27.5.13

Going with the flow? Hmmm...

Every so often someone rocks up here with the answers to all my problems, handy little suggestions to help me figure out all that vexes me, instructions on how best to get myself out of the rut I constantly claim to be in.  And I absolutely hate it.  No really, I can’t stand it.  For someone who spends most of her time telling other people what to do, I am surprisingly impatient when the shoe’s on the other foot.  I don’t like being told what to do, despite the most obvious fact that I often need as much help as I can get.  But all that’s about to change.  That’s right, my lovelies, I am going to listen to what you tell me from now on. 

Right after I get a personality transplant. 

Kidding.

Your inner view, to me
Is something that I, do desire
Struggling to see, a new,
Something that I, fantasize
So I'm sending…

Two weeks ago I was told to go with the flow, this after I wrote what I considered a very fluffy how to find a man piece.  ‘Just let go of the fantasy and enjoy yourself,’ he said.  ‘Hmmm…’ she thought, as she began to plan her list of all the things she had to do before she could ‘let go’.  Yes, I wrote a list, and yes, I know I’m an idiot, but in my defence, letting go is not that easy when you’re a little OCD.  I’m just saying, I had plans, elaborate plans, all laid out, for the next kendo six months.  Granted, said plans were probably absolute shit, but there were plans, so there!  And now I’m just expected to throw them all out?  So I can enjoy myself?  I don’t know about that plan, doesn’t sound very brilliant, does it?

That was my initial thinking.  And then I took a break from my list writing and thought calmly about it. 

For all my elaborate planning in the past, and despite the foolishness I end up getting into I can assure you there’s always a plan (usually flawed), for all my planning, I’m still sitting here pondering the mysteries of life, and love.  It has finally hit me that I have tried pretty much everything, save religion, and the much vaunted ‘submission’, and standard dating operating practices like getting drunk and taking a stranger home every weekend…  Apart from those, I’ve tried everything else.  Okay fine, I’ve tried like two things, because I can’t really be bothered to buy a self help book and try the other 67.  Point is, I’m starting to think that not trying anything may be the key to this story.  Wait, don’t click off in a huff just yet, hear me out first.  Think of how much easier life could be if we could just let go of our 67 hang ups and simply get on with the business of living.  I’m always saying life’s too short, and then I turn around and spend half my life worrying about the things that I can’t control, like how my government chooses to spend my, sorry, their money, or how to keep my clients from making dodgy decisions like refusing to pay me, or how to keep my mother from calling me every Friday night to check if I’ve found a father to her future grandbabies in last seven days since we spoke, or how to keep from obsessing over a man I have no business obsessing over…

And thus we get to the heart of the matter…

Imagine the freedom of not having to worry about making a good impression on that date.  Imagine the ease that comes from not expecting anything more than a drink and a chat.  Imagine the relief that comes from knowing that the person you’re meeting isn’t analysing your every word for signs of mental instability.  Well, they probably are, but because you’re just going with the flow, you won’t obsess over it too much.  Are you starting to see the virtues of just letting go? 

This is what I want to know.  Can a woman, or man, who is obsessed about obsessing truly learn to let go?  Can I leave my seemingly anal, overly analytic behind behind and just go on a date with a charming man and enjoy it for what it is, a date?  How do you turn off many years of crafting elaborate rules for every possible scenario?  Seriously, I have a well thought out response for almost every conceivable dating circumstance I could possibly encounter, from awkwardly placed spinach in tooth, up top, to a fly accidentally (I hope) unzipped, down below.  I spend so much time planning for the worst possible outcome, forgetting to enjoy the best possible present, and all because I like to think of myself as a planner.  Bloody Nkt!  That’s right, I just Nkt!’d myself, because I am tired of my head constantly getting in the way of my body, so to speak.  Get your filthy little minds out of the gutter, you perverts.  Just once, I’d like to go out and have a bit of fun without worrying about what its all leading to.  I’d like to enjoy the company of a man without worrying about the day after, when he realises that I am, in fact, not entirely of sound mind, and perhaps body. 

You can't disguise your emotions
You know that I see, in your eyes
You soul's me, your soul's somethin' that I, feel inside
If I run, lord only knows how far
That I and I will fall behind
Gotta find a better place, find a better space
So that I, so my life may be the reason why…


Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I want to be reckless.  Far from it.  I plan to take advantage of my many years of responsible behaviour in the past, and kick up my heels every once in a while.  I’ve been around long enough to know not to do anything too foolish, right?  Right?  You had better be nodding right now…  I’ve become better at separating the wheat from the chafing idiots, and I’d like to think that if I decide to meet up with a man for a drink, then said man is not a complete jackass, and, therefore, I can simply go out and enjoy a date, and be in that moment, with that person.  Surely, I have come far enough at this point in my life that I can trust myself to make better decisions?  No?  Are you shaking your head?  You are, aren’t you.  Ah well, what’s the worst that can happen?  I’ve just had a Silence Of The Lambs moment, picturing some bugger going all Hannibal on my liver and eating my ass…  But how often does that shit really happen?  Hmmm….  I digressed slightly, apologies.

I let go, and in the process I had a most excellent encounter with someone my rational brain would have convinced me not to meet, at least not before a couple more weeks of elaborate research (read extensive vetting, a.k.a. mild stalking via the internet).  I didn’t stop to think, I just did it.  And it was good.  There may have been an unfortunate incident with my blouse sliding further down my bosom than I had intended (not quite Janet levels of exposure, but it was definitely more than I had planned on showing him before the second course).  There may have been a minor foot in mouth incident, but given that I say the wrong thing all the time, it can’t have come as a surprise to the man, and that’s if he even noticed (my gravity enhanced blouse was providing more entertainment than I was, unfortunately).  There may have been a slightly intimidating, and intimate, revelation from the man, but given my fondness for complicated people, that’s probably a good thing, because I like men I get to unravel slowly over time (I am nothing if not a sucker for punishment).  The moral of the story?  I let go, and I had fun.  Who knew it could be that simple?

