Rants and Raves

Why I Haven’t Been On A Proper Date In Ages

Let’s talk about disastrous dates whether first, second or third if you get lucky enough to be asked out on a third date. The ones that make you cringe and wonder why you even agreed to a date in the first place. I’m reminded of my sister’s friend who went out on a date with a guy whom I would like to believe, unintentionally farted at some point. He then proceeded to pretend like he didn’t notice the gross combination smell of cabbage, eggs, beans and whatever foods you might think of, that transform into nuclear weapons of mass destruction, once there is an emission of gas from the body. Needless to say, any forms of attraction toward him from my sister’s friend evaporated that very minute.

I have had my fair share of bad dates, barely there dates and good dates. There are men I met who were chivalrous enough to take me out on proper dates to really nice restaurants. There were also men I met whose idea of a date was, a pretence of requesting I pay them a visit in their homes, in the hopes of getting some from me that night. And they were clueless enough to think that I would believe the visit would be entirely innocent and would only comprise of a dinner and singing of religious hymns before I got escorted back home. There are also men, who for some reason decided to take me out on what looked like a proper date at first in a nice place or setting, only to proceed to behave in the most neanderthal of ways.

I once went out on a date with a guy I really fancied, who decided to spend the entire period, stealing open, obvious glances at an Ethiopian girl’s back in a bare back top. To make matters worse, with the most silliest of grins on his face, he proceeded to mention that he thought the people sitting on the table where the Ethiopian girl was, were students. Now when you take me out on a date and I have spent hours getting ready for you, including doing my toenails in the most luscious of purple color, then you proceed to ogle at another woman, I will be thoroughly pissed. Even more pissed when you decide to trivialize your bad manners. Since when did university students become tourist attractions to be stared at?!

Bored couple on a date. Courtesy of Google Images.

Bored couple on a date. Courtesy of Google Images.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I can barely remember the last time I went on a proper date. It has been a lengthy period of time. Some years, I’m totally sure of that. Of course in that duration, I have been invited out for drinks, dinners or lunches by people, who thought it would be lonely enough to have a meal or drink by themselves and I equally thought, having restaurant meals and drinks once in a while broke the monotony of me sitting by myself, in the house. But I wouldn’t qualify them to be dates because there was no mutual attraction and we were probably feeding the need of having someone else’s company. We were just but two lonely individuals wondering why the odds were always against us in this oh, so cruel, cruel dating world. Trust me, there are many lonely millenials walking around.

Most of the time I have declined random suggestions that were packaged as dates but came at odd hours of the evening or night. Plus I have experienced lengthy periods of time when I have been out of work and therefore, too broke to even think of agreeing to go out on a date. Reason being, that an increasing number of men nowadays assume that you come for a date with your own fare back home. And if you seem like you never carried extra money, then it would be easier to accompany their sly selves back to their houses. So even if I desperately wanted to be asked out on a date, the thought of being broke scared the wits out of me.

Let me emphasize on this, being asked out on a date in a pub or club or to a man’s house or to accompany him and his football loving friends are in reality not dates. So to avoid tainting my image as the girl who is always available and down for whatever shenanigans thrown her way, I have steered clear of dates for a long, long time. Chivalry is pretty much dead in this generation of millenials who have a wide array of booty calls at their disposal. It’s simply the sad reality of how things are. Plus I’m just tempted to think that people are too broke nowadays, with too many needs to even remember how proper dates are supposed to be conducted. Or we simply became too lazy and selfish.

So to save myself the horror of a disastrous date, I would rather let it pass. Which disastrous dates have you ever been on?

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.

 

 

The Sham That Is KooKoo Inn

Image Sourced from Instagram

Image Sourced from Google

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this post are the author’s communicating her personal dissatisfaction with the stated show.

When I first happened to chance on the advert on Maisha Magic East Africa, that a new program with the interesting name, Kookoo Inn, will start airing soon, I was elated. Elated because I have been to Kenchics in town and I knew that such a storyline had a lot that would be interesting. Nobody had thought about the concept, of focusing solely on a fast food restaurant as a TV production in my country in the past, if my memory served me right. So I assumed that this one would be fresh and funny.

