Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Change You Can See

“To Arthur”, Alex toasted and we all muttered in unison as our frothy glasses endured the ritual and made known their disapproval with a clinking sound.

Whoever Arthur was, he had brought us together as we drowned ourselves silly on this Friday evening. Some misguided people called this our grouping the Committee of Sexperts. Me? I just saw it as a group of friends who were always there for each other during happy days and crappy days.

Alex was the Patron but deep down, I knew he had never forgiven me for a toast I had made at his wedding when in the presence of the Church, I had misspoken and made a jest about how he was marrying the lovely Martha and would therefore be officially a Martha Effer.

For a man whose name rhymed with sex, it seemed appropriate but I learnt my lesson that you were not allowed to judge people by the rhymes of their names.

Furansisi, Martin, Don and Romeo were also in attendance at the table. Amidst all the imbibing of beer, I was hoping that I would get them to give me some advice.

But when I said the ‘Guys, I have a thorny issue I need discussed’, line, Don was quick with the retort.

“You bet! We can always discuss your horny issues”.

Don. Sometimes I wished I could get him to observe a lifetime of silence. He was a childhood friend that had gotten me into a fair share of trouble. Sometimes, it also amazed me that he was not Nairobi’s biggest gambler. Even the loss of my virginity was subject to a bet he had placed.

Romeo jumped in with his contribution.

“Give the dude a break. He probably fell for one of his beautiful and recently divorced clients.”

Romeo. Teetotaller whose body craved booze like Eric Benet craved sex but his polished mind always told him it was just pointless, didn’t taste good and you would sober up anyway. He had been an acquaintance since high school days and had lived up to his high school nickname ‘Fossil’ as he now worked for the LAPD. Life and Pensions Division.

“What is it?” Martin jumped in. “You can’t get it up anymore without the blue pill? Try eating vegetables”

Martin. Newlywed but he had still insisted that he joins us at the strip joint. He always had a permanent smile still on his face since his marriage and now you could pin it on vegetables and mborgasms. Though he wanted it to go on record that he just wanted a night out with the boys, he probably was excited about the venue. If I hadn’t proposed on his behalf to his wife, he would probably have thought about something as romantic as taking her to this joint and asking the strippers to hold up Marry Marti placards.

“Did you knock up Monique… or some girl else?”

That was Furansisi. That name. He told us that his school teacher had completed his Primary Education registration with the wrong spelling of his original name Francis but he had decided to stick with the misspell one that he now claimed was unique and African. He looks as always, like an opera singer, a bit overweight and happy.

Beer, sex, illicit love, erectile dysfunction and pre-marital pregnancy. It was another wake up call that I really needed to change friends.

I had to tell them. Yes, I told them that Monique had proposed.

“She what?” Alex was in a fit. “Huuuuhi”

Yes, she had proposed.

“She asked you to marry her?” Romeo barged in laughing. “Or she asked to marry you?”

Before I could answer, and as a cue that these were just rhetoric questions by the boys, Furansisi could not contain himself and tears poured into his glass of Guinness. His glass, was as always, half bull.

“Gosh. Our Kid. You are our kidding right?”

Of course I wasn’t. I narrated to them in all details the incident that had played out at my digs some days past. They were listening to this as if it was something out of this world. Neanderthals.

“So what did you say?” Martin posed.

“I bet you he said ‘No’” Don interjected.

I told them I was in shock, momentarily after that question was posed.

“She gave you CPR?” Alex half-asked and half-guessed.

No. Was I the one telling the story or were they flies on the wall when the proposal went down? I had taken a few breaths and said ‘Eventually’.

“Bring more beers!” Romeo shouted, knowing very well that he wouldn’t touch even one. “You are lucky to be alive, Our Kid. She asked ‘Will you marry me?’ and you told her ‘Eventually!’?”

Well, I had to let them know, that Monique actually surprised me by jumping up and down and then jumped on me and shouted ‘We are going to get married’ and after a few wet kisses run down the stairs to tell Cilla that we are going to get married. And within no more than two minutes, she had changed her Facebook Relationship Status to Engaged.

“Oh man. That woman is a woman, bwana!” Don offered. “You are lucky. I know a man who went to the post office and found a Wedding Invitation Card in his box. The wedding he was being invited to was his girlfriend’s. And she was getting married to him!”

