Back in Circulation

It’s been eight years, well not quite, but certainly heading there fast in a Lamborghini. Eight years since my clock had two hands. Eight years of groping around in the dark, trying to place my foot where I thought was safe, only to slip and get hurt or tumble down the hill, really breaking some bones in the process. Eight years of walking in the field of time alone, without a maiden by my side.

It had to stop, all this madness of being the frog that is kissed many times. This Adam had to put an end to what was fast becoming an unpleasant dating ordeal. I had to take a back seat and stop being naïve, try to comprehend the toll all this was having on me mentally, emotionally, spiritually and even financially. Now I feel ready to step back into the game in pursuit of long term happiness. I now desire to put my foot out for I can see a ray of light down the tunnel, a glimpse of hope. Or is it?

Anyone’s decision and/or feeling of getting back in circulation have got to be examined properly. It is simple, really. Without dwelling on the past, you have to, nevertheless, look back at where you’ve come from to know where you are going. The thing is, many of us may never put a finger on exactly what we want, but we do know what we don’t want. It is not the ideal situation, but is a beginning. I have to ask you to take a little chill pill just before you get back in circulation and ask yourself, why were you out in the first place?

Was it a past hurt that held you back? Was it lack of interest or did you just want to have no strings attached relationships/ fun? Was it a perception that there is no good Adam or Eve left out there, or did you just feel it wasn’t the right time i.e. you opted to pursue further education or career first?

What was it, lifestyle? That you, being the furniture of every party, the personification of energy, loved your liquor so much it led you to horrible decisions and performances? That you, being a stud, could talk an Eve out of her pants and into your bed easy (any bed really), and with reckless abandon? Or did you, Eve, draw up a list of the kind of Adam you were looking, a list that gave you men you wanted, only for them to blast your heart into smithereens?

Many of us have a story or two for getting out of circulation and wanting to get right back in. Well whatever it is, you had better be back in circulation for a good cause, not to revenge for a missed youth or a hurtful past. This relationship thing is not a game.

Ask yourself what things you’ll stand for and what nonsense you cannot take, regardless of how sweet the offer sounds. Ask yourself whether you desire someone who is a jaguar in bed, who simply makes you the envy of your friends, or that who has a heart of gold, even if their physical attributes don’t really match your fantasy realms. Ask yourself whether you can resist the urge to pounce on that sizzling Eve, and just take time to know her for who she really is.

Get right on with it then with plenty of dates, ‘Socialize before you Specialize’, as my pastor would rightly put it. For Eves, date the tall guy and the short one, the moneyed one and the jobless one. Do not ‘fall in love’, rather seek to hear from them what they want of themselves and from a partner.  All you are allowed to do is date, no more! What this does is give you an insight into many people’s different experiences and motivations. If you are lucky, it will give you the ability to read minds. Who wouldn’t want to be a clairvoyant?

In many cases as you get back in circulation, you have some wisdom, either because you are older or experienced or both. Still, do not get back to be a burden. Be mature, be right. And be ready, emotionally, having dealt with your past baggage. Be ready financially, spiritually, mentally et cetera. Be ready, and know what you do not want.

Better still, know what you want. Martin Luther King Jnr said that if you stand for nothing you will fall for anything. If alcohol was a demon in your life that cost you a good chunk of your youthful years, why then would you want to go out with an Eve who loves her drink? However small an intake, an Adam would be better off with someone who does not imbibe, no?

We are at the mercy of our temperaments and rather than fight that, make it work for your good. If a cantankerous Adam expects you, the quiet type, to be as loud and aggressive as he is, please let the dates end. If the beautiful Eve you went out on a few dates with needs you to be like her father or worse, demands you to be her girlfriend, then it should be bye bye to her too.

Set high but realistic goals for your partner. Do not yield to someone who does not share your fervour for religion, but it is ok to yield to someone who does not like cheese as much as you do – it is called perspective. Know what values, principles, preferences strike a chord within you, know what you are willing to compromise on, and know when to settle down and stop circulating.

I could sit here and write reams and reams of paper filled with advice, but I will not. Whatever you do, use these two little words: common sense.

Have your say.

By  Munene Gangi – Guest Writer

The guest writer’s blog: Munene Gangi – Have A Cold Blast of Realism

Unorthodox Romance Locator (URL)

Meeting and dating online has, for a long time, been frowned upon because it was mainly seen as an act of desperation. However, as we get more tech savvy and the world becomes a global village, this way of meeting and getting to know someone is becoming more and more widely accepted.

