This dopamine is no joke, man!

Every so often I’ll write a bit of nonsense without thinking too hard about what I’m saying, often pulling stuff out of the deep dark recesses of my brain, stuff that ended up there through the most dubious of processes, like watching news, or reading a book I picked up, just because I was idle and looking to kill a couple of hours.  That’s how I first learnt about dopamine, in a peculiar Rom Com called...wait for it...Dopamine.  Now because the human memory is a fickle creature, I can’t remember what the point to the movie was, but I remember the random chemical term thrown in, and the flimsy story line built around it. 

Shock on me when I’m reading this article last night, What Turns You On? 10 Fascinating Facts About Sexual Attraction, and I find out that what I was using as a convenient excuse for foolish behaviour is actually the real deal.  In exploring the link between music and getting it on, “researchers at McGill University in Toronto did PET scans and MRIs on eight participants, age 19-24, while they were listening to self-chosen “chill-inducing” music, and found that while dopamine was present in the brain during the music it spiked up to 9% around the “chilling” passages.”  I know, 9% doesn’t really seem too impressive, but consider this,  “In fact, in a study commissioned by Spotify on 18- to 91-year-olds in the UK on the relationship between music and romance, 40% said the background music would be a more likely turn-on than their partner’s touch.”  Folks, its official, this dopamine story is the real deal.  Or not?

Because I’m quite idle, I set out to do what I initially thought would be some light reading, to try and figure out what exactly this chemical is, and more importantly, how to synthesise the damn thing, so I could make some money off it.  You know what they say about best laid plans?  Two hours later I was even more confused and suffering a mild stress headache because I don’t have my specs on (long story, don’t ask).  Nkt!  Light reading my ass...  On the off chance you get possessed to read up, do NOT go to the Wikipedia page, not unless you have a degree in medicine, or are looking to fall asleep in under a minute.  “Dopamine (abbreviated as DA[1]), a simple organic chemical in the catecholamine family, is a monoamine neurotransmitter, which has a number of important physiological roles in the bodies of animals.” That’s the first line.  Good, no?  No.  As always, when stuck I turn to the urban dictionary, to read what other clueless people think, and it didn’t disappoint: “It's a catecholamine neurotransmitter, which means it sends a message in your brain to tell you that you think that girl you're looking at is fitter to make offspring with than any other dame.”  Even better, no?  No.  Do you now see what I’ve been dealing with? 

Simply, and possibly erroneously, put, dopamine is one of the chemicals responsible for transmitting signals between nerve cells (neurons), kind of like a messenger.  Now the way they tell it, dopamine is responsible for everything from motor function to long term planning to personality, and yes, to addiction; again from Wikipedia, “Dopamine has many functions in the brain, including important roles in behaviour and cognition, voluntary movement, motivation, punishment and reward, inhibition of prolactin production (involved in lactation and sexual gratification), sleep, dreaming, mood, attention, working memory, and learning.”  I’ll steer clear of how exactly it does all these things, because, in truth, I still don’t get it.  And as much as the relationship between dopamine and personality is fascinating (I told you I’m idle), that’s beyond the scope of today’s post, that and the fact that I suspect you’d lynch me if I subjected you to it.  Because I’m not a scientist, and because I have somewhat deviant tendencies (as do you, no?), I’ll restrict myself to dopamine and love, or sex, and summarise. 

Dopamine is called the learning and reward chemical, released under positive stimuli, and negative apparently, although that’s still up for discussion (What is dopamine?).  What happens is this, and if there’s any scientist out there, please correct me if I’m talking shit, dopamine is released when you have a rewarding experience, and then it’s released again when you see the cue for that same experience, because the body wants more rewards i.e. pleasure.  Hence, learning and rewards.  Problem is this only works with unexpected rewards, once the body gets used to it, less dopamine is released.  Yaani, for those of you staring at the screen with glazed eyes right now, that shit don’t last forever.  From what I’ve read, whenever we experience something new, something unexpected that we enjoy, our brain doses us with a hit of dopamine, branding the experience as something good that we would like to repeat.  The more unexpected it is, the bigger the hit, which is why as we get more and more of said experience, that is, as it becomes less unexpected and more regular, the hits gets smaller.  If you think of dopamine as the mind’s way of kicking the body into high gear, to search for the reward, then once the reward becomes easier to obtain, guaranteed so to speak, the body no longer needs to work as hard to get it, and thus no need for the kick start.  Can you see where I’m going with this? 

What?  You didn’t really think I’d waste a beautiful sunny afternoon on scientific exploration, just?  What the hell do I look like, a nerd?  Please don’t answer that...

This thing called dopamine is the reason you’re attracted to, and persist in chasing, the unattainable, and why once you get it, you no longer want it any more.  Say, for example, you meet a disturbingly hot dude, a man who delights in being unavailable, and completely unsuitable to boot.  You chase said man, or let him chase you, reluctant to be caught, but ever so curious to find out what the catching will be like.  As tends to happen, the day comes along when it all comes together, and before you know it, the reward has been sampled.  And you like it!  And then he buggers off, such as that type tends to, and you’re left craving another fix.  Ten months later he reappears, and you instantly go into overdrive, you get another hit.  You know you really shouldn’t, but dammit if it doesn’t feel like the best you’ve ever had, at that moment at least.  This time he sticks around, and before you know it, he becomes a regular occurrence in your life, only now, the hit is not as intense, and the high is not nearly as high as it used to be.  In time, the man who seemed to be the best thing since sliced bread now looks, and tastes, like Supa Loaf, worse still, the fake one.  Dopamine is the reason we keep falling for bad boys, and why it never lasts, it's a brain defect, perhaps. 