Some stories Don gives us. Alex was highly amused.

“I guess I should make another toast!” he said.

And you will be toast.

Just because Alex and a few other men had made a change from ‘going home to masturbate’ to ‘Welcome Home Honey’ didn’t mean that this was change we could all believe in and we should embrace.

In any event, traditionally, men do the proposing, as Furansisi was quick to point out. How then was my life panning out? That I couldn’t even be the one who proposed to a woman in some rather macabre way such as calling Gaetano Kugwa on Capital FM to let me propose on air.

“Look on the bright side,” Romeo pointed out. “As a divorce lawyer, you obviously know that a woman can initiate a divorce. If a woman can initiate a divorce, I don’t see why she can’t initiate marriage.”

When Romeo starts making sense, it usually is an indication that with his exception, we are all getting drunk.

“Romeo is right”, Don made his contribution having taken his glance off the girls who had just left the stage. “Most marriages are initiated by women. Even when the man actually proposes, he has usually been forced into that situation. That is why all weddings are girlie affairs”

He should know. He probably had won something from a bet he had placed on the first amongst us who would have been propositioned by a woman because he was the first one amongst us who had fidgeted with his phone after my rather heartrending news.

I later learnt that he was trying to get some girl to join us later for drinks but she was sick of his stalking and was answering the phone and blowing a vuvuzela into the phone instead of talking. I would have taken a bet on that one that Don would be the first to have something like that happen to him.

“Is she going to pay dowry?” Martin interjected as the table burst into laughter.

“I also hope that doesn’t mean you have to change your surname to hers!” Alex added. “That would be change that we can truly see!”

The boys were unanimous that marriage will really change a lot of things and I will have no control over that.

“You won’t even be able to blow your nose on the bed sheets, pee in the sink and drink milk out of milk cartons”, Don explained and he was immediately ruled out of the running for Best Man.

Monique has practically been living in and out of my house the past few months. She said that prefers separate bathrooms and then went ahead to take over the Master Bathroom and shunted me to the other non-bath-tubbed bathrooms.

“She took over the Master Bathroom?” Alex exclaimed.

If she thinks she is the Master, you can show her she isn’t by taking a mistress,” Don advised. What is he? The Don Kill-You-Me-Now-Then?

The truth is that since this girl and her chic pals started staying around with a measure of permanence, I am not even able to clip my toenails on the sofa with my other foot on the coffee table, and I am not able to shave your beards over the sink changing it from the All Whites to the All Blacks. She caused about the socks strewn all over the living room and horror of horrors, bought a laundry basket whose attempted use has made me realize my basketball skills need polishing up.

That is pre-marital bliss for you. Marital bliss may even get worse. If it does, that is why I have that slogan for my clients in my office: Things To Do By the Time You Turn 40. Get A Divorce.

“You will get used to it”, Romeo jumped in. “Marriage may be tough but it is an institution that is built. Like they say, Rome wasn’t built in one day.”

Much like Romeo was killed in one day. I think he just got the Best Man’s job right there.

“Look on the bright side,” Furansisi chipped in and we all wondered what silver lining he had just spotted. “We are all gonna get new suits as Groomsmen!”

I had to tell them. Monique had said she didn’t want any Groomsmen. It was just a Best Man and a Maid of Honour and the way things were going, that had already been taken up by Romeo and Cilla.

There was silence. The mood changed.

“Let’s drink!” Alex said again.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Will You Bury Me?

Tahidi High is on the TV, rain drops are in the sky, love is in the air, Usain Bolt is in the country, the constitutional process is in disarray, history is in the making, Jeremy is out of the Big Brother House, Success Cards are in all shops, the KCSE examination is in progress, weddings are on the horizon, AFC Leopards are on the prowl, Tom Cholmondoley is out of prison, a very sardonic smile is on my lips and you -my friends- are on my mind!

It must be November.

And it really is. Judging by my two posts in October which all happened to be guests, it was as if I had taken on Wyclef Jean’s Gone Til November. As anyone who has ever lost an opportunity for a quickie would easily tell you, time waits for no man.