I happened to watch the first episode and I must say my hopes were thoroughly crashed. The preceeding episodes that I managed to glance at, did little to change my already distorted perception. Quite a number of Kenyan TV productions have dissapointed in the past. There also seems to be an overflow of Philippines, Mexican and Brazilian Soaps on air, no wonder the milennials increasingly preferring to watch Western shows on their DVDs and Laptops.

Not to mean that we have a shortage of superb actors and actresses in our country. What I mean is that sometimes the scriptwriters of some of these Kenyan shows start with a punch and end with a fall along the way. The poor scriptwriting only serving a great job of shortchanging the actors’ and actresses’ talent.

Now I will tell you what is thoroughly wrong with KooKoo Inn. In a bid to make the show crazily funny, whoever is writing the script and producing the show, only managed to give a dumb comedy effect. Let’s talk a littel about Auntie Boss, yet another Kenyan production that has surprisingly managed to keep afloat in the entertaining aspect.

I’m an avid fan of Auntie Boss and that’s because what the scriptwriters and producers thought was funny and relatable to Kenyan life, actually came out funny in reality without degrading the cast. Save for a few instances when the jokes weren’t really funny. Quite few, I must add for emphasis. I rarely notice that there’s always an addition of new cast members, because the original ones who have stuck enough in the said show, are real comics themselves.

Image Sourced from Google

Image Sourced from Google

‘Nuf said about Auntie Boss. I think the producer of KooKoo Inn wanted the Jim Carrey kind of crazy effect in the show, but failed to conceptualize that crazy funny, can be a bit dicey sometimes and may end up coming out as kindergarten funny. I have never been a fan of Jim Carrey movies in my adulthood.

Simply because his kind of funny began sounding like the funny that a 3 or 4 or 5 year old would watch and erupt in guffaws. That was his area of specialization that worked pretty well for him in Hollywood. But there is the Robin Williams funny, God rest his soul, Eddie Murphy funny, that is still crazy funny but manages to tickle even an adult. I don’t know if that sentence makes sense even but that was the best way I could put it.

The cast of KooKoo Inn surprisingly is a highly talented one, that I have seen their awesome talent in other Kenyan shows that let that particular talent shine. However, I don’t especially find a grown man who supposedly owns a fast food restaurant playing with a water gun, funny at all. Neither do I find grown ass people goofing around like toddlers interesting. Whoever came up with this show’s concept, failed to capture what is relatable to Kenyans about it and actually make it come out funny.

It is kind of an insult to our comedy industry that is thriving and has been for a long while. And if anyone related to that show’s production might read this, take this as constructive criticism from a consumer who feels that, there is so much you can do to improve on the comedic effect.

How Do You Deal With A Workaholic Boyfriend?

You get a life!

Image courtesy of www.quickmeme.com

Image courtesy of http://www.quickmeme.com

Simple as that.

At some point in life, a woman will encounter a man that she’s thoroughly smitten with. The man will equally seem to be in the same boat as the woman, but not for long. Soon the woman will realize that all of this man’s time is spent at work or working. I mention “all of this man’s time” because he will not have time to spare for her. His calls will diminish. His texting habits will be close to nil. He will seem like he cannot spare any of his free time to be with her if the talk of targets and deadlines are anything to go by.

Then the woman being a woman will start to question. And the man will have a seemingly justified reason as to why he seems to be having trouble accommodating the woman in his life. He is in the process of building himself up. He is not really looking to date at the moment. Give him some time until he gets to a certain target then he will now have enough time to spend with you. All this is utter BS!

Wasn’t he the same man who had sex with you? Wasn’t he the same man who once displayed all the signs of wishing to be exclusive? Wasn’t he the same man who initially pursued you as if he couldn’t live without you? Didn’t you two at some point seem to genuinely enjoy each other’s company?

Dear woman,

A man who really wants to be with you will stick around. I have witnessed long distance relationships where both parties involved worked highly demanding jobs and the relationship survived!

