It Must Have Been Love- Part 1

A 2  part short story on Love.

A young Kenyan musician fights for the love of his life against cultural prejudice.

Part 1

“Life’s just a bunch of accidents, connected by one perfect end.”
―Daniel Tomas

I turned 30 on October 10th filled with anxieties of what little I had achieved in my 20s. How uncertain the future looked. I was a musician, not particularly gifted, not exactly hardworking, hardly someone you would associate with success.  My only redeeming quality was the loyalty I had cultivated as a competent member of the So-n-So band that I formed with 3 friends while in university.

I was a freelance graphic designer and computer programmer during the day (mostly nights) and I played the drums as the fourth act in a small struggling Afro-jazz band. I walked in the shadows of my creative self, deliberately shying away from the attention I so desperately craved while I spent restless nights anticipating our big break.

One week after my uneventful birthday, I fell in love, with the wrong woman.

Sugar Daddies to Sponsors: The Gentrification of Sleaze

A mate described the social media experience as akin to stopping by a busy bus terminus to soak in the energy. When the terminus is on your way home, you end up cultivating a few acquaintances with stories for days. The ones who are up to date with the latest domestic scandal and other crazy happenings while you were away. All they require is a little poke. Some people have a gift for nosing into other people’s business. They are persistent. They dig in, stake out and interrogate informers until they get some leads to work with. After that, they piece together recycled gossip peppered with a good dose of random deduction. The result is the plausible theory which makes for juicy gossip that can be peddled in exchange for attention. Some stories are so big, they do not need conduits. They find one busy minding one’s business and knock on your door, demanding to be heard. Even when ignored, they refuse to be moved. Hours later, sometimes even a day after, you step outside only to be accosted by the snooping acquaintance who just has to find someone to tell a story threatening to choke him up.

When Your Wife Turns Into A Diva

Brats are not born. They are made. Some parents churn them out like free bad advice in a bar and they grow up to be ‘special’ adults who make very frustrating partners. It used to take a village to raise a child. There was always someone around to set a kid straight when parents were too caught up to spot emerging bad behavior. That social system was shattered by urbanization and the extended village family has been replaced by the house-help and the television (or internet for the new gen) stepping in as surrogate parents. It does seem ironical that many good intentioned parents end up creating monsters. A child so spoilt, they ought to be declared rotten.

A simple girl from the village grows up with an acute sense of entitlement, guided by the need to be noticed all the time. When the attention is not forthcoming, they devise manipulation tactics, summed up as melodrama to ensure they get the attention they hanker for by all means necessary. We really cannot expect children to self-reflect and see one’s flaws. That is supposed to be the role of adults but not in these liberal times of precious children who can do no wrong. The consequence of this pampering culture is a child transitions into adult hood with the inability to distinguish between reality and fiction.

It can quite dramatic when it manifests in a marriage. The able husband who generates a tidy sum of money starts to notice his wife increasing sense of dissatisfaction.  The pattern is particularly predictable when the man is a generous provider. The spouse falls into a binging spree. The excitement to spend always afflicts those who stumble onto new-found wealth. They keep getting more and more stuff. But all that accumulation rarely delivers anything more than temporary gratification. When that gets old, the dissatisfaction is turned to the spouse who shoulders the blame for his wife’s lack of fulfillment. The wife starts to get petty looking for problems and subjecting the man to a ridiculous loyalty standard. Before you know it, every woman associate in a man’s life becomes a suspect and the man is labeled guilty until proven innocent.   The relationship starts to swing between speculation and denial.

Many men accept the blame in the beginning often guilty of some transgression in the past that keeps recurring as proof of dishonesty. But as the years wear on, they come to realize they created a diva living in suspended reality. The diva blows hot and cold, often resorting to melodrama to attract attention. Anything you say could tick her off and the man adopts a survival stance that involves minimizing opportunities for conflict. The first causality is the sex life which is withheld as punishment. The excitement dies and the man begins to spend more time outdoors under the guise of business which only heightens the tension at home.

The stakes can get higher when there is a child involved often the only glue that keeps a warring couple together.

