Preferring ‘kienyeji’ over ‘broiler’ girls all boils down to a man’s need for control

Preferring ‘kienyeji’ over ‘broiler’ girls all boils down to a man’s need for control. Photo | Photosearch

What you need to know:

Sometimes we cannot see what we have; we miss the bigger picture because our vision is clouded by our need to have it all figured out. To be in control.

“Twende Tukawake, Huko Nairobi West!” “My baby, my valentine...!” “All the single ladies!” The DJ is on a roll. Jumping from oldies to newbies. Snoop Doggy Dogg. Amapiano. Chibudi Chibude. My head is light. My wallet, lighter. This club is full of lights. Bow Wow Yippy Yoh Yippy Yee. It’s 1AM. And the night is still young.

I realise this club is brimming with women. Beautiful women. Hotties. Birds. Women who look like the reason why there is something called a ‘no-fault divorce’. There are more women than men, in this club, just like in most schools.

Across my table, some lasses are drinking what seems to be a king’s ransom (adjusted for inflation), and I desired to get picked up by one of them, go somewhere the government doesn’t approve and do midnight things at midmorning hours. I have high standards and all of them are drunk. Win-Win. 

The only reason I am in this club is that it’s a close friend’s birthday party⁠—against my protestations. The club, not the birthday. I hate clubs, more specifically, I hate clubs in Nairobi. Too crowded. Overpriced drinks. Same music. Bow Wow Yippy Yoh Yippy Yeh. Chibudi Chibude. My baby, my valentine.

For a country that is supposedly conservative, there are a lot of drunk women here. Maybe we drink too much as a country. Even when we are not drinking, we are planning how we will get wasted this weekend. A perfect example of how powerful alcohol is in our lives is that its absence still calls the shots.

I shoot my shot with a bird on that table. Just for conversation. Who talks in a club at night? Over Bow Wow’s music? Me, that’s who. She’s on her third cigarette, and quite frankly, I am worried about her lungs. Or what used to be her lungs anyway.

“I’d love to be the cigarette between your lips,” I say.

“You won’t fit,” she says.

“It’s not that big,”

She laughs.

“What’s your game? You want to take me home?” she says.

“Not really, you are drunk.”

“We are drunk.” She points at her table, “Utawezana?” 

“That’s too much woman for me,” I say. I may be from Western, but I… never mind.

She goes on and on about her life: she passed her bar exams (oh?), she is planning on moving out, she started smoking right after high school, mostly for fun. I’m a scatterbrain and my mind skips to my house plants. Oh, yeah. Life update: I am now a plant parent. I have a succulent and what’s its name? A fern or something. They are in good hands.

Where were we? Yes. My bird is a talker. She may be drunk. But she’s definitely not boring.  She draws a couple of laughs from me and even makes me forget to type in real-time. There is a look on her face like pre-sin, the same look I’ve had all my life: Of dark nights, tall drinks, and short skirts.

Look, you can stop reading after this line: Men love engaging women. Interesting women. Women with personality. The rest are boring. Not shy. Boring. Boring is not sexy. Boring is the personality of a wet plastic bag. Boring is brown. Tell me one person whose favourite colour is brown. Who? That’s what I thought.

I am old enough and I have been with enough girls from the narrow path. And let me tell you there is a reason that path is narrow. It’s because it’s boring. And as I get older, I detest boring. I loathe people whose idea of fun is wearing white underwear. A little bit tighter if they are feeling a little bit naughty.

Most men say they want to marry the kienyeji girl who mistakes the fridge for a kabati. Mostly for society. Me, I’d rather take home the girl who knows how to distil ethanol. Who has been there and done that. A whole human, with scars and regrets and mistakes.

And I think most men want that too. Otherwise, why are clubs always full? We are all constantly searching for something. I mean, I can see married men here. But mostly in bar talks, when we talk about ‘kienyeji’, we talk about control. We despise being challenged. We abhor realising that we could be wrong. It scrambles the brain, jumbles the code, shorts the wiring.

But these things are never black and white, are they? Some things are out of our control. Like the weather. Or a succulent that looks like it’s going to die because “someone” over-watered it. Or a human being. These are not things we control; these are things that just are.

Maybe, this is all rooted implicitly in an assertion of power and individual impregnability: this is my business, and I will deal with it myself. I observe that most relationships are too controlling: you can’t do this, you can’t say that. Do this. No, not like that. It’s pegging your happiness on the other, basing how you feel on how they feel. Power is an illusion, a kind of chimera. And I’ve come to discover that giving people freedom is the ultimate control: now they have something to lose.

My moments under the sun have been when I let the wind blow through my hair. When I relinquished control. In all these, it’s the baddies who have made me discover the depths of my personality. Who knew I could make it to work on Monday with a hangover as if a church is hitting percussions and cymbals and xylophones? Who knew I can actually dance? Okay, I can’t. But you get my point. And in the words of the Edith Piaf, “Non, Je ne regrette rien.”

As the cold truth makes way for the warm lies, I often observe that people—me too—gravitate towards the stories that suit their narrative. Hard to let go of stories that serve us, that gives us something to hold on to. And why would you? It’s easier to tell yourself a story, to convince yourself of the corners that have shaped your life, to speak the language of eternity, that this is how it has always been. It's for the good of everyone, we say. We judge ourselves by our intentions, and others by their actions.

Sometimes we cannot see what we have; we miss the bigger picture because our vision is clouded by our need to have it all figured out. To be in control.

There is only one person you can control. That’s you. But you knew that already. Deep down, we all know.

[email protected] @eddyashioya



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