Hold on, be strong, for your own
Move on, before long, you'll get home
If your feeling insecure
You can be sure
Even if it take forever and a day for me to do
I gotta send it on, to you…

The song is ‘Send It On’ by D’Angelo, he that will one day father my (now) fictional babies, even though these days he’s prone to looking a little worse for wear (his mug shots were not pretty man!).  Just between you and me, I’m not entirely sure what he’s on about in this song, but I like the feel of the song more than I do the lyrics, and his falsetto (is that what its called?) gets me weak in the knees every single time.  Its deceptively simple, and seemingly laid back, and oh so mellow.  Kind of like the mood I’m in right now…

And here you buggers thought I could never ‘go with the flow’.  Don’t think I can’t see you nodding right now, disbelieving buggers the whole lot of you…
  

Life gets clearer through the bottom of a whiskey glass.

Saturday night was the closest thing to a religious holiday that I have on my calendar.  No really, the night of the Champions League final has been, for the last decade or so, like Christmas for me.  It’s the night when I surrender my soul to the gods of football, happy to lose myself to the brilliance of 22 plus men and a ball.  Aaaaahhhh…  Absolute bliss!  I can see you frowning at the screen right now, upset that I have the audacity to talk about football after going MIA on you last week.  Don’t worry, this isn’t another post about my beloved men in shorts, this one is about friendship.

Today’s soundtrack is a song that will forever remind me of my (former) local.  Back in the day when it was just a hole in the wall, we were repeatedly subjected to Mkubwa’s limited music collection, at 35 songs of it.  Yaani, after spending a week in that bar, you knew all the songs and what order they were in.  This song was number kendo 24.  For those of you old enough to remember, Marques Houston was one of the little boys in Immature.  As tends to happen, he grew up, and grew into a half decent musician, and a better actor (just saying…).  Whenever ‘Clubbin’ would come on in the bar, me and mine would lean back and sip on our drinks like we were macelebs in a music video, all head nodding and such like nonsense, because we were so damn cool.  Perhaps not, considering most of us had no clue what the bugger was saying, or didn’t particularly care.  Just as well though, because the lyrics are in fact quite useless, as befitting a track done specifically for the club…

You know we be,
Up in the club,
Where we do things like,
Throw our hands up,
All kinds of drinks are,
Off in the cups,
All of my thugs,
Honies show me love,
DJ playing the cuts…
 

It used to be that every once in a while I’d catch up with a group of old friends for a loose drink on Saturday, the routine being to sit down and eat/drink while we discuss the days past, work, biashara, family, politics, fashion, sports, love lives, sex lives, imaginary sex lives… we would sit in the local from 4.00 in the afternoon till Ben the barman kicked us out at midnight, and then if they were up to it (I could never last long enough to continue, but only because I was usually the idiot imbibing a spirit when they were sipping on frothy liquids), proceed to go uptown, or downtown, in search of pleasant distraction in the form of scantily clad females.  I used to call those sessions dunia wiki hii (this was before the blog and my occasional rants about the idiot politicians, and press) and I absolutely loved them, because they’d give me a peek into other people’s lives, an absolute treat for a voyeur like myself.  Plus the strange tales I’d often hear would confirm what I’ve always believed, that we’re all a bit fucked up.  Those were simpler times.  Problem is, these days we’re all so busy no one has time to sit down any more.  Some have families that demand their time, others have shops to run.  Some have gout, others have diabetes.  Some of us work all night and sleep all day, and others don’t work at all.  Somehow, there’s always something keeping us from getting together. 

One of the casualties of this life we live is that we don’t get to see our friends as often as we’d like to, or nearly as often as we should.  I regret the fact that my strange working hours and hermit-like tendencies keep me from catching up with the fellas more, these days it seems I only see them once a quarter, on a good quarter.  But the one day that is, and probably always will be, reserved for them is this day.  May kendo 26th is reserved for this bunch of men who are obsessed with the game, and I’m not talking about that bunch of idiots who know nothing other than Premier League, these buggers are the chaps who gush over old matches from the 70’s on ESPN Classic.  They have been known to watch women’s Under 21 football.  Wait, that doesn’t help their case, does it?  These men are sports junkies like no others I know, and bless them they are kind enough to let me weigh in after half a season of no shows on my part.  They patiently bring me up to speed on what I’ve missed, not laughing at my occasional ignorance, reciting all manner of unnecessary stats, because they know I love a good useless statistic.  See, not only do they entertain me, they educate my ass in the process, and its brilliant.  Which is why this one night of the year is all theirs, bila question.

Saturday night we gathered at what used to be the local, before the yuppies showed up and desecrated it with their too tight clothing and loud disco music.  It was the wrong time to be meeting up for a drink up, what with the fellas in the midst of organising one guy’s wedding, and by organising I mean devoting all available resources to planning the stag night next week.  For some of us it wasn’t pay day yet, and the wallets were disconcertingly empty.  Some of us were working Sunday.  Some of us had drama going on at home.  But all of us still felt the need to sit down on this one sacred night, to enjoy what is almost always good football, in the company of good friends.  Last night did not disappoint.  I was only with them for three hours, but in those three hours I remembered just why I like spending time with the fellas.  Thing is, I like the woman I am when I’m around them, and not just because that woman is more relaxed and generally merrier.  That woman is much more like the happy go lucky girl I used to be many years ago, before life and love took their toll, before I started thinking way too hard about things I couldn’t control, before I stopped making new friends at the drop of a hat, before I started looking at strangers with suspicion and calling everyone an idiot. 

For all their foolishness, and those men can be quite foolish when they put their minds to it (which happens pretty often, just for the record), these men remind me that there’s more to my life than work, and that I’m not as lonely as I sometimes feel, sitting in my house by myself, watching Statham and Co.  Old friends remind me who I am, who I’ve always been.  They look past the superficial changes made every so often, instead preferring to see the unchanging core.  My old friends know that despite whatever issues I may be going through, that girl they’ve known and loved for many years is somewhere buried underneath all the layers of bullshit I feel the need to cover myself with from time to time, in my attempt to fashion myself into the ever elusive ‘better woman’.  All they need to do is pull her back out into the sun (LED lighting in this case), force her to laugh at her own foolishness, stick a few drinks into her and she’s good as new.  My old friends keep me grounded, they keep me from losing sight of what matters, and all that matters is knowing who you are and what is truly important, to you. 