Monique had been out of town to the Mara the last two weekends and I had realized how she filled a huge needy void in my life but that was quickly forgotten when she came back and asked me to babysit her nephew Marcus as she went to get her nails done. Or whatever it is women like to do at the salon.

First, this was something I could not say ‘Nooooooooooo!’ to granted that Marcus is a four year old boy who lost his adoring and adorable parents last year.

Second, I sensed this was some sort of test Monique was setting me up for and I was in the mood for tests with the hope that when she came back from the salon she would be in the mood for testes.

Third, I was avoiding another messy fight and having gone through a dry spell for the past couple of months, chances of Monique picking an easy fight were as high as chances of a hotel keeper in a dingy River Road hotel finding dirty sheets in the room.

It all started when Monique mentioned that I needed to see a shrink about my highbrow attitude after I casually mentioned that I was in the middle of a conundrum of submissions for a client who was paying maintenance for his son and wanted to have a clause stipulating that in the event his ex-wife had another baby with another man, he would stop paying maintenance for the son.

Under Divorce Law, children are called ‘issues’. And, boy, do people have issues!

‘Why would he stop paying maintenance for his son just because the lady has another child with another man?’ Monique had posed as she peered over her cup of pineapple tea.

Because he wouldn’t be sure that all the money he sent to her would be spent exclusively on his son and not the other kid.

‘You seem to be siding with your client on that one like you believe he is doing the right thing?’

Oh no.

Before I knew it, the idea of me spending time with Marcus had been conceived and born.

I didn’t mind it at all. Marcus turned out to be quite exciting company.

‘Mbona unapenda ku-watch gazeti?’ he asked me as soon as he realized I was paying more attention to the newspaper than to his self.

He went ahead and doodled with a marker pen some writings on the wall. At least he will be remembered by my landlord for that. Or even better, by the unfunny Marangi.

Before long, he had fished some red thong from the sofa and holding it, he playfully asked whom it belonged to as he laughed. The poor kid. Like my grandma Rosa says, humour is the ability to laugh even when there is no joke. When he grows up, he will realize that taking off a woman’s panties is the most erotic thing anyone can do, sometimes even better than the sex itself.

But I digress. Seeing Marcus holding the thong was the last straw. I closed the newspaper and told him we had to get out of the house. We ended up having to go watch some cartoon movie at the theatres, but that didn’t stop the boy asking another million questions. My guess is that when this boy grows up, he would be a journalist.

So when that baby sitting session had passed and I thought I was a free man, Monique suggested that it would be a great idea to attend the birthday party for another nephew. That was bad for a Sunday that had started so brightly.

I had walked down the stairs to the kitchen wearing some bathrobe that I am being forced to wear in the house, when I bumped into Cilla wearing nothing but a t-shirt.

‘Hey you!’ she squealed. ‘You should check out the breakfast I have laid out for you. Truly fit for a king!’

Don King.

This was Cilla’s way of saying sorry for messing up my dishes after she sheepishly washed all of them using a hand-wash rather than the Morning Fresh dish washing liquid. If that was her way of saying sorry, perhaps she ought to make a few more blooming gaffes.

As I picked the newspapers, Monique walked in, wearing another white bathroom robe.

‘Put on some clothes!’ she barked at Cilla. You would think the t-shirt her friend had on was invisible.

‘Before I forget, I hope we are going for Prince’s birthday party’, she said it for the first time whilst looking at me as if she had mentioned this request before.

Are you kidding me? Prince? The one year old nephew? The sprog is one year! He wouldn’t even notice if I went for his party nor care if I missed it.

‘Sprog?’ she asked.

Well I tried to explain that it was an affectionate word for a child but she wasn’t buying it. It was like asking Wako to smile more. Not even a visa ban could wipe out the smile from his face just as no explanations could wipe out the snarl on Monique’s.

‘First you call children issues, and now you term them frogs!’

Frogs? This beauty queen could easily be crowned Miss Quoted!

I do hate birthday parties. Especially those for children who reckon that the very birthday parties are an unnecessary interruption to their schedule of Kim Possible watching. Plus who doesn’t know that the ‘Happy Birthday To You’ song has a copyright and shouldn’t be sung in public until the year 2030. True.

