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A Handbag Affair

Men think. That’s why we talk less. You’ve probably heard that men speak 3000 words averagely in a day, save for Duale and Maina Kageni. Those ones speak 7000. But men think, and they think a lot. I think about everything. And the worst thing about me is I know. I don’t just think, I also know.  I know that the founding fathers of this nation finally settled on democracy as the right system for Kenya because all the good forms of government were already taken and because they thought it’d be funny to let poor people think their input mattered (You vote, but you have to beg whoever you voted for to sign your bursary papers). The constitution never explains why the founding fathers decided to make Nairobi so powerful, but like most historians, I know it was meant as an apology for the future (You think Nairobi with free flowing sewage water everywhere, traffic, Embakasi and Kidero is the greatest thing to ever happen?).

I also know that somebody somewhere, a friend, will plan a bachelor party for me with so many nude women and a lot of profanity flying around, without my asking. I know it will be a secret location, and I know it will be a well-guarded secret. I just know. I also know men don’t speak these things because saying them is about as useful as beating your head against a wall or listening to a woman talk without staring at her boobs. Lastly I know that there are exactly two reasons to have a teddy bear or any stuffed animal in your house: because you are a woman, or because you have no interest in women. Every workplace is supposed to have a gay guy. If your office doesn’t, then it’s you. A stuffed bear will only command the heterosexual respect of your coworkers if you show them the gun you used to shoot it. Since we’ve established my mind is a fully functional workstation, you should understand I go to Café-Deli every once a week, mostly on Sundays and hide myself in a corner. Of course it’s because I need to think, but also because there are three good looking ladies who walk in at 4:22pm and I just like looking at good things, and there is free WiFi.

Because I am not athletic, I usually like sitting alone. I don’t have to imagine if anyone I’m sitting next to or opposite is wishing I had more muscles on my jaw or a killer vein on my head. I have the physique of a fattened Friesian cow. If you have seen how a cow runs, add a slight limp to it then you’ve basically seen me run. I compensate for my physique with good writing. All great people do things like that. Alexander the great, with all the muscles and shit died aged 32 after sipping a glass of alcohol. Karl Marx, a political great, wrote manifesto after manifesto to compensate for his lack of athletic ability. Most historians now agree that his many accomplishments in governmental theory were overshadowed by the fact that he ran like a girl. I’ve read the Bible quite well, and nowhere does it say how the wisest man in the bible, Solomon, hit the gym, or raised a finger to go to war with anyone. He’s still wise, and the Bible is a Holy Spirit inspired chronicle, yes? So I’m like Karl and Solomon, not Alexander. He dies at 32, before hitting the sexual prime which is 35. How sad.

Café Deli. Usually I sit alone. I had my laptop and I was looking at my CV. It depresses me beyond belief that my entire life can be summed up in a few vague paragraphs. Then, with all the space everywhere else, someone decided sitting next to this excuse of a man was the best decision. A woman who looked 32. She sat, ordered milkshake and like any other normal Nairobian, stared straight into her mobile phone screen. She had a huge handbag. If you haven’t met me before, I’d like you to know that I am a nuisance. I take joy in drowning lost puppies and catcalling beautiful girls in the dark. My favourite sport is sitting at the back of a church service and occasionally scoffing at what the pastor says. So when a woman sits next to me… I have to be me.

“Hey there” I said.

She looks up at me, throws that one minute fake smile all ladies give each other and replies, “Hey,” then sinks her face back to her phone. Of course I hate that, but I had to look for a way to grab her attention. Ladies like compliments. She had a flat chest, fairly good hair, slim like an American runway model and had these huge shades on. Basically I couldn’t compliment anything on her body, so I decided to choose her bag.

“That’s a pretty handbag there”

“Aww. Thank you,” back to her phone.

Getting irritated, “So what’s it made of?”

At that point, I was expecting something exotic. Something like “The bag is made of Gecko skin dried on ultra violet rays (I know she can say dead lizard skin dried on the sun but you need to sound exotic with these things), and coated with crocodile saliva…” But I think she wanted to mess with me so she said,

“It’s a crocodile, Hilde Palladino.”