I keep saying I go to the bar to lose myself, often creating a more relaxed alter ego to match my carefree persona, a persona that makes it easier to get away from my life, if only for a couple of hours.  This week I realised that what I thought was an alter ego is not as much of an act as I thought it was.  That ‘loose like a langa’ mama is the mama I used to be.  My alter ego is ‘Champions League final night (not) Alex’, and after last night I’ve decided she needs to make an appearance throughout, and not just when I go out to destress, once in a long while.  This year, I’m going to spend a bit more time with old friends whose company I have sorely missed, because those lovely idiots know how to make me see life more clearly.  Admittedly through the bottom of a whiskey glass, but hey, that’s what friends are for, no?

21.5.13

This one is a bit suspect...

I suspect I’m supposed to be foaming at the mouth right now, thanks to the foolishness of our MP’s.  I suspect I should be calling them harsh names, dumping carcasses at their doorstep and what not.  Problem is, I really couldn’t care less what nonsense they get up to any more.  No really, don’t give two shits either way.  Honestly, who amongst us expected any different from this lot?  Hands up if you thought the idiot you voted for was going to look out for you and yours, and not them and theirs…  Did you really just put up your hand?  You poor thing…  Come let mama give you a hug, you delusional child.  You know what I’m upset about?  I’m upset with those NGO types molesting my future bacon.  You geniuses, stop messing with the damn food chain.  No no, fucking around with what could be my breakfast in the not too distant future is just plain unacceptable, I don’t care what issues you have.  What’s that?  You’re doing it on my behalf?  That’s just excellent, but leave the piggies out of it.  What did my future premium pork sausage ever do to you, dammit?

I suspect I’m supposed to be foaming at the mouth at the DP’s executive jet, and his seemingly unnecessary jaunt across the continent with 13 of his closest friends and secretaries.  What?  Come now my lovelies, if you had a jet at your disposal, tell me you won’t be trying to funga the nearest available target of your obsession.  I would, there is a lovely man I can’t wait to get into the, umm, air, so to speak, and the minute I get my grimy little paws on a jet, you best believe I will.  But I digress.  I suspect I’m supposed to be upset because the man who sought to clarify the matter was the outgoing PS for information, he that has no business discussing jets not connected to inky printers and such like technical matters.  I suspect I’m supposed to lambaste this administration for their profligate ways, what with all the country hopping the prezzo(s) and co. are up to.  But for what?  Let the buggers fly wherever they want, however they want, with whomever they want.  It’s not like we sign the checks or anything.  Hell, if it wasn’t for those pesky journalists insisting on finding news where there was none, this wouldn’t even be an issue.  Come on people, we is Africans, make that so-ve-reign Africans, and we got oil.  This is how the big boys roll, just ask that Nguema chap and his son.  Bring on the Beyonce jet(s) (that’s right, they saw fit to tell us she bought Jay Z one just last year, because that’s the kind of insight we look for in the Sunday paper).

I suspect I’m supposed to be upset by the sham that was the parliamentary vetting of the cabinet appointees.  I suspect I’m supposed to be livid that a man who I suspect can barely count to ten is in charge of the most lucrative sham of a ministry to be created since the ministry of energy.  I suspect I’m supposed to want to break down and cry because a woman with what seemed to be limited knowledge of our general vicinity is now the minister for… I honestly have no idea what the ministry is called, something to do with co-operation.  I suspect that I should be saddened that the shiny new constitution, with its 67 commissions for anything under the sun and provisions for everything else, is proving to be a bit of a waste of time, if our new minister of lands is anything to go by.  I should be upset, but I’m not, because I finally realise that he that pays the piper picks the damn tune, and I’m not paying anybody.  Don’t give me that argument about how it’s our money, it’s not our money.  When they take it from us, it ceases to be our money and becomes their money.  Its called government.  Get used to it.  

I suspect I’m supposed to stand up and applaud when the Americans tell us the Nigerian government is committing war crimes against a civilian population, up in the North, where buggers have taken to killing each other with disturbing frequency.  Very tragic, no?  Problem is, this would be the same American government droning the fuck out of Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and probably another of the ‘-stan’ countries in the neighbourhood.  Hmmm…  This is a detour from our local dramas, by the way, because these days we are Pan African and everything, and we don’t take shit from ‘the west’, no mo’.  Talking about human rights when they’re killing hapless idiots at weddings, women and children no less, by remote.  Even better, now they want to do it on our bloody continent, if they haven’t started already.  FYI, those little things in the sky that look like UFO’s?  The aliens haven’t finally found us, my friends, that’s Obama clearing his backyard.  Now you know.  What?  Laugh now, but when you get blown up in traffic, because they tracked your movie pirating ass down, don’t say I didn’t warn you.  That’s this month’s ‘The Americans are out to get us!’ rant.  Speaking of which…

I suspect I’m supposed to lavish great praise on our man at the UN, he that feels the need to send very long letters, telling anyone who is willing to read his crap syntax that our democratically elected prezzos are, in fact, innocent of all charges, because we all voted for them, overwhelmingly.  I suspect I am expected to get up and and wrap myself in the national flag, with national pride, in defence of our national…umm, nation.  I suspect I am expected to jump off the ‘justice for all’ bandwagon, and move on to the ‘justice for only the unelected’ bandwagon.  No wait, I’ve always been on that wagon, only we call it the ‘little people be screwed over all the time’ bandwagon.

I suspect I will be back on Wednesday with a real post for you, because this one is a little suspect…

15.5.13

Sex you? Why the hell not!

Come over here and let me take off your clothes,
Things I wanna do to you, nobody has to know,
So lay your body right here, lady have no fear,
Cause ecstasy is near…

This man and my sewer were made for each other.  Scratch that, this man is the inspiration for my sewer.  R Kelly can croon an uplifting ballad one minute (‘I Believe I Can Fly’), and then turn around and sing the most crass nonsense (‘Feeling On Your Booty’), and then woo you with his romance (‘Love Letter’).  Any man this schizophrenic is a man I will willingly pledge undying love to, despite his creepy antics in the bedroom.  ‘Sex Me’ came out at a time when R&B was still all hearts and flowers mush, when men would go out of their way to tell you how much they wanted to shag you, without actually saying it.  But not Robert, nooooo…  This bugger wrote an entire album about sex, and because he didn’t trust us to fully grasp his meaning, he threw in a song explicitly titled as such.  12 Play is one of the albums of my generation, and while this track is not the best track on the album, its one of the most recognisable.  And it’s a fitting theme song to my sewer, because what is this all about, but sex?

