“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
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.