BY SHIRO GAITHO
I’ve got a confession. I use the word ‘jackass’ very liberally. Maybe it’s because Nairobi is blessed with them, and I, for some reason, always come across a good number of them without even trying. It’s like Nairobi is the capital of jackasses. Why else would there be so many of them in one place?
Met one the other day. Tall. Good build. Not exactly a Boris Kodjoe doppelganger but easy to look at. Makes interesting conversation. Is hilarious when a bit boozed. Could picture him with one of my girls already and was looking forward to marking another success with my still informal hook-up business (I’m getting pretty good at matchmaking, who would have thought?!). Then I heard him talk, and I cringed.
You know how there’s this fantastically idiotic breed of men that think they can get any girl they want? These men who’re making some good money (whether legit or not, it’s getting harder to tell nowadays), can strike up a conversation that includes the inevitable ‘like some other chick I met the other day’ line that always finds a way of being thrown into a conversation, like a learning aid for those without imagination. He was one of those.
Let’s face it; there will always be that guy who thinks throwing a few drinks means he’s entitled to some adult fun (‘ku-share love,’ like Samuel Wanjiru’s barmaid friend once called it). That guy who thinks nothing of placing his hand on the small of your back though he just met you. The guy who casually invites you to join him and his boys at their hideout in Naivasha, only for you to find out none of your fellow girls there are the official girlfriends/wives of those men you’re with. That guy who will sleep with a girl then almost immediately start hitting on her friend. Kwanza in front of her. That guy who will only ever take you out for drinks, or if overcome by benevolence, dinner and drinks, but expect something back because hey, nothing in life is free, and he just paid so it’s your turn to hand over his purchase.
Been away from the clubbing scene for most of this year, had forgotten how irritating it can all be. How hard is it for a guy to believe that girls can go for a drink and not expect anyone to buy them the drinks? That we will pay for what we consume, enjoy a good chat then each go home? Alone? Because they’re used to getting exactly what they want, that’s why.
Was out the other week. Some guy comes over and strikes up a conversation. I’m not the friendliest person, but I’m polite. So we talked. And he introduced himself to my two girls. We laughed. Then he did the inevitable and insisted on buying drinks. I agreed to one, knowing very well that I could pay for it anyway. Told him he was very kind. Like a big, fat, black Father Christmas. Thought he’d go away after a short while. He didn’t. My patience was running thin, so I walked away, left my girls to endure the torture. But not before I noticed the wedding band, which he made no attempt to hide. And not before my girl pulled me close as I excused myself, told me she overheard his boy come up behind that guy and whisper not so discreetly, ‘so which one of these three are you bebaing tonight?’
I was vexed! Not irritated. Not disappointed in him. I was pissed off! The nerve of that guy! Thinking drinks and a laugh could earn him a ticket to the good stuff. We got our drinks. He got a bill. And a lonely walk out of the bar.
The other guy I met this past weekend reminded me of the Quins jackass. Only he was ignoring a girl who seemed desperate for his attention. And then I remembered all those other guys like them. They must all have the jackass gene. That acquired gene that makes men lose respect for ladies. That gene that grows thanks to years of being nurtured by women thinking they’re massaging ego, only for that ego to grow beyond needing a massage, to having a life of its own.
It got me thinking. I don’t always blame these guys for behaving the way they do, because some girls somewhere conditioned them into being like that. Why else would a guy think he was entitled to a shag on the 3rd date if not sooner? That he doesn’t have to put effort to keep you interested because all he has to do is buy you drinks and drive you to Naks once in a while? That hitting on both you and your friend is no big deal because ‘sharing is caring?’ On cheating on you or with you?
It’s because he knows that should you walk away, he’ll get some other girl to replace you. And he knows you know that too, and simply cannot fathom the idea of life without him.
So if you’re prone to letting that man disrespect you because he can, and letting your insecurities about losing him to the next sad girl in that winding queue of hopelessly clueless females make you hang around, then calling him a jackass when you have your next fight, remember it’s not his fault he’s a jackass. It’s yours for letting him be that jackass. If you didn’t take crap he wouldn’t give crap.
Guys know this. Girls seem not to. That’s why some take every opportunity to order that thing on the menu they always wanted to have but could never afford or even pronounce. Sweetie the men know this. They see it, and they see an opportunity to use you so you can brag to your friends about having exotic meals, while he can brag to his boys about getting you for the price of coq au vin at whatever restaurant.
Girls, you need to learn that respect is not given, it’s earned, and sometimes needs to be demanded. And if you demand it, there’ll be less of you crying about jackasses who don’t deserve you in the first place.