This week’s story is from a restaurant, a cafe, such as Cafe Javas. The posh ones we used to go to before lockdown and, also, before lockdown decimated our disposable incomes.
It was a popular site for dates.
In case months under isolation have made you forget, dates are meetings over a meal in a nice restaurant where two people hold conversations with a view to increasing their mutual affection to the point where they like each other enough to have sex.
They are very useful if the guy is nervous and anxious, in which case he needs time to become comfortable with the lady opposite. He needs to get familiar enough with her, otherwise the sex will be frantic, awkward, clumsy and, if unprotected, result in an asshole child.
That is my theory about kids who are assholes– that they were conceived through unsatisfying sex. The resentment, bitterness and shame hormones that flooded their mother’s bloodstream while they were forming as zygotes are what got them started so, naturally, they would turn out to be wicked little jerks.
I liked dates. We would start out as strangers and next thing you know, a beautiful woman and I have turned a coffee table into our own personal world where we are the only two people who exist, basking in each other’s glow, smiling smiles that smile beyond the smile itself. You know, when it’s not just your face, it’s your soul that is smiling. I liked dates. After such dates, you would go on to make love.
But that was not the only type of date. Our culture became more cynical, perhaps, or we just became too busy to have time. Mu embeera y’okupakasa, no one has time for lovemaking. It’s chaws, hookups and smashing.
So dates are now also places where you each hold, on your part, a sort of interrogation to determine whether there is any reason not to have sex with whichever individual has positioned themselves as available that week.
You have to sweep for red flags first. For example, you might find that he is an unemployed in the worse way. As in, not the kind who would work if he had a chance, but the type who is talented and driven but he is not accepting any job because he is trying to “find himself”.
Of all the wankeristicity, of of all the solipsistic conceits, of all the kyegyo! If you want to find yourself ask google. Google will tell you where you are.
By the way, I shouldn’t be doing this. I am trying to build a base; a recurring readership who come back weekly. I should not be alienating readers in this social media age. I want readers to stay. I want to be able to love Bikozulu the way I used to love Bikozulu before the envy came in and soured my relationship with him.
And I am cynical enough to know that the best way to retain a reader is to find out what beliefs they cherish, what positions they identify with on the more intensely emotional topics, and then, if I can can articulate their preconceptions about these topics well enough, they may consider me intelligent and retweet me.
Of course I am not talking about you, you reading now. You are wise and open-minded. You and I love and respect each other. I mean those other ones there reading there. Not you. You you are my legit peeps.
But pandering to the crowd, following the trends, is the way to grow a blogging base. It’s the way to recover my love for Biko.
But fuck finding yourself. Bomboclart.
If you want to find yourself, reach out, swing your arms behind, grab that big, blubbery flesh you encounter. That’s your ass. You have found it.
Find yourself? Shiiyyeet. When we are nothing but fleas, fleas flocking the hide of a planet, itself just a fleck of dust among millions of other planets? We are infinitesimally insignificant iotas of the galaxy’s biomass. You don’t even have to be here. You can leave and the world will keep spinning. Find yourself? Why? When it makes no difference if you get lost?
Find yourself? Find deez nuts.
For the most part when a person wants to find himself, he already has and he didn’t like what he discovered. He found a spoilt, needy, unfulfilling waste and did not like it, so he denied it, like a deadbeat dad denying his baby because the child will take his beer and muchomo money for Pampers; That is not mine! That is not me!
Find yourself? That guy is not looking for himself. He is looking for an identity that is cool and glamorous and heroic and sexy enough to satisfy his ego, he is looking for an identity that he can put on and wear and claim, like Tony Stark when he wore the Mark 3 and said “I am Iron Man.”
Mbu find yourself? Humans, I know we want to think we count for something, we don’t want to be meaningless or purposeless or valueless, but we are. The only meaning, purpose or value a human being has is that which he or she creates. So go out and be useful. Or be kind. Or just be humble. When you have real value, you don’t have time to find yourself because people keep looking for you. “Eh mama, as you’re lost!” all the friends whose lives love you will say because they have not seen you for three months and you mean so much to them that… anyway, I think I have made my point.
