Thursday, June 30, 2011

Surviving Men

Next time you see a bride standing at the altar in a wedding gown and exchanging vows with a man, promising to stand by him no matter what, you should applaud that woman. Seriously. Get on your feet and applaud her because she will be undertaking a rough path full of hardships.

Not to say that the men have it easy. All I am saying is that before you go around making silly statements like ‘women are hard to manage’, (refer to my previous blog) take a minute and walk a mile in our pinching shoes, will you? Some (few) men already know this; others have never really stopped to think about it, while others believe that we are only doing what is our job to do and we should therefore shut up and strive to do it well. I will ignore the last cluster since I am in a good mood today and I don’t want anything to change that.

You know the way a woman carries a pregnancy to term while ensuring that the baby she is carrying is well nourished, safe and healthy? Now imagine having another baby who has no ‘due date’, meaning the difficulties you face while ‘carrying’ it are indefinite with no end in sight. Imagine having to provide ‘nourishment’ with no guarantee of its full growth and safety. The latter ‘baby’ is who we like to call a ‘Man’

The only two differences between a foetus and a man are that one is a ‘parasite’ inside a woman, while the other one is outside her; one grows and develops while the other has stunted growth.

The emotional roller coaster that a woman goes through when she pees on a stick during a pregnancy test, and when she walks down the aisle and stretches out her finger to accept a wedding ring are somewhat the same. She thinks, will I be a good mother (wife), will this pregnancy (marriage) go smoothly? Do I have the strength to see it through? Am I ready for this?

If she chooses to have the child or accept the ring (tomato, tomay-i-to) then her life is not hers anymore. It becomes all about the child (man) because she has to make changes to accommodate this person comfortably in her life. The food she used to love eating cannot be kept down anymore as she ends up puking it all out, thanks to morning sickness; she has to change her circle of friends, thanks to the society’s perception of her new status. Her outfits become restrictive and she has to buy new ones, thanks to a bulging tummy; her decisions are equally restricted as she has to consult and maybe even forgo some of the things she would have loved to pursue, thanks to a demanding husband. As if that is not enough she will have to adapt to a new family who, just like a protruding belly, are not easy to carry around.

Just like a growing foetus might abort with no warning and due to no fault of the woman, a marriage may come to an abrupt end leaving her wondering when the rain started beating her. It may end simply because a man prefers another woman who is more fun or slimmer, taller, sexier, prettier - the excuses are in milliards.

Instead of thinking how hard it is to ‘manage’ your woman, think of all the sacrifices she is making and how hard she is trying to make things work. When men get married, their search for a mate is obviously over and therefore, mission accomplished. Case closed. End of story. Their main agenda for a chick they are interested in is ‘kumuingiza box’ as they call it. Once a chick ‘ameingia box’ what other challenge is left for them? To make the relationship work? What is that? This might as well be Greek to him. That automatically becomes the woman’s responsibility

Well, just as there are so many pains in pregnancy; fatigue, heartburn and gas, there are also those fuzzy kicks, overwhelming emotions of pride and joy to get us through a pregnancy. Just as there are all the disappointments in marriage in the form of ‘chips funga’, lies, betrayal and disloyalty, there are also special moments of pride, joy and happiness to make us survive men.

So even though men are absolute idiots most of the time, there are a few times every woman looks at their man and sees the reason why she has stuck with him through it all. These moments should not be few and far between. Very few men understand that in order for a marriage to work, he has to keep chasing the same woman even after she says ‘I do”.

Monday, June 27, 2011

'Managing' Women?

There I was, walking to the stage to get a vehicle to take me to work. It’s almost 9am, and I am running late (what else is new!). You know the way you may be walking then you find yourself walking in step with someone, yet you are not really ‘together’? Yeah? I found myself walking step by step with another gentleman though he seemed not to be in a hurry. Why is it that I sometimes think I am walking very fast only to be overtaken by someone (mostly men) who appear to be walking slower than me? I always wondered to myself. Maybe my math teacher in school forgot to teach me that x=2y (where x is one step taken by a male, and y is a step taken by a female). Or maybe he did teach me one hot afternoon but I was not paying attention-I never paid much attention during afternoon lessons.

Anyhoo, moving on swiftly……

As ‘we’ (are we an item now?) continue walking with my stranger, another man appears from my side of the road, from a ka building and smiles at my stranger while shouting some greetings “Niaje?”, or something along those lines. My stranger responds and I try to walk by faster so that I can leave the two to their chitchat.

