Month: July 2014

He Cheats On You Because You Are *His* Wife.

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We need to come up with a list. Yes! A list of excuses for the other man. You know, the man who cheats on his slim, fun, adventurous (perfect?) wife? It isn’t fair to provide excuses for the fat woman’s husband, and leave the other husbands hanging. This borders on discrimination, if you ask me.

The man with a fat wife is taken care of courtesy of the article written by Njoki Chege on why men cheat. He can now sit pretty, have his cake, eat it, and have another one. The missus might come up to him, all crushed, teary-eyed, asking “Honey, why would you cheat on me? What does she have that I don’t? Why would you do this to me after everything that we’ve been through? I’ve been there for you bla bla bla ….”  Normally, he would be beside himself fumbling for words to explain away his despicable actions.

Oh, but not today!

Today, all he has to do is lift his heavy frame, protruding tummy and all (he’s been eating loads of cake, remember?) and walk briskly towards his special cabinet where he keeps his treasured reading material. He adds a spring to his step as he whistles the song;Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera… Guan-tana-meeeera, guajira Guan-tana-mera… He will take out the key to the cabinet from a bunch in his pocket and open it. Slowly, without saying a word to the fat, sniffling wife standing in front of him, he will remove THE precious newspaper sitting atop some playboy magazine. He will grab the paper with both hands and give it a kiss. He will open the page with the words “LADIES: It’s all your fault that he is CHEATING!” scrolled across the page and he will give it another bigger, wetter kiss. They should get a room right? Smiling, he will hand it to his sobbing wife. “It’s all in there, dearie. The answers you seek are all in there” he will pat her on the back sympathetically; lips pursed, and leave her to it. She will read the article from beginning to end. She will stop asking questions.  Her husband will go back to eating his cake. Having it. Gobbling it. Growing fat. Obese. Nobody cares if he is fat. No one will cheat on him because he is fat!

So things are cut out for that guy. Lucky bastard!  What about the one with a slender, slim, beautiful, high-heel donning, gym-attending, fun-loving wife? What is he supposed to say when he is caught cheating? Who will speak for him when he is faced by his angry wife? Doesn’t he have a right to some excuses too? Well, I think he does! I think we should give him some material to hand his wife too. In all fairness people. In all fairness!

It’s not going to be easy though. This woman hits the gym on the regular, dresses to kill, loves to have fun. She is a busy career woman and has no time to nag or keep tabs on her husband. She gives you your space and you (unbelievably) get to do you! She will be a tough one to crack. What to do… what to do? There sure must be something about her that is not right. Think people. Think!

I suggest we make this as brutal an attack as the one we did on her ‘imperfect’ counterpart. Where we called the other woman fat, we will call this one skinny – a pack of bones, if you like. Where we said that she stuffs her face like a pig, we will say she is an irritating nitpicking nibbler. We will focus on her obsession with beauty and fashion. We will point out how superficial she is! She is so vain, we will insist. Like, who the hell does she think she is?

Let’s do this people. Let us accord the ‘perfect’ wife’s husband the same courtesy we so graciously granted the fat, boring, nagging wife’s husband, shall we?

LADIES: It’s all your fault that he is CHEATING!

  1. You are too thin. A man wants to hold some flesh when he touches you, not to outline your skeletal framework. African men like voluptuous women. A woman with a well rounded behind drives her man crazy, haven’t you heard? Sadly you don’t have that. Can you therefore blame him when he cheats? Here, wipe your tears and munch on this chicken drumstick.
  2. You make your man insecure with your good looks. When you walk down the street, men stare at you like you are still single, disregarding the ring on your finger. Men are waiting to pounce on you…you drive him to cheat.
  3. You don’t act like a married woman. You still insist on having fun. Always coming up with ideas on where you should go for holiday, for dinner every Wednesday? Why don’t you grow up and gain some sense of responsibility? Your children are in school, so think school fees! Think mortgage payments! Think retirement benefits! Having fun ended with singlehood so get with the program!
  4. You have too much to say about everything. You should chill a little. Let your man be the man, you know? Talk less. Let’s see you more and hear you less.
  5. You don’t even call him to check up on him when he is out with the boys?! Do you even care about this husband of yours? Other women nag, but you just don’t care! If he cheats on you, it is because he wants someone who needs him.
  6. Look at what you wear. Should we even go there? You don’t dress like a married woman! That dress is too short, for chrissake! Stop exposing your cleavage! And you wonder why he cheats on you? You embarrass him with your slutty dressing. What do you want to achieve? You want his friends to hit on you? You want to attract the attention of other men? You whore?! (Too harsh?)
  7. Ask yourself woman; what is he supposed to do when you are out there living your life like he doesn’t exist? Cheat? Well…

I believe that all bases are covered on matters infidelity, don’t you? Should any man feel left out probably because he is unsure where to categorize his wife – maybe she is slightly fat or slightly skinny – please understand that it was not our intention to make you feel that way. We however beg that you don’t despair. The bottom line to all these excuses is in this one statement:

‘He cheats on you because you are his wife’- Use that. Remember to milk it dry.