Not that I can sing. When Marcus tried to get me to do a rendition of ‘Old McDonald Had A Farm’ it was clear that this voice has not been getting better ever since my distant-in-memory Class Six carol night as my performance was rather off the notes drawing giggles from the bemused but quite thong-fishing lad. Things change. For few decades ago when you said ‘the Sopranos’ I would’ve been one, but if you say it now, I will tell you I am not part of the mob.

So I mentioned it to Monique that I also had to stick around so I could watch ‘a Manchester football match’ later in the day. Since she doesn’t know the difference between Manchester United and Manchester City, she simply marched off, slammed the door and drove off.

Cilla came down the stairs having replaced the t-shirt with a pink bathroom robe and sat on the couch. Whoever bought those bathroom robes should really be shot.

‘I also get confused especially after that Carlos Tevez move,’ she said. The thing about her is that at least she gets the football thing. She however threw in a dampener when she sided with her friend by saying ‘You really should have gone for Prince’s birthday party’

Prince. The last time I saw that kid he threw up on me. But wait ... hold on. That wasn’t Prince. At the time, he was called Joseph. Then some village idiot claimed it was impolite to name a child after a living soul, as the mother of one of his parents was Josephine. So they changed it to Prince. He is only one year old and the boy has changed names more than the Zain network.

I believe if I turn out for his second birthday, he would be The Baby Formerly Known As Prince.

‘You know Our Kid, you have to attend functions such as birthday parties. Otherwise, when you die, no one will come to your funeral!’

I spilled my coffee and it poured on Cilla’s robe. The coffee was rather hot and must have scalded her as she instinctively disrobed revealing that she wasn’t wearing anything else underneath the robe.

I apologized but she told me not to worry as I hadn’t scalded her most precious asset: her mat. Whilst I wondered when she bought a matatu, she told me ‘mat’ was the short form of the Swahili word for bum. She went upstairs to change.

I was left wondering: Do people really attend birthday parties so that people can come to bury them? Would anyone want to come to my funeral? Would it hurt me if no one came to bury me? All uneasy thoughts but perhaps they are what keep so many of us hopping from birthday party to another or wedding ceremony to another.

The rest of the day went smoothly with me returning Cilla the favour by preparing our lunch within the breaks of watching some crappy football matches. This camaraderie was shattered when Monique walked back in and uttered four heavy words: We need to talk.

You know, this might be the lady who buries me. Moments after killing me.

I feebly attempted to lessen the heightened tension by asking her how Prince’s birthday party went.

‘What do you care?’ she retorted.

I was hoping that this wasn’t the beginning of another four word sentences disguised as a conversation. Then I spotted a book she was carrying. It was one of those demotivational books with a title Become A Better You. The author is a Joel Somebody.

‘I have been thinking…’ she said and paused. Ooooh, four words sentences. Apparently, she has been thinking that I am incapable of any form of serious loving. That I don’t seem to say the right things at the right time. And she has been taking all this crap until she came to a certain realization.

‘You are a robot!’ she said.

I am a what?

‘You are emotionally selfish’, she continued. Apparently, I act like I don’t need anyone, by which I guess she means herself. That I do things that are unpredictable in our relationship. Me? Unpredictable? I have worn a blue shirt each and every Monday for the last ten years without even once failing to do so!

But when a woman says WE need to talk, SHE needs to talk, and so I didn’t interrupt.

She demanded that I should read that book. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but I hate books which have the author on the cover. And smiling! It is as if they are happy that another gullible one just made them inch higher on the bestseller list.

She said something about how she has thinks I need to find myself. How this relationship needs a mission and a vision.

What? This isn’t a venture. It should be an adventure. This was getting plain ridiculous.

‘You are so wrong,’ she said.

I am?

She was quiet. Not a good sign for someone who needed to talk. I spoke too soon.

‘Will you marry me?’ she asked.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

What The Cell?

I got this in one of Monique's magazines that she has placed in the loo. Then today at a wedding I attended, someone answered their cellphone in church! The setting here is changed to Mombasa, but what a sweet article. Enjoy.

It was a beautiful day at the beach –blue sky, gentle breeze, calm sea. I knew these things because a man sitting five feet from me was shouting them into his cell-phone, like a play-by-play announcer.


