I am a regular reader of Biko Zulu’s ‘Mantalk’ column and almost everything he writes vexes me. Take for example a piece he did sometime in 2013 about how no woman should never be caught dead in a garage. I was mortified by his sentiments, being the wannabe Feminist that I am; I mean, what is wrong with a woman being at the garage especially if it’s her car she’s going to fix? “Biko has some chauvinistic nerve!” I had thought to myself then. Fast forward to Dec last year and I had an experience that had me wishing I had taken Biko’s sense of caution more seriously.
Here I was – all bored chilling under the sun- the return of a long lost friend, at some campus in Kiambu. Suddenly my host says I have to accompany her to a ‘mpango’ she had met at some joint earlier- the sort of date that you do not want to be seen with in public alone lest people think that your grandpa has resurrected! She says it will be in some fancy hotel in town and we could get to indulge in some expensive stuff. Well, I am all for good reputation and couldn’t risk being seen tagging along some invalid in town so I declined the offer. I instead opted to visit a friend I had promised to see many times but never honored the plans but his car punctured and therein laid the genesis of my garage woes.
I won’t narrate my exact experience but here are some pointers on what really goes on in garages and why visiting them is in fact, a bad idea for the ladies.
1. Garages are not salons or spas, silly!
If you thought that garages are fancy, kill that thought. They are the most uncomfortable places you can ever imagine. I had expected to find some sense of hospitality- like being offered a magazine to read as your car is repaired or chatting over some meat grill and network with other clients as you wait for your car. Instead, you have to stand in the scorching sun for endless hours as you watch a clueless Kamau fumbling with your car engine lest he exchanges spare parts with his fake ones.
2. All things Blonde
If you are a smart woman you might want to visit a garage for a change. I was reminded countless times that I am ignorant about machines. The blonde moments were one too many and the embarrassments humbled me. My friend would occasionally talk to me about what he thought was the problem using all these car jargons that I could not fathom and all I could do was nod in agreement. No thanks, blonde is not my favorite hair shade.
3. You or the car? Is that even a question?
Ladies, I hate to burst our bubble but forget his ka slim colleague, his car is your biggest threat. Men love their cars more than they love anything else, including you! He won’t spare a moment to join you on your birthday but will faithfully stand at the garage for hours, even days waiting for his ‘baby’ to come back to life. He will be in a somber mood throughout and will not talk about anything else. He will happily spend an arm and leg to soup up his car yet will call you a spendthrift when you borrow salon money. If he ever offends you, smash the windscreen, only then will his heart break.
4. Garage? Garbage will do
It may be illogical to think that a garage would be a clean place but I still have to point out dirt when I notice it. Ladies, you do not want grease spoiling your nails or having to deal with sweaty mechanics. You will stand out like a sore thumb in your heels and girlie dress as everyone else greases themselves with no care. You see ladies, fussing fingers inside ‘engines’ checking for ‘grease’ has always been a dirty affair and a preserve of the male species, no? It’s not all gloomy though, for the ladies who do not dig metropolitan guys and crave to see some raw testosterone in action, seeing sweaty guys with greasy muscles working on engines should sound like a plan! Think an all-male gym with you as the only lady inside!
5. Attention Deficit?
All women love male attention. It feels kinda hot when you know male eyes are all over you, creepy as it may sound. I mean, how would you feel if you passed by a crowd of males and you do not hear a hiss or worse still, no necks turn? Welcome to the garage, a Mars of its kind where men forget women and ogle at cars. You would have to perform magic to get men staring at you in a garage, and it’s got nothing to do with your beauty or lack of it thereof. If you prefer your boyfriend’s eyes on you all the time, you might want to avoid accompanying him to the garage.
6. Good Old Gossip
Men do not gossip, at least not while at the garage. I love harmless gossip, the sort that goes on in places like salons. Things like whose weave looks like a mop or who has copied someone else’s outfit. The much that goes on at the mechanics is boring talk about cars and endless mother tongue banter. You will regret every minute you see something that could make for juicy gossip yet you have no one to share with.
7. Men are not smart after all
Touchdown ladies, we have always suspected this but now I can say it on your behalf without batting an eyelid. I will do the honors and confirm to you that the genius display that men put on is as far as it goes. While we are always quick to brush aside compliments and stay modest about our achievements, men put on a confident show of everything and will not admit to failure! While at the garage, I noticed the mechanic was touching just about everything with the hope that he could stumble on the solution. He would suggest low fuel and if a refill didn’t work the magic, he could proudly say that one faulty part could affect another and so the guesswork would continue without anyone but me noticing that he was just a fraud.
A quick note to my future husband, (hopefully chilling in a Lamborghini somewhere in Dubai, haha!) You know I will love you but you want me to be absolutely in love with you alone hun? Well, promise me you will never let me visit a mechanic while you are alive and well. I hate that place and do not want to live another garage experience and yeah, now I know you love cars more than anything else