Typically, the child is used as a pawn and the man lives with the constant threat of being separated from his children if he does not fall in line. One day, after years of nagging, the man snaps, takes back his freedom to think and walks but all we ever get to hear is about, “that lying cheating bastard, who doesn’t want to support his family”.

 

PHILANTHROPHIC SEX

Former House Speaker, Kenneth Marende, introduced the phrase ‘feeling sufficiently philanthropic’. It was his way of saying that parliamentarians should only pay tax if they feel like. When you examine modern day relationships, one gets to notice that sex has been reduced to an act of philanthropy. In line with our Judeo-Christian cultural influence, sex is a fruit that can only be savoured after marriage and virginity still enjoys good premium. Women are socialized to play hide and seek, holding out, until the perfect man arrives to claim his prize. Sex in our social context is something the man earns as a reward for good behavior. Since the man cannot get sex when he desires it even when he is legally married, he learns to develop patience and read the signs. Some women derive a great sense of power when they deny a man his conjugal rights and relish having a man under their control. In the beginning it is exciting to be teased but no man enjoys getting teased all the time. He also has to be at the peak of his game perennially because a man is only as credible as his last strong showing. Women generally speak quite lowly of men who do not rise to the occasion in bed. The most demanding women do not usually update the skills that they pander and are never in any position to reciprocate the earth shattering loving that they demand. What she ends up bringing to the bedroom is fairly mediocre performance and hardly inspires the urge for a repeat session. Most women are actually socialized to respond to sex as if it were charity. It is only something to be indulged in when you are in good mood and feel like being nice. If only charity could begin at home.

Delusions Of A Toy Boy

I sympathize with Raphael Tuju’s position right now. For all he has done and achieved, he will be judged for one growing blot in his otherwise stellar public service career.  The wild conspiracy theories doing their rounds following the death of his estranged wife’s lover are unfortunate. The Jubilee government probably breathed a sigh of relief when Tuju’s sordid affair hit the headlines. The country is in a heightened state of civil tension, that a distracting headline sex scandal is the kind of breather anyone in government would gladly welcome. We might as well dwell on the headline story of the day.

Why do we cheat? That is the easy the part; because we think we can get away with it.

This one should probably go out to the aspiring toy boys out there, spending long hours in the gym, angling to draw the attention of older frustrated married woman. The simple thought that the wife of a top honcho would be pursuing a boy still in college, with a bank balance that has never gone past the 20 000 mark must be a head spin. Since the young man lacks the economic leverage to date within his age group, he decides never to look the old gift horse in the mouth until, he knows better. In the now relevant words of the former US ambassador Johnny Carson, choices have consequences.

But toy boys typically do no start out as toy boys. They are innocent lambs in a power game way above their comprehension. The initial attraction to the unhappily married woman is driven by novelty. The married woman wields seductive power that mesmerizes the virile man. The chance to bite the forbidden fruit unnoticed is a huge ego trip. However, the toy boy is just an outlet that the married woman uses to punish the man in her life. In her mind she is justified. Her pursuit for revenge is seen in righteous light. She can claim she was not loved and the public empathizes. The toy boy will have a hard time convincing anyone that he did it for love.

The first time she sleeps with her young lover, she acquires a sense of power because she gets away with it. This drives her right back for a second sampling, where she savours the illicit passions and decides that she has every right to be loved. By the third and fourth times she will want to try every crazy position she fantasized about.

By this time, the woman believes she can manage the consequences given that her affair has gone on undetected. The toy boy may have his doubts but as soon as that racy text appears, “Sweetie, last night was out of this world!” all blood required for coherent thought, shifts downwards and like a new smoker who thinks he has grip on nicotine, he remains in denial over his new found addiction.

In the throes of passion, a young man will believe everything a woman tells him. The toy boy takes sides, soaking in all the bile the wife spits out about the husband and naively believes he is the good guy in the picture. Unfortunately, affairs are full of half truths and secrets. Like oil, the murk always rises to the surface in time.

By then, the novelty of new toy would have worn out and they quickly discarded.