Behind me, a woman, her cell phone pressed to her ear, was pacing back and forth. ‘She DIDN’T,’ she was saying. ‘No. She DIDN’T. She DID? Really? Are you SERIOUS? She, did NOT. She DID? NO, she DIDN’T. She DID? NO...’

And so on. This woman had two chil­dren, frolicking in the surf. I found myself watching them, because the woman sure­ly was not. A giant squid could have surfaced and snatched the children, and this woman wouldn’t have noticed. Or, if she had, she’d have said, ‘Listen, I have to go, because a qiant squid just…No! She didn’t! She DID? She…’

And next to me, the play-by-play man would have said: ‘…AND A GIANT SQUID JUST ATE TWO CHILDREN, AND I’M GETTING A LITTLE SUN-BURNED, AND…

It used to be that the beach’s major annoyance was the jerk who brought a boom box and cranked it up so loud the bass notes caused seagulls to explode. But at least you knew where these jerks were. You never know which beach­combers have cell-phones. You’ll settle next to what appears to be a sleeping sunbather, or even (you hope) a corpse, and you’ll sprawl happily on your towel, and you’ll get all the way to the second sentence of your 467-page hook before you doze off to the hypnotic surge of the surf, and...

BREEP! BREEP! The corpse sits up, gropes urgently for its cell-phone, and shouts, ‘Hello! Oh, hi! I’m at the beach! Yes! The beach! Yes! It’s nice! Very peace­ful! Very relaxing! What? She did? No, she DIDN’T! She DID? No, she...’

Loud cell-phoners never seem to get urgent calls. Just once, I’d like to hear one of them say’: Hello? Yes, this is Dr Kariuki. Oh, hello, Dr Makau. You’ve opened the abdominal cavity? Good! Now the appen­dix should be right under the... What? No, that’s the liver. Don’t take THAT out, ha ha! Oh, you did? Whoops! OK, now listen very, very carefully.

The good news is some politicians want to ban cell-phone use. The bad news is that so far they’ve only banned using hand-held cell-phones in cars, which is the one place innocent bystanders don’t have to listen to it. Granted, drivers using cell-phones may cause accidents (‘I gotta go because I just ran over a man, and he’s bleeding from the... What? She DID? NO, she didn’t. She DID? No, she..’)

But seriously folks, I don’t believe dri­vers yakking away on cell-phones are nearly as dangerous as drivers with babies in the back seat. I’m one of those drivers, and we’re definitely’ a menace, especially when our baby has dropped her Barney doll and is screaming to get it hack, and we’re steering with one hand and groping under the back seat with the other. (Groping for Barney would be a good name for a metal band!)

So we should, as a long-overdue safety measure, ban babies.

But that’s not my point. My point is there’s good news on the cellphone front. Several companies are selling devices that jam cellphone signals. Yes! These devices broadcast a signal that causes every cellphone in the immediate vicinity to play the 1974 hit song 'Kung Fu Fighting'. No, that’d be too wonderful. But, really, these devices actually cause nearby cellular phones to register ‘NO SERVICE’.

Unfortunately there’s a catch. Because of an outfit calling itself the ‘Communications Commission of Kenya’ (CCK), these cellphone-jam­ming devices might soon be illegal in Kenya. I say this stinks. I say we should all contact our local politicians. Tell them if they really want to make up for proposing that 'One Parking Bay, One Attendant' idea, they should put down their palmtops for a moment and pass a bill legalising these devices, at least for beach use.

I realise some of you disagree with me. I realise you have solid reasons -perhaps life-and-death reasons-why you MUST have your cellphone working at all times, everywhere. If you’re one of those people, please believe me when I say this: I can’t hear you!

(c) Dave Barry 2001

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Bride and Groom

Something different. This is a guest post by the lovely Aquastar. Wedding Planner extraordinaire.

Aren’t they sweet? When they are wreathed in smiles and saying “I do” he in the strong assured voice and she in that coquettish breathless voice that only women or truly gay men can perfect. (By the way the coquettish voice takes a lifetime to perfect, it starts from babyhood, but that as they say is a story for another day)

Having never been married and seriously in danger of swearing off the institution for life due to the pretence I have been privy to, that leads up to those grand affairs that Citizen has turned into an advertising cash cow named well you know the name so why waste space repeating it? Anyway where was I ahhh cash cow gimmick (You have got to love dear Masha he knows where money resides like any good okuyo sorry businessman)

So here is the low down that dear Noni neglects to mention during that one hour marathon of sugar and spice and all things wedding.

