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Loving wrong

I have been writing this post for a long time it had remained a draft that never seems good enough to publish, but today I am going ahead and letting you in on the randomness going on in my head. I am going to talk about love today and what I have learned so far about it or rather what I think I have learned. This is a subject that does not have gurus, but some people understand the subject better than others. Well I am in the category that tries really hard to understand it, it never comes naturally to me and my like (tuko wengi). When you have no one to give you a map on matters of the heart, you have to make that map yourself. Trial and error till you get it right. Well I have come up with a fairly rough idea for what this map looks like and I will share it with you:

School, Church, Regular events

If you are looking for a life partner I find these to be the best places one can find the one. This is why (I will be skewed towards school more here):

  • You two will have a lot of time together to get to learn about each other. You get to know who blacks out when they take two doubles of vodka. Who is the responsible between you two (there is usually a lot of pressure to fit in somewhere, where someone fits tells you the type of person they are).
  • Apart from spending a lot of time together, you get to learn the true character of the other person. This aided by your mutual friends who will obviously snitch (snitching here is encouraged, you want to know this person in and out, but also take what are told with a pinch of salt, you need to be objective and try to find out on your own. The good the bad the ugly, try to find out on your own too).
  • Being with someone for long periods of time means even if you are pretending sometimes you will let your guard down. That holy Joe/Jane, might reveal a hidden side when angry or under pressure.
  • You can introduce them to your folks with ease, “hey mom this is Jane from school/ church/ volunteer activity and you can let the chemistry build”. I however find this hard on my side, since I hardly talk about girls whenever I took a friend home, my mom would right away assume that was my girlfriend. Which was good because when my neighbours would tell her I have been bringing girls home, she would ask which friend I brought, then if they have met she’d be like “oh that one, they school together nothing to worry about” haha, see how easy it is to build trust with parents? However when the reciprocal happens and the fathers start asking questions I thought intrusive, (I excused myself before I was asked about my GPA haha) I hardly think it is a good thing for girls to introduce friends to their fathers, moms are okay. Dads I think they have another angle of viewing things, don’t ask me to expound… But if you think there is a future why not go ahead slot your boyfriend in your father Sunday afternoon golf and watch your boyfriend struggle to create rapport hahaha.

Bar/ Club/ One off events

After the third beer a lot of things are said. Whatever happens when you under influence should not be considered to have been serious/ binding when you become sober! They say, “A drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts”, but unless this drunk is a person you have known before for a while whatever they say cannot be taken at face value. Evaluate and re-evaluate. Clearly you can see I am biased here, and my map stays that way on this one…

Friends

“Love is something far more than desire for sexual intercourse; it is the principal means of escape from the loneliness which afflicts most men and women throughout the greater part of their lives – Bertrand Russell”

At some point when you have friends who you seemingly seem to be going through the same things/ issues in life you may be tempted to think “why don’t we hook up, we understand each other right? And to top it up we are friends”. Well this is the thing; if you get together with loneliness as the key driver, it will not work. Things will start rosy, the relationship will seem okay. Then one side will want more; more in this case, it may be letting your other mutual friends know you are together, getting jealous and marking the territory of what is rightfully yours (not the psycho marking that includes stalking though, that’s scary, an introduction of “hey meet my girlfriend/ boyfriend” works perfectly). The other may feel this being somehow throttling since you were just friends a while before and had good distance, this resentment is usually the beginning of the end.

But if you can sit and discuss your expectations beforehand and understanding what converting a platonic friendship to girlfriend/boyfriend involves and the strain that will bring to your mutual friends as they try to pick sides should you part ways and agree then what the hell go right ahead. But Love is hardly rational, so what I’m saying?!!!

Fuck buddy

Urban dictionary describes a fuck buddy thus: A friend or acquaintance whom you occasionally (or often) have sex with. While the sex might be serious, the relationship isn’t.

