Growing up surrounded by numerous (XY) chromosomes meant I did not feel the rush to be romantically involved with anyone till I was 18 (much to the disappointment of many). This could also be attributed to the fact that my parents
are strict and unlike my brothers, I was always afraid of getting caught. I eventually had my first relationship and it was sweet and innocent for the most part 🙂 but like everything else it came to an end. Now younger me was quite fortunate, the men around me were most often around to make sure I was protected, they always did it no matter how irritating it would be. My 13 year old self would be nervously talking to a boy when my older brother decides to pop up ‘to get something from me‘ or my younger brother screams my name from the balcony. More often than not though, they had been sent by the Mzee. They were always there, until they couldn’t be.
I am the daughter of a man who is more traditional than most; This means that there were certain topics he could not dare bring up with me, boys being one of them. However, the Sunday after I finished my high school exams he brought it up without me realising it. He took it upon himself to warn me of how dangerous men can be…
‘When you go out here are some rules to follow always…
- Buy your own drinks
- If anyone offers to buy you a drink, make sure it is opened in front of your eyes
- If you leave your drink to go to the toilet, don’t bother with it once you come back… buy another one
- Do not leave anyone with your drink, carry it with you if you can even to the dance floor.
- When you’re going out even if its during the day, make sure you have enough money to settle your half of the bill. Never rely on any man’
You see, what most boys don’t understand is that part of the reason I tend to be picky with who I decide to get involved with is because his words are always ringing in my head. The minute I sense something is off with a guy, thats the end of the road… The unfortunate part about growing up though, is that there is no blueprint to life. Those who care enough can give us advice but most times it is only experience that will teach you a lesson. No matter how good you are, or how much you try to keep yourself safe.
I went into university with the words from my father constantly ringing in my ear anytime I went out. Obviously due to society’s tendency to victim blame, I also make sure that I am dressed appropriately enough for the event but not to the extent that I would encourage a man to approach me. From experience though, men will always grab whoever they like no matter what they are dressed in. In fact, refusing their advances or fighting back will only lead you into more trouble. Being told no, is like a hot slap to their face, it angers them and the one way they know how to take care of their bruised ego is to retaliate; either through words or actions. Let me introduce you to three different guys I have have met.
- The Nice Guy/ Gentleman: I met him during my first year of University. To me, he was only ever going to be a friend, but he saw things in a different light. We met outside my accommodation the first time, then the next was inside a club. We began talking and it was strictly on friendly basis, until two weeks later he messaged me saying ‘You know I like you‘. It came as a shock so all I could think of replying was ‘Uh, thank you‘. As can be expected, he didn’t take that too well and the conversation turned a bit nasty. He later apologised and we tried going back to how things were. Unfortunately he was good friends with my flatmate and was over pretty much all the time. He eventually managed to get a kiss during a party, but that only served to make it clear for me that I was not at all attracted to him. I gently broke it down to him the next day and he seemed to take it well until he didn’t. Messages came flooding in, filled with insults. He called me a user and said that he had put off so much time from his final project and topped it off by saying that he only wanted to treat me like a queen . He would later tell me as he apologised, that back home, he never had to try so hard to get a woman’s attention and that I frustrated him to the point he couldn’t hold back the insults. I had to make it clear that we are from two different countries and that he would need to respect me as a person, before eventually discontinuing conversation with him.
2. The Rich Guy/ Arrogant: This is by far the worst kind of guy I’ve met. In addition to descending from a highly misogynistic culture, his access to the amount of funds he ‘accidentally‘ mentioned one day makes him feel entitled and therefore expects everything to go his way. He got frustrated because he tried it with me, threw hints my way, offered to buy me and my friends as many drinks as we wanted but nothing was working. What he didn’t know is that my father has always ensured I understand the importance of being independent from any man. Defeated he tried the I love you card one night and proceeded to break down into tears claiming I hurt him so much (we barely talked though). Fed up, he resorted to try take my power from me buy forcing himself on me. It was a struggle I won’t lie, but fortunately he failed miserably. Unfortunately, his assault broke a huge part of me that I am still trying to recover from. Despite his numerous messages begging for forgiveness and still claiming his love for me, we don’t talk/ associate anymore.
3. The Unusual one: I’ll stick with this title for lack of a more suitable description. See I’ve never met this guy before. He saw me on my friend’s Snapchat post, three years ago and decided he likes me. I’m really strict with who I allow to follow me on Snapchat, but after constantly pestering my friend for my number I allowed her to give him my username. He followed me but didn’t talk to me for a good number of months and I seemingly forgot about him up until I posted a book I was reading and he commented on it. He seemed interesting and so we began talking. It was on neutral ground so I didn’t see a reason to keep my guards up. I travelled and was cut off from the world for a month and our conversation inevitably died. He knew when I was back in Kenya, we had a brief conversation through my friend’s phone, but never actually met. So why then did he feel the need to call me at 3:00 a.m on New Years day to tell me that he loves me and wants us to be together? Thank God for bad network that day because I honestly have no idea what I would have said. When we had a proper conversation later, I told him that I don’t get into a relationship with someone I’ve never met and barely know, a comment which he took to heart because according to him ‘we had spoken enough for me to know him‘ and he added that ‘a relationship is the best way to get to know someone‘. I was adamant and he did’t like it, so to try persuade me he began sending messages that pointed the fact that two people are better together and can achieve much more than a single person. He went on to say that he had to see me soon, tried to convince me to get a plane ticket home and even offered to buy it for me because I was perfect for him. When he later found out that I was seeing someone, he became emotional saying he had tried to befriend me because he wanted me. My lack of responses to his messages after, had him trying to get my attention on all social media platforms. I eventually had enough and let him know. His response was emotional blackmail , claiming I looked down on him and that’s wrong because I don’t know how much he will achieve in future… Safe to say I don’t bother with him anymore, even when he tries messaging me.
I unfortunately had to painfully discover that men tend to be the same, they just have different ways of showing it. Had I been told this before? Yes. But as I said sometimes you just have to experience something for it to actually stick. These three examples I’ve shared are all the same. They couldn’t accept rejection and so they tried to hurt me in their own way, through words or actions. They had to make me suffer for a decision I made that was contrary to what they wanted.
‘Being a woman is a terribly difficult task since it consists principally in dealing with men’