries after the attack and her husband, Ngila (right) after arrest by the Police. Image courtesy of nairobinews.co.ke

It was a tale that left a sour taste in the mouth and got men and women alike outraged and speaking up against it. Women leaders  visited Mwende in her father’s home where she was recuperating and later, in hospital where companies pledged to come to her aid with prosthetic limbs and a decent monthly stipend.

Mwende may have gotten a great deal of help after her ordeal but her limbs are not going to be the same again. The scars she now bears will often be a cruel reminder to her, how brutal domestic violence and patriarchy can often times turn out to be.

But was the pressure to bear children only coming from her husband Ngila? I can’t help but ask.

With all due respect to both families involved in the aforementioned , I will choose not to use them as a reference point for my argument. However, I will choose to look at the African societal set up instead.

In Africa, children have often been associated with being a source of wealth. Indeed parents who bore many children in the olden times needed not worry for it was assumed that they would have helpers in old age. We may have moved from the olden, primitive times but Africans still hold on to the notion that children are especially important in a marriage to complete the family unit.

It is not entirely uncommon to find African women who have faced enough castigation from in-laws simply for the sole reason that they had not borne their son a child/children. Many African families equally value the boy child and an African woman in such a familial set up would give birth to as many as 6 or 7 or 8 children just looking for a boy.

The fear often being that if she does not bear her husband a boy child, then he will definitely go in search of another woman to marry who can give him boys. These things are happening up to date in African society. I reside in Nairobi myself, the hub of East Africa, a capital city and I still encounter stories of real life educated people, who are actively seeking to conceive boy children as if the girl children they have are not human enough.

The pressure from the parents of the husband and sometimes, from those of the wife not doing much to help matters. The idea behind this usually being that the grandparents yearn to see their grandchildren which they consider a blessing to live up to the point of seeing children of your children.

Often times, these aged parents may not see how much their demands may be affecting a couple trying unsuccessfully to conceive. I mean, why do you think rogue pastors in African society are raking in big bucks just from offering false hope to childless couples? It is this pressure for grandchildren sometimes leading to sarcastic remarks from in laws directed many times to the woman and the husband being urged to get a fertile wife to bear him children.

There are many African women who have been cast aside by their husbands because the family had no children. In Africa, unlike the West, you cannot just decide not to have children as a woman. Society expects you to have children by a certain age. As a woman fast approaching my late twenties, I nowadays frequently encounter individuals who assume I’m already a mother. Not that it bothers me. As a matter of fact, I chuckle at their assumptions for I identify it as an African thing.

A wedding photo. Image courtesy of www.brides.com

A wedding photo. Image courtesy of http://www.brides.com

However, the tragedy behind this pressure for children/grandchildren is that African women get blamed for there not being the existence of offspring. Africans do not believe that a man can be infertile even if medical tests prove so. There’s this often stupid belief that African men are fertile, studs in bed. If there are no children, then it definitely has to be the woman. She has to be blamed. She has to be punished for it. She deserves to be added another wife who will bear children.

It is a backward belief. A chauvinistic kind of thinking that makes many African men shy away from infertility treatment. They just don’t want to face and admit the fact that the problem can be both ways and that there is nothing wrong with that. Treatment of either party addressing the underlying issue can solve this. They instead choose to ride on the wave of a false belief of an African man being powerful enough sexually to produce children.

So you can already tell how much mental torture an African woman goes through if she does not get children within an expected period in marriage. The husband may even justify the domestic violence with the fact that “Mwanamke amekataa kunizalia” (A woman has refused to bear me children). As if a normal functioning woman with motherly instincts may just make an intentional decision to irk her husband by not getting any children.

As a modern woman who has become exposed to other societal views, I think that the decision to have children by a couple should be theirs alone. I also urge African men to open their minds to the world of medicine. Infertility can be both ways. There is no shame in it. There is medical help for it. Bearing children is not only a woman’s thing. When two people come together with the intention of conceiving, it is a joint decision. The child will bear both of their DNAs.

How ironic that African children are considered to belong to the father yet when it comes to matters conceiving and family planning, it is the woman who is often blamed or tasked with that? Food for thought, per se.

 

An Increasing Number Of Kenyans Are Addicted To Pornography

I know the title of my post today is going to set tongues wagging but I state the above with good reason.