BRIDEONSTER: - yep a new word has been coined for that sweet thing wearing all that white frilly lace and cooing “I doo”

The brideonster is a unique shaken and stirred combination of a bridezilla, perfectionist, P.M.Sing bitch and those weird women on the rave who pour booze on peeps, beat the bouncer and cashier and piss on the floor like a drunken guy because their ten bob is missing from their 1000 bob change.

Here are the types of brideonsters that exist and woe unto you if the two of the personalities decide to form a coalition or government of national unity aka GNU.

The Micro Manager Brideonster:- This is the type of bride who must know, approve, re-bargain and re-confirm everything, never mind that as a planner you have the expertise in the field of weddings noooooo, if you omit something you are a liar, if you edit something you are trying to play her and woe unto you if ask for re-confirmations from her. The most popular response I have heard is ‘”Aren’t you the expert in this field? You should have advised/not advised/ had the omnipotence and omnipresence of God to read my thoughts, condense them into a form that I would like and then acted upon them accordingly. This type of bride is a perfect nightmare, as she thinks that:

a) You are a lying, cheating, desperate idle, idiot who must be policed constantly and relies on the money she is paying you as wedding planning is your last stop in life because if truth be told she is way more intelligent than you, as she works for mega-huge corporate or a bank and would have planned her wedding herself were it not for the fact that she is running this super huge corporate/bank/N.G.O. Never mind that she may just be a mere executive assistant or receptionist or sales person, hell no you may mistake her for the M.D. Added on to that her e-mails and phone conversations with you will always contain phrases such as, “you know you came highly recommended, but why is that I have to keep on following up on stuff I told you to do? I thought my wedding is now your responsibility and blah blah blah blah nonsense.

This bride always goes behind your back to harangue and arm twist suppliers/vendors (these are the guys supplying the tents, food, entertainment etc) into giving further discounts and slashing prices. In addition, she will complain to them how lazy/dishonest/and slow you are and that she has only hired you as her planner as an errand and go to person for the suppliers, a mouth piece for her if so wish to sugar coat it.

However she will still smile in your face and express surprise at why vendors are by-passing you to get to her directly or their quotes and services have suddenly changed etc. You are also sunk if they(vendor and bride) are of the same tribe, they will proceed to have long conversations in their mother tongue with you standing by looking clueless as you undoubtly are cos duh its kao and you are luhya

b) You are mentally challenged/akili punguani as regards planning things ( no disrespect meant to our mentally handicapped brothers and sisters, I love them they are them most honest humans next to kids and pets) and therefore you need her to handhold you through out the planning and co-ordination of her wedding. To her you are another project to be managed with the zeal and vigour she applies to her office projects. This usually leads to the phrases such as, “ you came highly recommended and blah blah please refer to (a) above,” due to the fact that she finds that her actions actually impede than progress her wedding, but that again is your fault too as the planner.

c) You are an idiot who never went past form four(as if people with KCSE qualifications are idiots) or are a mere student(if she gets to know that you are in University) who has no inkling as to the seriousness of her wedding and marriage and therefore treat her wedding as a fun, by the way thing that you are using to liven up your mundane life

d) It doesn’t matter how many weddings you have planned in the past, this one is hers and hence it is different. Never mind that you are simply photocopying nani’s wedding as she actually came with photos of everything and said, “I want you to do my wedding like XYZ’ wedding.”(Lack of Creativity, Yawn) and that she says, “I want ___________ (mundane and over used vendor who short changes brides) to do my cake/tents/ etc.