Now please pass this list urgently to any man out there who is married to the ‘perfect’ woman.

He will need it soon.

 

First Published on the Storymoja Festival Blog

You are an Alcoholic

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It starts with a kiss (doesn’t it always!). Your lips touch the glass (or bottle) with naïve curiosity. You take a sip and taste the liquor on your tongue. Doesn’t taste so good, you think. You wonder what the fuss is always about. You feel it burn your throat slightly as it makes its way to your stomach. First mouthful down and you still don’t get it. You take another sip and another. Telling yourself that there must be something good about it, else it wouldn’t be so popular. Soon the glass, bottle, is empty. You are not the same person. Now you get it.

You are a young man at the prime of your life. You are doing well financially; you have advanced your education well enough to get a good job. Your career is headed just where you want it to be heading at this stage in your life. There is a house, a car and women to boot. This is life as you imagined it. Beautiful. Life = Good!

Then you see her in some club one night. You are out with the boys and didn’t expect to find her here. As you start to walk towards her, you see from a distance that she has company. It’s a guy. Probably a guy from work, you give her the benefit of the doubt. The guy is carrying two drinks in his hands and offers her one as he plants a kiss on her cheek. Ok? People kiss other people’s cheeks all the time, nothing wrong with that. You continue walking towards her. She hasn’t seen you yet. The club is full and you are busy squeezing through drunken men and women to get to her. She accepts the drink from the guy from work and places it on the table with a smile. She then cups his face in her hands and kisses him, not on his cheek, but full on the mouth. You must be seeing things. You stop walking, blink repeatedly. The kiss is still ongoing. It is a deep, tongue-sucking, saliva- fusing, disgusting, nauseatingly endless kiss. Your world comes to a stop. He is not just a guy from work!

You could have done anything for that girl.

Lucky, you have your drink.

You are doing so well. Chasing paper like no one’s business. And what comes with money? The honeys! (You saw that right?)There are so many women out there! You wonder where they were hiding before you made it big. They are throwing themselves at you. They smile at you when your car is stuck on a traffic jam. They wink at you all over the place. Part their legs for you to get a good view. Some touch your arm. How does anyone get anything done in this city, you wonder.  You are weak. You cannot control the burning desire in your loins. You succumb to passion.  And re-succumb. Again and again. To the smiler, the winker, the leg-parter and the arm-toucher. Your girlfriend finds out. She leaves your ass. You loved her to death. To hell with her!

You have your drink.

You are convinced that yours is a marriage from hell. Your wife is ever complaining and is too clingy. How she survived before you came into her life, for the life of you, you cannot understand. She checks up on you every five minutes when you are not with her. Every five frigging minutes!

Honey, where are you?

I’m watching football (playing pool… whatever)

When are you coming home?

I’ll be there when I’m there, ok?

What is that supposed to mean?

It means I will come home when I come home woman! (Damn! I wear the pants, don’t I?)

Silence. She disconnects the phone. You know she will call back again shortly and you almost smash your phone at this thought. Only that it’s a Samsung Galaxy. It cost you an arm, a leg and then some. Let’s not be stupid now.

Go ahead. Have a drink.

You’ve waited for this day since forever. Your boss promised you a promotion at the end of this financial year. The day finally comes but all you get is an apology: Ken, I’m sorry but we saw it better to promote someone with a better understanding of the company given their past client history. You will be considered next time. Wait, someone with a better understanding of the company? Who had a ‘better understanding’ than you? The person in question has only worked for five years in the company. You’ve put your life on hold in order to serve the same company for eight good years. What you are not being told is that you do not carry the right surname to qualify you to hold such a key position. Your name betrayed you. You get nothing for the eight years you’ve worked late nights. For working on weekends. For missing your son’s school thing. And many other school things for that matter. You’ve never been there for your little man’s birthday-he is turning seven in a month. Your missus left you – said she is better off single because even while married to you, she felt like a single mum anyway. All these for what? No promotion! In outrage, you quit your job. You have never felt so useless in your life. Now you have no job and no family.

Thankfully, you have your drink.

Your brothers are fighting you left right and centre. Don’t call me brother they insist. Step brother is what you are. Your father is dead now. You and your mother don’t belong with this family. This is the first and only family. The first wife is the legitimate wife. Second wife my foot! Your inheritance my foot! Your rights be damned! You are broken. You don’t know how to help your mother overcome her loss. You mourn. Both for you and for her. Misery has set camp on your doorstep. You have lost your father and your inheritance.