That makes you feel better, no?  No?  Ah well...

On the up side, dopamine is also the reason the spark goes out of your relationship, eventually.  Yes, I said up side, si you give me a chance to explain?  Impatient buggers...    It’s inevitable, you see, for as long as you keep getting the rewards you seek, be it love or sex, in time it loses its appeal, and you start craving a new high, which is why the Maker had the good sense to throw in another chemical, oxytocin.  Sorry, I couldn’t help it, but you had to know I was going to throw in another one.  This science story is a slippery slope, no?  Oxytocin is the bonding chemical in your brain, it’s what keeps us from hopping from partner to partner at random, like junkies chasing the ever elusive high.  When you get intimate with someone, physically and emotionally, your brain secretes this little beauty, in part, I suspect, to mitigate for the drop in dopamine.  Put differently, if not for the bond you feel for the former dopamine inducer, you would have buggered off long ago, in search of that new high.  And if this ‘cuddle’ chemical doesn’t kick in, then what?  Then perhaps you might want to consider walking away, think of it as your mind’s way of telling your body to keeping looking.  It sounds harsh, but sometimes there’s no point fighting nature, no? 

The point to all this?  I have more time on my hands than I know what to do with.  The other point to this?  So do you, clearly, you’ve just sat through 1400 words on a random chemical in your brain.  And the real point to this?  At the end of the day, irrational longing and constantly chasing what you don’t, or can’t, or maybe shouldn’t, have is simply a factor of biology, it’s your body doing what your mind tells it to, without question.  That’s just how we do, no?  The trick, however, is not to get too wrapped up in the temporary high, instead realising that it will fade, and when it does you can only hope to have a bond worth talking about to fall back on.  Perhaps instead of chasing that truly, madly, deeply feeling infatuation junkies like myself seem to be hooked on, perhaps we need to start looking beyond the explosive beginnings and focus on the seemingly ‘boring’ ever after.  Seems to me, dopamine isn’t much to talk about in comparison to oxytocin, because what can be better than a genuine bond, except... perhaps... I can’t think of anything, can you?

Langa bastards and philanderers, serial monogamists, commitment phobes and perpetual singletons, we all have one thing in common, a weakness (or is it fondness?) for dopamine and a (some might say troubling?) immunity to oxytocin.  The good news is, however, that there's hope for us, all it takes is a bit of research (and perhaps a lot of restraint), and maybe we can train our minds to respond to meaningful rewards, instead of our usual nonsense highs.  Put differently, stop stressing and cut yourself some slack, we’re all a little fucked up, literally, best we can do is learn from the past and keep moving forward, no?  


Introducing... JayK!

You have to love this man, he writes me comments that are longer than my posts, and I don’t mind.    Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present the ever mysterious JayK aka JaybloodyK aka JayfreakingK, he that’s more popular here than I am, and I don’t bloody mind that either.  This was his comment, comment mind you, on my 'man in the mirror (and super chicken)' post, and because it has a questionnaire, and you know how much I love me a good questionnaire, I thought to put it up, so as to make it easier for you to look yourself in his mirror.  Proceed...


As the Nairobi chaterrati go ballistic on social media over the nomination of Ferdinand a.k.a Cliff as governor and Gideon Mbuvi a.k.a Mike Sonko as senator, what all these whining twitter gangsters and facebook thugs overlook is that people are a product of their environment and as such, will vote for the guy they perceive has a similar outlook in life like they (the voters) do. And in our beloved class-stratified Nairobi, there are 2 main environments/strata, regardless of residential or socio-economic status: the mtaa mentality best exemplified by Eastlanders and the bourgeoisie mentality, usually found in those hailing from the more gentrified Westlands-Karen area codes.

Despite the fact that many of us deceive ourselves that we are above such ‘elitist/divisive’ categorization, truth is, we are all products of our environments and our outlook, attitudes, behaviour and voting patterns are influenced by our social backgrounds, upende usipende! So to guide you along in identifying in which area you real primal self belongs, herein is a simple, tongue-in-cheek self-exam to help you know who you truly are at the core. (Note: Key-word here: tongue-in-cheek! No need to go all twirra-&-stone-throwing gangsterific on my ass!)

Why would you want to know this information? Because it will help you understand why you sometimes do the things you do and why those in touch with their inner core vote the way they do. Plus this Knowledge will help you digest the soon-to-be expected unimaginable gut-wrenching heart-stopping election results to expect on March 4th.