Additionally due to the fact that you have never planned HER wedding before(never mind that it is the photocopied type that you can plan with eyes closed, reciting the bible backwards in Hindu) she must have last say in all things, including the type of plastic that has been used to make the chair she will be sitting on at her high table and let us not forget the thread count of the seat cover that her bridal gown encased derrie will perching on because God forbid should she feel the least bit uncomfy

Folks I could go on about micro manager, but we must move on

The Amnesiac Brideonster: - this type of brideonster encompasses the micromanager brideonster, as well a memory that would make a goldfish look like an expert memory champion. In addition this bride can go psycho on you and insult you and demean you, and call you the next day and sweetly inquire how you are feeling and isn’t the wedding a lot of work to plan, what would she do without you (sigh). [PSYCHOOOOOOOOO]

Apart from the sieve like memory, this bride will always leave fundamental issues pending and then turn around and pin them on you. The most extreme one I heard was,

Bride (to planner): Why didn’t you remind me to buy sexy lingerie for my honeymoon? Now Secrets has run out of my size and what will I wear?

Planner: I am not sure how exactly I………………………..

Bride: What did I hire you for? Aki Kenyans you cant expect better blah blah blah blah

The ‘laissez-faire’ Brideonster: - This type of bride can be both a good and bad thing, you what they say about too much of something. Simply put, this bride is the opposite of the micromanager brideonster. While the micro manager has an opinion and set rules about every thing, this bride has no opinion about anything about her wedding and everything and anything goes. This should be an ideal bride for a planner right? WRONG! As she has no opinion about anything you can bet that all her female relatives and extended family as well as prospective in-laws have an opinion and want to plan her wedding because after all she has no opinion and will just be a figure head in her wedding.

What you end up with as a planner is a Kofi Annan post election violence Kenya in Jan 2008 whereby you have to be smuggled into the bride’s presence to plead with her to calm her horde of opportunistic relatives and in-laws who have turned her wedding into a version of their own weddings/marketing opportunities for their own businesses or friends businesses/a chance to gain kick backs form wily vendors/an opportunity to prove themselves to the rest of the family extended or otherwise/a chance to outshine each other as in-laws rivaling, and explain to them that you, yes you (one person) has a fool proof, fail safe and tried and tested methodology of effectively planning her wedding.

Woe unto you as a planner if your particular bride is a mouse that has no hopes of ever roaring, wewe umeishiwa, tuonane ahera, because you will definitely suffer a stroke/heart attack/madness all at once. And trust me neither heaven nor hell will take you as St. Peter and which ever demon manns the hell gate will be bouncing you back and forth each claiming to have no knowledge of you and that you are solely the responsibility of the other.

The papier mache/collage/montage brideonster: - This bride is just a fancy copy cat or rather a tasteless wannabe who pretends to have more class than that famous Collin Cowie (super, mega, rich and totally groundbreaking party planner that Oprah is always going “dahaling” to)

So any way this bride is usually a summer bunny from any foreign country which can even be T.Z or U.G. (No offence meant to our neighbours) and claims to know exactly how classy she wants her wedding to be. She will then proceed to combine the Victorian, Edwardian, African, Indo-Chinese, Indian (Hindu) and ultra modern chic, turn of the century American, as well as Puritan American (okay so I have exaggerated on the Puritan point but you get the picture) themes.

What you end up with is a scary gathering that not even Halloween or those Nigerian movie witch doctor scenes covers. Just think of those neon signs that Pelican or Falcon Signs sell and try and condensing it into a wedding, nauseating isn’t it? Added onto that the republic of Kenya only sanctions marriages performed between 6am to 6 pm, but as her planner you will be expected to somehow void reality and create an 8pm wedding for her because as she would say, “Out there (as if Kenya has outer space high walls around it with no internet access) evening/night weddings are all the rave dahaaaling.”

Just as you cannot mix wines, spirits and barley without consequences that include but are not limited to projectile vomiting, diarrhoea, and dehydration; the end result of this delusion of grandeur are wedding pictures that everyone always goes, “Oh how sweet did you have a kiddie party theme for your wedding?”

Most brides basically fall into the above four categories and some even come all four in one like a handy Swiss knife J.

GROOMPAIN- This is the male human being (though some from their behaviour may be referred to as Pro-Consul Africanus or Cro-Magnon) commonly referred to as the groom/other half/man to marry the brideonster/bugger to be pitied/ suckered idiot etc

The M.I.A Groom:- Like the name suggests, this character only shows up on the wedding day. Enough said.

