By Michael Ngigi
Every once in a while I ask myself out on a drink at my favorite bar near my workplace. I like the status this small old place accords me. They know my drink and what day to serve it. On a day like this, they know that I want something that tastes woody, almost like charcoal. So my 70 year old bartender dissappears behind the counter and a few minutes later he appears with a double Jack and Coke poured over ice flakes. This is a perfect man-drink, bold, sophisticated and mature. You should see a woman drinking Jack & Coke. It is curiously sexy, more like a woman driving a muscle car only less dramatic. You have to be careful though. When a woman is on Jack, you may have to help her protect her own reputation at some point. Know what I mean?
So today, I invite you to drink with me; make time. It is enlightening and refreshing. You will get to know how I think and why I do things different. I like to think of this as ‘my yoga’. This is where I come to re-live moments and sometimes, to chart the way forward. Other times I come to lick my wounds and once in a while, to fight my battles. All in all, I drink for a good moment. Great memories. A interesting conversation. A clear thought on my family, great friends, my woman and lastly, success.
First Jack. Critical thinking.
Among the things that interest me and get me all emotional are world politics. Lately, I am a bitter man. Depressed by the news, I am constantly on the lookout for other things to watch. Among the things that make me angry is the all too familiar allied interference in third world politics. I still can’t place a finger on the exact reason why Libyans started a revolution. Before you call me a jackass please here me out. Why would you take to the streets when your country has one of the highest HDI (Human Development Index) in the world? What valid reason would you want to take up arms when your country has the 10th largest proven oil reserves in the world? Free education up to university level would certainly make your life very easy no? And the list goes on to include free health care and a mean wage of $9.51 per hour. Any way I look at it, I can’t help aknowledging how the Libyan question is too familiar. It has the same feel as Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Egypt. The first world is hungry for energy and raw materials; it is understandable why they would want to interfere with some in the the third world. Some because they choose to rush to Libya’s aid while Ivory Coast is let to drown in chaos. Feel me? Anyway one can only take so much when it comes to politics. Let me get me another drink please. I insist you taste my Jack. Very smooth.
Second Jack. Is it just me? Or…
Now all women want to be president. Fair enough. We are equal. In this day and age we have to appreciate that they are making faster strides compared to their male counterparts. They hold the best jobs, drive the best cars and what not. I am proud of the woman especially our African woman. She keeps our families together. She makes sure that our wealth remains in the family. She is a superwoman. However, there has been a strain of women that are cropping up and it’s scary. And as I say this, I would like all the women in my life to know that I light not this match with the intention to start a fire but to shed light.
The first time I heard about the term independent woman I was confused. I mean, is there anything like an independent human being? Who are we gaining independence from? Think of the term independent man. How does it sound? Silly? I thought so. Being born on your own and having a name unique to you is proof enough that you are your own person. You have a role. Get this. Which woman does not want a man who can protect her and provide for her regardless of her ability to do the same? What woman wants a man who hides behind her when trouble comes calling? A woman wants a real man. A man who is gentle yet still has the fire of a fight raging within him. A man who gets silly and funny but has the wisdom of a centenary man. Women want a man who has solutions and answers. The kind of brother who would lay down his life for a fellow human being. A MAN man.
And so it is, with the other side of the divide. A man wants a woman. As simple as that. A woman who works had and is an achiever. A woman who is intelligent and adds value to a man. A woman who is humble despite the life on the fast lane. Which man wouldn’t want a woman who can at least cook an egg? One thing women should know about cooking for a man is, it is not the outcome of her cooking that matters but the heart behind it. We could eat boiled shoes for all we care! But how it tastes will depend on the heart behind the cooking. I love me a woman who let’s me love her in all the ways a man should. Protect her. Provide for her. Learn from her and gain her trust. A woman who doesn’t have anything to prove. She has a bigger title and takes home a bigger piece of bread (it could happen boys) than me but it doesn’t matter as long as I play my part. A woman who knows I am superman. That type of woman would have me do anything for her.