Here goes (and please answer honestly. You owe yourself that! As for you Alex, tafadhali wacha kutengeneza mwakenya :-(! It’s just a self-evaluation exam. :-)


1.      Its payday and you have some money to spare and want to upgrade your wardrobe. When deciding on where to go shop, do you:
a)       Head to the ‘glitziest’ shopping mall to buy ‘designer brand-names’
b)      Go to the nearest flee market to look for bargains, regardless of whether the label on the item is Gucci or Guchi?
c)       Head to some ‘exhibition stalls’ to check out the latest designer knock-offs and try to bargain your way to pay less than the item is worth?

2.      There’s a long holiday weekend coming up and you want to entertain yourself with some movies. Do you:
a)       Go to the big Cineplex to get the whole 3-D big screen experience
b)      Visit the local movie guy to get pirated versions of the same movie at 50/-
c)       Buy an unlimited internet bundle or visit a super-fast cyber cafĂ© or use your office’s super-fast internet connection to download the same movies

3.      Its celebration time e.g. Birthday, graduation, engagement, stag/hen night, baby-shower etc. and you’re hosting. Do you:
a)       Hire out a club/restaurant, with professional catering and an open-bar with the swankiest of spirits on offer
b)      Buy some crates of liquor, get some relatives to offer free cooking services and host the gig at your crib
c)       Fundraise from friends, Hire out some grounds, put up a tent. Have basic catering but no liquor. Make it a BYOB bash.


1.      You have to transact with ‘gava’ e.g. Acquire ID, Pay taxes, rates, renew DL etc. Knowing how snail-fast the queues are likely to be, do you:
a)       Whine about it on ‘twirra/FB’, then send your driver, messenger, lawyer etc. to do it for you as you are too busy with more important stuff like tweeting?
b)      Factor in an extra  200/- to 500/- for ‘facilitation’ services and once you get to the queue, seek out the nearest ‘facilitator’ e.g. Watchie, office messenger, cleaner etc., ask them to sort you out with the required documentation and in less than 30 minutes after you entered the offices, you’ve been sorted while other hapless fellows are still in the queue despite coming before you?

2.      One night during a black-out, you hear a noise in your neighbour’s backyard yet you know that the family had travelled. On looking, you see some ne’er-do-wells ‘liberating’ your neighbour’s tires from his parked car. Do you:
a)       Close your curtains, duck under the bed and stay silent, hoping that the thugs didn’t spot you. After they leave, that is when you get the ‘courage’ to call the cops. Then the next morning, you go all ‘gangsta’ on FB/Twirra, bemoaning the lack of security in our country and how cops took ‘forever’ to respond?
b)      Raise the alarm, grab some farm tools and with a neighbourhood lynch-mob, proceed to confront the vagrants and possibly dish out some ‘local justice’?


1.      You have a decent budget & you’re looking for a place to stay. Do you:
a)       Look for a diggz in those respectable neighbourhoods found in the west & north of Nai so as to present an image of success, never mind the fact that you’re paying a high premium just for name only and that you can get a similar sized crib for half the rate in another part of town?
b)      Act rational, get a medium-sized diggz in an affordable part of town and use the savings to pay for something else, even though the water-and-electricity supply in your area is erratic and the security questionable?
c)       Look for a bed-sitter/hostel in a bougie part of town where the rent is killing you financially but hey, at least you can get to say you live in Kile/Lavi/Westlands/South B etc. Plus, as you never ever invite anyone to your diggz, they’ll never actually get to see how niggardly you’re living?

2.      You have to head into town for some shopping. Do you:
a)       Try and avoid it at all costs and if unable, take a cab and stay only in uptown, viewing anything beyond Stanley hotel as dangerous, crime-infested territory. And when through, call another cab and pay 800/- rather than ‘risk’ going downtown to Tom Mboya street to take a 50/- mat? 
b)      Panda a mat and go bila reservations, seeking for bargains from uptown hadi downtown a.k.a. Luthuli/River Road. When through, you’ll just take a mat home bila worries.


When selecting where to go for higher education, you & your sponsors opted for:
a)       Prestige / reputation above all else. And none better than those huko ‘majuu’. But if visa/costs were a MINOR hindrance, then a private university was the obvious choice. Public Uni was only good for breeding ruffians and stone-throwers! 
b)      College ni College! That was the dominant line-of-thought. Bora they were accredited by ‘gava’, what mattered was the cost. After all, the name on the certs doesn’t matter as much as the ability of the individual.
c)       A hybrid route where you went to private but one that had an ‘affiliation’ with an ‘international’ university so that you could say that you did an ‘international’ degree but at a local institution.


After graduating, it’s time to get a Job/work experience. Do you:
a)       Use your family’s connections to either get a job in the family business or land a nice position in a multi-national company (i.e. Tarmacking to you is a foreign concept)?
b)      Hustle juu chini to get a job in any company, whether big or small. And if unsuccessful, start a ka-small biz to keep you going?
c)       Despite lacking family/friend connections, keep your efforts solely concentrated towards multinational companies as they are more prestigious plus local ones are too stingy pay-wise. And if none is forthcoming, afadhali spend your time at home rather than start a ‘ka-stall’ biashara which is demeaning to your degree?


