Karimi sat across the table from her friend Susan staring at her phone in exasperation. She passed the phone to Susan who almost spit out the masala chai she had just gulped. “What the hell?” She was doing this thing where she was half laughing half pissed. In the end, she gave in to the laughter, “Honey child what did you get yourself into?” She looked at Karimi, eyebrows raised.
They were sitting in a small café downtown which Susan had discovered sometime back. It was their little secret gem. A place they used to detox from the world, especially men. You would think being single meant no boy drama, but it always ended up being the reverse. Being single in Nairobi could be nightmarish or hilarious depending on whether you were a glass half-full or half-empty type of person. Karimi held her head in her hands. “I honestly don’t know what I did to deserve this! What is this life?”
Her devastation spewed more laughter from Susan’s lips. “Relax girl. You’ll be fine. Hebu tell me this story from the beginning though.”
Karimi spoke through her palms. “I can’t. It’s so embarrassing, and I’m supposed to be a strong independent woman.” She sighed as her friend with no chills laughed in her face.
“Speak woman,” Susan commanded.
“Okay, okay. So it all started when…”
Karimi had been at the office when he retweeted her tweet. It was something about the lack of mental capacity portrayed by the carrot-headed, future president of the free world. He had added a meme on top which made it funnier than her version had been. They began a conversation on Twitter. He was funny. He found her on Instagram. He was cute. His pictures captivated her. He was tall, with skin darker than hers, a scruffy beard, and a smile with a dimple on his left cheek. He looked younger than her for sure, but maybe by like a year or two. He always wore suits or jackets. Lord knows men who clean up nice are so yummy! They started talking on DM. He was smart… He seemed smart. He was charming, oh so charming. He made her giggle like she hadn’t since she had been younger. She was older and experienced enough to know not to get overly invested though. It was fun. That’s all it was. But when he asked for her number she relented.
You know that moment in a movie where the narrator says, “She thought she would be happy but in actual reality, that was the moment everything turned to shit.” Facebook was Karimi’s moment. She decided to check out the guy on Facebook. Stalking the boy, yes boy! Who was a university student in U.O.N. He was freaking twenty years old! After he had let her assume he was 29-ish, give or take a year or two. He had blatantly lied about working on his career and building a name for himself in the entrepreneurship world.
Karimi stopped her story and lifted her head miserably as her eyes fell on her best friend. “When did I become this person?”
Susan who was 31, the same age as her, wasn’t having it. “Stop your moaning and continue the story.”
Karimi sighed. She was really pissed and she texted him telling him to feel free to lose her number. She had no time for this nonsense. He apologized. The text was etched in her memory. Whoever taught him literature in high school should have gotten the best teacher’s award for teaching the art of expression beautifully. “Karimi. I know you think I lied to you, but that in itself is a lie. I withheld the truth because I was so captivated by your beauty and maturity. You don’t know what the dating scene is currently like. The girls out here are so superficial. I can be good for you. Babe, I can be good to you.”
She had closed her eyes, “Mwathani! I don’t talk to you often enough hey? But I need your help here. I’m about to become a cougar up in here and I really thought there was more for me you know? Like if you were ever going to send one of the holy ghost firebreathing preachers to come to tell me this is not my portion, now would be the time eh? Thanks.” He was probably really busy saving the world and all but surely He would help her with this man-child problem. Until then she would tolerate the flirting from the boy although she wouldn’t flirt back, this boy was too young for her. The compliments were good for her ego but she wasn’t going to get involved with this boy or any of those others who had suddenly started appearing in her DMs.
The last straw was when the boy “accidentally” sent her a dick pic.
“He sent you a what?” Susan interrupted her story looking as if she would spit another mouthful of tea if she hadn’t already finished her cup. She was currently waiting on her second mug.
Karimi gave another deep heavy sigh. “Yeah! Out of nowhere! I know. I mean some might say I am very open-minded but I’m not that open-minded.”
After that she was done. She told him that couldn’t have been an accident. He told her she was right. It wasn’t. He asked her to be his sugar mummy.
“He asked you to be his what?”
Karimi was getting slightly irritated, “Susan if you want me to finish this story you can’t keep interrupting me to repeat what I said.”
“Okay, sorry but I just need to understand what happened. He came out directly and asked you to be his sugar mamma?”
“Well, he didn’t use those terms directly but basically implied it. Mentioned the whole me giving him an allowance and how he would give me ‘lit sex’ if I chose to take the offer.”
Karimi rolled her eyes. “Yeah, this child was literally ten years old when I could legally drink everywhere in the world and he’s here talking about how he could give me lit sex for an allowance. I can’t even begin to understand this generation.”
Susan was halfway through her second cup. She slurped, “Ehe, alafu? What did you do?”
Karimi had done the only sensible thing there was to do. She blocked the fool. Everywhere. Well, everywhere that was block-able. Soon she had started getting messages from random people who she hadn’t talked to in ages. Some were shady; others were curious people just looking for udaku. They asked what was going on in her life, question pointing specifically to her love life. Today as she had sat for coffee with Susan, Amy, one of her other friends had whatsapped her screenshots of a twitter thread by the boy. It was horrible.
Susan took the phone and looked through the screen shots again, wanting to comfort her friend. She read some of the boy’s tweets out loud, “Karimi Mutheu is a bitter angry divorced woman who can never be loved properly. She lies. She will tell you she wants you and then stops just when you’re starting to feel her. She is just a lonely spinster and bitter feminist. Don’t fall for her trap.”
Susan laughed, “But first of all who uses the word spinster? Like really, who? It’s so white! Secondly, when, when was this you got married and divorced without telling me? And what is the problem with you being a feminist”
Karimi groaned. If she had any chance of finding love on the internet it had now been driven away by this child. Oh well.
“Cheer up girly. Now you have an inappropriate story to tell when you grow old, hey?” Susan was so bubbly it was hard not to laugh with her. She would survive, she had survived Twitter wars before. She always did. So she laughed with her friend and enjoyed her coffee. She thought “someone needs to put these Nairobian Twitter boys in their place though. They try to seduce you in the DMs and when you turn them down they fight you on the TL or slander you on some WhatsApp groups. They need to grow up!”
The singlehood series is a collection of real-life stories and opinions from different people. It looks at the current world of dating around the world and the experiences that people have gone through.