Men are the prize. At a time when every self-proclaimed men’s coach preaches this message, it was surreal to see it in real life. He was one of the organizers of a trip outside of town. Steve (not Stephen) was part of a touring company that organized trips to various places around the country and neighbouring ones.
On this particular occasion, we were going to tour the northern part of Kenya. It was easy to notice Steve. He was very tall and had a domineering aura. You could tell he was one of the people in charge.
It was also easy to notice that he gave attention to three specific girls. He would move around the touring bus talking to each of them in turns. From their body language, it didn’t look like any of them was a stranger or someone he had just met. They looked like they had known each other before the trip- that is, Steve and each of the girls. The girls didn’t seem to know each other. They were seated at different places on the bus.
Each girl did the most to get Steve’s attention when we made stops. At one stop, we got to know each other’s names, and the girls were Ashley, Dee and Nancy. Occasionally, one of the girls would ask Steve to come over for a drink. Another would be showing him something on the phone or walking around him. It was entertaining for the rest of us. We were invested and wanted to know the genesis of these interactions and the end game.
In the evening, we slept in tents. The trip organizers had people making us dinner and a bonfire. Things between Steve and the three girls got more interesting. As people talked about different things, someone asked how each of us had found out about the trip.
“I saw the post of Steve’s Whatsapp status,” said Ashley.
“Me too,” Nancy said.
“I saw it on his Insta stories,” Dee added.
The first mystery had been solved. Steve was just a business person who didn’t mind a potentially messy situation with the girls as long as he got his money.
We engaged in group drinking games. Steve played it safe by moving around, ensuring everything was okay so that he dodged any uncomfortable questions. He would check on Nancy, Ashley, and finally, Dee. He wasn’t showing a preference for any of them, but he gave them just enough attention for them not to hang out with other guys in the group.
The night got colder, and people drank more alcohol and recreational drugs. The situation was getting messier. Nancy seemed to know Steve better because she asked one of the guys to take her back to her luggage so that she could get a blanket for Steve. Apparently, he had health issues that needed him to avoid cold air.
The guy was kind enough to accompany Nancy. When they came back, Steve was making out with Ashley. Nancy was angry.
“Steve, what are you doing?” Nancy shouted.
“What are you trying to show me?” Nancy asked him.
“Calm down Nancy, you’re causing a scene,” Steve told her.
“What is she talking about Steve? I thought I was your plus one for the trip?” Ashley asked.
“Babe, I thought you said this would be a nice way to spend time together?” Dee joined the conversation.
They started speaking over each other, addressing each other and Steve. There was tension for about three minutes, and then Steve finally spoke up.
“Hey! Listen I’m not going to deal with this drama. You guys fight it out, and the winner can find me in my tent.” Steve then walked away, leaving the girls to their fight.
We were left a stunned lot. In addition to the beautiful scenery and activities, Steve’s drama was also a good source of entertainment for the rest of us. It felt like watching a movie. Obviously, Steve’s actions elicited discussions among people.
The girls stopped fighting, and each went to a different side, albeit to think about their next step. Dee turned to more alcohol and started talking to another guy. Ashley joined a group of girls, and we could see them consoling her as she cried. Nancy, on the other hand, remained committed to the mission. She went to another of the trip’s organizers, asking him to take the blanket to Steve. Even after the drama, she still cared for him.
Nancy was taken to Steve’s tent only to find him dead asleep. It seemed he meant it when he told them the winner should find him in his tent after the fight. The following day, as we returned to the city, there was less drama. Dee had decided she wouldn’t be part of his games and didn’t talk to him on the journey back. There was visible tension between Nancy and Ashley, with Steve primarily giving Nancy attention, but he would also go over to Ashley occasionally.
The men on the trip seemed in awe of Steve’s ability to handle the girls, while the other women on the trip had negative things to say about the situation.
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