Many people will also say that the ‘live pool’ is not bursting with numbers and in the bid to beat the ‘ukame” (real or imagined) many are bound to find themselves looking for cyber love, Facebook included, in the quest to find the ‘elusive’ Adam or Eve. That special someone is certainly not going to find you lying on the couch hogging the TV remote, rewinding Mexican soaps or watching the EPL (some effort is needed) and wondering if a mass exodus (to unknown land) of beaus and belles has occurred. (For those not versed in Kiswahili, ‘ukame’ means drought; in this case, we are not talking of rain, but of possibilities of dating).

I am sure you have read all the Dos and Don’ts about online dating and hook-ups (well, unless of course you have never been presented with this obvious challenge). If so, then you probably know about practising patience. This is because it takes time and unlimited patience to write emails, updates, maintain chats and Skype calls. Online dating is a NO sprint; you could sprint all the way to a mental break down after discovering your ‘fun-loving sensitive knight’ is nowhere near what he claimed to be and could actually be a social misfit (we will not even write the possibilities here ;).

Then there is the other advice about photos or rather an image of you. This seems logical; however, we need not mention that photos are not very reliable. Does Photoshop ring a bell? Yes, please do not post your photo of when you were 23; Eves, we know you think you probably looked your best then but we are in the ‘now’ and you don’t want him to think that he has been PUNKed! if and when you end up meeting; Adam will scrutinise you, seeing some semblance with your profile photo but wondering whether the photo was that of your younger sister or not! To Adams as well, do not puff up your biceps on the photo or stand on a stool to make her see how tall you are – you do not have to touch the sky to be likable :).

Another Do is about communication. When you communicate, talk about yourself without sounding like an egoistic soul (e.g. ‘want her to finish off my sentences’, ‘want him to have the energy of a stallion, etc ). State what you will bring to the relationship/union. Let the other person know a little bit about you (honesty is the best policy) unless you are ready to survive on spinach and carrot soup for months, now that you need to shed the weight you literally slashed off when you told her or him how much you weigh!

DON’T overestimate the time and magnetic chemistry online. Time online can seem like aeons ; consider that over chat or email, you may share and get to ‘know’ each other much faster because you are both out to win each other over, and are still in the state of excitement about meeting. However, you won’t really get to know if the person is your type or whether your personalities click and whether the sparks are not just caused by the friction between your IP addresses! ; It’s amazing how much people can reveal about themselves when chatting but not when they have to talk to each other. So you need to talk – I mean voice calls – at some point and meet the person and needless to say, this is where it can get very tricky.

DON’T get carried away by promises of what they say they can do; a romantic escapade with candlelight dinners, red roses and nights on the beach under a starlit sky are easy to type. Of course Adams know what Eves want to hear – have you watched the movie What Women Want? – so whatever he says, take it with a pinch of salt until you meet him.The same applies to Adams, do not believe everything what Eve tells you, no matter how sweet, innocent and sexy she sounds. Make your impression after meeting her. Exercise caution.

For those who are in relationships (assuming the ukame is not endemic) and you are relying on the internet to keep the relationship alive, here are some general tips:

Maintain regular chat dates no matter what the time difference is or the work schedules and keep your promises. This ensures that you give each other the time and attention that you deserve. It will save you the trouble of logging on all day waiting for your special someone to log on! Being apart is already a toll on the relationship, not knowing how your better half is doing for days is a relationship killer as you end up being strangers to each other and suspicion is bred.

Make sure that your chat is not always ‘heavy’ but be real and honest about how you feel. You are human and you go through different motions, talk about those as well.

Address insecurity issues. It is normal to feel insecure especially when you are relying on chat messages for updates. An update about an activity without disclosing the characters involved is not really an update and is likely to make temperatures and BP levels spike :). For example, say ‘I am going to meet Joe  or Mary my head of marketing’ instead of ‘I am meeting a friend/colleague’. This way, she or he will know you have nothing to hide. Avoid interrogations. You are not the CIA.

Be careful about online jokes. Many times text and chat messages do not come across as funny as spoken words. Make sure that you both understand each other’s sense of humour.

Remember safety first. DON’T give out personal information which would put you in any form of risk.

As always, we are looking forward to hear your experiences, opinion and advice!

By Fridah

Reflections on Valentine’s Day

It is Valentine season again. As usual, many Eves will be placing demands, directly or indirectly, on Adams for flowers, dinners, presents and other treats; and trust me, most of these demands are likely to be expensive. Personally I don’t give a hoot about Valentine’s day, and coming to think of it, neither do most of my friends (as they say, judge a person by the company they keep). While my mind does grasp a lot of stuff, both meaningful and meaningless, what I usually don’t get is why people should choose one day to be the day of ‘celebrating’ or ‘affirming’ their love. Don’t get me wrong, I am not here to preach against Valentine Day; unlike the Kenyan politician, I believe in plurality of thought, cultures and beliefs, and my stand is that if you want to make Valentine’s Day sacred, you are entitled to it. What I want to question is why a sea of lovers should wake up one morning and they all feel that this is a special day in their love life. Why someone should choose to wear red, borrow money to buy flowers and take someone out on this day of all the days in a year. Why not do it the day before or after, or the month after etc.

