The secret to a long, happy life

A man and a woman walking together while holding hands.

Photo credit: Pool | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • It is hard to forget kindness from a stranger, much less if a man extends it. When a man is nice, he expects some payback.
  • When a man is kind, it is for selfish reasons. He expects to be noticed and praised.

Being shorter than the average adult female, I struggled to get my travel bag stowed up the deck on the train to Mombasa.

A young man, noticing my frustration, sprung to his feet.

“May I?” he offered to help, smiling.

“Oh, thank you so much,” I said.

“No sweat.” He stacked the bag up and returned to his seat.

I can assure you that his kind gesture had nothing to do with being tall. He did good and disappeared to his gadgets.

While disembarking, he once again sprung to his feet, offered to get my bag.

Smiling, and with a “Karibu Mombasa,” he disappeared in the milling crowd of sweaty travellers. The young man will live a long, healthy and happy life. 

Good manners are contagious. I can ascertain that because as I comfortably wheeled my bag, I came across a lady who was balancing bags, a baby and a cranky toddler. Inspired by the way the young man had acted, I smiled at the lady and asked, “May I?” offering to help push one of the bags. 

Something in return

“If you can help carry the baby, I’ll be very grateful,” she said.

I gladly did, and she picked the toddler, who promptly stopped her drama and now stared at me suspiciously.

Not once did she blink. I suspect she did not breathe, either, until when I handed over the baby to the mother after their taxi arrived. 

It is hard to forget kindness from a stranger, much less if a man extends it. When a man is nice, he expects some payback.

The man helping you carry your heavy bag across the street to the matatu stage? I am kidding; there is no such man. But, if you come across one, expect him to ask for your phone number, with a sly smile forming at the corner of his lips.

There is the muscled mkokoteni guy but be careful with him too. Once you strike a bargain, try to keep up with him before he weaves through the crowds and disappears with your luggage. 

Research by the University of Zurich reveals that women are bound to be kinder and more generous than men.

The same findings indicate that when a man is kind, it is for selfish reasons. He expects to be noticed and praised, and that pretty much explains the zillion photos they take posing with food donated to the poor.

On the other hand, the research findings show, women do not necessarily document or take pictures of what they have done. No one has to know about their kindness.

A woman will pay someone’s school fees and forget all about it. A man will pay the college fees and expect the lady to be his wife or engage in some relation. You cannot argue with science now, can you?

Intensive and loving care

We had coffee with my doctor friend and put across a point on how to determine a loving husband. 

“I can tell a man who loves his wife by his behaviour when she is lying on a hospital bed, incapacitated,” she said.

“Really? How?” I was surprised to hear that, and I wanted to learn more. 

“This is the man who will feed his wife. As in patiently, scoop each spoon and feed her to her fill,” she averred. 

“You can’t be serious,” I said.

“Very few men extend such intensive and loving care, and in my 10-plus years of experience, I can count them.

These rare ones will even ask the nurses to teach them how to sponge-bathe their wives,” she added, convincingly. 

“What about the wives?” I asked her.

“It is a given with the wives. 99 per cent of them will almost turn into medics: administering the medication, feeding, cleaning, updating the man on everything.”

What intrigued me was her next statement. 

“The men that live much longer and remain healthy and mellow into their late 90’s are the few gems who show this level of compassion. They even accompany their wives to the hospital.” 

A wife will always accompany her husband, more so when he is very ill. But in almost all instances, a gravely ill woman will be brought in by her children. 

Now, you can’t argue with a doctor as well, can you? Gentlemen, learn to be kinder to your wife and enjoy a long, healthy and joyous life.

The writer is a wife who believes in marriage.