 AKA Friends With Benefits

Kelsey was left wondering whether or not the “friend” her cousin Emily spoke about so much was her boyfriend or fuck buddy.

You will meet those career focussed people. They are in the “building their career” or “climbing up the career ladder first” or “trying to make their first million” phase. For these commitment is an issue since their lack of time is evident, they are married to their careers/ business, they are forthright in the beginning that they just want to have good sex.

Like Jay-Z put it in lost ones:

I don’t think it’s meant to be, be
But she loves her work more than she does me
And honestly, at twenty-three
I would probably love my work more than I did she
So we, ain’t we
It’s me, and her
‘Cause what she prefers over me, is work
And that’s, where we, differ
So I have to give her
Free, time, even if it hurts
So breathe, mami, it’s deserved
You’ve been put on this earth to be
All you can be, like the reserves
And me? My time in the army, it’s served
So I have to allow she, her, time to serve
The time’s now for her
In time she’ll mature
And maybe we, can be, we, again like we were
Finally, my time’s too short to share
And to ask her now, it ain’t fair
So yeah, she lost one

Should you want to turn your friends to fuck buddies, DO NOT! Those relationships have a timeline; they come to an end eventually. As far as these are concerned, I hardly think these relationships work. That serious sex may just turn to someone demanding for more, or feeling entitled to more than being someone who cures an itch. Refer to friends above. Ask yourself, “to have a good friend and lose a good lover or to have a good lover and lose a good friend?” on this it is hard to have your cake and eat it. If you think you can hack having a sexual relationship sans the emotional strings, go right ahead and be shagging the living daylights out of your partner!

Here are some guidelines should you feel a fuck buddy is what you need.

 

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360 days of autonomy

Me: Mom, I’ll be moving out next month

Mom: Okay

Me: I’m serious mom

Mom: Okay

(I had attempted this several times and it didn’t work out, I could understand her doubts, she probably never thought I had the balls to leave the nest)

****************

End of the month

Me: Mom, I have found that house I was looking for

Mom: Where is that?

Me: Along Thika Road (Anyone who does not live in Muthaiga or Garden estate uses this standard reply, lol)

Mom:  Is it safe?

Me: Yes it is, plus I live near a police station.

Mom: What about water?

Me: Water is not a problem.

Mom: Have you paid the deposit?

Me: I haven’t but I am paying so that I can move in on Saturday.

Mom: Why the hurry then? I am not throwing you out of here. Why don’t you stay until January and move out then? At least you will have saved something and these Friday outings you need to reduce too to achieve that.

Me: No, I think I am now ready, I have procrastinated on this for too long now.

Mom: Don’t be rash, think through it furthermore January is not far away.

***************

Me: Cuz, I plan to move out but mom is not too pleased, she would like me to stay until January.

Willy: Do you feel prepared to move?

Me: Yes I am ready.

Willy: Just do it, move!

Me: You know I don’t know how it will be like, starting off from scratch that is, I will only carry with me that suitcase of mine from mom’s.

Willy: Take it like a man, you will survive. But do not suffer in silence we got your back, let us know when you need anything.

Me: Thanks cuz, let me see how this turns out.

**************

It finally happened after a lot of debating I did finally move out. Over the last 360 days I have come to learn a lot about myself and my friends:

Autonomy

You know how you think, “I will get my place, do what I want, come in whenever I want without answering to anyone?” Well that is a fallacy, I still find myself leaving the bar early, haven’t left when people are cleaning and preparing to close down the place.

You find yourself thinking “what will I eat today, do I cook, should I buy some junk?” Thank God I can make a meal or two.

You know how when given money to go and do shopping you’d just buy things because it is not your money? That changes when you go it on your own, I make this list which I go with for my monthly shopping, I don’t even mind the amused smiles people give when they see me crossing off items. You find yourself thrifty; should I buy one piece Dettol soap or “buy the two get one free” pack, buy which brand of tissue paper. Well the thriftiness will only apply to items which you can be indifferent to the brand, even if Unilever increase the price of Vaseline I still buy it same with Cadbury’s cocoa etc.