I’m a frequent guest of cyber cafes. I have been a blogger for close to 3 years now. Actually, I clock 3 years of continuous blogging on different blog sites and this particular blog next month. And in all that period, I have frequented cybers and logged into computers for public use, several times only to be accosted by images of naked men and women. Meaning that the previous user(s) was/were viewing some pornographic material online. Forget the warnings of “No viewing of pornography sites” that many cyber owners like to paste on their walls. An increasing number of Kenyans are addicted to pornography.

Now I’m not trying to be a moral judge and point fingers at people. On average, I think all Kenyans have come across images of near naked men and women alike in addition to simulation of sexual acts in mostly raunchy and risque music videos, soap operas and movies. Born again Christian or not, Muslim, Jew or Hindu, if you are a user of our matatus sometimes the screens overhead showcase all kinds of risque music videos which you have probably glanced at, albeit unwillingly. It is a fact of life that sex is believed to sell and therefore, entertainers maximize on their sexuality.

Anyways, this morning was no different for me. I log into a computer and see one of the sites being surfed by a Kenyan was a pornographic site. It is an observation and a worrying observation. And while some people may choose to argue that pornography has no grave effect on a person and may even spice up sex in a relationship, I tend to slightly disagree. I’m not going to dictate what my fellow countrymates should watch or shouldn’t. It is a personal adult choice.

However, I am going to state that an addiction to pornography leads to feelings of guilt, shame and often an addiction to sex. In this era when HIV/AIDS is a reality in addition to numerous life threatening STIs, an addiction to sex is a road I doubt any normal functioning human being would like to take. Pornography addiction often fuels a lack of respect toward the female gender. Most of these female adult movie stars tend to be violated by the opposite sex in the movies. It might be for show but for the viewer, it only does a good job of instilling the sexual stereotype that women are sexual objects and should be treated as such. Many sex offenders have been known to have a secret addiction to pornographic material. Sex in these movies is often depicted as a sense of dominance by a man to a woman.

Bestiality acts are a constant feature in some pornographic material. Kenyans may laugh and create memes mocking individuals who have been caught red handed having sex with animals and maybe beaten to death by irate residents but in reality, this is a sad situation. For a normal human being with sexual desires for a fellow human being to end up choosing to have sex with animals, something in his psychology must have been previously corrupted by something else. I refer to a he, because in all the incidences Kenyans have heard concerning bestiality, the perpetrator is often of the male gender. However, I state again that I’m not using my post to judge but to enlighten.

Paedophilia stems from pornography addiction. Children have been molested by guardians and adults who are charged with protecting these children. Children have been lured into shooting pornographic material for perverted individuals, who only care about feeding their warped sexual desires in addition to making money in whatever unscrupulous ways. Nobody wakes up one morning deciding to molest a child. He/she must have gotten molested in the past as a child or corrupted gradually to the point where the act being committed does not seem warped to him or her anymore.

Lastly, pornography is breaking marriages and relationships. Forget the belief that it can be used to revive an otherwise dead sexual aspect of a relationship. Pornography will only give an individual unrealistic expectations for his/her partner. The saying of “I want a lady in the streets but a freak in the bed” further proves the kind of unrealistic expectations we are setting for our partners. Of course sex needs to be enjoyed but expecting your wife to do what you saw some woman paid to do it for entertainment on a blue movie, is in reality unfair. Rape happens in marriages and all because we allowed our minds to be drawn to pornography and we are now on a path to sexual self destruction.

The most vulnerable are our children of this generation who are growing up in a technology fueled era where they can access all kinds of gadgets. If you are already a parent, it is time to check if your young son or daughter is already being exposed to pornographic material. It might save you future heartache.

The Woman In Office

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this post are the author’s.

I have never been so much into Politics in the past and recent past. Indeed, I have hardly blogged about politics in my whole period as a blogger. However, I can’t help but be a Clinton supporter in the American race for presidency. I really admire this woman’s strength and resilience and the events that have unfolded during this American campaign period, have only made me really want her to clinch the presidency. Not that I know much about American politics save for watching the CNN News and chancing on Hillary Clinton’s autobiography in the campus library one rainy evening, which I chose to devour as I found the book highly interesting. But that little knowledge I have acquired about this woman, has led me to firmly believe that women can indeed be world leaders.

There has always been a tendency in the past to associate women in the public eye with beauty, fashion and style. All we get to hear about is what she was wearing and who dressed her and how she looked in the process, downplaying some of the significant roles that a woman in the public eye is supposed to perform. And while it is of equal importance that a woman should take care of her appearance and especially, if she occupies a certain position that requires her to look the part, I tend to think that always being concerned with how she looks doesn’t really matter sometimes, but only does a good job of furthering the stereotype that women ought to be admired in the physical sense and not the intellectual sense.