When selecting a candidate in elections, you look for:
a)       The candidate with a firm grasp of issues, with clear policy proposals on how to tackle the problems. Issues of tribe, race, gender are inconsequential so long as the candidate is able to perform. Plus he/she has a highly distinguished record in the public/private sector and hasn’t been associated with any scandal.
b)      The candidate who looks, walks and talks like you. His/her background mirrors yours. Plus he/she belongs to your preferred tribe, gender, race, religion. As for those allegations of involvement in crime/corruption, so what? Si bora the candidate shared some of the bounty with you through generous harambee donations and sponsorships. Plus, when ‘breaking the law’ via throwing stones and inciting us against that other community, si he/she was doing it for us? Hawa matajiri na ma-barbie waache kutuambia vile tutapiga kura!!!

If most of your answers were:

a)       Congratulations. You are a bona-fide member of the bourgeoisie hence your disillusionment with everything government-related and your over-whelming, vaguely disguised desire for class-based divisions. For you, uhuruto/Waititu/Sonko’s candidature is a sure sign of hell-on-earth and you wish Mutunga and co. can quickly find some legal technicality for barring their candidature otherwise Kenya’s reputation will sink further than it has.

My advice: smoke a blunt (or in your bougie case, chew a few more weed-muffins-&-cookies and chillax.  Isn’t this the democracy you wankers are always yapping on about?

b)      Wazi Jo! We ni mse wa mtaa, hata kama ulihama ukaenda kuishi ubabini! Hawa wadhii wadosi huwa wanafikiria eti Kenya ni yao na walami wenzao ndio tufuatane na hizo amri zao! Watashangaa! Hao ni wenye nchi lakini sisi ndio wananchi!

My advice: Dude, sio kila mtu ako na pesa ako against you! And just because some goon is leading the fight/stone-throwing/wall-punching against some ‘land-grabbers’ doesn’t mean he has your best interests at heart. Analyze vitu kwanza and make a rational choice kabla kupiga kura!

c)       For the few questions where option c) was your preferred choice, my condolences! You clearly belong to the class of ‘wannabe’s’ – those who want to belong to the bourgeoisie despite having mtaani-type tendencies! Ironically, this is where most of us Nairobians belong, hence our ‘peculiar’ habits! My advice to those of us in this category: pick a bloody side, embrace it and own it! We can all see the hypocrisy in you, so do yourself and society a favour, accept the inner you and COMMIT to it, Dammit!


Please note:
1.      It is not based on where you reside but rather on your mental outlook. You could live in the swankiest of neighbourhoods e.g. Karen-Runda and still have a mtaa mentality. And as rare as it is, you could be in a mtaa area but still ascribe to bougie ideologies.
2.      No side is better/superior than the other. All have their upsides and downsides and no-one chose into which one he/she would be born into.
3.      While this self-test is slightly stereotypical, it is based on observable attitudes from various members of the different socio-economic backgrounds. Besides, stereotypes usually derive from some element of truth don’t they?
4.      To those offended, there will be no apologies coming! Not now, not ever! Simply because: 
                          i.      An apology would be hypocritical of us. Alex & I don’t give an F**K about your sensibilities, plus, we are real to the most important people in our lives: ourselves!
                        ii.      If you truly are offended about this post, then the stick up your ass must be so thick, it constipates you! Cultivate a sense of humour won’t you?
                      iii.      No one forced you to read this blog. You could always close this tab and go back to more important tasks like venting your issues on social media and/or engaging the police in stone-throwing.
                       iv.      Lastly, and more importantly, uta do?! Kama wewe ni msee wa mtaa, chances are you’ve got bigger issues to fry than some raving lunatic’s opinions on the web and if you’re a ‘twirra’ gangster, again me & Alex ask, with all sincerity, UTA DO?

Soundtrack:      Usher – Hush
Patrick Stump ft. Lupe Fiasco – This City
Leonard Cohen – Everybody Knows


This one is about the man in the mirror, smoking tyres and a super chicken!

So these geniuses?  I mean really, there’s silly season, and then there’s party nomination season.  Can you say farce?  Just when I think our politicians can sink no lower, they manage to find the trap door at the bottom of their filthy little worlds.  On the up side though, the anguish they’ve caused is welcome entertainment for cynical bastards like myself, because now I get to say, ‘I told so, but you didn’t listen, did you?  Oh no no no…  You were too busy listening to the bullshit talk of new constitutions and other such like nonsense, thinking that a piece of paper would suffice…’  You should see the grin on my face right now, not even threats of hate speech will make me stop.  ‘And why am I so happy?’ you ask, thrown by my peculiar enthusiasm for politics, today that is.  ‘Let me show you my lovelies,’ she chuckles, evil gleam in her eye…

Ah the glorious ‘middle class’ citizens of Nairobi, useless langas of great repute, legendary whiners and twitteratti of note… they are all, to a man, upset.  Why?  Because a crude, stone-throwing, kanjora-type had the audacity, the audacity I say, to win his party’s nomination for governor of this great City of Nairobi.  Has he no shame???  And it gets worse, he beat an esteemed corporate money man, the kind of man with a face made to be on our money, a serious man.  Serious, I tell you.  (Just to be clear, when I say beat, I am not speaking literally, although if it had come down to it, I suspect the man would have kicked real ass, no?  I’m just saying …)  The audacity (and you must read this part with a snooty English accent), the audacity of this ‘underclass upstart’, the audacity of the man, to think he can do a better job than the man who knows how to sell stocks and shares, such like technical matters?  Audacity!  And then it got even worse, this shameless man then went on to kick another esteemed corporate money man’s ass, on TV.  Gasp!  The ‘middle class’ collectively fainted in distress.  Across the city, hundreds were slumped in front of their flat screens, holding their heads in despair, as the harsh reality dawned on them… that they are well and truly fucked.  Fucked how?  Does that man look like a man who forgives and forgets?  Once he figures out twirra, you best know he’s coming for your ass.  Kileleshwa be afraid, he’s coming…‘Eye of the Tiger’ is now playing in the background…The Gavana is coming! 