We live in the age of sexual enlightenment, a time when the pursuit of gratuitous, and often mindless, pleasure is not just the norm, it’s expected, unfortunately.  A quick glance at the forums and you’ll find all manner of conversations (if you can call them that) about the sex people are having, when and where, how and why, with whom, or what (I refuse to touch that dog story, even I have standards, dammit!).  Some days it looks like all we talk about is tawdry sex, and by extension, they who are having tawdry sex.  There is an unending narrative out here that women who like sex are whores, and men who like sex are studs, and both are deviants.  The women play the part of sexy tarts, while the men are the macho bulls, and anyone who doesn’t fit these narrow definitions is an anomaly who must be shamed out of the building.  A woman who likes a good shag, but doesn’t want to shag every stranger she meets?  Impossible!  A man who doesn’t know his doggy from his cowgirl?  What kind of man is he?  He probably hasn’t shagged enough women yet.  And the celibate ones?  Well they must be depressed, or repressed.  These are the boxes we keep being forced into, and I for one am sick and tired of it. 

Now before you accuse me of contributing to the moral decay of the masses, I’d just like to point out that, yes, I am part of the problem, but no, mine is never mindless ( I am nothing if not reasoned, no?  What?  The reasons may be flawed, but they’re still reasons.).  Many months back, someone asked me why I talk about sex ‘all the time’.  I assured him that I only seek to talk about what others refuse to talk about, because I feel the conversation needs to be had.  He then called me, and others like me, a purveyor of filth.  Don’t laugh, the man was serious, serious enough that I took him serious, for a minute.  While sitting here having random conversations about our sex lives seems useful, it’s not lost upon me that some, make that many, look upon the sewer as nothing more than perversion.  And that’s fine, different strokes and what not.  But even as I was considering the point to the sewer, I realised that I’m not done yet, not until I start to see conversations about sex that no longer centre on the how, and start to focus on the why.  Why do we do what we do? 

You know that for the longest time I’ve been banging on about good sex, occasionally ranting about our refusal as good, upstanding members of society to get down, really get down.  I’ll be straight with you, I was ready to pack it in, convinced that all my screaming on the mountain top was getting me nowhere.  And then I read this piece (Why the "Sexually Pure Good Girl" Is a BS Myth That Screws Both Women and Men), and I felt like the heavens had parted and hallelujahs were playing…  I’m not joking, I was jumping around like she was testifying and I had been touched.  I almost wrote her a letter, but that’s another story.  Turns out, I’m not the only one who’s frustrated by our current state of affairs.  

Women are constantly bombarded with messages telling us that our emotional needs far outweigh our sexual needs, and that our lustful tendencies must come a far second to our lifelong quest for commitment.  The way they tell it, a woman is an emotional creature, a sweet little thing above the sweaty filth of sex and such like nastiness.  That’s what we’re told from the minute our breasts start to sprout, and we keep hearing it the rest of our restrained lives, unless, that is, you happen to turn on the TV, or open any one of the glossy magazines they print to sell us crap we don’t need, like foundation, and Jimmy Choo’s.  Thing is, once we get out from under our mothers’ thumbs and out into the big bad world, we are bombarded by a completely different set of messages.  From the well meaning liberals telling us to embrace our sexuality and reject the conservative morals we know so well, through to random strangers (not unlike myself?) telling us that sex is not the great evil they told us it was.  Sex is good!  Sex is fun!  But don’t go having too much fun, or you won’t find a good man to settle down with, because good men don’t like women who like their sex too much, because women who like their sex are not good women.  Does that sound familiar?  Seems these days, we’re constantly being forced to choose between pleasure now, and our future later.

And it’s not that different for the men.  See, they’ve been hearing the same contradictions all their lives too.  There are men out here who were brought up listening to the same conservative messages, talking about how sex is sacred, special, their marital right (or responsibility), nothing more than procreation.  These same men also grow up watching sex on TV, packaged as the most pleasurable thing they could ever have; shagging the maid as a teenager and sneaking off to the neighbour’s to watch cheap porn; screwing their way through college to the sounds of 12 Play, sex on tape, and on tap; treating sex like a commodity to be traded at will, once they can finally afford it.  Thing is, they do all this knowing that when the time comes, they will be expected to strap their twitching dicks down and act like grown ups, because good men don’t like their sex too much.  From everything they’ve been taught, they have no business thinking about sex once they settle down and have families.  And the women who are, for lack of a better word, freaky? It goes without saying that these are not the women they should make the mothers of their children. 

I know, it’s a bit of a bitch, isn’t it?  Put down your gun, I’m just the messenger. 

I’ve concluded the reason we seem to be so obsessed with all things sex, is because we were never taught how to handle it.  Not really.  We were taught to hide our desires, and then we were told to satisfy our desires, and then, just as we’re starting to enjoy ourselves, because we’re finally starting to figure it all out, we are expected to contain our desires, because we are proper ladies and gentlemen, aren’t we?  I’m not.  I’m not proper.  I’m tired of having to explain myself whenever I feel the need to have sex.  I am fed up with having to search high and low for good sex.  I refuse to be shamed by an idiot because I admit to wanting to get laid more often than once a bloody month.  I will not be bullied into sleeping with someone I’ve just met, because that’s the way it goes, these days.  And I sure as hell won’t apologise for talking about it, because I am a grown ass woman, who can purvey whatever the fuck I want.  Why the hell not?

Any unexpected positions,
Any secret fantasies, you see I'll fulfil, as long as you sex me…

I don’t know anyone who listened to this man in their youth and they turned out proper
, well, proper-ish.  R Kelly is the reason we’re deviants, my friends, he put our nasty thoughts to words, then he put said words to hypnotic rhythm and bass, and then he threw in the hip hop kick, because he knew us younglings did not want to get down to old people music (read Teddy P).  Ah, the ignorance of youth…  Good times.

6.5.13

Looking for a man? This is just what you need. Or not.