Image sourced from www.motherjones.com

Image sourced from http://www.motherjones.com

In my country, when wife to the late Joshua Orwa Ojode who passed away in a helicopter crash in 2012, mentioned in a recent anniversary of her husband’s death, that she would wish to represent the Ndhiwa Constituency just as her deceased husband once did, it was interesting to note that what many people noticed was how her hair looked in one of the photos. The said photo did the rounds on social media with Kenyan men and women alike bashing her for what they termed as her hair appearing “wild”. With some going as far as to suggest that she needed a salon visit before declaring her political ambitions. I mean, did anyone consider that it could have been windy on that particular day?!

And while I find Clinton to be well put together in her pantsuits ( we call them trouser suits in my country), subtle jewelery and well coiffured hair, I’m glad that the focus is not always on what she is wearing and which designer she is representing, but on what her values are as an American individual and how she plans to move the American society forward should she become president.

Mrs. Mary Ojode, wife to the late Orwa Ojode in mourning of her husband's death. Photo courtesy of www.capitalfm.co.ke

Mrs. Mary Ojode, wife to the late Orwa Ojode in mourning of her husband’s death. Photo courtesy of http://www.capitalfm.co.ke

The photo that got tongues wagging concerning the apperance of her hair. Courtesy of www.nation.co.ke

The photo that got tongues wagging concerning the apperance of her hair. Courtesy of http://www.nation.co.ke

It should equally be noted that women in office should not necessarily be divorcees and therefore deserving of the stereotype that some careers for the female gender cannot accommodate a husband in a woman’s life. Indeed Clinton has had her fair share of marital woes and especially in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. I have come across some articles that criticize her on how she chose to handle some of the scandals with other women involving her husband while he was in office. I do not consider her unwise per se, for choosing to stick to her husband as she would go on to state in her 2003 memoir that No one understands me better and no one can make me laugh the way Bill does. Even after all these years, he is still the most interesting, energizing and fully alive person I have ever met.

Her choice to save her marriage remains a personal choice. I bet she does value the family unit and the American people equally do irregardless of the divorce rates in the country. If they didn’t, then none of the Obama family pictures would have constantly been put on display like they have been. And beautiful pictures indeed which serve to show that strong willed, opinionated, educated, career oriented women like Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton can still balance being a mother, wife and office duties.

In African societies, women have constantly been under represented in political issues concerning the country. We tend to sensationalize the fact that women are highly emotional and of a lesser intellectual capability to fully understand what running the country entails. The chauvinistic nature of most African societies firmly imprints in the minds of men that women should not hold positions of leadership. That women should always cower behind the leadership of men. It is refreshing to see that in recent times, more African women are taking up positions of leadership and more African men are beginning to realize that behind that veneer of sexuality and beauty lies a sharp mind.

A woman’s presence should not only be gauged by her marital status and how she looks physically. I recently came across an article in one of the local papers, where women vying for women representative position in the coming 2017 elections, in one of the parts of our country, were being termed as “beautiful”. It was more like who is fairer than the other. I felt as if the emphasis should have been more on their political ambitions and less on their physical appearances. However, this only served to show how much society in recent times, has objectified the woman so much to the point where it did not matter what age she was, what she represented and what she believed in.

Unlike her counterpart in the American presidency race, who has often exhibited high emotions and an ignorance on how some policies, other societies and races function, I feel like Clinton has handled herself with grace and intellect. It would indeed be refreshing to see a superpower being led by a woman and equally, a motivation for African women that high positions in the country are possible for them to hold.

 

 

Non-Committal Men And The Lies They Tell

I think so many men are pretty non-committal in their 20s. Going by the number of Kenyan men I have encountered in the past who just don’t want to be in an exclusive relationship. I know someone somewhere of the opposite gender is already foaming at the mouth at my blatant declaration. Well, just to be fair and not so much of a pessimist, there is a percentage that WANTS to be exclusive. This percentage, sadly, is a small one.

A non-committal man is obviously one who won’t commit.

He will come up with all of these reasons as to why he doesn’t want to be exclusive just yet. You will be surprised that some of these reasons sound pretty justified.

A non-committal man is the kind who will pretend to be interested in a relationship in the early stages. Once you give in to his charms and start “dating”, it won’t be long before he begins acting distant.