The Do It Yourself Groom: - This is the groom that thinks a planner is his long lost childhood mboch/handy gal/Ms. Fix-it/ the go to gal/financial solutions’ provider to their over the top wedding/oracle/fountain of all knowledge.

As per all the above titles your e-mail and cell phone will be inundated with senseless and meaningless questions and general pestering from the groom. He will act like since you are the planner you are in essence him and are now marrying his bride(ughhhhhhhhh yuck you know what they say about beauty being in the eyes of the beholder and fellas you all know that in certain cases you have to squint really hard to see the said beauty). Therefore even intensely personal tasks such as selection of wedding bands will be assigned to you, as well as in some cases embarrassing tasks such as telling his baby mama he is shortly to be hitched to some one other than her, seriously!

The Area Code Groom:- This is the groom that has either been suckered or forced to the altar due to family or financial pressure. He therefore assigns you the task of either finding a top-secret location for his wedding (preferably Mars cos believe me this guy has been around and then some) as every location you name he has set up home there, sample this

Planner: Kiambu?

Groom: Shiro, Wanjiku and about three Wanjas

Planner: North Horr?

Groom: Aisha, Zubeda, Aliya and Gubi

Planner: Gubi?

Groom: Their female camel

Planner: WTF? Please do not elaborate ever

Believe me this guy is such a whore he even has reserved standing space on Koinange Street, complete with a souvenir Majengo stool.

The Scrooge Macgroom:- Like the legendary cartoon Scrooge Macduck, this guy can give banks and insurance companies lessons on with holding payments and scrimping on basic necessities.

Ok guys, I will explain something to you, women are insane when it comes to weddings and sure we need to be reigned in a little bit when it comes to finances and wanting to rent helicopters to take us to the reception. However telling me to use my Auntie Shiko’s wedding dress and shoes who got married in 1981 isn’t practical its plain cheap, and getting your nyama choma joint guy and the local one man guitar to do the catering and entertainment at our wedding is beyond shady, and no I do not care that you own ‘shares’ in the nyam chom place on account of how many weekends you choma nyama there. In addition a boda boda isn’t vintage transportation; it is a black mamba bicycle and no we cannot use your mother’s sofa sets and coffee tables at the reception to seat guests.

The Scrooge Macgroom will bargain and set his preferred prices on everything (which is nothing) including the Sheria House Marriage License (though with our levels of corruption, he may actually have some success in that area) and for him the cheaper option will always be best.

Scrooge Macgroom does not see the value of having a planner and therefore conversations with him will always be spiced with comments such as, “Ehh! Kenyans are really innovative mpaka you have devised a new way to fleece young couples of money by ‘consulting’ on weddings. Who consults on weddings? A water project may be but weddings are simple, go to church, then eat lunch, kukata keki and then the thing is over [sarcastic laugh], Kenyans!”

This groom is so tight fisted that he will get up from the high table during the wedding to periodically come and inspect the money box at the gift table and ascertain that all envelopes are there. In addition he will hold on to balances owed until, “he is satisfied with everything.”

Woe unto you if he is a lawyer or believes himself to be conversant with the law, he will find a breach of contract form the church service to his honeymoon(the honeymoon part we do not exactly know how we get involved) and delay your payments or refuse to make your payments.

Like the brideonsters, the groompains fall into either or if you are really lucky all the categories above.

But do not despair novice planners and wedding committee loving friends and at heart romantics, there do exist couples out there who are genuinely in love and will start planning their weddings early enough and will heed their humble pennies and in some cases bountiful pennies in the bank. You will just have to search really hard, Best of luck!

For the cynics, yes once again you were proved right but there are exceptions to every rule and the four weddings that I came home smiling from that I planned from A- Z beat the 15 or so others that I came home cursing to high heaven and low hell.

Oh yeah, I am wedding planner and yes like the movie starring Jennifer Lopez we do have to do most of the stuff she did, but the Kenyan market stinks, and no there are no handsome grooms to secretly sigh over(okay there may have been one or two).

The basic point here is that marriage is serious business and if you are not ready please run away or better yet unplug the T.V. when Noni’s show starts and enjoy singledom, otherwise you may end up a regular client of my fellow blogger, and that is just all kinds of wrong and mildly disturbing.

Ttyl y’all,

Aqua Star.