Men who are not sure about women they are starting to see will come up with all sorts of excuses just to get away from them and figure themselves out. This man cannot tell you upfront that he is just not sure about you. He knows that if he did that, you will be highly upset. You will break down in tears, you may rant and rave at him, you may demand answers, you may feel betrayed. He risks losing you for good.

So he will seek something that provides him with an almost believable, valid reason as to why he cannot accommodate you in his life. He will tell you how demanding his work is. He will tell you how he would really like to build himself up (as if you have no desire to equally build yourself up career-wise). He knows that if he gives you work as an excuse you really have nothing to hold against him because it is near impossible to give up a source of livelihood for someone or for love.

If you encounter such a man who chooses work over you, walk away with your dignity intact. Do not coerce, cajole or worst case scenario, throw a tantrum. You see, scarcity breeds longing. He may not be sure about you this time but trust me, the minute you walk away and focus on what is really important to you, including your career, he will surely take notice. Hell, he will! And for the sole reason that you did not display desperation. You let him go because you were not willing to be an option when he had the ability to make you a priority.

Ladies, I repeat, work or no work, demanding job or not, a man who really wants to be with you will stick around. Do not reduce yourself to a beggar for love and attention from the opposite sex.

So he’s busy with work, OK, you are busy with work too. You have targets to reach, money to make, girlfriends to spend time with, hobbies to keep you preoccupied, more time to mingle actually and meet that man who is already sure about you. If the so called Mr. Workaholic comes trooping back after months of being preoccupied with work, you will then have a clearer perspective of whether you want to take him back or not.

If you are in the process of typing “how do you deal…” on an online dating forum, just stop! Will you! You are too precious to dwell on people who are dismissive of your precious self. Look around you, there’s so much to enjoy than wallowing in the pit of misery over a workaholic man.

Kenyans Will Shame You For Not Attending Service

Africa is a religious continent. No doubt about that. Be it African traditional religion, Christianity or Islam. Anyone from the African continent definitely takes religion seriously. But sometimes, in our attempts at being pious, we tend to take it a little too far if the mushrooming of questionable churches and beliefs is anything to go by. My country is no exception.

Picture this scenario;

Last Sunday, we had a work related meeting at 2 in the afternoon. Now a handful of us showed up on time and were already seated before the guest speaker arrived. One of my colleagues of a higher ranking than us, showed up equally early. What caught my attention was his choice of an ice breaker. You see, a majority of us are not well acquainted with each other as a result of the nature of our job. So we were obviously seated there not speaking to one another.

And our colleague (in good faith I presume) asked, “You people do not go to church on Sunday?” (Forgive the very Kenyanised English). And you could immediately sense the kind of discomfort that particular question created among us. I mean, we are Kenyans and over time we have grown used to a majority of Kenyans attending church on Sunday.

I mean 3/4 of Kenyan shops and all Government offices are usually closed on Sundays. It is a day we set aside for religious purposes and sometimes, act hypocritically astonished that some of us never saw the need to attend service as we did on Sunday.

Then we condemn them with hell fire in our hearts, when we notice with hidden glee, how uncomfortable our question has made them. Nobody in Africa desires to be associated with lacking in religious belief. So it wasn’t really a shocker this particular colleague asking if we didn’t go to church. I can’t really blame his choice of an ice breaker never mind the slight negative effect it caused. But was the question necessary really?

Anyways, a couple of weeks back, one of my neighbors (with whom I’m not very close but we occasionally chit chat) decided to play the good Christian and hand me a flyer inviting me to her church. Her intentions seemed genuine so I mentioned my denomination and promised to attend service with her next Sunday if I would be available.

Come next Saturday evening and this neighbor gave me a call just to confirm if I would be attending. Unfortunately, I had left earlier in the day for a relative’s place and therefore, apologized that it wouldn’t be possible and that I would attend my church wherever I was. So I thought the whole thing was sorted then.

The following Sunday, I got a call again early in the morning from the same neighbor and that is when my irritation set in. As if 100% sure of my movements that particular Sunday, this particular neighbor decided to conclude over the phone that I hadn’t gone to church.

