Looking for Kenyan husbands … ?

For few weeks now, I’ve seen a banner in my facebook sidebar. It shows a pretty lady in a yellow dress, and the text says something about ministries that help women get married. I didn’t pay much attention to it, since I’m in no hurry to walk down that aisle.

But then over the weekend, I heard about this event at KICC. Apparently, a Nigerian Broda was giving a sermon on how to catch a husband in six seconds or less. He preached for four hours, and promised the women up to four proposals by the end of the night. I don’t know which woman – if any – got a proposal that night, but it would be interesting to find out.

The man also gave tips on how to stay married, and I suppose the tips were a little more detailed than, ‘Don’t get divorced.’

I’m not particularly curious about what went on in there, but I was quite amused to hear women mobbing the building and scaring the security guards.

One guy’s take on the situation left me literally in stitches, especially after this other guy offered up his … um … services. I guess I shouldn’t really speak, because I’m almost 30, work all the time, have purple hair, have my own baby, and am barely searching, so I don’t really understand the tock of the bio-clock. But it must be pretty loud if the women were wiling to face police raids just to get it sated. I understand the cops had to hold back the crowds of women, and it got quite amusing ugly.

Lots of people are wondering why there are so many single women, and why they seem so desperate. One of my friends blames it on Hollywood. We all want Alejandros, Ridge Forresters, Ding Dong Ramos-es and *insert-name-of-current-soap-hottie* so we ignore the regular folks. I know at least one guy who got dumped for not mimicking Edward Cullen.

[FYI, Ding Dong Ramos is the guy from Marimar. I hear he was Number 4 on E! list of 25 sexiest men. Not that I follow that kind of thing, but David Beckham was Number 1.]

I was walking in town one day and I happened to see a guy. Usually when I walk, I look straight ahead. I’m so lost in my own thoughts that if it’s not a car threatening to kill me, I won’t notice. Friends and siblings often have to physically yank me or knock me over to get me to recognise them, so if I ever lengad you on the street, si kwa ubaya, it’s just that I suck at multitasking.

Anyway, for some reason, I was looking right at the guy, and I noticed that he maintained eye contact for a few seconds. But I kept staring, so he walked past.

I decided to do a little experiment, so I closely watched the next five guys who walked by. Each of them stared for a few seconds to see my reaction. If I looked away, they walked on. If I stared back, they got intimidated, and one almost tripped. If I frowned, they walked faster, and if I looked down, they hesitated to confirm it was a flirt. One guy had nice eyes, so I smiled. But he looked like he was going to say hi, so I crossed the street. I wasn’t looking for attention just then.

Example 2. On an average day, a girl is approached by five guys. It could be the kiosk owner making conversation, the makanga saying more than, ‘Pesa mbele’, the dude calling you Mama Africa [it’s the dreads], the workmate saying hi in the corridor, or the pal cracking a random joke.

Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once. Every one of those men is a potential partner.

I’m not saying every male in your radius is looking to put you in a ring and jump your bones, I’m saying that some of them are. But because you’re pre-conditioned for the Alejandro approach, you just don’t recognise it. Then you say there are no good men on the planet.

A man doesn’t have to come up to you and say, ‘Hi beautiful. You look ravishing today. Can I buy you dinner?’ It would be nice if he did, but regular guys don’t talk like that unless their favourite bedtime story is How To Be A Playa. Actually, if a man says, ‘Hi Beautiful’, what he means is, ‘I’m not looking at your clothes.’ Seriously. Normal guys don’t say the word beautiful unless they’re looking at a car or reading from a script. They might say you’re hot, sexy, pretty, or even manzi ameiva, but they don’t generally say it to your face.

The average guy shows his interest by glancing your way to see if you’re a viable target. And if you respond with a back-off stare, that’s exactly what he’ll do. Unless he’s a construction worker. Some baser guys may even abuse you for ‘feeling sweet’.

Half the time a man approaches you, you complain that he’s bugging or stalking you, because he didn’t use words like beautiful and dinner. You think he’s a pest, or an annoying little boy. You don’t even notice that he’s trying to get attention.

It’s like [some] of the boys in primary school who showed affection by pulling your hair. Some of them actually liked you, though others were masochistic brats. It the same with men. Sometimes, when a guy talks to you, he’s being friendly to know you, to see if maybe you can be more than friends. And even if it’s not a conscious effort, if you talk nicely for more than five minutes, he might see how cool you are and follow that avenue. Especially if you don’t use the words ‘wedding show’.

A neighbour who routinely gives you a lift just might be saying he enjoys talking to you, and if you would shut up about Paloma for five minutes, he might even ask you out. If a dude casually invites you for lunch or nyamchom, he just might be interested, even if he doesn’t think your eyes look like the sequined stars on Princess Diana’s wedding dress.

And for the record, marriage proposals in the real world rarely include candlelit dinners, shiny diamonds, or bended knees. Ask a few married couples and you’d be surprised how they ended up as Mr and Mrs.

Here’s an idea. The next time a guy tries to spend time with you,  whether it’s sitting next to you in a bus or reminding you about the staff meeting, at least consider the option that he finds you appealing. It doesn’t mean every guy who meets you wants to take you out, but a lot of marriages have grown from casual friendships that were let to develop. If nothing else, you’ll get to hang out with an actual man who can – you know – teach you about other men. I mean, he has friends right? And some of them are date-able, right?

If a random guy smiles at you, smile back – as long as he isn’t looking at your chest. Chances are he just might ask you out. Before you decide there are no men to marry, open your eyes and see who’s glancing your way. You never know who wants to change your last name.

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Crystal Ading' is a professional author, editor, rock lover and mother. Her work is available through threeceebee.com.