I haven’t had this much fun since idiots got themselves worked up over ‘primitive energy’, it’s like Christmas all over again… 

You don’t understand why I’m laughing?  Didn’t I tell you?  I’m laughing at you buggers, not the politicians.  Yes, you, bloody idiots who refused to get your hands dirty.  If you cared so much about the city, you’d have gone out to vote for ‘your man’, but you didn’t, and now I have absolutely no sympathy for you.  None.  Truth be told, I think Waititu is just the man for the job, not because he’s qualified, but because he is the best reflection of this city that we have had in a long time, not since the mayor dude who was ‘chot’ in his ‘end’ (I forget his name, that lovely genius of a man).  Stop frowning, you know it’s true.  We are a bunch of greedy, self-serving, occasionally vicious, law breaking gangsters.  All of us.  We have shit traffic, because we can’t drive for shit.  We have crime, because we’re all out here looking for a quick buck, and are willing to do anything, and I mean anything, to get it.  We are educated, but choose not to use our education to engage in reasoned behaviour, instead preferring the law of the jungle, or just the jungle.  We claim to be against corruption et al, but will quickly drop a note or two at the first sight of a tender, no?  (Guys of ‘sharas just laughed, its how we do, no?)  Face it, the only difference between us and The Gavana is that we hide our filth under shinier suits.  That and the fact that he throws a stone better than your manicured ass ever will. 

Don’t cry… 

Come now, my lovelies, its only 5 years, what’s the worst that can happen?  Insert evil laughter here…

In news of other cities, buggers must stop burning tyres.  No really, just stop.  Do you know what they put in that rubber?  It’s not good for your health, man, inhaling those fumes.  You’ve seen the warning about ciggies and impotence, join the dots…  The smoke is black, for crying out loud, black!  I’m also not entirely clear on the message you’re trying to send, are the powers that be scared of small fires, or molten rubber, or do the flames add dramatic tension…what?  I don’t get it, seems like a lot of effort to go to, just to be ignored.  Whats that?  You don’t actually think a couple of smoking tyres will make those twits see sense, do you?  You do?  You poor deluded creature.  Listen, if you don’t like the idiot who won, well, stole, the nomination, then just vote for the other guy, and there’s always another guy, no?  What about Haki Yetu?’ you wail.  Ptuh!  If we had any real haki’s, we wouldn’t be the buggers out on the street, in the hot sun, choking on fumes (and this while they sit in a small air-conditioned room, making loose decisions to screw us over), would we now?  Either way, burning tyres is bad for your health, so don’t do it.  Why not burn some hyacinth, dreaded weed that it is?  You keep complaining its killing your beloved lake, why not put it to some good use?  Better yet, why not just burn a great big heap of another weed, if you catch my meaning?  You still won’t change anything, but you’ll be much mellower, and therefore less inclined to block roads and what not. 

In more serious news, Kenyan scientists have just created…wait for it…a chicken.  A hybrid chicken, to be precise, bred specifically for our harsh climate.  Apparently, those imported mzungu chickens can’t handle the hot African sun, and dodgy chicken food, seems they drop dead at random when subjected to harsh living conditions.  But fret no more, those days are gone.  KARI creates 35,000 super chicken.  Folks, there’s a new chicken in town, and its not just any chicken, it’s a super chicken!  80 more eggs per year?  What!!!  Do you know what we can do with 80 more eggs, per bird, per year?  Do the math, that’s some good money.  And don’t forget the savings made, thanks to the lower costs of rearing said chicken, says one Dr Anne Wachira, “The birds' quiet temperament and excellent feathering also allows it to adapt to the tough conditions, while also growing faster than ordinary birds.”  No, I’m not making this up, it was in the paper and everything.  And no, I’m not being sarcastic either, this is truly some revolutionary shit.  This here is that innovation they were talking about in Vision 20(kendo)30, not that pie in the sky dream of a Silicon Savannah in Masaku.  My friend, this bird is what we’ve been waiting for all our lives.  Chicken farmers of Kenya, rejoice!


Are you a lady? I suspect I'm not...

I was meant to write this post ages ago before I got sidetracked by, well, stuff, but things have started to settle down a bit and I finally have time to have a slightly more serious conversation with you.  For those of you who weren’t here last year, all 3 of you, Aint nothing going on but the rent? was my misguided attempt at tackling the women and money question that seems to have become a national obsession, if the mass media is to be believed, but this one is not about vilifying women for looking out for number one, today I want to know, what is your definition of a lady, and, more importantly, do you consider yourself one? 

