There’s a running joke in Nairobi about the lines married men use on women. Top of that list is the ‘I wish I met you before my wife’ line. A phrase probably as old as the art of extramarital affairs. You would think they’d be more creative at this age, right? Previously, it was very easy to spot married men. There was a certain demeanour that married men carried themselves with. Even their physique screamed, “There’s a woman at home who is taking care of my appearances.” Today, he could be a married man and still be part of the ‘Vasha’ crew. The married ones will still be in the club drinking like fish until the sun comes up. You keep thinking you are smart enough to spot this lot but sometimes you get outsmarted.
It was one of those Friday nights that you cannot wait to unwind. This particular Friday was a double joy because it was also my friend’s engagement party. So once my work was done, I hurriedly dressed up to link up with my crew. The dressing did not even take long because I had bought a dress perfect for the ‘dunda’ earlier that week in anticipation of the weekend that would be. So once my heels and makeup were on, I called an Uber to get me to the location. My friend’s boyfriend had informed us of the plans. He would propose in private and then they would join us because he knew his woman hated public theatricals.
So we started partying in a local Nairobi club that did not have so many people so that we could have an intimate time, whatever intimate means in a club. Usual chit-chats and drinks before the couple arrived. About an hour and a half later, the engaged couple showed up. I have never heard the phrase ‘cheers’ so many times on a night out. The excitement was tangible and the beaming smiles of happiness on the couple radiated throughout the dim club. So we danced and drank on a loop.
At around 2 AM the couple left, they were already acting married and left the rest of us on a partying high that could only go higher not to bed. So like the avid fun-lovers, we changed scenes and went to a popular joint. This was where I met him. He literally appeared from nowhere. One minute I was dancing and the next he was standing there watching and smiling, waiting for his cue to pounce. Our table was already full of drinks so there wasn’t much to offer but somehow he got an icebreaker.
“I would offer you a drink but clearly you’ve got that covered, fancy something else?”
“Is Santa’s assistant taking requests already?” I teased him.
He must have done this a hundred times but it didn’t matter much at the time because I was just out to have a good time. He wasn’t one of those who get all over you and want to dance with you inappropriately. He gave me space to dance because quite frankly it is usually almost impossible to match up to my energy on the dance floor.
In between the dancing and sipping breaks, we got to chat. Well, can we really call it chatting if you need to bend into someone’s ears for them to hear you because it’s the peak of the party? The loud music and the screaming from the crowd kept drowning out our voices. Our commitment to the party was mutual though and we left the club at around six in the morning. By now, we had gotten a bit more comfortable around each other and he walked me to the parking lot to join my friends. So we exchanged numbers but being that girl, I knew I wouldn’t call him first.
After nursing my hangover, it was time to recollect the night’s events. My friends sure did notice him and his fine looks and body to match it up. Frankly, I could only recall bits and pieces of the conversation but there was lots of laughing involved. So the who will call first contest began. He didn’t call or text on the first day, nor on the second one and so I figured that maybe we didn’t have such a good time as my brain had concluded. The next week I was out for a workshop when I got a Whatsapp text from a new number.
“Hey, is the week as exciting as the weekend was?”
He knew how to ensure that he didn’t have to re-introduce himself and that was how the conversations started. He was a workaholic this one. Real-time photos and videos showed him in the office past 1 AM on so many occasions and then he would head out for a glass of whiskey because if you are not having whiskey/scotch after a long day, do you even have one of those jobs? Then came the conversation on singlehood with very detailed aspects to back it up.
“So what reason could you possibly have to be single?”
“Because the snake in the Garden of Eden was probably a woman?”
“Haha… So what did your green mamba do?” (I always imagine the snake that spoke to Eve was green because why would you stand to chat to a python? A cobra just looks deceptive, you’d definitely not trust it.)
So he gave me a sob story of how he thought he’d found the one, moved heaven and earth to make her comfortable only to find out she had been bringing mutual acquaintances to the house he had been sharing with her. Oh, poor boy! He definitely deserved a good woman (read me).
My great catch dropped by my workplace a couple of times in the weeks to follow. He was a looker, for sure and his visits would leave my colleagues talking. Spontaneity was his language. Mr great catch would leave smiley face candy in my bag or send random videos of things that reminded him of me. He had been pretty decent so far, coffee dates became our thing, and even when we did drinks after work, he would call me an Uber after and then call the driver to make sure he had gotten me home safely. Real gentlemen still existed in the sea of Hyenas. He was funny and adventurous, every conversation and meeting felt like a new thrill.
He had the looks, the brains, a good job and an awesome personality. That combination does not fall on your lap all too often. This should have raised the feeling that it was too good to be true but I was too caught up in thinking that finally Cupid, lady luck, the universe and all the forces had conspired to give me a good break with men.
Oh, they did conspire, yes, but not in the way that I thought. So one weekend he invited me to join him with his friends for a barbeque at one of his friends. The joy and reassurance I was feeling at this point led me to inform my friends that this could be heading somewhere. I was even meeting his friends now. Well, that used to mean something previously, but nowadays you could even meet family and still not be the only one.
Anyway, I asked my friend to join us and we went to my friend’s gathering. You can already predict that it was fun. There were couples of really fun people and we fit in just right. However, his friend hitting on me made me a bit suspicious but I let it slide. I was not about to start drama on day one of meeting my friends.
Later we went out to a club and he offered to take me home. Then came the excuse that his place was too far to drive back to at this hour and in that condition. The reasoning made sense so he slept over. While looking I saw a text message that he had received at around 4 AM from a girl named Florentine. So Florentine was texting at this hour, mmh, who was she?
I wasn’t going to ask and become one of those women and also we hadn’t officially defined us so again, I was not going to start a war. But I, however, put on my detective cap on and as soon as he left the following day I took to social media to investigate. It didn’t take too long to find Florentine in his friends’ list, I mean how many Florentines can you possibly find in the age of Natasha, Dorine and Shiko. And there the bomb dropped!
Florentine was his wife and mother of his child! Her timeline screamed happily married wife and mother. She even tagged him severally but he was too sly for this. His timeline, on the other hand, displayed the avid drinker and football lover with no traces of female interactions save for a few friends but nothing suspicious. So I confronted him and too shocked at my revelations he turned the story on me and blocked me. Imagine that, I was the aggrieved party but I got blocked before I could block him.
He didn’t even use the pretext of wishing he had met me before his wife, he just did not mention her existence at all. It’s as though we all existed in parallel worlds. The married man status was like a cap he could put on and take off at will. It was so difficult to guess it from his time patterns and my sharp eye and nosiness probably saved me greater heartbreak. If he comes as a complete package, he has something to hide. So now I ask straight up about marriage and kids before we go any further. It’s better than flowing with the idea that he is hitting on you because he is single. So Mr Gentleman stopped dropping by the office and I was no longer the envy of my colleagues.
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.