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Why Kenyan Husbands Are Missing Barmaids Amidst Covid Curfew

Kenyan wives are famously notorious for three things- their incessant nagging, puerile tantrums and sulking over the most mundane of issues. One cannot help but pity the men who are stuck up with these joy sucking creatures amidst this epidemic.

Before the entire globe was brought to a screeching halt by a Chinese pathogen; Money, sex, soccer and liquor, in no particular order, were the top four things on the minds of a typical Kenyan man.

A Kenyan man would leave work and pass by the city pubs for a beer or two in the guise of waiting for traffic to subside. There, they also get to discuss business with pals and catch replays of the weekend matches.

Some would alight at the bust stop on their way home and pass by the local for a few pints and get a quick lay because mama watoto has been feigning headache for the past two months. Then he will trot home with a kilo of roasted meat to appease his kids.  

Now, it’s at these local joints that wives’ biggest nemeses lurked with wanton abandon- the barmaids. No, I am not talking about the middle class or high end kind of waitresses who wear skimpy uniforms, loud makeups, refuse to return balance and exaggerate bills.

When I say barmaids that give married women headaches, I mean the ilk who still wear petticoats, bikers and recycled weaves and plies their trade in a village pub or an Eastlands hood like Umoja. The curvaceous yet average looking mamas who are ever cheerful, treat men with empathy, have mastered them like a craft and fathom how to deal with them.

These mamas who open Guinness bottles with the skills of a surgeon can pinpoint all the hood rats, gangsters, cops, conmen, day preachers-cum-wizards by name. See, that barmaid might not be able to pronounce parallelogram or write her name, but she has the wherewithal to get your husband’s attention.

Yes, she might have two ex-husbands and four kids by different men, and cannot spell her name, but she can still thrive at what has eluded wives hands down. A man walks into his house from having spent the entire day struggling for the family bacon, only to meet an ungrateful and ill-mannered wife could care less about the poor soul that hauls the bread for the family.

She will not bother or have even a modicum of care that her husband is back from toiling to fend for her and the brats; instead, she’ll be absorbed on her phone busy gossiping on WhatsApp and giggling at useless posts from fellow demented women on those scandal thirsty Facebook groups.

She’ll briefly lift her head up and coldly, lazily blurt out, “there is food in the microwave if you feel like” and continue being buried on her phone. But when the man walks into the estate pub, he’s welcomed like a king Leopold strutting the streets of Kinshasa before the scramble and petition for Africa.  

The barmaid will then dish her disarming smile and voice concern about his welfare and ask about his day, all which are irresistible for a man harassed by life and ignored by the wife.

Then she will proceed to serve him with an aura of sweetness and humility. What is also peculiar about these women is that they have an opinion on everything, including whether corona is a warfare tactic between USA and China, never mind that she thinks China is in America

Two intellectuals might be arguing over whether World Health Organization (WHO) and their ‘experts’ are just being typical imperialists when they give their projections on the effect of Covid-19 on Africans and she will chip in with a “I know we will not die like flies as they claim,” and boom, the argument between the two gentlemen will be settled.

These liquor stewards have mastered the art of massaging a man’s ego, the number one weakness of these sons of Abraham that wives have failed to take advantage of. A man will scream in drunken induced rage: “I asked for a cold beer and you brought me warm? I am not paying for this!”

With a smile, she takes away the opened warm Tusker, a coy smile dancing on her lips as she calmly exchanges it with a cold one for the ‘sir’, them open it while mumbling halfhearted apologies. At the end of the night, the man will not only pay for the very drink he swore he will not pay for, but also heavily tips her-  a tip so generous it could buy three more Tuskers. Dare complain to a wife over a poorly cooked meal and she will throw a fit like an epileptic mad woman.

Barmaids fathom that rapport is king as far as customer relations is concerned. Their PR acumen is enviable. They know when a dude’s pockets have dents and how to cheer him up. They can not only offer drinks on credit but are also pretty great listeners. Wives on the other hand become aggressive, abusive even, at the slightest whiff of a broke man.

When you are facing financial challenges, that is the time your wife will come to bed while clad in the full armor of the lord to dissuade you from entertaining any thoughts of touching her. Even if she has a stash somewhere, she would rather buy a Sh5k wig than loan the buy Sh100 unga.

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Written by Aoko Otieno

For Aoko Otieno, writing is her raison d'être. Why so? It guarantees her freedom. Freedom to love, live and relieve through her very own and other people's lives.

"A person is a fool to become a writer. Her only compensation is absolute freedom. She has no master except her own soul, and that, I am sure, is why she does it.” Roald Dahl

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