I am usually the first person to admit to being a bit of a slow idiot, often missing cues, and therefore opportunities, because I’m busy looking in the wrong direction, because I tend to be clueless.  Thing is, I get hit on the head quite often, as tends to happen when your eyes are averted, by buggers I thought were harmlessly walking on by, when in reality they had intentions towards me, or my body parts.  As fate would have it, despite my best attempts to figure out just what the hell is going on, most days I still can’t figure men out.  Ah, lovely, lovely men…  You were put on this earth to make my life just that much harder, weren’t you?  That’s why we don’t speak the same language.  And why you insist on scratching your balls every so often.  The other half of the species is just plain peculiar, and not in a good way…

You can see where this is going, no?  That’s right people, I’m back on the hunt and looking for all the drama that comes with dealing with a rib-giver.  Oh joy!  Yes, I’m being sarcastic.  I’ve been down this path before, with less than sterling results to show for my efforts (see archive), but this time I’m going to be a bit smarter in my quest, and by that I mean I shall subject all my foolish ideas to rigorous vetting, via the wonderful internet (that would be you, my lovelies).  Brilliant plan, no?  It’s alright, you can say it…  No.  Ah well, when has that ever stopped me? 

The 2013 Kai Ni Kii? Guide To Finally Getting A Man (Funky Soundtrack Included). 

I trust you can tell from that most eloquent title that this will not be, a. useful, b. intelligent, or c. useful.  Consider yourself warned.  Now because this story is so very complicated, and because I must milk it for all its worth (because all you evil buggers care about is my lack of a love life), I’m going to break it down into several handy tomes.  That’s right folks, this year I’m going all series on your behinds…

BOOK 1: HOW TO TELL IF A GUY LIKES YOU, LIKE THAT.

Stop laughing, at one point or another in your dating life you have pondered this very same question, and if you tell me you haven’t then I will call you a shameless, shameless liar.  I don’t care what the married types tell me, this, the very beginning, this is the hardest part of any relationship, hands down.  Screw all that talk of learning to live with someone, finding someone you could possibly live with is much more complicated, if only because it involves stepping into the great unknown. 

Now if I was feeling generous, I’d usually proceed to go online and get you a magnificent list of things to look for, but given that I am a female of somewhat significant age, I choose to draw upon my extensive experience instead.  Having dated, or attempted to date, several troubled individuals, I have googled the peculiar mating behaviour of men enough times to make me a pseudo expert.  What?  You think the experts have more knowledge than me, ati because they’ve studied human behaviour and what not?  Ptuh!  I’m a graduate of the University of Hard Knocks, with a PhD in cheap arm-chair psychology, so there!  Ahem…  Press play and proceed.

Hey pretty baby with the high heels on,
You give me fever like I’ve never, ever known,
You’re just a product of loveliness,
I like the groove of your walk, your talk, your dress…
 


1.      HOW DOES HE LOOK AT YOU?
If the object of your obsession keeps staring at you, then that’s usually a pretty good sign of interest.  Men are like children, fascinated by new, bright, shiny objects, they can’t help but stare.  Have I lied, gentlemen?

Problem is, if all he keeps staring at is your ample bosom, or bottom, then I warn you his interest may, just may, be purely physical, but not to worry, that may not be such a bad thing, depending on where your interests lie.  The men just jumped up, shouting in protest.  Yes gentlemen, I know you like to stare at women’s body parts all the time, but there’s a difference between lustfully gazing at my heaving chest, and staring into my face like you’re trying to read my mind.  As unlikely as it sounds, women can tell the difference, because unlike you buggers, we can actually read minds.  Or not (see archive).  And now every man you meet will spend hours staring into your eyes, because some idiot online (that would be me) told him that that’s what women look for.  Apologies, my brilliance does not discriminate, unfortunately.

And if the man is not looking at you, staring or otherwise, know that he doesn’t want anything from you.  No really, nothing.  Yes, there are those shy buggers who can’t look you in the eye, but they still look, only in a more stalker-esque fashion.  And yes, there are buggers who will look at you for some other reason, perhaps you’re a famous person and they recognise you, or you’re exceedingly beautiful and they can’t help themselves.  Insert hysterical laughter here…

2.      HOW DOES HE TALK TO YOU?
Now listen carefully, I’m about to reveal a closely guarded secret.  If a man talks to you, he’s just talking to you.  I know, profound, isn’t it?  Despite what the experts say, a man talking to you is no more a clue to how he feels than whether your Jupiter is ascending or descending.  Men talk, just like women talk, it’s how we communicate.  That said, if he talks to you a lot, and I mean all day, every day, then perhaps his interest in you is more than a passing cloud, but only if said talking is not part of his routine.  I’m just saying, if he’s in customer care, and you keep calling him to fix your computer, then perhaps it’s not the love you think it is.  He could also be talking to you out of the sheer pleasure of good conversation, and meanwhile your delusional self is busy picturing your happily ever after with the man.  It happens to the best of us, no?  Bottom line, talk is just talk. 

What the man says, however, well that’s a whole other ball game.  If a man likes you (like that), or lusts after you (likewait, theres only one way to lust, no?), he will find a way to say it, one way or another, because these buggers have the subtlety of a sledgehammer.  I’ve learnt that when a man feels the need to talk about sex with you, all the time, then he’s mostly interested in sexing you, either that or he’s a youngling who thinks talking about sex all the time is ‘cool’ (its not, by the way, and coming from my deviant behind, that’s saying something, no?).  I’ve learnt when a man goes out of his way not to talk about sex, even when you give him the opening, then the man is completely smitten, and he’s trying desperately not to scare you away.  Its either that or he has no interest in your ass, and by ass I mean ass.  Stop frowning, I know this is confusing, but I warned you this would not be useful.  Moving right along, I’ve also learnt that when a man says nothing to you, despite your best attempts at drawing him into conversation with your sexy voice and witty banter, then that bugger doesn’t know you exist, or wishes you didn’t.  

