You Cannot Eat Love!… part one

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When you’ve spent a lifetime working towards success and fortune, you might be in search of the perfect status symbol to show you’ve made it. Thrill seekers and opportunists alike can have it all in the symbiotic relationship that is the winter/summer romance. If it isn’t love at first sight (of bank statements), we don’t know what is.

“Young, sweet and quiet girl with a wild side.”

Inviting and lightly veiled description?

“$3,000-$5,000.”

Sizeable yet reasonable monthly allowance requirement?

Paired with a seductive pout and semi-shear ensemble and what we have here is a very successful profile on www.seekingarrangement.com.

And what we also have is a national epidemic, a feverish problem of the much older man, much younger woman variety, and where it stops, nobody knows.

Murky Definitions

Whether it’s the epidemic of sex tourism at the coast to prostitution in the slums, there is a deep history of sex used as a quick
tool for personal gain in Kenya. There are a multitude of websites and personal profiles online dedicated to domestic seekers of concrete relations with bigger emotional and financial payouts.

If the definition of prostitution is sex in exchange for money or gifts, what then is a longer-term relationship where a man might pay for your rent or weekly shopping trips?

SeekingArrangment.com tells us that the modern sugar daddy is a successful and generous man who is willing to pamper and offer financial help to a young person in return for friendship. A sugar baby is an attractive, ambitious and goal oriented person who wants to be pampered. The site makes the distinction that sometimes it’s not just about sex, but a need for companionship and connection.

the modern sugar daddy is a successful and generous man who is willing to pamper and offer financial help to a young person in return for friendship. A sugar baby is an attractive, ambitious and goal oriented person who wants to be pampered.  Sometimes it’s not just about sex, but a need for companionship and connection

Another site, FinancialArrangement.
com, has a frank and can’t-argue-with-that description. The site says that it is for “men and women who know what they want, and know what it takes to get it.” Historically, men have always sought beauty, while women seek financial security. The site recognizes those distinct needs and brings the two groups together, eliminating the endless game of questions: “Can HE afford to pick up a dinner cheque?” “Is SHE with me because of money?” The answer to both: Yes.

With all pretenses stripped away, is this one of the more honest relationships left these days? And are these relationships all in good fun, harmless at best and demoralizing at worst?

Family Matters

Jimmy Gathu is a popular and well-known personality in Kenya. His show, Power Breakfast, on Citizen TV plays five days
 a week, covering everything from politics to community concerns. In 2009, Gathu was commissioned to do a series of public service announcements on extramarital affairs titled, “MpangowaKando, A Private Affair.”

The commercials were a response 
to statistics from Population Services International that stated that 50 percent of new cases of HIV infections were in established marriages.

One memorable skit shows Gathu as a man’s ‘good angel’ conscience, calculating just how much his other lover is costing him, while his family has to do without.

With a few amendments, the script
 could have been taken right out of Dan’s* life, a ‘sugar daddy’ who agreed to be anonymously interviewed for this story. He is married with three children, one of whom is five, and he has had a mistress for the last 10 years of his two-decade marriage.

“It wasn’t love that drew me to her,” Dan says of his mistress, or ‘sugar baby,’ “it was sympathy. She was in a jam and I had the means to get her out of it.”

Dan’s mistress got pregnant in her fourth year of high school and her family wanted her gone, so he rented her a flat and pays for her upkeep, her college tuition and the expenses of her child.

Gathu says the commercials have opened up dialogue on a touchy subject and there has been a positive response.

He states that while cheating happens everywhere, in Kenya it definitely has a financial element. Essentially, you are paying for two families and “of course, one of them is going to suffer.”

But this is where Dan insists he doesn’t fit into Gathu’s mold. Even after taking his mistress through college and her getting a job, he still foots all her bills just as he does his family’s, telling me, “my wife is in business but I still pay for everything.”

Gathu has received flack from the series, and he’s lost friendships. Having become the face of immaculate conduct, some people don’t know how to act around him. A night before the interview, Gathu was invited to a stag party, and upon arrival, no one answered his phone calls to let him in on the festivities.

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