And she kept on insisting that she just knew I hadn’t attended service never mind the fact that I wasn’t even home and hadn’t been that weekend. My exasperation got the better of me and I remember demanding to know why she thought I hadn’t been to church. It took a generous amount of self control on my part, not to snap at her and still play the friendly neighbor despite my irritation. That was the last time she called me on those same lines.

My reaction was not at all related to shame and guilt but rather to the fact that sometimes, people tend to assume to know you more than you do yourself. In my adult life, I have never felt the need to justify my beliefs to someone. I have equally never seen the need to put someone on the spot over what beliefs they hold concerning religion.

I used to when I was younger but over time, I realized that condemning others for their beliefs or lack of, was simply not necessary. If condemning someone’s beliefs made me choose who to interact with and who not to, then there was no point in me condemning in the first place.

I have a pretty religious background myself which I hardly publicize. I have been to strictly Christian schools and experienced deep religious Christian beliefs at home.

However, I tend to think of myself as someone who is very private with my religious beliefs. I have been put on the spot many times in the past, by people who assumed I do not pray or attend church as often as they did, just because they have never seen me pray in their vicinity or have witnessed me skip church a couple of Sundays.

I value my relationship with God but it is not something I would like to gleefully rub in the faces of others just to feel more pious than them. To me that is simply hypocritical and instead of drawing people to your beliefs only push them further away. There’s no perfect Christian out there. We all have weaknesses that sometimes need a lot of praying about.

Like it or not, as an adult, you are going to interact with people of all kinds of religious beliefs be it at the workplace or at the social scene. I know there’s that argument of being a lukewarm believer which goes further to state that you have to completely lean on either side and not be in the middle. But if subscribing to that school of thought only makes me constantly rub people the wrong way, I tend to steer clear from it.

I have absolutely nothing against religion. It is what defines us as human beings. It is a way of life. But you cannot force your religious beliefs down the throat of a non-believer who has no intention whatsoever to subscribe to your beliefs. That is where you draw the line and choose to stick to your boundaries without seeming offensive to the other person. However, many of us choose to rattle others on a daily basis on religious lines.

Is it worth it?

 

 

For Men, It Is A Pleasurable Activity; For Women, It Is Often Laden With Stereotypes.

I’m a talkative person. Perhaps that is what makes me privy to sometimes, weird conversations. I shall not reveal identities for obvious reasons but I shall definitely share.

Someone of the female gender this week, shared with me that someone else of the male gender, had warned her against allowing a female friend of hers from holding her infant child. Why? Because according to this man in question, since he suspected that the lady friend to the one who shared with me the info was sleeping around, then she would be dangerous to the baby. In short, when a baby is handled by a person sleeping around, a woman for that matter, then that baby constantly falls ill.

thisisafrica.me

thisisafrica.me

I don’t know if this applies to other African countries but in my country, there is that cultural belief among some ethnic groups, that your baby should not be handled by a cheating husband or promiscuous woman. Sadly, this person who also happens to be my friend wanted to find out from me if it was indeed true. I didn’t even know what to tell her. But I had so many unanswered questions in my mind that I doubt will ever get satisfactory answers.

Did that mean that single women were not supposed to hold their married friends’ babies because they were unhitched and definitely sleeping around? The lady in question is single and the one with the child is married. Does that mean that men now have the mandate to decide for a woman, who is to hold her baby and who shouldn’t considering the fact that this man, has no relation whatsoever to my friend? Explain the relation between sexual activity and being a contagious transmitter of illnesses to young children. And why are women often judged so harshly in matters sex?

Sometimes it is really difficult to question culture and tradition. And especially, when belief is deeply ingrained in individuals. As a matter of fact I found the whole conversation to be in bad taste. I felt as if the stereotype of women engaging in sexual activity as being dirty, was further being propagated against someone, I was made to vow never to disclose the information to. Of course I wouldn’t. How would I start even?

The fact that it was a man who had come up with this whole conclusion made it even worse. What right did he have to judge a hapless woman who probably had no ill intentions toward the said child? Why didn’t he warn my friend against letting both men and women handle her baby because of their so called philandering ways? Why only the woman?

