I sat next to some lady in a matatu juzi morning on my way to my daily shenanigans. Decent mami; hair pointing upwards in a neat Afro, eyebrows shaven off and drawn back up, huge ring hanging from her nose, cute dimples on either cheek, and shiny red lipstick that I – at first – almost thought was blood. It was a tonne of lipstick; her lips looked like a bucket of red paint. Ladies, exactly what standard amount of lipstick is one allowed to apply? Because if lips were malls, that girl’s lips would have been freaking Two Rivers.
She was reading a book I found queer titled You Don’t Need A Job. I didn’t quite catch the name of the author, but she was so engrossed in that book you would think it contained the Ten Commandments and an autograph from Moses. People tell me I judge a lot, and that’s true, because with just that title I had judged that lady; She had either only recently lost her job and was thinking about starting something of her own, or she had been jobless for far too long something was starting to whisper into her ears that she would be just fine without one. And so one day as she was walking in town on her way to meet a friend for these 70-bob kahawas, her eyes caught that book and she took 100-bob note out of the 300-bob left in her purse to purchase it from the street vendor. And that evening she walked back home feeling real good about herself; feeling like something was finally about to give way for her. She looked like a Monica; women named Monica tend to be so into this girl-power nonsense you can never speak sense into their ears.
This story isn’t about Monica. This story is about another lady I met during lunch hour on the same day.
I’m at a table with another chap and two mamis. Two very short mamis; so short they could whisper a prayer to the Good Ol’ Chap up there in the high heavens and He wouldn’t hear it until the year Kalonzo takes the oath. One of them is a bit lighter while the other has a bigger forehead, which are details you probably didn’t need to know but I’m the one telling the story so there. They’re a fun bunch to hang around though, sometimes we argue about things that don’t even make sense but we keep at it because they make the conversation interesting and fun, banal as their arguments may be. They also used to drink every once in a while but stopped about 5 years ago when they realized they were “spending too much money on alcohol and not moving anywhere in life.” So now they walk the clean path and preach the Holy Word. Which is why every time my boy and I show up reeking of alcohol from the previous night’s madness, they scoff at us and scold us and ask “So how did drinking help you?” I love how people who don’t drink think their pretty little lives are so perfect.
Everybody is having chicken with rice because that was what the first person ordered and I really wanted to say Chapo-Madondo but as a responsible tax-paying Kenyan I felt obliged to say “Niwekee kama hiyo.” And so here we are, chowing down badly-cooked chicken and dry rice and talking with our mouths full. And then I don’t know how the conversation switches from our dream cars to marriages because, in a flash, a question hits me; and it hits hard and painfully, like when Baba agreed with Kalonzo that they would both take the oath but on the material day Kalonzo switched off his phone.
“So, Ian, at what age do you plan on marrying?” One of the mamis asks; I can’t quite figure out which one because they’re both looking at me expecting a response and they’re both short and you know how all short people look alike.
I ponder for a second then say, “Earliest, 40, but I’m thinking maybe 45.”
You should have seen how those ladies gasped, like I had just mentioned a forbidden name like Adolf Hitler, Amin Dada or Octopizzo (his name and music are both forbidden in my house, but y’all can play it out there.) They asked me if I was serious and I said “Yes” and they wanted to know who had hurt me and I said “Nobody” (although, now that I think about it, my father really hurt me when he gave in to Cancer and let it chew him to his weakest like that) and they asked what was wrong with me and I said “Nothing” (although, and again, coming to think of it, I’ve been known to be quite the drinker…and science says that affects your thoughts, No?)
I have given this answer many times and it always elicits the same reaction. Nobody ever believes me. So today I would like to explain myself;
One. I will marry at 40 because then, with my drinking and unhealthy eating habits, I figure I’ll only have about ten or fifteen more years left to live and I don’t want to die a lonely old man. I need somebody to wash my ass when I’m unable to and prepare me bath water and fetch me a beer when my legs start failing me.
Two. I will marry at 40 because I can’t stand living with a woman for too long. If we marry at 25 and live through to 60; that gives me 35 solid years of knowing you in and out and seeing your face every single day. Where’s the fun in that? Who T.F wants 35 solid years of coming back home on Saturday nights to; Where were you? Who were you with? Kesho niwachie pesa ya Sukuma.
Three. I will marry at 40 because if I ever do make money – and, trust me, I intend to – I want time to enjoy it alone before someone comes along and we have to get a joint account or some shit. I know that sounds selfish but that’s because it is what it is.
Finally. I will marry at 40 because, statistically, women age faster than men, I can’t wait to see the wrinkly faces of these women – alias slay queens – with heavy make-up who reject my advances in bars. I hope Instagram will still be functional by then.
That’s about it, so are we clear now? Let nobody ask me that question again.
Shit, I’m already into a thousand words and I haven’t even really said what this post was really about.
So after they scoffed at my reply, they asked my boy the same question and he said 30. They still weren’t satisfied but, at least, they acknowledged that he wasn’t as damaged as me. So then we flipped the script and asked them what age they would like to get married and the first to answer said she was 27 years old and ready, even there and then. And the she added;
“I’m just waiting for God to give me a husband.”
I didn’t show it then, but I lost it. Here’s my little piece of advice to you, dear sweetheart, who’s waiting for a husband from God; God does not have a safe full of husbands from where he can just pick one and drop them down for you like candy. Get your ass out of the house, go out there and meet people. Go to the mall, go to a cocktail bar, attend speed-dating conferences, shit, sign up on Tinder and Badoo if you have to but don’t ever say you are waiting on God. If you only switch between your workplace and the house yet say you want to get married then, boo-boo, the only husband you’re going to get is either a matatu conductor or your building’s plumber; and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the two, don’t be like one of those feminazis that make a fuss out of everything.
Eti “I’m just waiting for God to give me a husband.” Nyenyenyenyenyenyenyenye. Well, then, do you want Him to pay your rent for you too? Maybe fix your broken pipes and do your hair and nails? Or do your dishes and laundry? Maybe go out to the store and purchase a tampon and milk for you too while He’s at it?
I don’t remember what verse says this but I know it’s in the Bible; God helps only those who help themselves.
So… Stay Woke, sister.