I like the feelin’ you’re givin’ me,
Just hold me baby and I’m in ecstasy,
Oh I’ll be workin’ from nine to five,
To buy you things to keep you by my side…


3.      HOW DOES HE TOUCH YOU?
It should go without saying that if there’s absolutely no touching, then there’s absolutely no interest.  Look at the prim and proper types getting all hot and bothered…  Touching here does not refer to fondling, you idiots, this is about physical comfort, and intimacy.  Despite all our claims to have evolved past our primal ancestors, at the end of the day we’re still animals, and human beings don’t let other human beings come closer unless they have been judged safe, i.e. not a threat to their existence.  Its basic instinct, allowing someone to breach our personal space is the physical equivalent of letting your guard down, and touch is simply the next step, pulling someone even closer into your orbit.  Its part curiosity (read exploration), but mostly it’s the desire to create intimacy.  Put differently, by reaching out to touch someone, we’re saying, ‘come closer’.  Now do you understand why I say no touching means no interest?

And before you go tripping fantastic because that boy you like hugged you two weeks ago, keep in mind that touch is not necessarily sexual in its intent, because if that was the case then we would all have Oedipus complexes, shagging our mothers and fathers with reckless abandon, such like nonsense.  Unfortunately, ladies, sometimes a hug is just a hug.  A hand on the small of your back, however, that’s intent, a man doesn’t put his hand there unless he’s planning on sliding it lower, eventually.    

As for which touch means what, well, I haven’t the foggiest.  Logic would dictate that the more he touches you, the more sexual his interest is, but some people are overly touchy feely, they’ll caress a stone if it looks at them nicely (you know the type, they feel the need to hold hands all the time, muchos creepy…), while some of us are averse to touching other people, because we don’t like our space being invaded, especially in public (yes, Im slightly touch-phobic, but only because I am, was, Presbyterian).  How do you figure out his touch?  Touch him, and if he touches you back, well, touch him again.  Repeat as many times as necessary until you’re convinced.    

Im starting to realise why my career as a therapist has never quite taken off    

4.      DOES HE TRY TO IMPRESS YOU?
Ignore 1 through 3, this is the only one that matters.  What?  It’s not like I can have a list of one, I must make you wade through the nonsense before you strike gold, no?  This is, after all, the internet, home to all manner of useless information.  Insert evil laughter here…

Ladies, when a man meets a woman he likes, like that, he will immediately puff up his chest and go into alpha male mode (despite the fact that he may not be all that alpha to begin with).  Again, its human nature, competition for scarce resources and what not.  Back in the day, when they were roaming the badlands trying to kill antelopes with stone-tipped spears, it was survival for the fittest, he that brought home the largest animal got the most women in his cave.  These days, all evolved and shit, it’s the man who looks like he could bring home the largest animal who takes the prize, but because we live in the age of meat bought from a butchery, this no longer means the man who looks fittest.  These days, men get to prove their alpha-ness in all manner of varied, and occasionally absurd, ways, like using their wallets to woo you, or their shiny trinkets and gadgets to entice you, or their silky words to entrance you, or (if I’m lucky, and I rarely am) their big brains to lull you into submission.  Whatever it is the man thinks he has that makes him the king of the jungle, it will be put on display for the sole purpose of getting you to succumb to his will, forthwith.  

And if he isn’t putting on a show for you, and by you I mean you specifically, not the entire room?  Then my friend you are not in the running, so stop flashing your weave at him and move on, my dear, there are other fish in your sea.  Promise.  

The way you make me feel,
You really turn me on,
You knock me off of my feet,
My lonely days are gone…


The King is finally on the playlist, and because I have great shame for not having him here sooner, the man will be the soundtrack for this entire series, because who knows more about looking for love in all the wrong places than Mr Jackson?  As much as I want to write an elaborate story about what MJ’s music does to me, I think I’ll leave that to Bwana Mahe, he that loves this man more than he loves me. 

Acha-ooh!
Go on girl, 
Go on…
Hee hee! 
Ooh!

I just did the ‘flick leg, grab crotch, point to the sky’ move, because I’m old school like that… 

1.5.13

Confessions of a (possibly drunk) stranger.

I like going to the bar on a loose weekday, late in the evening when my day has finally wound down and I’m looking to de-stress for a couple of hours.  Problem is, it’s the middle of the week, thus not too many idiots are up for a drink at 11.00 pm, and because of this most inconvenient fact, I tend to make said trip to the bar all by my lonesome.  Sounds depressing, no?  It isn’t, oddly enough, but that’s probably because I tend to go the local, or the almost local, where I know a couple of the regulars and the barmen, and can therefore sit in relative peace without a random idiot attempting to funga my ass.  At least that’s usually the plan.  Thing is, us Kenyans are generally a chatty bunch, often feeling the need to converse with strangers, especially female strangers, in a bar, all by her lonesome.  A woman alone at a table won’t get bothered, I’ve found, save for the creepy staring from a distance, but sit at the counter and lo and behold… 

It is for this reason, along with my uncanny ability to attract lonely souls (kindred spirits, I wonder?), that I often end up in deep conversation with a strange man, a man who upon meeting me, 5 minutes earlier, immediately feels the need to share his life story with me.  I may wander into the local looking to lose myself in the noise for a couple of hours, but more often than not I end up talking to one or more of the fellas about their woman problems, because woman problems must be shared at the counter, with a woman, no?  No.  Now I must cut the figure of a wise woman (stop laughing), because these geniuses keep turning to me for ‘a female perspective’, expecting me to make sense of the occasionally stupid shit they do.  They figure, for the hefty price of a double, I am only too willing to counsel their confused behinds, all bloody night long.  While I was sitting there having random conversations with random strangers, I inadvertently became the woes whisperer. That was the beginning of my own woes...

You know how I keep saying you need to listen, really listen to what a man is saying?  Turns out I may have been wrong on that one.  After yet another evening of random conversation with a stranger at the almost local, it has dawned upon me that men are just as duplicitous as women, perhaps even more so. 

These are my confessions,
Just when I thought I said all I can say,
My chick on the side, said she got one on the way,
These are my confessions,
Man I'm throwed and I don't know what to do,
I guess I gotta give part 2 of my confessions,
If I'm gonna tell it, then I gotta tell it all,
Damn near cried when I got that phone call,
I'm so throwed, I don't know what to do, 
But to give part 2 of my confessions...