And was it a possibility now for my friend to avoid her friend and therefore create a rift between them because of this information? Would she be blamed for being suspicious now of her friend’s motives each time she wanted to hold her baby? Isn’t loving one another as we love ourselves the right thing to do?

The fact that in many societies the sexuality of women, is always associated with negativity while the sexuality of men, is often associated with some sense of pride, further contributes to some of these deeply ingrained notions. Indeed it is so bad to the extent where some people believe that women who get raped brought it unto themselves. Perhaps they wore the wrong attire or they attracted the wrong attention or they walked in the wrong places after dark, are the reasons that this section of people use to justify why a woman got raped.

I have encountered misplaced stereotypes in the past against single women living alone. With some men thinking that a woman renting her own place has all the freedom in the world to invite different men to her house for sexual activity. Nobody judges a single guy living alone even though in some cases, the evidence of a string of different women spending the night on consecutive days, is open for others to see. But they are just being typical guys! We often assume. Men and women alike. That is what guys do! We conclude. Save me the explanation that men cannot last long periods without sex.

Since when did chastity only apply to women and not men? But that is how society has over time defined the sexuality of men and women. That is why malicious sexual propaganda is often targeted at the female gender and not the male gender. It is a sad state of affairs and one laden with double standards. When I see learned people who have lived in urban areas thinking the same, I know that it will be nearly impossible to change how things have been.

 

The Day We Decided Black Lives Don’t Matter

There was a point in time when nearly every Kenyan desperately wanted an opportunity to settle in the US.

We had seen the movies.

They all did a good job in portraying the very green pastures that awaited us when we finally relocated. Perhaps we had living testimonies of relatives, who had gotten the opportunity to relocate and we could clearly see, how much their lives had transformed since the move. We yearned to be like them.

To go to a place where tribalism did not exist. Where many diseases had long been put in check. Bye, bye malaria! Where an employee’s efforts were duly rewarded with money that actually seemed to cater fully for one’s needs. Where there was gender equality and a man respected a woman’s opinions and allowed her to spread her wings and fly as far as she wanted.

Where civilization had happened eons ago therefore, the environment was way ahead of time as compared to ours. Where education was termed to be of better quality. Where there stood magnificent skyscrapers and spotlessly clean streets lined with well manicured lawns. We wanted to be the envy of our relatives and have them say “so and so is now an American citizen” in our absence.

My parents’ friends, a couple with two young children then, relocated to the US sometime in 1994. I was only 4 years old then but I can clearly remember the wife telling my mum the good news on a visitors’ bench at the Barclays bank, Eldoret branch.

She was even wearing a red dress that has stubbornly remained etched in my mind since. I surprised my mum quite recently, when I reminded her of the dress color her friend was wearing, the day she revealed that she was moving to the US. The land of opportunities. The family settled in Florida and have been there since.

But looking at my mum’s reaction back then I could already tell how much she would have equally wanted our family to be like theirs. I mean, anyone relocating overseas back then seemed successful. Blessed even. Unfortunately, social media hardly existed then and soon after, as much as my parents would have yearned to keep contact with their friends, they went out of contact. Occasionally, my mum mentions them and tries to imagine how they are as of date.

About a year or so later, one of my sister’s primary school teachers, a Mr. Were, relocated to the US with his family. And the reaction at the good news was pretty much the same. How we wished we equally had the same opportunity as them to have our lives transformed. To experience that exposure. We all viewed the US as a land where all our dreams had a sure possibility of coming true.

However, with the recent happenings, I guess we have been forced to rethink our views.

I’m not trying to imply that the US is nowadays uninhabitable. It is still a wonderful place, judging from the stories we hear from people of Kenyan origin, who have lived and worked there. I mean, they eventually got a Black president! One who surprisingly has Kenyan roots! So to some extent, Kenyans feel a deeper connection to this land of opportunities. I’m sure many of us would still want to relocate.

But the sad reality is that, Black people in the US still feel oppressed to some extent. Black men are increasingly dying senselessly at the hands of the police, who are tasked with protecting the citizen whether Black or White. If there wasn’t a problem in the US, then we wouldn’t be having movements such as the #BLACKLIVESMATTER.