So, dates became these situations where you check to see whether there is any reason not to consummate your desire to have carnal knowledge with this individual: A few hours to check his finger for ring-marks, to suss out her position on Stella Nyanzi’s candidature, to assess the general scene for warning signs and to give running commentary to your real life Kouncil (This is when you keep going to the loo to give updates to your whatsapp group to see what their input is. I.e. “He says he got a Kanagimelon fellowship. TF is that even?” “Carnegie Mellon, you dwanzie. It means he is very smart. Go for it.” “Sounds like a nerd.” “Did you remember to check his shoe size?” etc).
But this one time, this thing I saw was different.
He was middle aged. The type who looks it. There are some men who look so middle aged because they have been middle aged all their life. The kind who listened to Don Williams during their twenties. The kind who have been waking up at six and tuning in to BBC Africa since they were at Makerere doing something inane like SWASA and getting good grades at it.
The thing with that kind of guy is that he tends to be very hardworking, very focussed, very disciplined, and when you are those things for long enough, you just might get lucky and end up very wealthy.
You will still be a dweeb, but wealthy middle aged dweebs know this– of those three adjectives, two don’t matter.
Now he can finally slow down and pick up on all the stuff he missed out on while he was hustling his way to the top. Like being fashionable (explains the perfectly-cut suit), being trendy, (explains the iPhone and Benz keys), and, of course, when he was younger he never had a chance to have sex with the hot babes of his age. But now, he does. Cos he has a moneeyzzz.
He was sitting at one end of the table eating his carbonara with the fork and knife the way they taught him when he was doing kyeyo in Manchester. He occasionally looked at her, then back at his food. Then looked around. He looked at me. I looked away quickly in case he can read my eyes.
She, on the other hand, was not even trying. She was on her phone tapping-tapping with two thumbs, meaning she was texting– she was spending the whole date ignoring her actual date while having multiple social interactions with other people miles away.
And to make it worse, she had one earbud in. That just makes it worse. As if the un-budded ear is a token gesture, a condescending pat on the head.
She had ordered something opulent that she poked at with her fork intermittently, when she was not tapping into her chat app.
There was a moment when she put the phone down and turned to the table. A brief moment. She was a wolf because the food was decimated in just that brief moment.
Then back the the phone.
He seemed to ask if she was enjoying the food. She looked up, and did a face like, “Wha’?”
He repeated the question.
She gave a cursory, perfunctory, “Oh yeah, sure.” and then was lost in the phone again until the waiter arrived to suggest dessert.
I guessed black forest and was right.
He had a tiramisu and, when it came, he looked at it the way middle aged men look at more and more things as they grow older. There is a look you develop for moments when you realise you made the wrong decision and now it’s too late to do anything but live with the consequences.
Now, I don’t want to sound judgy, but I already did, so I might as well continue to.
I do judge the guy. I judge him for putting up with this in public. This looks like a man who has moved mighty obstacles in his life; he has slain dragons, this guy, he has trophies as well as scars. This is a guy who has won fierce battles and yet he is here being kukula’d by a kid half his age and allowing pieces of shit like me to look at him and judge him.
I think he should demand a bit more from her. She’s going to fake an orgasm for him later, the least she could do is fake interest in his kb now. She could at least pretend to pay attention to him.
And I judge her, too. I am not going to judge her for anything else she is doing. It’s her life, her choice. And Feminism hasn’t settled the question of whether she is being forced to commodify her body by the patriarchy or whether she is emancipated enough to use her sexuality on her own terms as she feels fit, so that is not it.
It’s not the decline of the date either, because just because this is going on, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t love anymore. There are still couples lost in each others’ eyes over a rolex stand #IreneNtale saying, “I have to go. Curfew.” And then staying there for another twenty minutes. Then saying it again. Then staying again.
And of course there is the frantic, “No, don’t start. If you start, curfew will reach nga we haven’t finished. In fact, hint hint,” because much as the D is good, she doesn’t want him to spend the night.
This is what is bothering me about the whole thing: and I will acknowledge the pettiness here, but people: I can understand putting up with unsatisfactory sex for material security or gain. People do that all the time. That is called marriage. But…
How do you allow?
How do you sit there and allow a man to bore you for two hours so you can get free Black Forest? How?
I judge her for poor time management and lack of planning skills. If you don’t like the guy’s company, skip the date and just meet in the hotel or lodge. They can deliver the Jerk Chicken and Black Forest to your crib another time and you watch while watching series.