Thank God for WiFi and Google. That great team combination that got me through campus safely told me that Hilde Palladino is a Norwegian designer. Detour… Why don’t these bag designers just have normal people names like Jessica Atieno or Alice Chebet… Hilde Palladino, really? If you name your child that, she will not get a husband. No Kenyan man will just marry you if on the first date you say your name is Palladino. Because he knows that if you have such a name, you will sue him for getting mad at Arsenal losing a match, and the distinct ability all men have of misplacing their socks. So, go basic, Go Jane, Jessica, Alice, Joy… For her marital sake.  Back to the bag. Talking about Palladino must have made her feel important. You know when you’ve lived your week hoping someone asks you about your bag, and they do… You finally feel important. When you tell me anything about my shoes for example, I’ll let you know where I bought it from (There’s a guy at Nyayo Stadium roundabout, just opposite Rongai Matatus, a dark, thin Luo guy with baby wannabe dreadlocks… He has everything fashion). So she started telling me French words…

“Merci beaucoup…”

I took French as a unit in Campus. No one but my French teacher ever believed that learning French had a purpose: Spanish was useful for extracurricular activities like translating Pitbul songs and more recently, watching reruns of Narcos. German makes you sound like a bully (Hitler was a small figure but terrified so many). The worst part about French is that it’s the most nasally language on the planet. That whole test was flawed because Lloyd, the only guy who knew French in that class, finished the exam in 12 minutes while the rest of us had to sit through writing an essay in a language where you only know seven words. So I hate French. I should have told her. But men don’t speak remember? We imagine an insult and smile thinking we’ve actually insulted you. I just looked at the bag and told myself… “She’s carrying a piece of wildlife on her hands and flaunting it with a French accent. I bet it smells like dung shit when it rains on that bag. It’s what happens to all wildlife.”

She looked at me smile, and I think she got the wrong idea. I have this thing, where I smile and babies start crying… That’s how I’m always sure it’s not yet time to be a dad. You can’t be a dad when all babies cry at your smile. You can only be a child molester. And it’s not a talent. It just happens. Take strippers for example, you can’t say that woman has a distinct talent in undressing… Yes? It just happens. So when I smiled, she asked the waitress whether there was a free table upstairs. Of course we know it was empty there but the little female poacher (If you carry a Crocodile skin Hilde Palladino, you’d need to do more than a pair of sunglasses and an expensive perfume to convince me you’re not a poacher)… The little poacher had to let me know she’s scared. She stood up. I have always, always been a proponent of irrational violence. One time I saw an episode of Suburban Bliss where one of the rooms turned out really ugly, so I killed my neighbours cat. She stood up and I decided to make it violently dramatic. I also stood up, drank the three quarter glassful of juice I had left, called for the waitress dramatically, paid the bill, told her to keep change (Those are very many commas… For the dramatic effect). And I left.

You can’t beat me at being dramatic.

Don’t sit next to me in an open restaurant. Especially when you have such a handbag… And especially when you can speak French with a Kalenjin Accent.


Voting hasn’t stopped. There’s two more weeks. If you’re behind news, we’ve been nominated for 2016 OLX SOMA Awards, under the New Blogger Category. I feel obliged, so much that recently I’ve started randomly saying hello to everyone I meet in a matatu. I look straight into your eyes and ask you if you slept well. Never mind I’m a stranger which makes that really creepy, but politicians dance with other women as their wives look on, and kiss random stranger babies just so you can vote for them. SO I’m better. The only thing I have done that I call too much, is that I joined Kilimani Mums under a female pseudo name (Those women can light a fire without touching a matchstick). But we need your vote. Hehehe. SMS 4B to 21195.



  1. ladyachronicles 9 September, 2016 at 18:57 Reply

    I totally agree on the designer-house names, difficult to pronounce….In fact there is a top 10 list on how to pronounce the names of the biggest designer houses…..And no, Victoria’s Secret is not there…

  2. Derrick Mukoya 9 September, 2016 at 20:39 Reply

    Cheryl Angasa right? Well…the detours explain his thought process, a side note of what he’s thinking about juxtaposed with his interaction with the woman.

    Irving my brother, you do it again 😀 I’m a fan. Expect several votes from me

    • MisterLeft 9 September, 2016 at 20:41 Reply

      Derrick, usually when I talk… I start telling you about my shoelace… Then I see a rock, and I remember how useful that piece of creation once was and I talk about it, back to the lace, I remember something about colour black and I talk about it… Just so I don’t forget a hot idea…. Back to the laces…

      Keep voting. Hehehe

  3. Eddy Mboya 10 September, 2016 at 08:38 Reply

    Irvin you already got my vote. Am looking at my phone laughing as I read this. My colleague may just think I’ve lost it. I need to meet the Nyayo guy for some shoes.

  4. Its Marcel 13 September, 2016 at 23:28 Reply

    Maybe …Just maybe, you should start a line of handbags purely crafted from then skin of stray cats that die under water with your hands on their neck coupled with a conspiracy to rescue them from drowning. Better still, you can skin the lost cats alive, just to test the precision of a butcher in you and find out if you’ve completely lost your soul. Lets call this line of bags “Irvin Catalogues”
    Great piece incentive enough for a vote

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