You learn how to negotiate with the landlord when you want that extra shelf added. You also learn how to stand up for yourself when someone tries to screw with your stuff or space.

Gradual changes

If you move out like I did, without much of a plan, you need to brace yourself, changes will happen gradually. You will not be able to get everything you want at once, well that is if your budget did not cater for everything.

The things you need to use daily, gas, cooker, hot water kettle, iron box those are to be prioritized. I found that I had a list that ran into over a hundred items. My mother ensured I did not borrow everything; it’s not pinching but borrowing! You never realise how useful something as basic as a salt shaker or sugar bowl is until you want to use one.

My five-year old friend, John was reminding me of the one plastic chair I started off with and how it broke because I was fat hehe. The thing with gradual changes is you do feel the impact of every new addition, I remember dozing off on the couches when I got them…

Friends

The first few months living alone are the hardest. You find yourself in constant communication to kill off boredom; WhatsApp’ing when you make your first meal in your new house, when you do something new. If you are lucky you will have friends who will understand that you are adjusting. When people ask how you are adjusting, you will always say great. Your friends will know that is crap and they will drop in without caring that you don’t have seats and you make the most of the day from sitting on the floor, and that will not deter them from coming again even if it is uncomfortable sitting cross-legged for hours watching a movie from a mono speaker computer… Makena, Wambui, Kash, Kev, Marv, Henry and Tony I salute you.

These are the same people who show up and help you move to that bigger house; free labour no strings attached :-).

Girls

I told my mom how girls hear of where I stay and they pull a Houdini. She visited and told me how even her, if she was a girl and I tried hitting on her she’d never come visiting, not with that amount of dust such that someone from the bunduz would have less dusty feet and you are the one in Nairobi. Well that was in good jest. But yes, your home address does matter to many of the people I meet, someone looks at you and wonders loudly, “why couldn’t you just go to South C or Westlands?” that is the opportunity cost paid right there…

It finally dawned to me “come over for lunch” is not taken at face value but is interpreted in so many ways. So just don’t bother offering, keep that yourself, have one man lunches and drink your beer from the balcony as you watch out for peoples body parts that move when they walk, thank you for that line Chimamanda (Got it from Americanah).

Free food, events and more free food

You find yourself taking up all the events that come up through the weekends, watch a play, visit exhibitions, learn a new skill (I’m finally learning how to play the guitar [not to serenade anyone though]  and make the water my friend, apparently I fight with it too much that is why I cannot stay afloat with grace like Kev, how you make water that is more than a glass “your friend” is still a concept I am finding hard to grasp, but I can now do a back stroke while bear hugging a swimming board) and finally and most importantly free food opportunities that do come your way.

In regard to free real good food there is someone who deserves a special mention. How the universe engineered us knowing each other is absolutely eccentric, but if the end justifies the means, this is already justified (Disclaimer: Do not try this, I cannot guarantee similar results!). Valentines and new underwear or lack of thereof ignited my curiosity enough to want to know who this deviant was. If you are a guy wouldn’t you curious about a lady who doesn’t care about the commercialization of valentines? Dry Red wine for free food? I’m in! Apparently she can cook, things I cannot pronounce without embarrassing myself, so next time someone tells me she can’t cook, I will direct her to someone who has defended a thesis and can put together a pretty decent meal. Alex, your food could not afford to miss out on the highlights of my 360 days.

************

All said and done, it is a continuous learning curve. You learn to live with people around you. You get to discover yourself. And the finally get to break loose from your parents’ nest and begin being responsible on your own without need to be told what needs to be done or followed up on.

I hope the next 360 days, will be more of polishing up and fewer trial and error moves/habits. Since I now understand what works and what doesn’t.

 

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