Incidentally, this is part follow up and part apology; I’m at Munene’s this week, making a nuisance of myself, such as I do, as I argue in defence of men and their money, not too well I might add.  Now because there’s a random chance that my foot in mouth tendencies shall come back to bite me, here, I thought to put up a slightly more sober post, because the last thing I need is for strangers to find the sewer on my front page.  That’s right people, there’s a BOGOF today, well, BOGTF if you count the sewer tale I’ve posted as well, just because.   

This lady story is always a bit of a sticky topic, seeing as the definition of a lady is, a. highly subjective, and b. highly emotive.  In the traditional sense, lady conjures up images of a demure woman in a floral, ankle-length frock with matching gloves and shoes, and perhaps a little parasol to boot.  Think Downton Abbey, only with black people.  I know, it’s a bit of stretch, but it’s the best I could come up with on a Monday night.  A lady does not shout, or laugh with her mouth open, or eat with her hands, or cross her legs when she sits, or smoke, or drink anything foamy, or walk ahead of her man, or moan when she comes… sorry, the last one was uncalled for.  That myth is peddled by the same people who’ve been shoving the knight in shining armour lie in our face our entire lives, the evil Disney Corporation.  That’s right folks, all those seemingly harmless stories of a pale-faced, 12-inch-waisted damsel in distress and her disproportionately broad shouldered blonde prince charming were all a devious ploy to keep you buying whatever nonsense they were selling.  That you happened to end up thoroughly fucked up for life was just a lucky coincidence. 

I suspect that rant was unnecessary, but what the hell, right?

Part of the reason our fantasy of knights remains so attractive to us is because it also includes a very attractive image of ourselves, all Cinderella’d up and what not, we’re the pretty damsel whose life has just been magically transformed.  Problem is, there are even fewer damsels out here than knights.  Are you that plastic Barbie-esque creature the media keeps thrusting in our faces as the ideal woman, all ‘ladylike’ and shit?  Take the test and find out: Are you a lady?  Just so you know, my score was zero (really, Z.E.R.O.), and I was reliably informed that not only am I not a lady, at all, I am also somewhat crude and in need of urgent lessons in the ladylike graces and what not.  You gotta love the internet, no?  No.  I went off in search of another quiz, and I found one, The Are You A Lady Test, and on this one I scored a whopping 86%, if you can believe it.  Just goes to prove that you should never trust an online test (except that one for IQ’s that said I’m a genius, that one was very accurate, but I digress).  So?  Have you taken the test?  Are you a lady?  Not so much, I’m guessing.  Why then do you insist on subjecting men to similarly unrealistic standards?  Are you, in fact, delusional?  

It goes without saying that I do not subscribe to their narrow definitions of a lady, ati a woman who crosses her legs at her ankles and carries the smallest purse possible.  What the…?  In what world is that even logical?  I do agree that being a lady is about carrying yourself with a certain amount of class, but I do not think class is only about deportment.  Class, to my mind, is about integrity, and honesty, and perhaps some basic good manners.  A classy lady, scratch that, a classy woman, is a woman who knows who and what she is, and therefore cannot be bothered wasting time trying to be someone else.  This woman is comfortable in her skin, because she is more than skin deep, no? 

You know what?  To hell with this nonsense.  I’ve decided to discount everything I’ve just read and write my own list of what a lady, make that a classy woman, should be, because I like to write lists, and I don’t like being told to act like I have a stick up my ass, sorry, bum.

1. A class act will put down her fork and knife and grab the bloody chicken wings with her fingers, because she knows that finger food was so named for a very good reason.  She will not, however, lick her fingers clean, unless she’s in her house, because that can get a bit messy if not done right (although I’m not sure that there’s a right way to lick barbeque sauce off your fingers). 

2. A class act does not show up on a date with two of her friends, and proceed to drink the poor bastard, well, poor.  She will also show up with some money in her purse, because she has no issues paying a bill every once in a while. 

3. A class act does not wear a mini skirt she considers too short, and I assume she considers it too short because she keeps tugging it down, all the bloody time.  Note that I didn’t say a class act will not wear a mini skirt, I believe any woman with half decent legs owes it to the world to show them off, although perhaps within reason, and at certain times.  The same applies to half decent boobs, and asses.  Show them off with pride, and comfort, or don’t show them off at all.

4. A class act is mindful of how she talks.  I’m not talking about swearing (although perhaps limiting the curses to the odd ‘shit!’ may be advisable, especially in more polite company), I’m referring to knowing when to talk and when to shut up, because sometimes listening is just as important; how to talk to (all) people with respect, including rude security guards; how to restrain yourself from TMI-ing or hogging the conversation with your self-centred blather; how to conduct (seemingly) intelligent conversations if need be; most important, how to be genuine when you speak, because no one likes to talk to someone who’s trying very hard to sound like someone else. 

5. A class act is proud to earn a living for her own damn self, and does not expect anyone else, man included, to do it for her.  If the only reason you’re with someone, friend or lover, is because they’re your stepping stone to better things, you need to grow up and stop treating people like ladders.