From Trayvon Martin to Alton Sterling to Abdi Mohammed of Kenyan origin to Philando Castille to some who never got to be mentioned on the media, with Trayvon, a then 17 year old, being shot dead by a neighborhood watch volunteer in 2012. For the Black people in the US, they are starting to feel as if their kind is being targeted with violence of some sort. And they are increasingly getting pressured to speak up about it hence the Black Lives Matter movement. Just when did the world decide that dealing with a Black person has to be violent?

My intention in posting this is not to spread any form of propaganda. As a matter of fact, I have lived in Kenya all my life therefore, I cannot confidently state that I have valid reasons as to why there are such occurrences in the US recently. However, the world has since become a global village thanks to the internet and we in Africa, are getting to know about the happenings overseas.

We are starting to question whether we will be safe as people of African heritage if we got an opportunity to relocate to say, the United States, for example. Are we going to be appreciated for our heritage or are we going to be lumped together in the racial stereotyping, that a section of backward minded individuals have chosen to allude to?

The United States of America has come a long way in ensuring equality for all. I remember reading a feature on one of those Readers Digest magazines a few years back, where a story from a Black descendant of a Biracial woman in the United States is told.

This Biracial woman was unusually light skinned and could easily pass for White back then. However, due to her Black roots, she was still considered Black and therefore, could not ride in the first class carriage on the train.

The third class carriage reserved for her kind, was uncomfortable and her mother, in a bid to ease her daughter’s torment and have her travel in comfort in the first class carriage, cleverly dusted her face with face powder to try and trick the White train ticketing staff, into thinking she was White.

Her plan almost worked as the employees’ thinking she was White, allowed her into the first class carriage where she traveled peacefully for a while until sleep overcame her. While dozing off, her hat fell off and one of the staff, could clearly notice a line where the face powder began from the rest of her face.

Sadly, she was immediately relegated back to her kind in the third class carriage. Not without castigation and a tongue lashing. The story of humiliation because of skin color, had been passed down to generations and here was her great great grandson, still recounting it to a magazine writer.

I believe the United States of America has since gone past that period where it was an abomination for the races to mix. Black, White and Asian people share transport systems and amenities as equals with no discrimination of any kind. And since this is and has been happening for decades, I believe that whatever is currently happening can equally be put to a permanent halt.

As Africans, we equally have our own political and tribalism issues to take care of and counter. However, we are not blind to what is happening in other nations in the world. We would like to be assured that if we send our children to the United States for higher learning, they are not going to be targeted by some rogue, racist police at a store somewhere and therefore, shot dead at point blank because of seeming suspicious.

It would indeed tear our hearts to pieces just as it has torn the hearts of the families, who have lost their loved ones in recent times and have been left with the sick feeling, that their loved ones’ skin color might have contributed to their deaths. It would make us feel helpless that in our efforts to give our children a better life, we instead unknowingly led them to their deaths.

We still believe that the United States is a land of opportunities, where the likes of Barack Obama Snr were airlifted in the 50s, to get a higher learning education. We therefore hope that a permanent solution shall be arrived at, for us to live peacefully in the world irrespective of our racial backgrounds.

 

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?

Does Love Constitute Cleaning For Your Boyfriend?

Notice I use the word “boyfriend” and not “your man” because your man, could also be the person you are married to and in such a scenario, cleaning is inevitable really.

ubi.dromhdc.top

ubi.dromhdc.top

I find it pointless really for women who are dating to take it upon themselves to clean their boyfriends’ homes. I come from Africa and in Africa, there is an emphasis on women to prove themselves as worthy wife materials. So what entails wife material you may ask?

Well a wife is a woman who is organized, mature, tidy, ready and capable of bringing forth life and raising children and one who is in a position to take care of a man’s physical needs, nutrition needs as well as his emotional needs, just to give a rough idea of what constitutes wifey material.