You thank God that you still have your drink.

Maybe you are a young stay at home mother. Married to a rich oil tycoon. Wenye wivu wajinyonge, you tell your haters while flashing deuces. You give your best to your tycoon. But he is not bothered. He has other women out there and you know it. He gets upset easily. Though you work extremely hard not to upset him, you always seem to get on his last nerves. The blows rain on you every single day. It’s your fault, you believe. You have a knack for upsetting him even when it would do you well not to. You are a pitiful sight. You have a broken nose and a black eye.

You also have your drink.

You are an alcoholic. You feel invincible. No matter what life throws at you, you will always, always, have your drink. It’s in your refrigerator, your kitchen cupboard, medicine cabinet, bedroom drawer, the desk cabinet in your office. It never leaves your side. It is safely tucked in your blazer’s inner pocket or your trouser’s back pocket.

Your drink is loyal. It comforts you. It calms your mind. It helps you deal with heartbreak, difficult marriage, joblessness, death. All those suckers of life.

It controls you. It owns you.

You want to break free but your cry for help is veiled in words like “I can stop drinking whenever I want”

No. You cannot. You are an alcoholic.

You need help.

 

First Published on the Storymoja Festival Blog

The Selfie: A Sign of our Insufferable Vanity?

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Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Channing Tatum, Bradley Cooper, Kevin Spacey, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyong’o, Jared Leto and Jennifer Lawrence. These are the celebrities that graced Ellen Degeneres’ famous Selfie when she hosted the 86th Academy Awards in March this year. It was termed the greatest group Selfie of all time and was retweeted more than 2 Million times. How about that!

Then there was the infamous Selfie by POTUS during Nelson Mandela’s funeral, taken with David Cameron and the Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

You must have taken one recently on your Smartphone, chose the most flattering to post on facebook? Twitpic’d a few on Twitter? Filtered more on Instagram?

Urban dictionary has one definition of a Selfie as; A strange phenomenon in which the photographer is also the subject of the photograph, in a subversive twist on the traditional understanding of the photograph. Usually conducted because the subject cannot locate a suitable photographer to take the photo, like a friend. OUCH!

So what’s with the selfie? Are we too busy or don’t we care about the next person to grab the camera from their hand and take a picture of them? Don’t we want someone else handling our expensive gadgets? Don’t we trust others enough to let them take a good picture of us? Are we shamelessly embracing our narcissistic tendencies? Is humility a virtue? Anymore?

It’s high time we came to terms with ourselves – the Selfie generation. We take numerous photos and plaster them all over social media. I know I do. It’s all about pretty me, awesome me. Me, me, me! Vanity? Vanity? Vanity… Is it?

To some extent, it is. But maybe it isn’t just about self-absorption as it is a determination to take control of how one looks on camera. We are taking all decisions about our lives into our hands; why not do the same for our photos? Maybe we don’t like (read trust) someone else to do it better than us. We want things done in a particular way. We know ourselves. We definitely know our photographing strengths and weaknesses. Given this knowledge of ourselves, we don’t want to cede control to someone else. Not when we believe we can do a better job. So when we post the Selfie on social media or wherever, we are ideally telling the world; this is who I say I am.

The Selfie says a lot about us as a society. We are entrepreneurs. We are assertive. We are on the move. We don’t like to be told how to live our lives, most of the time at least. We are free-spirited. Free-willed. Over and above, we like to be in control. In an ideal situation, most of us prefer that we not take pictures of others. That they, instead, take pictures of us. This borders on egoism, I know.

BUT, in the case that no one is taking pictures of you yet. You still believe that someday soon, you will walk some red carpet and your dream will come true. That the world will (finally) focus on you. For a while. Or maybe longer. All in all, you keep the dream alive because your dreams are valid nini nini. Until that happens, you focus your camera on you by taking Selfies, hoping that the world with follow suit?

Getting the perfect Selfie is however not easy as I came to realize. You might have to take a few before you get the perfect picture worthy of sharing with your social networks. I read somewhere that if you have a double chin (like mine) you know to stick your tongue to the roof of your mouth to conceal it. That you hold the camera at a high angle to make your eyes appear bigger and cheekbones well defined. You presumably know which side of your face photographs best, so give that good side to the camera. Strike your pose while taking care to look into the lens – very important, I’m told. Snap away and Voila! You may now boldly post the picture on social media.

 

Selfie
Selfie

Who best, to show the best of you than yourself? Could that be so wrong? Who doesn’t want to be seen at their best?

While to some, a Selfie is a communication tool whose essence is to capture an instant moment instantly, to others, a Selfie is enough proof that we as a society, have become insufferably vain.

Which is it to you?

 

First Published on the Storymoja Festival Blog