You as the woman, will get thoroughly surprised by this sudden turn of events.

Indeed one of the earliest signs of a non-committal man is an unwillingness to spend time with you. These kinds surround themselves with friends so much, to the extent where he barely has time for the woman he is trying to lure into his life. The woman will try to beg, negotiate even, for more time, to which the man will blatantly refuse to give.

Non-committal men have a tendency to give a past broken relationship with a woman he really loved as the reason why they will not open their hearts to love another woman. This ladies, is a TOTAL LIE.

In truth, a non-committal person, male or female, is actually afraid to love. He knows that love will make him vulnerable and that he will have to open up to another person of the opposite gender, while in that situation of being in love. He is completely insecure with the thought of opening up himself to another person and so he would rather create a false illusion, that he is not ready for exclusivity or love for that matter.

A non-committal man will never admit his deep insecurities to a woman. Instead, he will employ the blame game and the poor ex, who happened to cheat on him or treat him badly, will be the one to always take the blame. Until that point in time when this man decides to face his fears and in the process, feels ready to fall in love and actually commits to one woman.

I’m no relationship coach but in my dating years, I have encountered quite a number of young men in their mid to late twenties, who have over time created this very tough wall of being “NON-COMMITTED”.

Sadly, some of these men drag this tough wall into marriages and that is why you get to hear of “open marriages”. Whoever came up with that concept? But it is happening! Not only in the West but in Africa too. It’s only that in African societies, we keep it hush hush for obvious reasons or coat it with tradition and culture and claims of a wife belonging to the community, when in the real sense it is a husband who does not want to commit to one woman.

A non-committal man often seems unconcerned with whoever you as the woman, want to spend time with of the opposite sex. Trust me, a man who truly loves and desires you will be very bothered if you get to hang out with other men on dates and social activities. By stating that, I’m not endorsing possessiveness where the man curtails your movements and does not even seem to understand that you have male colleagues at work as well as male relatives and friends.

I’m speaking about a man who will not seem bothered that you went out on a date with another man, had him accompany you to your house or out of town while you are his supposed girlfriend. I once encountered a non-committal man, who insisted I go out of town with a man whose intentions I did not trust completely and had already shared my concerns  about it with the said non-committal man, because I thought, we were in a relationship. Needless to say, I was appalled that he kept on insisting that I travel with this shifty character and in the process made it seem like I was simply being paranoid.

Similar to open marriages, be wary of a husband who gives you permission to sleep with other men while still married to him. That is not normal. That is absurd. Men get hit by that pang of jealousy when a woman they love and want to be with seems to be getting attention from specific people of the opposite sex. It is human nature. This gender is naturally competitive. So if he doesn’t seem to care and encourages it, he doesn’t love you. He is not interested in commitment. He doesn’t care who beds you.

Same way you wouldn’t care if that guy who keeps on hitting on you and you don’t feel him sleeps with 20 other women besides you, is how this non-committal man doesn’t care.

Some insecure non-committal men will embark on painting you the woman desiring a relationship with them, as various unsavory things. A sex addict, paranoid, jumpy, moving the relationship too fast…blah,blah,blah. You are not any of those things.

Let me tell you a secret.

As much as I agree it is important for a relationship to grow gradually. A man who is interested in being with you will put in the effort from day one. He will call you, be interested in your hobbies, take time to understand your character, create time to see you…

If a relationship feels dead from the very beginning, this man DOESN’T WANT TO BE WITH YOU. He will only keep on branding you as paranoid, jumpy, nagging, a sex addict and all those unsavory things so that your mind gets preoccupied with all the negativity to the extent where, you don’t get to truly see him for what he is. A NON-COMMITTAL MAN. Instead you will blame yourself for the relationship not working out. It is HIM  sister, not YOU.

And lastly, the classic, LET’S BE FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS. This is your time to flee from this non-committal man. Oh, so he doesn’t want to be exclusive with you, but the few times you guys have sweated it out in the bedroom, he has already decided he doesn’t want to give that part up just yet, so he comes up with this ridiculous proposition, because that is how his warped mind sees you. Dear sister, cut this man loose.

You are a strong woman. You can make it without him. In fact, a wonderful man is just lurking round the corner. You only need to get to that space where you are comfortable with your singlehood to be able to accommodate a worthy man in your life. Non-committal men will only string you along for no reason and for your information, you don’t need FWB arrangements in your mid to late twenties. You need a man who is courageous enough to step up and declare that he wants to be exclusive with you.