I have no problem whatsoever with the characteristics given of a woman who is ready for marriage. After all, someday in future I would love to be accorded the wife and mother status. However, I find it insane really, for a woman who has been in a relationship with a man for say, 1,2,3 months getting down on her knees and scrubbing his floors clean, doing his laundry and just about everything a housekeeper would do on every visit to this man’s house.

Oh, men hate dirty women and I have heard it preached countless times how a dirty girlfriend is such a turn off, repulsive even, for the man she is dating. It is natural for women to be keen on matters hygiene and to ensure that the home reeks of their attention to cleanliness detail, so it is assumed by many of the opposite gender.

Definitely,if this woman is visiting a man she is dating then she should automatically, set out on a mission to ensure that the highest level of cleanliness is attained in his home. Men want to feel like they really do have a woman in their life who would gladly pick up after them, never mind that the relationship’s future hasn’t yet been ascertained. And women would gladly go along with it because in African culture, having wife qualities is such an inherent need.

I tend to find this kind of reasoning so oppressive to the female gender. There’s an option of a woman to visit her boyfriend and actually not do the overall cleaning thing that is kind of, always, secretly expected of her to do. There’s also the right of a woman not to be branded lazy, just because she ignored the pile of dirty laundry sitting in her boyfriend’s laundry basket, the dusty shoes in the corner and the greasy utensils in the sink.

I mean, if this man is old enough to get his own bachelor pad then he is definitely old enough to take care of his cleaning. Expecting a woman he is dating to come and do it for him is akin to him justifying the fact that he is indeed the one who is lazy and incapable of picking up after himself.

If a man would visit my place then I do not expect him to do my cleaning and cooking for me. The same should be applied to a man whose girlfriend pays him a visit. Women are thoroughly turned on by a bachelor pad that is well kept. We will always give a man a 10/10 for having this spotless, fresh space that is well organized. It just goes on to prove to us that it is not always the woman’s duty to organize a man.

So if indeed this man decides to be untidy on purpose just to have his girlfriend do it for him because that’s her “duty” as a woman to prove to him how much of a wife material she is, then it turns out they eventually break up, would it have been of any sense at all for the cleaning she had to do each and every weekend?

If a woman chooses to tidy up her boyfriend’s place, then that’s her personal choice. Perhaps she has weighed her own pros and cons and has since ascertained that the pros outweigh the cons in doing it. However, I shall never be one to pat her on the back for taking up duties, that should have been reserved for later if the relationship eventually morphs into a lifetime one.

There’s a very thin line between gestures of love and transforming into a man’s washer woman. If at all this man’s intention of dating me was to offer me a housekeeping type of employment in addition to the whole package that comes with dating, then I would rather take the high road.

I’m not one who would visit a man and not lift a finger. My womanly nature would not allow me even, to ignore utensils that need washing after dinner. However, I’m equally not a woman who would spend the better part of her Saturday, covered in soap suds as I busily do a home makeover for a man who clearly has issues with being tidy.

That is not my duty to make him tidy. It is equally not my duty to prove to him how much of a good wife material I can make. Any man intending to get hitched to a particular woman in future, would have already seen all of her wifely qualities beforehand. This idea of “prove to me” is only but an excuse of being patriarchal.

Your thoughts?

Must You Be Gay To Work In A Hair Salon As A Male?

A Hair Salon. en.wikipedia.org

A Hair Salon. en.wikipedia.org

My  current employment entails a lot of moving around. Just the other day, I walked into a hair salon for non-hair related errands. As I was chatting with the female employees, mostly explaining why I was there and what I wanted, in sauntered a girlish looking male. I could have been forgiven to think he was a woman with a quick glance at him, judging by his equally very female walking style and demeanor. I had to look again just to be sure that he was indeed a man. And yep, he happened to be one of the employees at the salon.

Encountering this man made me look back at all the other instances where I had walked into a salon and met a male employee who by all means acted female and looked female. I do not wish to jump into conclusions but such occurrences are usually attributed to the fact that these kinds of men, who act all girlish definitely have to be gay, in my country.