6. A class act does not force a man into marrying her, using an ‘accidental’ child.  Don’t look at me like that, this nonsense of ‘Oops!  Imagine it just happened…’ must end.  Look at it this way, if the man is foolish enough to shag you without protection, and you him, then perhaps yours are not genes to be replicated, no?  Just a thought…

7. A class act does not write me hate mail, or angry comments.  No really, she doesn’t.

That last one is a bit self serving, no?  Ah well… 

For as long as women keep insisting on holding men to ridiculously high standards, making more and more unreasonable demands, then we will have to match them, stride for bloody stride.  You want a man who always looks good, dresses flash, drives the right car and lives in the right neighbourhood?  Right back at you babes.  This means no more weaves and sleeping in head scarves, no more dusty shoes, or flats for that matter, and no more living in the cheaper outskirts of the city where rent is affordable.  Do you insist that your man be of a certain income bracket?  Well how about that… so does he!  And now your broke ass will never date above your current station in life.  You want a man to cater to your every whim?  Sure, no problem, but be prepared to do the same, which means quitting your job to stay at home and raise the ten kids, cooking and cleaning all day, washing his socks and underwear every morning and preparing his bath every night.  Stop cringing, that’s what you asked for, no?  That fantasy nonsense you’re so hung up on, it’s a double edged sword.  

Put differently, be careful what you ask for, you might just get it.

A first time, for everything, and I mean, everything.

Aaaahhh… the thrill of new sex!  It’s the best part about being single, or a langa, isn’t it?  The lovely possibility of another first time.  The first time you kiss someone new, the first time you touch her soft skin, the first time you rub your cheek against his stubble, the first time you see them half naked, the first time you see them all naked, the first time you touch… 

You know where I’m going, don’t you?  As always, fragile love-making souls leave now, lest you get offended by the word sex, or member.  No wait, don’t go, this one will be quite mild as far as sewer tales go.  Or not, I’ll warn you if it’s about to go south, further south that is…  My people, it would appear that in my foolishness I have managed to make a name for myself, such as it is, as the teller of all tales sewer, and any attempt to stray from this role is met with some (vocal) discontent.  Fair enough, there are worse tags to be stuck with, and I do like to talk about sex, but know that even as I do this, I only do it so I can be left to my own devices the rest of the month.  What I’m saying is, if I give you what you want, then you will have to let me do what I want, bila complaints, deal?  I’m talking to you Bwana Mahe, a.k.a. the newly crowned Mayor of The Sewer (crowned purely on account of shards of ice and what not, see ON THE DOWN LOW…), a.k.a. he that demands a shout out.  Moving swiftly along.

Don’t it feel good babe, don’t it feel good baby,
Cause, it's so brand new babe, it's so brand new baby…

The song is ‘Our First Time’ by Bruno Mars, off his debut album ‘Doo-Wops & Hooligans’.  Now I know that most people my age or thereabouts are frowning at the screen, wondering why I’ve picked a song by the guy who sang that most infuriating anthem from a few years back, ‘Grenade’ (incidentally, if one more girl sings this song at Karaoke, I will burn the damn bar down, I’m not kidding…), but contain your scepticism for a couple of minutes and google this album, its well worth the trouble.  This young man has talent, real talent, hopping from R&B to pop to classic rock to (allegedly) reggae.  That’s right, he’s a bit of a chameleon, which is probably why I have love for the man, that and he claims inspiration from both Michael Jackson and Bob Marley, a very good thing in my book.  In keeping with my (not so) unspoken theme of Reggae for sunny days, today’s track is a simple tune that sounds like the love child of MJ’s ‘Rock With You’ and Aaliyah’s ‘Rock The Boat’, its sexy yet suitably chaste.  If this track doesn’t get you smiling as you sway gently, then I can’t help you.

And now here we are, in this big old empty room,
Staring at each other, who’s gonna make the first move?
Been doing our thing for a minute,
And now both our hearts are in it,
The only place to go, is all the way…

You meet a new man, and he looks like a good man, tasty too.  You begin the dance, the ‘I just want to get to know you better’ dance, all the while surreptitiously checking out his ass, his sexy smile (read very kissable lips), his (bedroom) eyes, his broad shoulders and his long fingers, the ones you cant wait to feel on your neck, back, other…  I’ve argued before that sexual attraction is the underlying factor to all male/female relationships and nowhere is this more evident than when you’re doing the seduction dance.  As much as I may be gripped by your theories on global warming, kind sir, I’m busy thinking about how much I want you to warm up my globe(s).  What?  You’re surprised to hear that women think like men when it comes to sexual attraction?  Don’t be, if you’ve listened to a bunch of women during a girls’ night out, you know that women are not only as crude as men, sometimes we’re worse.  While you’re sitting there trying to woo me with your big…intellect, I’m sitting there thinking of the many ways I plan to use and abuse said…intellect.  What you don’t realise is that once a woman has decided to shag you, irrespective of how she got there, that’s it.  The rest of the time she’s sitting there fantasising about what’s going to happen next.  That’s right, the dazed look she’s giving you is not boredom, its lust.  That is, unless you’re really boring, in which case I can’t help you.