 

Image source: sianinturkey.wordpress.com

 

 

Help! He Won’t Marry You: 15 Reasons To Ponder

The twenties are tapering off. You are in the best shape of your life; have a steady job, a tastefully furnished apartment, a new car so why are all the men treating you like some side chick? You have attended one baby shower too many and your peers keep wondering why a girl of your means and looks keeps attracting losers. Why doesn’t anyone consider you wife material? Guys will run away from commitment for 101 reasons but they are some behaviour traits displayed by Kenyan women that simply read bumps ahead.

1. You are act like a groupie.

Perpetually star struck, wallowing in a celebrity bubble and the man knows he only got snapped up because her friends claim you look kinda like Idris Elba. It does not take long before the man realizes that he could never live up to your ideal fantasy boyfriend.

2. He feels like a third wheel.

He trails a distant second after your parents, your friends, your pet (also known as the vetting committee) and is regularly reminded of the weight of their approval if he hopes to take relationship to the next level.

3. You hate men.

Some pitiful male from your past screwed up royally and left you scarred. It does not make all men guilty.  Some women get into the lazy habit of holding men as the source of all their problems and refuse to take personal responsibility for their woes and that is a yawn.

4. Treating him like a sperm donor.

You can’t stop talking about babies. He has voiced aversion towards having a child but you still refuse to take safe sex measures, hoping to be ‘accidentally’ knocked up. Turning a man into a parent without his consent and dragging him through court for abdicating responsibility leaves such residual bitterness and it only ends up punishing innocent kids.

5.      Using your success as a crutch.

You made the top list of inspiring women under 40. Not all men have a problem playing second fiddle in a relationship but not when you treat him like he is warming the seat for a worthier candidate.

 6. Using the promise of sex as a pawn.

A man can take a tease and we understand the training. If we behave, we get to taste the bone. But don’t be flirtatious then get offended when he springs a woody and gets fidgety.

7. You have a reputation but play the pious nun.

Guys gossip too when you develop a reputation as an easy lay they won’t be fooled when you play hard to get. Women known to keep multiple partners are considered high risk. Men will stick around for the regular romp but will seek their keeper elsewhere.

8. Thinking your time is his time.

One of your affirmations was to get married by 25. You have fallen in love and the poor bastard has to keep to a schedule. He doesn’t even know your middle name yet and she is considering locations. He may love you but when marriage is not a top priority, he will run for the hills.

9.  It takes two to tango.

There are very few naturally gifted lovers. Most guys learn through trial and error and rely heavily on positive feedback. At the very least you must be able to tell a man what works for you in bed. Women become very unattractive when they make lovemaking a chore. 

10. You think it is sexy to be vain.

Men fall for divas all the time because they dazzle. But when a woman remains continually entitled, attached to their looks or position in society, the fascination soon turns to boredom and a man realizes that your ego leaves no room for a relationship.

11. He is objectified as a success symbol

Day into night, you play gentleman, and the unexpected happens, your bank goes offline, rendering you cash strapped before a special night treat. Any woman who does not immediately respond, “Darling, let’s make this my treat for a change” just comes out looking like a leech. He knows he has to keep spending to receive ‘love’.

12. Keeping up with the Joneses.

You knew her as a naive college student from the country. Now she is one of those people who talk big without the benefit of finesse. She will order the most exotic item on the menu only to realize that sushi doesn’t taste like tilapia. She is playing out of her league. Any woman who is too busy trying to make the celebrity watch list won’t be investing much time in a nurturing a relationship.

13. Subjecting a man to some rules you read in a book

Despite the denial, she fancies you so she plays ‘The Rules’. Every time you make a move, she reaches out for a restraining clause from the great book for ‘date protocols’ amongst a host of other absurd strategies that only aid in sending men off in the opposite direction.

14. Damsel in perpetual distress

Some women are needy and emotional vulnerable all the time. A man feels like he is always trying to defuse a crisis that is not of his making. Playing damsel in distress to get a man’s attention works. Initially, it may make a man feel good as the chivalrous knight to the rescue. But sustained distress can drive even the most loyal knight off in frustration.

15. When you think smoking makes you look sophisticated

Flaunting your reckless lifestyle is plain ignorant. You like to get high but you don’t know your limits and every time you go out, there is a scene. Besides being a regular source of embarrassment, you are unlikely to fit any first lady role.

 

PS: This article first appeared in True Love East Africa magazine, June 2013 issue.