This lovely stranger (no longer a stranger I guess, now that I’ve had random conversations with him more than three times) is a fascinating study in the complexity of the Kenyan man.  The first time I met him, he found me in deep conversation with one of the regulars, his pal.  He was seated a couple of stools down the counter with his woman, a woman I noticed because she was exceedingly beautiful, and exceedingly drunk.  As the night wore on, and the crowd began to thin out, I found myself right next to them, and I struck up a conversation with said woman.  Well, as much of a conversation as you can have with a drunken woman, but that’s beside the point.  Ms Drunk and Lovely was gushing over her man, talking about how kind he is, and how much she loooves him…  I was suitably smitten with her to not ask too many questions, preferring instead to bask in the glow of their, umm, love.  Yes, they’re that couple.  Which couple?’ you ask.  The one that engages in very public displays of affection, but not the nasty kind that involves sticking tongues down throats, more like the gentle kiss on the forehead every two minutes.  Aaaaawwww…  What?  I am nothing if not a romantic, no?  Probably not. 

Imagine my surprise when, a couple of weeks later, I run into said man at the counter, alone this time, and as we talk he starts to paint a slightly less rosy picture of the aforementioned love.  I made the mistake of asking him where his lovely lady was and that set him off.  He started off with how much he loves her, then it became how hard marriage was, and how he doesn’t like it when she drinks too much, and how sometimes he doesn’t want to go home, and then back to how much he loves her, he loves her so much.  FYI, that’s a typical counter conversation, ‘the good (love), the bad (pain) and the ugly (sex)’.  So the man tells me (almost) everything, then we drink a bit more, then everyone goes home and gets on with their lives.  Only a couple of weeks later, I happen to find out that part of what he told me was a bit of a lie, this from one of the regulars, after I enquired as to his and his wife’s whereabouts.  Wife?  What wife?’ my pal asked, confused.  Turns out, the marriage bit was not entirely accurate, and by that I mean she is not his wife, but his girlfriend.  And yes, there is a wife, somewhere.  Say it with me…Hmmm…  Thing is, when you find out that a significant part of the story is false, makes you wonder, how much of the rest is true? 

Another random conversation later, back with the (occasionally) married man, and this time I steered clear of the ‘wife’ story, figuring that if he went to the trouble of concocting that elaborate cover, then it was a ruse worth maintaining.  Far be it for me to question another’s tales of love and happiness, and woes.  Thinking about it, I realised that he wasn’t looking to deceive me for some nefarious purpose (he wasn’t trying to funga me), he was just looking to paint his situation a less lurid shade of red.  His misrepresentation of facts was simply his way avoiding the ‘What about your wife?’ conversation, a conversation that tends to come up whenever a married man talks to another woman about his girlfriend.  Despite the fact that he was talking to a stranger, he still felt the need to edit his story, because the whole point of the conversation was to find a sympathetic ear and there is nothing a drunk bastard loves more than sympathy (except maybe a sympathy shag, they love that too).  Put differently, you’re allowed to bitch about your wife in the bar, but to bitch about your girlfriend, when you have a wife, well that’s just bad form, no?     

Fast forward a couple of months later, and I’m back at the counter, and who do I chance upon?  That’s right, the happy couple, or not so happy, depending on what time of night you meet them (they’re also that couple, the dramatic types who have silly, passionate fights at 3 in the morning, kissing and making up before they get to the car), and as always they’re both waxing lyrical about how lovely the other is, while I’m sitting there thinking, ‘I want whatever they’re smoking, because that’s some good shit!’  In my conversations with them since, neither one has ever brought up the wife/girlfriend issues, not even when they’re at their most drunk (which happens disturbingly often, because they’re that couple, the one that gets drunk, always).  I assume that despite the occasional drinks we share every so often, we are still strangers, and therefore must continue to maintain the fa├žade, each of us playing the role we have carefully constructed for ourselves within those four walls.  

And thus we get to the point of this long-winded tale.

Damn, how does she bring it up, how does she break it down,
Man you at the clinic, dawg slow down that's yo child,
But if you keep it, then you gotta tell your girl you was cheatin’,
And you went raw dog when you beat it,
That's when she gon' tell you to beat it…

I’ve finally realised that any conversation had at the bar counter must, by necessity, consist of half truths, misrepresentations, and, surprisingly, brutal honesty.  Any less and all you’re doing is having a bit of a wank on someone else’s tab.  Don’t worry, this isn’t just about talking to strangers in bars, despite how it must look right now, I’m not that much of a lush (yet?).  This is about talking.  I’ve learnt that when we have conversations with random strangers, more often than not we choose to omit the less than savoury details of our lives, not because we’re deliberately trying to be dishonest, but because talking to a stranger gives us the opportunity to reinvent ourselves.  Talking to a stranger is a chance to give your story, the way you think your story needs to be told, rewriting the fairy tale, so to speak.  Thing is, talking to a stranger is also an invaluable opportunity to get an outsider’s view of your insides, it’s a chance to unload your deepest, darkest crap without fear of repercussions.  A genuine conversation, one without the whitewash bullshit typical of PR campaigns (read attempts to get laid, or paid), can be revealing, liberating even, but it doesn’t work if you spend half the time concealing what you’d most like to reveal. 

Today’s soundtrack is a BOGOF, ‘Confessions Part II’, the original and the Jermaine Dupri remix featuring Shyne, Twista and Kanye West.  The former is one of my favourite Usher jams, in part because of the most excellent video that involved him taking off his shirt (Ah Usher…sorry, I drifted off in a fog of vague lust…), but mostly because it was refreshingly honest, even though, as it turns out, the song wasn’t actually about him.  The remix, continuation is a better word to describe it, the continuation is better, and I don’t say this lightly.  Press play and skip to 1:00, the rap by Shyne, recorded on the phone while he was in jail; its 30 seconds of perhaps the finest rapping I’ve heard in a long time (please keep in mind that I listen to rap three times a year, on average).  This Shyne fellow has a most intriguing bio, in case you’re interested, he was convicted his involvement in the night club shooting incident in N.Y. (yes, that shooting, the one that led to J-Lo dumping Diddy and finding a slightly less ghetto (read more white) man).  These lyrics are his confession, I assume…

Sittin' in my cell, head about to burst,
Wouldn’t be alive if I didn't shoot first,
Had it made, sorry for the ricochet,
but I’d be in da grave if I didn't let it spray.
I never said that I was perfect,
Nobody walkin’ on this earth is,
That night, I would've gotten murdered,
If I ain’t grab the ratchet and let them cowards have it…

7 signs you live in a third world country with third world roads, and third world drivers, and third world pedestrians.