Just go with it, go with it, go with it (and I will go real),
Slow with it, slow with it,
It's our first time…

There’s just something about that first time you shag someone, all your synapses are firing, your senses are heightened, every thing smells, tastes and feels brand new, even you.  It’s a crisp clear dawn by the sea, the first sip of an ice cold coke on a blazing hot day, the first bite of medium rare steak smothered in pepper sauce, the first lick of a soft serve cone (vanilla with chocolate sprinkles), its your first drag on a Cuban, the first whiff of a 18 year old single (malt, not person…or maybe person, depending…).  Folks, the first time with someone new is the shit!  That rush you get is the best thing since, well, since the last rush you got, no?  If you’re truly attracted to someone, and I mean genuinely turned on, mind and body, then despite your opening night nerves and the subsequent, umm, malfunctions, that sometimes pop up as a result of your excitement, that first time is usually pretty fucking amazing.  In retrospect, it isn’t the best sex you have ever had, but it will feel like it at the time, if for no other reason than because at that moment there’s nowhere else you’d rather be.  There’s also the fact that you’re so high on dopamine, and other, possibly, you’re out of your mind, plus you’ve probably been waiting for the moment for a bloody while, no?   

And just so we’re clear, a while can be used to refer to only a few hours, in the case of the idiot funga devotees, who just for the record should have been swayed by my brilliant eloquence by now, no?  No?  Useless buggers…  Don’t worry, I’m not going to get into the sticky politics of when to shag someone for the first time, that’s a discussion better suited to more serious, and perhaps less sewer, blogs, and not mine.  Let’s assume that you have taken what you consider a suitable amount of time to come to the decision to do it, be it one hour, or one year, or your entire life, whatever rocks your boat, or doesn’t, as the case may be.   

Point is, you’re now staring at the object of your desire, anticipation at record highs, mentally speculating on what he or she looks like naked, what their skin will feel like, what their lips will taste like, what their other lips will taste like, whether they lean to the left or the right…  What?  Don’t look at me like that, I know you think about these things too.  You don’t?  Then what the hell are you thinking about?  That anticipation is not perverted thinking, it’s a huge part of the seduction process, it’s your mind preparing you for what’s to come.  Think of it as the lowering of your inhibition drawbridge, welcoming the invader to storm your castle and penetrate your inner sanctum…  Slight detour, I’ve been reading fantasy fiction for the past month, so there will be many more random medieval metaphors coming your way.  See, just when you thought the sewer couldn’t get any worse, I found the dungeon…  I know, it’s brilliant!  Detour over.  I was saying, fantasising about the first time you’ll shag this someone new is simply your mind trying to wrap itself round a new idea, and it’s the first step to working up the balls you need to get naked with a stranger, and by stranger I mean someone who has never seen you naked, not complete stranger as in a funga/fungee, unless that’s how you do (say it with me…useless buggers).

Is that alright?
Is that okay?
Girl, no need to be nervous,
Cause I got you all night,
Don't you worry bout a thing...

See the thing is, despite the way this scene is depicted in movies and songs as some laid back, easy session of passionate ‘love-making’, its always somewhat nerve-wracking to bare yourself to another, literally and figuratively.  Either you’re wondering how you look, or how you smell, if you’re skinny enough, or big enough, or if he can notice your hairy legs, or hairy other(s), such like peculiar nonsense that’s, for the most part (I hope), only in your fretting head.  On the one hand you can’t wait to get busy, but on the other hand you’re trying to figure out how to get busy and make a good impression at the same time, because we all want to make a good impression.  No really, how else will you get laid again if you don’t?  What?  Come now, lets be honest with each other, only marriage, and maybe love, can survive crap sex on the first night, si that’s why they make you wait?  Now some will choose to steady their nerves with booze and other intoxicants, believing that being slightly high makes it easier to get down.  Does it really?  You tell me.  If I’ve engaged in such activity in the past, I cannot recall, conveniently.  Perhaps that’s another good reason to be (slightly?) high, selective amnesia, just in case it doesn’t work out as planned, no?  No?  Ah well…  Others choose a more gung-ho approach, treating it like a fight they have to win, at all costs.  These are the buggers who are looking for a TKO in the first round, so they come at you with all they’ve got, because they figure the best defence is a good offence, but what they’re really doing is keeping the focus off them and entirely on you.  Now that I think about it, that’s not such a bad thing is it?  I’m just saying…   

However you choose to handle your opening night issues, keep in mind that the other party in your bed is just as nervous as you are, so give yourself a break and relax, what’s the worst that can happen?  Don’t think too hard about that.  And for crying out loud, don’t forget to laugh at the occasional fumbles that tend to happen when you haven’t figured out someone else’s rhythm yet.  You just remembered a fumble from your past, and smiled, didn’t you?  That’s what I’m talking about.  At the end of the day, all that matters is that you aim to be GGG (Science proves it: Dan Savage is right), if you do then all will be well.  Well, well enough.

The point to all this?  None whatsoever.  No really, I’m done trying to convince you to enjoy your sex, whatever sex it is you may be having, or not, depending.  This year we’re going to have fun in the sewer, we are going to roll around in the muck and revel in the filth, because if you can’t fuck around here, where the hell else are you going to do it, no? 

Don’t it feel good babe, don’t it feel good baby,
Cause, it's so brand new babe, it's so brand new baby…