Finer Things vs. Quality Time

Recently, I went out on a coffee date with a girlfriend who clearly needed to vent about her relationship with her boyfriend. The issue is not a new one, it was about quality time. According to her boyfriend, he does not see how a ‘broke ass’ can enjoy quality time. To him, money is not everything; it is ‘the only thing’.

Needless to say, we delved into this topic at length, wondering why many Adams and Eves of this day tend to think that money is the answer to most if not all their questions – or does it. I was reminded of the saying that goes something like ‘the measure of a man is not how much wealth he has made but the kind of family he has brought up’ Intrigued by the story, I prodded further to find out why her boyfriend seems not to commit any quality time to the relationship or if she even had a ‘whining point’. Her response was not surprising- the guy was busy looking for money.

So I asked my friend what she thought the solution should be. She told me that she did not have any solutions, as she was still trying to understand where the guy was coming from. (I had the feeling that try all she could, understanding was far off – compromise was closer). Listening to her, this is for sure a woman who knows exactly what she wants. She told me that she is at a point where ambition does not move her (this particular Adam had once asked her why she is not moved by his ambition); she has seen it all – with her other friends and at her place of work. Whilst she harbours ambitions of her own too, she is not interested in this Adam’s money – she is making her own and it sure isn’t buying her love!
She looked at me and quipped “why then this ballyhoo about his money as something that should make me leap for joy, as opposed to finding at least one uninterrupted afternoon of blissful laziness”? “If I take this guy the way he is, he will never ever show up for dinner if we ever settle together, nor would he ever be home to see the kids before they go bed” She was already thinking family .“He would be the absentee hubby and dad” she continued. I looked at her wondering what two cent advice I had to give.
I did not have any advice; instead I was the listener to an obviously surprised woman at the way things seem to play in the current set up. Something else has taken precedence over quality time and a number of Eves and even Adams have been caught off guard.

In my quest for an answer, I looked for an opinion from an Adam. I asked him what I thought was a simple question about choosing between spending time with his heart throb or making that extra dime. He did not even believe that I had the audacity to ask him this question as he didn’t need time to ponder over it. He asked me if I honestly believed that a woman in the current Nairobi would even have a minute for a guy without a big bank balance (other cities may refer too). He was of the feeling that times have completely changed. I went into a laughing fit when he told me that these days, the questions on the first date are never really about family or the way you grew up – everything revolves around a sort of mental and verbal (if not covert) ‘investigation’ to try and figure out what Adam is bringing to the table. Keen to prove his point, he told me that Adams know they are not headed anywhere as long they are living in some SQ or some not very attractive neighbourhood. His take is that Adams feel as though they have to purchase love/commitment the same way they purchase other basic needs, i.e. love has to be backed up with some bank balance. I thought I had a rod to wield but after reassessing his side of the story, I am afraid there is some truth there in!

All this begs the question of how generations before us handled this. As we perceive it, they raised ‘happy’ families; somehow the kids went to school, were well fed and clothed and enjoyed some luxury. Did this have something to do with their bank balance or were they great jugglers of trying to make ends meet and spending quality time with their significant others/families? Is this a component of our genes that scientists have yet to determine why it is not being trickled down to generations? Or was it more a belief that things would somehow sort themselves out and they somehow managed?

BUT I belong to this generation where success is regarded as more important than achievement! We believe that we need to buy shares in all leading companies, drive the most expensive rides and own a house by the time we hit our third decade, etc. So there is pressure to rake in the Benjamins (cash) within a few years of wrapping up higher education. This is the generation where the phrase ‘career women’ has been coined to the extent that banks are targeting women for ‘Diva accounts’. For sure money is a necessity but it goes without saying that whilst some homes have broken up due to financial difficulties, some homes have ceased to exist due to the excesses of money. Yes, we all want to live comfortably and enjoy the so called finer things in life, but I ask, where is the ’balance‘? Not the bank balance but the life balance.

Looking at the current state of affairs (economically and otherwise), it seems almost ironical to write about this but I think there is a case for it. Are relationships more stable when one can afford ‘the finer things’? One begs to ask, have we replaced other things that matter with the quest for wealth/success, or this is just the way it has to be?