Forget the idea that your love can change a non-committal man. Most of these kinds are very stubborn. They will only change when they feel like changing. It is not your mandate to change people. Let him be, no hard feelings. Never be down for mediocrity.

Are Older Men Better Lovers?

This is a curiosity that has over time gotten the better of me.

When I talk about older men, I do not mean the men in the “sponsor” category, where the woman does not mind how wrinkly the chap looks or whether he has erectile dysfunction issues or not, as long as she is smiling all the way to the bank. I mean men who are significantly older than the woman they are intending to date. Say between 10 to 16 years older than their love interest.

Men who were previously married but then it never worked out and they ended up divorced or separated. Men whose spouses are deceased. Men who have never been married and are already at the 40 years old mark. Those are the men I’m talking about.

So question is, are they better lovers than their younger testosterone driven counterparts?

Financial Capability.

Of course a guy who is significantly older has put his finances in order. We all secretly or openly know that, one of the factors that women intending to get into relationships with particular men consider is the men’s financial capabilities. This does not translate into gold-digging per se.

A woman would want to be assured of the fact that a man is in essence capable of taking care of her needs. That should she get his children, then he can be able to provide financially for his family. If a man seems a little unsure with his finances, many focused women would opt not to carry on with the relationship, for fear of financial uncertainties that seem to be looming in the future.

Older men in their 40s already have a significant amount of years while gainfully employed, under their belts. In such a scenario, the man has over time climbed through the ranks, learnt how to manage his increasing finances over the years, has experience with various financial responsibilities and is now at a place where he is sure of his financial capabilities. If not gainfully employed, he at least has a business that he has been running for a while and is quite stable.

Shout over the rooftops as you may that women are conniving opportunists, this particular financial capability in a man, whether older or within a woman’s age bracket, is almost, always very alluring.

Maturity.

No doubt about that. With years comes maturity. I am not trying to imply that younger men are immature. My argument lies on the fact that since this man is older, then he has definitely seen more than  what a younger man has seen and wised up in the process.

If he has tried a marriage before and it never worked out, then he is better placed to know the rocky patches that married couples have to navigate. Perhaps he has learnt from his mistakes if he was at fault. Definitely, he does not intend to repeat those same mistakes with another woman. Maybe, he has had to unfortunately grieve a loved one who could be the mother to his kids in situations where his spouse is deceased. He fully understands the pain of losing someone you love and how to cope with that loss.

In his mature state, he is not prone to making irrational decisions. He may clearly know what he wants out of a relationship with a woman he has just started seeing. I’m sure a couple of women have ever encountered an older guy who straight up stated, that he wanted to settle down perhaps on a first or a second date. In such scenarios, the woman who is always younger, may immediately think of bolting because this man seems to be in such a hurry to have a wife yet, she may not be ready herself to settle.

In some cases, it is not about being in a hurry. It could only be that this significantly, older man knows what he wants. In his maturity, he sees no reason to skirt around issues or play around. He is direct to the point with what he wants and deems fit for him.

Sex

There is a lot of uncertainty that comes with younger men and sex. It is not entirely an isolated case of a young man bedding a woman, then pulling an epic disappearing stunt immediately after the deed. It is however strange, for an older guy say 14 years older than the woman, pulling the same stunt. Most do not.

Sex to them is not a game of conquest. It is not a feat to be achieved and in the process prove yourself as a stud in bed. With years of experience, older men know better how to please a woman in bed. They take their time. They ensure she is satisfied. It is not only about their own pleasure. A woman does not have to fear that what they did behind closed doors, will make its way into the ears of the boys in the hood. As a matter of fact, sex will feel safe with him.

There’s something alluring about an older guy

I’m not sure if it is that self assured stance or the fact that clothes look good on the fit ones. Obviously, this does not translate to them automatically being good lovers but it is one of the factors, that make them attractive in the dating world.

Think Idris Elba,

Terrence Howard,

EMPIRE: Lucious (Terrence Howard) addresses his family in the "The Devil Quotes Scripture" episode airing Wednesday, Jan. 21 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Chuck Hodes/FOX

Lucious (Terrence Howard) in an Empire episode, addressing his family. Google pics.

Blair Underwood

 Blair Underwood/perezhilton.com

Blair Underwood/perezhilton.com

And these are just the ones in the public eye, some hitched. What about the normal, single, older men who take care of their weight, know how to dress and look significantly younger than their real ages?

 

Readers, your thoughts?