Lastly, head of the house. Yeah I said it! Shoot me. There can only be one head of the house. So boys and girls, please go, seat, have a discussion and decide who it will be and do the math while you’re at it here are examples to work with. Driver and co-driver. Plug and socket.
Blackjack. The Game.
Whether you like it or not. Love is a game. As Sun Tzu would advise you [were he alive] play only if your chances of winning are good. Secondly, one hand cannot clap. If love is one way, let it go. There are things that should act as clear indicators that your relationship is headed for a fall. The first one is PRIDE. If you are the type that finds it hard to say you are sorry when you wrong someone, you’re headed for doom. If you talk down on your woman just because she is a woman, you will end up a lonely and biter old man. If you disrespect your man just because you rake in more than he does, you will suffer frost in your heart and when you’re older, you will be seen molesting young boys, quarter your age.
The second one is ignorance. When you love someone, be observant. What is a small issue to you could be the biggest issue to them. Pay close attention to what your partner is feeling and what they communicate. It could make you or break your relationship. Communicate. Good communication is the key to everything. Deeper love. Great sex. Trust. Zeal for life and happiness through good and bad times. Ignorance is the most stupid form of foolishness. Someone quote me…
Love Jack. Why I did it.
I remember I was the first to wake up that morning after partying through the previous night. Looking at my watch, I realized we only had 15 minutes before the hotel restaurant downstairs closed down the breakfast buffet. I tried waking her up but she was clearly not in a state for breakfast. I kissed her and went downstairs to feed hoping I’d bring back some food for her. At breakfast, I couldn’t help fidgeting. Meals never taste good without her at the table, that is a fact I have given into lately. It’s like watching an interesting movie without the sound. I tried looking out the window but that too wasn’t fun. Then a flood of thoughts, feelings and emotions drowned my mind. At that moment, I wanted her next to me. I wanted to hear her Pa-ha laugh more than ever. I still find it odd how she manages to make me laugh even when I don’t want to. We hit it off from the moment we first met. It almost felt like we had shared a lifetime together before. She knew me by heart. I knew her by soul.
I left the table hurriedly and rushed to our room. Just before I opened the door I reached into my pocket and took out the pouch to look at the contents. There it was, shining brightly. The old man in Ethiopia had crafted it beautifully. These nine stones would express exactly what I felt about her. I was ready. I hid the pouch in my pocket and I started the tense wait for the right moment. I didn’t know that fate had arranged for us to visit the ski that evening. Opportunity.
A man’s needs are very simple. At the end of the day, we just want a simple, eat-drink-work-sleep-play lifestyle and most of all to be next to the woman of our dreams.
Final Jack. Closing time.
It starts to rain as I beckon the waiter for the bill. I love my drink why lie! Just before I leave the balcony, I instinctively pull out my phone to call her. Honestly, however good my drink is, I know that there’s nothing better than to end my day with a stimulating conversation with my final Jack.
By Michael Ngigi
Nothing moves at the right pace. Your lunch is late. Your boyfriend, too early. Just when you needed a few more minutes with the girls. The baby wakes you up in the middle of the night just when you have the interview of your life early in the morning. The urge to run to the toilet always tortures you at the wrong time. And your stomach feels like a storm; just when you’re in that crucial meeting.
Now you feel like passing air. Too bad you’re in the elevator.
“Go on do it!” the small pop-up devil at the side of your head urges. For a moment you feel like you’d take the advice and run with it.
Did you just send her roses early in the morning today with a birthday note? You just made a stupid mistake! Read her text again. It read she was having a ‘bad day’ not BIRTHDAY you idiot! Furthermore her birthday was last month dummy! You forgot didn’t you? What the hell is wrong with TIME?!