Disclaimer: In polite society, the term ‘third world’ is considered derogatory, a term indicative of neo-colonial thinking, imperialist brain washing and an inferiority complex brought on by a lifetime consuming propaganda from the west.  I don’t know about all that, but I do know that if what we’re going through is any indication, then, my friends, we are most definitely not at the top of the dung heap.  Maybe not at the bottom, but definitely not at the top.  Even worse, we seem to be sinking lower…

1.      THE PRESIDENT LEAVES HIS HOUSE, AND THE CITY COMES TO A COMPLETE STANDSTILL.
In fairness to our new prezzo(s), I haven’t been in the city for a while, so perhaps tabia za Kibaki wameacha.  Not likely.  Could someone please tell me where in the laws of our land it states that roads must be closed hours in advance of the president?  More importantly, why the hell can’t he use a helicopter?  No wait, ours is the land of bandia helicopters…  At least give us trains, real trains, that we may stay off the roads, by choice. 

2.      SAFETY RAILS ARE STOLEN, FROM A BUSY HIGHWAY, AND NO ARRESTS ARE MADE.
I can understand the village robbers making off with the two railings on the little bridge in shags, that road sees an average of 10 cars an hour, except during rush hour when the number triples to a whopping 30 cars.  What I can’t understand, however, is when many railings are stolen from one of the busiest stretches of road in our (allegedly) 24 hr capital city.  And no-one saw anything?  And the thieves can’t be tracked down?  How now?  Perhaps we need to bring our anti stock theft unit to the city, and send the buggers in charge of theft of road artefacts to Pokot.  Wait, stop frowning, this is a good plan.  Those anti stock buggers can track a cow across many hills, think of what they could do chasing an immobile object, no?  And just to show that I am not a complete idiot, my most brilliant plan would also help ease tensions with our neighbour, because you know our city police ain’t gonna chase shit across any border, now are they?  The prezzo(s) should have appointed me to the cabinet, as brilliant as I am…

3.      A SUPER HIGHWAY IS BUILT, WITH SPEED BUMPS.
Now I’ve never seen a road being built in any other country, but I’m willing to guess that this activity is nowhere near as convoluted as it is here.  How on earth did they build a six (or sixteen depending on traffic) lane highway, sans pedestrian crossings?  Did it not occur to them, as they were excavating and shit, that the masses of humanity they would see daily, perambulating aimlessly all over the place, may one day feel inclined to make like a chicken and cross the damn road? 

4.      PEDESTRIAN BRIDGES ARE BUILT, AND NEVER USED.
Its no wonder pedestrians are often ignored when roads are being built, we are the most irrational idiots.  A bugger would rather dash across a very busy road, at an intersection, than use the bridge so helpfully provided for his use.  Even when the road builders actually apply some form of thought and build gently sloping ramps to ease the inconvenience of the climb, bugger will still make the mad dash for safety, figuring it’s worth the risk of getting smacked by a Canter doing 118 kph.  Better that than waste five minutes of his precious time going up, across, and then back down.  I know, some of the bridges are filthy, and mugger infested, making them more risky than the road below, but that’s because they’re often unused, thus neglected, thus abused, thus unused, thus…

5.      BLACK SPOTS ARE KNOWN, AND MARKED, BUT NEVER RECTIFIED.
Of what use is it to announce that there’s a black spot at Salgaa, if they never think to repair what must be a serious design flaw in the road (hence the constant accidents)?  That’s like your man telling you he has a VD, and that he has infected his last six partners, and then he refuses to get said VD treated, or put on a condom.  But at least you know, and if you still feel the need to go where he plans on taking you, then you’ll figure out another way to get there, right?  It’s not enough to warn us, you genius buggers, you need to fix the damn problem.  Bloody nkt!

6.      PUBLIC TRANSPORT CAN BE BOARDED ANYWHERE, ANY TIME.  EXCEPT AT A BUS STOP, BECAUSE THAT WOULD MAKE NO SENSE.
Its easy to blame the PSV drivers for their complete disregard for road rules, or common courtesy, but consider that when they stop in the middle of the road to pick up a passenger, said passenger had flagged them down.  That’s right, some genius saw fit to stop a Ma3 wherever, because that is where he was standing.  Granted, it could be argued that the lack of any discernable timetable makes it hard to patiently walk to the bus stop and wait for another one to come along, but lets be honest, unless you’re in shags where the bus comes once an hour (if you’re lucky), there’s usually another one not too far behind, right?  And speaking of bus stops, why oh why do Ma3’s have an aversion to actually getting into said stop, instead preferring to stop just outside the bus stop, on the road, blocking traffic?  Do bus stops have some secret battery sapping power that makes it hard to pull out and get back onto the road?  We are very peculiar us Kenyans…

7.      OVER SPEEDING IS A NATIONAL PASTIME, OVERLAPPING A PET DIVERSION AND OVERTAKING MANDATORY.
I’ve concluded that half the drivers in this city came by their licences by means other than a driving school and/or test, and by that I mean they bought them at their local duka.  How else can you explain an idiot barrelling down the wrong side of a road, oblivious to the stationary cars on the right side of the road, patiently waiting their turn?  What, you think those buggers just parked their cars on the road at 7:30 in the morning, because they have nothing better to do with their time than listen to crap morning radio?  Even worse are the geniuses who overlap on the pavements, forcing pedestrians to jump into nearby bushes to avoid gleaming bull bars (because it’s almost always Ma3’s and big ass 4x4’s who pull this stunt).  And then there are the special bastards who feel the need to overtake anywhere, anyhow.  Boss, overtaking on a corner wouldn’t just get you killed, odds are you may just get me killed too.  I have no interest in dying in a ditch because you don’t have the good sense to wait for a clear stretch of road.  Same goes for the idiots who think driving at 150 kph all the time is a good thing.  While I love me some speed, and I have been know to mimic ‘Flash’ Carl on occasion (minus the shooting the natives bit), I have the good sense to save the Safari rally stunts for deserted roads devoid of heavy traffic, and random children crossing without warning.  Boss, that 200 on your speedometer is not a target you must keep trying to hit.