 

 

 

Single Parenting And Judging The Woman Harshly

Single Dad:

Oh, the mother of his child must have been very irresponsible! 

He must be very courageous and kind hearted to choose to raise his child/children by himself…

Oh let me prove to him just how much of an awesome stepmum I can be to his kids…He’s just too alluring.

Single mum:

money101.co.za

money101.co.za

She must have been those hardheaded types who cannot stay put in marriages!

Or maybe she got her baby with a married man…

I cannot date a woman with extra baggage in the form of kids…

What if her son starts demanding for an inheritance from me yet I’m not his biological dad?

It is no secret that single mums are often judged more harshly than their male counterparts in a similar situation. But why the double standards?

Well, I sought to find this out from one of my male acquaintances who sadly, is of the chauvinistic thinking that a woman who ends up single parenting is in essence, damaged goods. So I asked why he thought such women were no longer eligible candidates in the dating world and his answer was quite interesting; No man wants to interfere with another man’s turf.

Fair enough. But why are we willing to interfere with another woman’s turf per se? Why are single dads viewed as heroic in their efforts to raise their children by themselves while single mums are viewed as failures for doing the same?

Is it because of the sexual stereotypes that have forever been applied to women? The idea held by some, that women should be virgins before marriage but men can be excused for being sexually active before marriage. Is it a woman’s fault for ending up a single mum? Has she any control over what happens once a baby is conceived and the relationship with the baby’s father takes a turn for the worse?

While looking at the single parenting scenario, we have no choice but to acknowledge that times have indeed changed. While it was once in order, ethical even, for two people to get children in a marriage and stay put through thick and thin, nowadays, many more individuals are ending up as single parents either by choice or as a result of certain circumstances.

Blame it on exposure or the feminism wave but in recent times, it is not entirely uncommon, for two individuals in a certain relationship involving children to want out if things seem not to be working. It may not seem like an entirely wise decision seeing that the children are the ones who are likely to end up quite affected, but we really have no control over how two people choose to solve their relationship issues.

However, I find it baseless judging the women in single parenting scenarios more harshly than the men in the same. What if we chose to reason similarly for both sexes regarding what might have drove them into single parenting? Is it possible for us to do so even, judging by some of the chauvinistic attitudes that have over time been deeply embedded in our societies?

Methinks that irrespective of whatever sex a person is, the choice to singlehandedly raise a child/children is indeed a courageous one. It does not mean that the child may grow up deficient as many would like to assume. There are living examples of children who have been raised by single parents and have gone on to become wholesome adults in future. It all depends on the parenting style chosen by the single parent.

And while I’m no advocate for the kind of drama some of these clueless children are subjected to once their parents’ relationship sours, I’m of the idea that a single parent can equally raise a child perfectly. Of course this child may be deprived of the presence of one parent but it may come as a surprise to you, that many children in single parenting households, see nothing amiss with one parental figure missing.

They may only feel something was amiss if the parent in their lives sadly, fell short of being someone they could look up to for their well being and security. Quite a number of children from single parent households have gone ahead to do amazing things with their lives. They are actually individuals whose parents can be proud of.

In my statements above, I’m not trying to trash the family unit. I’m all for the family unit of both parents and children. However, if it so happens that one parent is conspicuously absent, then the other parent should be in a position to step in and try as much as they can to fill the gap for both parents. Whether this parent is male or female. Of course challenges are inevitable in single parenting but the welfare of the child is all that matters in such a scenario.

When we choose to judge single parents with regards to their gender, we are in essence alluding to the stereotypical thinking that women ought to be tamed by marriages. And men should be placed on a pedestal for doing something that only a woman is considered capable of doing. Parenting is a two way thing. Once one decides to become a parent, whether a man or woman, then they should factor this in the back of their minds that their child needs their input.

A single father raising his kids singlehandedly is in essence doing what is required of him should the other parent choose to abscond her duties for whatever reason. It is the same thing with when a single mother decides to raise her kids singlehandedly. She is only doing what is required of her as the parent of the opposite gender.

However, I’m aware that there are women who knowingly choose to be single mums and have no intention whatsoever of providing their children with a father figure. Such a woman should be in a position to think critically of the implications of this to her children, before going ahead with making that particular decision.

Like I mentioned, the welfare of the child should always be put into consideration. If at all this woman is denying her child/children a father figure knowing fully well that she will do a poor job at parenting, then she has nobody else but herself to blame.

What are your thoughts?