Do you know why Kate is smoking weed at the back of the house during her birthday party? She is worried about the question of time and pace. She feels like everything is moving too fast. She can’t seem to catch up. Peete is entertaining her friends inside the house. At least that’s where she left him. She looks at the bracelet Peete just gave her for a birthday gift. Her stomach feels unsettled. She can’t help noticing the ‘Happy 25. I love you – Peete’ stamped clearly on it. She takes a long drag. As her head goes lighter, her heart grows heavier. Something doesn’t feel right.
Kate and Peete met two months ago at a friend’s party. Kate had just broken up with her boyfriend and so Peete came at the right time, of course as a shoulder to lean on. There after they met for coffee and a few hangouts later, Peete suggested they take their friendship to another level. In the heat of the moment, Kate agreed. At first it was bliss for these lovebirds and Peete would often outdo himself. He hopelessly loved Kate. She loved him too but could not shake of that feeling of falling helplessly into an abyss of unknown nature. She hated that she wasn’t in control. Everything was moving too fast. For her it didn’t feel like she’d had enjoyed enough time as a single woman. It felt more like this ‘new love’ was too rushed. She realized she didn’t know him well enough.
Then there was this other guy called Theo that she’d met the week before at the gym. They spoke for a few minutes and exchanged numbers. He seem interesting and had this magnetic mystery around him. He promised to call her before the week was over. She felt excited at the thought of seeing him again. He is two days late but she still has a strong feeling that he’ll call her. With this in mind, she knows Peete wants her to devote to the relationship. She is in trouble. She is has been possessed by the Delayed Devotion Demon. Don’t get her wrong, she thinks Peete is a very good guy. Caring and loving. It’s just that she needs more time.
The party is getting louder and everyone is excited except Peete. He pretends to be enjoying but his mind is overloaded. He is thinking about how Kate reacted when he gave her the bracelet. He knows that look. He’s seen it before. A few months before,his then girlfriend had broken up with him citing that she needed time off. She had that same look. He knows he can’t handle another breakup. Not now. His head feels dizzy.
As a friend, there are things I’d rather Peete knew that would save him a heart ache. You see, Kate is like an empire that you’ve set out to conquer with limited resources. You have to do it bit by bit. You should know that before you came along, she was doing pretty well by herself and that she didn’t need saving. kate has many friends, both female and male. She likes partying and having fun and goes out almost two times in a week. She loves the attention she gets whenever she goes out. She is beautiful so why not? She likes the freedom and the spontaneity.
When you met her, she liked you because you seemed like an interesting guy. You also looked a bit distant. She is used to men kissing the ground she walks on but you did the opposite. You sat in the party by yourself and seemed to enjoy your own company. Women love that. She felt like a queen when you made your move on her. Now two months later, you have changed. You are hopelessly ‘in love’. You’ve become a wuss, something very different from the macho image you had projected. At first you used to wait a day before you could reply her texts, now you call every minute of the day. Too much love and attention can be choking.It is making her uneasy.
Understand that her feelings for you have to be allowed to develop over time. The men who were in her life didn’t just fall off when she became your girlfriend. They fade out slowly. You have to conquer her bit by bit. It takes time. You want her to love you? Let her go. Give her space. She knows you are a good guy so don’t fret. Act like the cool guy you are. Don’t be afraid to lose. After all, what use is it for you to be with a girl who doesn’t feel for you as feel for her? When was the last time you had a drink with your boys? Pick up the phone. Call them. Let her breathe.
Don’t smother her with the kind of affection that screams you want to marry her, have ten kids and move upcountry to a farm house. It scares women away. Take time to learn from her. How to treat her. How to love her. Only in this way, can you be successfully cast out the Delayed Devotion Demon.
Too bad, we can’t talk such things man to man. So go ahead and mess up Peete. A man learns from trial and error.