By Fridah


The Bachelor

Reality TV seems to be the in-thing now since every channel seems to dedicate a substantial amount of time on these shows and we the public have an insatiable hunger for these vanities. I watch the show called the Bachelor and hopefully I do not need to give details about it because I hope I am addressing an audience that is hungry for reality TV 🙂 . In short, this is that show where the guy is so spoilt for choice. A guy (almost always a good looking one) is hoarded into a house with some 25 beautiful and not so beautiful women, tries to get to get to know them but not without bringing the hopes of many of them to a grinding halt by sending them out of his castle and finally ends up with his chosen four who he gets to know better and finally chooses the one woman he would like to get to know better (again!) or even give what we hope is a genuine gem/stone!

This is the first day of the season of Bachelor season 6:). This Bachelor is not challenged vertically; he stands at about 6 feet, looks kind of nice and is trying to act composed. A limo pulls up to the parking, the contestants come out one by one, in hue-stunning dresses in all shapes and sizes (actually, there is a certain range of sizes – one needs to take just carrot soup for one month if they are to fit in some of the dresses). Some hug him, some shake hands, some are so awed by the bachelor they are not sure if to shake his cheeks or kiss his hand ;). Each of them unleashes lines that seem like they are rehearsed only that the line “glad to meet you” is repeated more than 3 times in the pleasantries. It’s called being nervous. I mean who would not be, if all your hopes are pegged to this tower of a guy and here you are thrown into a house with 24 others to ‘fight it out’? And there is no script for you? 😦

On this day, 15 women must be sent home and the criteria is random I guess since he can’t remember most of them by name. So my guess is that this is dependent on two things: the physical, and secondly, if you do not say something stupid. I imagine that silence also could get you sent out because you have to make the bachelor feel like you want to be with him. The problem with this is that talking too much can lead you to say something stupid, see how difficult it is? 😉

Since this is a huge crowd, the girls are in groups; the bachelor goes to each group, introduces himself and says he is a doctor. The girls’ faces light up like ‘this is good DNA!’ and some just stare tongue tied. Others seem to naturally attract his attention. But this interactive session was a disaster for one of the women. Bachelor moves to the next group. In this group, one of the ladies is a doctor and she looks like she is about to say something unintelligent.

She does not mince her words:

Lady doc: “I am a doctor too”

Bachelor: Looks surprised and asks her “what are you specializing in?”

Lady doc: “I am an oncologist”. The bachelor is an ER doctor.

I mean you do not just become an oncologolist; this woman has brains. So it gets me thinking that if these two hook up, they could just produce a kid who could unlock the missing code to major scientific breakthroughs.

Bachelor: “that’s great”. At this point, I can’t tell what is going on in his head but the lady seems to believe that since the rest are kindergarten teachers, sales executives, students etc, she has an edge.

Lady doc:  “I would just like you to know that I am ready to go to the next level in my life”, (she pauses), then says “entering the reproductive phase and I am wondering if you are ready, because I am right here.”

The table goes silent; some girls giggle, the bachelor is all flushed, probably wondering what to tell this woman who it seems like is about to lay her eggs right there and then. Finally, after awkward silence, the bachelor tells her something to the effect that she did well to come out and try. And at this point, I am almost sure the scientific breakthrough will have to wait 🙂

Finally, the moment of truth arrives. The girls line-up, no wine glasses – no more laughs, everyone looks so tense, wondering who will be chopped off. No prize for guessing that the Bachelor was going to guard his swimmers from this woman who is ready to sentence him to fatherhood. The oncologist is sent home in round one but she has tough skin! She calls the bachelor aside and wants to know why he did not choose her. Bachelor tells her the truth, which is his ‘swimmers’ have not yet migrated from his knees; he is not in ‘that phase’.

The blizzard of words begins. “So what the &%$%#% are you doing calling all these *&&%^%$ beautiful ladies and all you say is you are not!#$@%& ready to settle and reproduce. Tell me, am I too short? Are my boobs too small? What is the problem?” (Her pitch rising, the house is now extra quiet). The bachelor is still standing, probably thinking she must have forgotten to take her psychiatric medicine. She walks out uttering more unprintable words, gets into the limo and cries her mascara out. Sigh….

I guess this is what happens when you go after hope and not opportunity (look out for this post soon). There it is ladies. Lesson one: Unless the man brings up the issue of live eggs and his sperm uniting, by all means, no matter how broody you are, for the life of me, do not mention it. He will scatter…..BOLT in fact! Lesson two: it seems no one is very keen to take your brain to the bedroom after all.

Have your say!

By Fridah