True to the assumption, some of them are indeed gay and not ashamed of that fact. It could also be a contributing reason for them to have a preference to work in the salon industry, seeing that their girlish tendencies could not be accommodated in the tough, male dominated fields.To be honest, rarely would you find a male with girlish tendencies working kazi ya mjengo (construction work in Swahili) or in the Jua Kali sector (informal sector) mainly a preserve for male workers.

But are we indeed right in dismissing all the men in the salon industry as gay “weak” men??

A few years back, there is a salon I loved to frequent. Two of the workers happened to be every inch the Meru (a Kenyan ethnic group they both belonged to) men. Both of them were married with a child each yet these same men, could give you the best nail services you would have ever wished for. I remember one of them sharing tips with me, on how I should file my nails so that they wouldn’t break easily if they were long and I had to do house chores. Eventually, they moved away and opened their own salon.

Seeing how Meru men in my country are considered males deeply in touch with their masculinity, would we then have been justified in concluding that these two men of the same community were gay? Better yet, do we consider the woman fraternity so fickle to the extent where people of the opposite sex, who choose to work in fields where there is a lot of interaction with women, are considered weak or having an abnormality of sorts?

If you ask me, I would prefer male hairdressers, manicurists and pedicurists any time over their female counterparts. I find men more sincere with their work and thorough than a couple of women in the salon industry.

In recent times, we have seen the word metrosexual being thrown around. Again this reminds me of an incident in the same salon where the two men I have talked about worked. One weekend, I decided to get a pedicure done. Lo and behold, just sitting opposite me was a father who had brought his lovely daughter to the salon, with really long natural hair which caught my attention the minute I walked in, to have it braided. Instead of leaving her in the capable hands of the hairdresser, this dad had decided to keep her company and while away the time getting a full pedicure done. He had even rolled up his trousers to the knees for the exercise!

And while I was a bit taken aback then, I really admired his parenting style. I mean, this was a typical African man, Black man even, for those who are more comfortable with that term, who had opted to do what has for years been reserved for the mothers and wives and that was, accompany his daughter to the salon and actually keep her company! I felt like other fathers could learn a thing or two from him. And so what if he was getting a full pedicure done?! Couldn’t a man be allowed to pamper himself at times?! Can we confidently call this man a metrosexual or gay even?!

I find the idea behind assuming all men in the salon industry to be gays as stereotypical and bordering on the homophobic. I’m no advocate for gays, don’t get me wrong. However, I wouldn’t spend my time hating on them and lumping them together in a category, I assume is befitting for them like working in a hair salon for example. As much as we would like to live in denial as Kenyans, the gay community is in fact in most of the fields in our country. Some of them we can’t even easily tell that they are gays yet they are bankers, economists, lawyers, businessmen, your cab guy, you name it.

Just because a section of men tend to be inclined to act more of female than male does not automatically translate to them being gay. And no, it is not a requirement to be gay in order to handle women in a salon. As a matter of fact, it would be insulting to insinuate that women matters such as hair dos, manicures and pedicures have to  be done by men who are “out of ordinary” in their sexual orientation. And if we would like to stick to that stereotypical thought, then would it equally be in order to state that women in the matatu (public transport) industry are lesbians as well?

Being a rough, male dominated field, these women have to literally discard their femininity in order to fit in. They have to dress in trousers, have their voices transformed into a hoarse rasp just from all that yelling for commuters on a daily basis and actually act tough to be able to compete effectively with the men in the same field. Why doesn’t anyone feel inclined to call them lesbians for acting male and for choosing a field, that for years was reserved exclusively for men? Is it because we come from a society where everything associated with men is more serious, as opposed to what is associated with women and therefore, women who venture into it are meant to be applauded for it not branded?

Have we actually taken time to understand the motivation behind these women choosing to work in the matatu industry? Have we thought of something to do for them in order to uplift them and in the process get them back in touch with their femininity? Most of these women are single mothers fending for their children and with the non-employment issue in our country, even a male dominated field could do for them. For some, being in this industry is actually a passion. Something they love to do.

Isn’t it time that we also thought of viewing men working in the salon industry as people of the opposite sex who were passionate with everything beauty related? Perhaps it could have been the only thing that they are really good at and if at all it puts food on the table, why not?