Thank you Catherine for giving me the idea for today’s article. You gave me a note telling me to talk about the Delayed Devotion Demon. Well, here you are. I have to hand it to you though, your handwriting is awful 🙂
4 am; she knew he wasn’t asleep. April had seen his type before. The good type of guy who falls in love easily and is immediately clingy from the moment you have your first sex with him. At first, Jamie looked like the kind of guy any fun loving chic would want to have fun with. No strings attached. She liked the way he spoke. Careless and never a sentence without an obscene word. He smoked, he got drunk, he lied and he flirted. Perfect. This was what April had seen and gone after. Here she was, thinking how big a mistake she had made. She hadn’t seen it coming albeit the dates, the coffees and the special way he treated her. All she wanted was a casual fling not what she was facing at the moment.
She slid from the sheets, picked her phone, blouse, lingerie and pants. Slowly and silently. She hated this part most, despite having done this countless times before. She headed to the washroom and texted her cab guy. In fifteen minutes every detail about this night would begin to fade from her memory. The radio in the other room was condemningly playing Sting & Police‘s Roxanne on low volume. For a moment she felt sorry for Jamie, but she had already made up her mind. He wasn’t what she was looking for. She wasn’t even sure what she was looking for.
“There goes karma again” Jamie thought as he lay on the bed staring at the green digits on his alarm clock. It had become a normal thing for him to be ditched the morning after. He thought he had tried his best with April. The dates, the nice texts and the good times seems not to have had any effect. Here he was at 34 years, feeling wounded and the knot in his throat wouldn’t go away. He hated himself for being so gullible. He felt like a little girl.
You see Jamie is a player and ruthless womanizer. He is used to the fast life. Meet a girl, go out on a drink, take her home and then chase her off before daybreak. Of the women he’s bagged, three quarters are either married, engaged or dating. It is why he doesn’t believe in love. He know it is likely that someone else will do it to him too. ‘Heat the bathing water just to have someone else bathe in it.’ Life is fair. It’s just that the truth is too much to handle. He wants to live a normal life. He desperately wants to fall in love and quit this rat race once and for all. Tomorrow he meets up with Kiki. He knows she feels something for him and that she is a good woman who is single and ready to mingle but not her. He will just bag her, like the criminal he is, while he waits for the right one.
Enter April, she is 29 years old. Like her name suggests, April has fled the alter (literally) five times. Let me explain. She believed in the movies. When she was young, her mother took her to see John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in Grease the musical. That proved to be her undoing. She has never met her dream man since. She loves to be looked at and adored. In fact, she believes she’s some sort of fairy princess or maybe a doll or just some wonderful character in a story book. She loves sex. She cannot understand why she never has enough of it. April is a control freak. Any chance to be in charge will not be wasted. She is beautiful and stunning. One thing she doesn’t seem to understand is why she attracts the ‘wrong’ type of men. She’s always wanted to date a good serious man. For now, she chooses to enjoy the ride. She knows it is a crime to play with someone’s heart especially when they are unsuspecting but she does it anyway.
What a miserable lot we have become. As the earth races to it’s demise, everyone is just looking to be appreciated and treated differently. For those who have found love, it still doesn’t feel enough. We are not happy. It feels like a prison. The sex is never enough, however good it is. The love is never deep enough. This is the bed we made, therefore we must sleep in it. And it seems we will never really get what it is we’re looking for. Wait. Do we even know what we’re looking for?
Yesterday, my brother Victor called me up with the concept for this article. He said that I should observe how people behave at a bus stop. No one wants to board the bus with many stops along the way. We all want the one that goes straight to our destination. The fast car. No stops. Such is life. No one wants to commit to a partner that seems to have many ‘stops’ along the way. In the meantime, we shall stand at the bus stop of life and admire these beautiful buses as we wait for our express bus to arrive.
By Michael Ngigi
What are the biggest lies you can tell yourself [forever] in a relationship? I know if given a chance to list them, one could fill up a dozen toilet rolls with these hoaxes that we can’t seem to detach ourselves from. Before I deliver my thesis, a comprehensive disclaimer is key.
The opinions herein are based on things narrated to me and not experience. Some are also based on observation. I write this on behalf of a group of men and women who are looking for answers.