For the life of me, I am unable to leave them behind (refer to my formula above?) and so since the friend to my stranger starts walking with ‘us’ towards the same direction, we appear to be together and strange enough, they do nothing to close the gap between them. Shauri yao!

I am therefore forced to eavesdrop on their conversation - Will you believe me if I tell you that I wasn’t enjoying doing this? Hehe…yeah, I wouldn’t believe me either. From their conversation, I gather they were mere acquaintances;

My stranger: Kumbe unaishi hapo (points at building)
The ‘friend’: eeh…ndiyo. (Sounding dodgy, like he doesn’t want to talk about it)
My stranger: I thought unaishi (names place) ama ulihama?
Friend: Hapana sijahama. Bibi yangu mwingine anaishi hapa.
My stranger: (He is turning out to be so nosy this stranger of mine) Haiya, uko na bibi wawili?
Friend: Haha….(bashfully) Ndiyo, nina wawili

I am still trying to walk fast but wapi? Don’t look at me like that, I really tried to give them their privacy….what did you expect me to do, run?

My Stranger: How do you manage bwana?
Friend: (stammers) heeheee…..eeh. I just manage
My stranger: Managing one is hard enough bwana. Bibi mmoja ni kazi sasa wewe wawili unawaweza aje
Friend: Saa zingine inabidi bwana. Nimejengea wote wawili nyumba huko (names some place)
My stranger: Na wanasikizana?
Friend: e-eeh wanaskizana! (LIAR!) Unaishi peke yako?
My stranger: (nodding) eeeh. (dude looks old, and is still single? Clearly, he needs help!)
We near an interception and I notice My stranger is heading to the stage just like me, so sadly we have to part with ‘our’ friend as he was going to the opposite direction.
My stranger: Sawa basi, si baadaye.
Friend: Poa.

I smile to myself as I stand at the stage to wait for a vehicle to take me to work. My stranger goes to a vendor by the roadside to buy a newspaper.

Why do men talk like that? Ati ‘managing’ a woman is hard work?! How many diaper changes do we need in a day exactly? How many feeds at night?

Should we start talking about how excruciatingly difficult it is to ‘manage’ a man?

I think we should. So next on Reneeissance, I will tell you what women go through to survive- yes, to survive men.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Who wants to be a Millionare?

Those who know me know that I am all for women empowerment, girl power, ‘what’s-good-for-the-goose-is-good-for-the-gander’ kind of shit. Heck, I have been called a feminist. But if asking… ok you got me – if demanding that women are treated more like human beings than objects qualifies me as a feminist, then I will gladly answer to that name.

Having said that, I also believe that women should act in a manner to make it easy for the society to shun the age-old perception that we are all kitchen-bound good-for-nothings who should only worry about perfecting the art of leg-spreading (be it for sex or to give birth) , wash, cook….and other four letter words. Are we doing all in our power to distort that picture entrenched in the male mind of women donning aprons and tending to the family while barefoot and pregnant? I sadly think not!

Why am I ranting, you ask? Today’s Nation Newspaper carried the story of a woman who is not willing to get married to any man who will not raise bride price of 1million Kes. She, in my view, simply wants to be bought. To the highest bidder. She wants us to believe that she does not come cheap! She says she is educated and intelligent (ahem!) She claims that she is an asset since she will be helping the husband bring home the bacon. What the poor lady forgets is that by putting a price on her self worth, she comes off as cheap! She might as well go, “Hi, I am Rita Muchiri, and am worth only 1 million Kenyan shillings, cough out the cash and you can take me home!” Smile girl, and hope that the men don’t choose that flashy car over you!

How many criminals, men of questionable character can come up with the 1M Rita is asking for? If that is all it takes to have you girl, then you are one very poor woman.
So she will not get married to a poor good looking man who might genuinely fall in love with her. What’s love got to do with it, right?

I can only say this to you girlie. When you pay to have something, you automatically assume ownership of it. I believe that the smart you has done some transactions now and then. You call the one million a ‘token’ of appreciation to your parents. Token, really? In spite of your dumbness, your future does look bright, masters degree and all. Just get your lazy ass to work and support your parents and yourself. Stop being greedy! And most importantly, for Pete’s sake stop taking us back to the stone ages!!!

*Breathes in and out*

NKT!! I am ok now…