Men, it’s time the women paid bills

Dating in modern Kenya is expensive.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Brethren, allow me to ask for your forgiveness. I preached wine and drunk konyagi. I told you the other day that life is short. I lied. Life is long. Especially if you don’t have money.

A lady recently invited me for prospective lunch. I was excited that finally, Mekatilili wa Menza’s teachings had not been in vain. At the end of the date, when the waiters brought the bill, we sat there looking at each other. I started playing with my phone. She suddenly developed an urge to go to the toilet. For seven minutes, we played this game that the government is playing with us to see who will blink first.

And then she said, “If you don’t have enough money, maybe we should split the bill.”

We? We? I could feel the spirit of Nabii Elijah Masinde Muliro rising in me. If I don’t have enough money? But you invited me to this date! I am (not) ashamed to say that in my head, I even used that word that rhymes with witch but doesn’t start with w.

I got my ass handed to me that day—and a valuable lesson in adulting. Everyone expects the man to pay. It does not matter if the woman sitting across the table looks like she is on her final lap around the earth, they will still expect you to pay the bill. I fear for my younger brothers who are getting into the dating scene. If you thought millennial women are materialistic, wait till you meet Gen Zs. These ones, with their baggy clothes and obsession with chasing the bag, will leave you in the desert without water. Then post it on TikTok.

Dating in modern Kenya is expensive. That’s why it is called “Soko.” A soko is a market. What happens in a market is buying and selling. We are buying and selling each other. And right now, soko ni chafu. Especially this side with avocados. How does dating even work today? Is it just taking someone for food and talking about how this serikali itatumaliza? That’s boring. And common. Let’s just sleep together. Just kidding. We will not be sleeping. I cannot pay for a room in Naivasha (do people still go there?) and expect us to sleep.

My theory is that the last generation of courtship died with our grandparents, those who were not drinking Maziwa ya Nyayo, but gave birth to these drinking Maziwa ya Nyayo. After that, our parents just killed dating and we buried it. Gen Zs meanwhile only hear of the term dating when they are checking their calendars for rent, classes, and periods.

Now, we are in free fall. While in the past we would wait 90 days to get to the bedroom, now it’s more of, can you finish eating so I eat you? So yeah, since we have commercialised ourselves, let’s live in this new financial world where relationships exist to help you afford food so you don’t die—where marriage is the side-effect and not the goal. And these are just for the broke ones. The employed working-class ladies were cast out of heaven with Lucifer. Maybe I am wrong, but show me a working-class lady who does not speak of “high value man”, and “tables” and I will show you how to rise from a chicken to a chicken seller—next week.

I am telling you. If you are still paying for your woman’s hair, nails, makeup, rent—maybe this is not the paper for you. Because if you can afford that in this economy, why are you not dating my sister? Jokes aside, men, it’s time to put yourself first. If the commercialisation of the dating space has taught me anything, it is this: everything has a price. It’s common wisdom: the people who keep saying that money isn’t everything, are the guys with no money at all.

And for the foreseeable future, the prospects are not looking good. As a bachelor living in Lavingware (Upper Kawangware and Lower Lavington); eggs that used to cost me Sh10 in 2021 are up to Sh20. 20 bob! For one egg. With the appetite of a hang-overed Kenyan slay queen, I need at least six eggs to just sleep well. Look, it’s time to be frugal. This country is not just broke, it’s broken.

We grew up in African homes where the pursuit of money was singled out as evil. But have you seen poverty? Have you been broke before? Have you had nothing with a family to feed? The ugliness of a man, indeed, is in his pocket.

It is especially heartbreaking when you are young and the little monies you get from your deals, you spend it all on women. Do not. I am telling you. In fact, I am instructing you by the powers vested in me. Invest in yourself comrade.

I’m not an intolerant person, OK?—but there are certain things I struggle with. If you ask me out, then expect me to pay for the date, for example, we are not going to be friends, much less lovers. Same, I’m afraid, if you call me for a “quick favour.” Also if, because it definitely wasn’t my idea, you take an Uber and look at me to pay, then no. Ladies, I have come to understand, do not care whether you have money or not. Neither should you. They expect baby girl treatment. You are 36”, Michelle. Grow up! The country is at the brink of a war. And after they are done with the food, if you are not buying drinks, how are they supposed to give it up? And oh, the way they will be “cutting” waters, Nairobi Water will be wise to borrow a trick or two.

As a Ugandan acquaintance recently reminded me, in Africa relationships are spiritual warfare. This is not flesh and blood. We are up against principalities and powers. In fact, the spirit of Nabii Elijah Masinde Muliro has risen in me. Men, if she invites you out, leave your wallet at home. As a matter of fact, I want you to have the audacity of a broke Kenyan lady with seven kgs of makeup, rent arrears and a struggling TikTok account by asking her to send fare. To and fro. It’s only fair. This Nairobi has become a feeding programme, but its only one side that is getting fat. This ends today.

By the way, the bill was Sh3,637. I want my Sh3,637 back—plus interest. I know you are reading this, witch.