If you were struck by lightning while walking along street x on the same spot twice within one week, would you use that street again? What are the chances that you can be slapped by a mad man 5 times in the same market over a period of a week? Ok, let me move closer home. Banging your finger five times with a hammer while trying to drive in a nail should give you one clear message. STOP IT! You’re not cut out for this. Try something else! One could easily say, it’s common sense that such an unlucky person lacks. Well, it’s easier said than done.
Meet Shiku. At 21 years she looks a bit too mature for her age. Worry lines are beginning to show. In her eyes, a fire, slowly dying is evident. She is beautiful and homely. You know the kind of girl any man’s mother would wish for? She is a snob. The good kind. Many a man she has turned down because she is faithful to Mark, who happens to ‘love’ her very much [in her words]. They have been going out for three years now. She talks about him nonstop.
To the trained eye, too much flowery talk is an indicator of a huge underlying problem.
You see, Mark is violent. Hardly any argument in the last two years, has ended without a fight. Wrong word. A beating. Last Friday he assaulted Shiku, causing injury to her internal organs. She spent a night at the hospital on heavy pain killers and therapy. On Monday, he sent Shiku a bouquet of yellow flowers at her office with a note written “I’m sorry it’ll never happen again”. She read the note and cried. Her tears were not tears of pain. They were tears of love and joy.
She ‘knows’ that one day Mark will change. She knows he loves her and that it’s always her fault that she is beaten. She still lives with her parents. No wonder it is always a task lying to them where all those black eyes come from. Sad, is all I can say. Well she could survive a few more months till they get married, eye suppose.
In a place not far away from our ‘star’ couple. We meet another interesting couple. Justin and Maria. They are in love. They meet for coffee almost daily after work. During the day they send each other nice love notes on phone and internet. According to Justin, this is it. Lately, he has noticed a slight change in his girlfriend. She is too happy, too loving and a bit too caring. He likes it, but he doesn’t feel comfortable. He wants to raise the issue but is afraid it would lead to fight… and possibly a break up.
“I’ll give it more time” he says to himself. If he only knew…
Maria has been through this before. I mean, the love thing and everything that comes with it. She has a condition that is still yet to be documented in medical journals. She gets bored easily. She thinks highly of Justin. He seems a nice guy and is quite interesting too. However, there’s something missing. She can’t put a finger on it but she knows it exists.
Unknown to Justin, she also likes this other guy who we will name Jack (like in a porn movie hehe!). He is mysterious, exciting and fun to hang out with. She is undergoing a mixture of emotions that she can’t explain. You see three weeks ago, they [Maria and Jack] went for this friends’ reunion in Ngong and there happened to be lot of alcohol to be consumed. They got hopelessly wasted and ended up at his place. As nature would want it, they ended up in bed. The sex was great.
Now Maria feels terrible. Two weeks ago Jack called her up for a ‘hang out’ at the new club in Westlands. Again, they ended up at his place. She doesn’t know him well but can’t help falling for his magnetic effect. She knows Jack is not they serious type. So she feels guilty and ends up being overly nice to Justin. She hates the mess she’s in. She’s in some serious trouble. No, Justin is.
Enter Justin. By now he is sure something is up. He is a business man so he understands the law of mitigation. It is obvious that he is in a sinking ship. He has the option to cut his losses and run. He has been a player before so he knows the situation he’s in. He gave up that life because he had finally found rest in this amazing girlfriend of his. However, he chooses to wait for the worst to happen. He tries to convince himself that Maria is just undergoing some changes in her life and that she’ll come around soon.
“Things could change eye suppose” he mutters to himself as he smokes his joint in the toilet at his workplace.
It is obvious that over speeding is dangerous yet we do it. Women know a violent man even before they date him but they assume. Men know a wandering eye yet they propose to be there for her for life. All in all. I think human beings have got to be the most ignorant lot. We never learn. We could die holding on to that sinking ship all the while ignoring the buoy that constantly floats by. A race that embraces harm and hurt even though it lies inviting in plain sight. But we could live like this eye suppose.