My hypothesis in explaining this is our tendency to both conform and be manipulated by the forces of consumerism. We’ve allowed ‘love’ to be made a commodity to be ‘bought’, and something to be desired because someone else also has it. The same way we sulked when we were kids because the kids next door had been bought new Christmas attire and we hadn’t is the same way your Eve will be sulking on Tuesday the 14th February because you did not buy her flowers while all the girls in the office, or classroom, or wherever she spends her day, had flowers and talked about their impending evening dates. And these ‘little omissions’ have often led to relationship bust ups. At the risk of setting myself up for a luynch mob, I will (confidently) state that it is the Eves who mostly value this commodication of love and have been manipulated to believe that the only way to show love is to spend money.

Eves are generally more vulnerable to manipulation than Adams. Take a spot check on TV adverts and you will realize that most adverts target Eves. Majority of adverts are likely to be about beauty products, detergents and other household goods that generally would be purchased by Eves. Eves are more mindful about how they look (and how you look). Talking about looks, I was subtly, over time, transformed from a chap who went to work in t-shirts, jeans and open shoes to a more formally dressed chap because hers truly did not approve the image. Eves are likely to be more concerned about how others perceive their relationships than Adams. Eves will prioritize spending money (mostly Adams’ money) on beauty and love, and are more likely to go for cosmetic surgery. My take is that the beauty and love industry has successfully manipulated them over the years through millions of ads, romantic movies, soap operas, music etc. I am not saying Adams do not fall into this trap, some do and that is why the term metrosexual was invented.

So what should we as Adams do? I say let’s give it to them. If she wants flowers, buy her (and don’t get into a lecture about the dehumanizing and exploitative conditions under which flower farm workers – mostly women – work). If she wants to go to a movie, take her and don’t start yapping about cultural colonization. Take her out to a lavish dinner and buy her some expensive gifts, even though deep down you think it is all nonsense, and don’t relate this incident to your inability to pay some crucial bills the following day when being nagged! Why do I say this though I do not believe in Valentines? Because I think the element of self sacrifice is critical for a successful relationship. They say Jesus sacrificed his life for those He loved so what’s a couple of hundred shillings for flowers? To paraphrase something I once read:

 those who want to become happy should not enter into a love relationship. The important thing is to make the other one happy. Those who want to be understood should not enter into a relationship. The important thing is to understand one’s partner.

In any event, we owe our Eves a Valentine simply for the amount of stuff they have to put up with from us!

By Otieno Hongo – Guest Writer

The guest writer’s blog: Reflections and Deflections

R.E.S.P.E.C.T

Without respect, love is lost. Without caring, love is boring. Without honesty, love is unhappy. Without trust, love is unstable.

If one was to take a diagnostic test on a relationship, one of the vitals they would want to see up on the ECG monitor would be respect. Although people will say that the most important thing for Adams is to be respected, I can state here that Eves too want to be respected in a relationship. However, as we all might know, respect is one of those vitals that register a fluctuating reading of spikes and lows. How do we know whether or not respect is flourishing in a relationship?

To some, this may seem like an easy thing to determine but for others, it may need some demystifying. This is because respect is one of those essentials which cannot simply be fulfilled by words. Just because someone tells you ‘I respect you’, doesn’t mean that is actually the case: respect is very much about actions and has a lot to do with sensitivity as well.

Respect is a ‘vital’ because it forms the core of any relationship and we should strive to practise it as we demand it from our significant others. There are two ways about this: there are the actions that you do that show respect for yourself and there are actions by those around you that determine the level of respect they have for you. I think this is almost becoming a mantra on Project 44, but as with many other vitals, you have to be doing things for yourself before you expect others to do them for you. If you say that you value respect but treat yourself in ways that contradict your words, you are basically telling the other person in the relationship that your words hold no weight and you’re simply preaching water and drinking wine. In that vein, this is likely to lead to disrespectful behavior towards you since you have signaled that those kinds of actions towards you are acceptable even though you say you don’t appreciate them.

The other important aspect about respect in relationships is having boundaries. Hold on, this does not mean putting up Great Walls of China in your relationship but rather an affirmation that in a relationship, Eve and Adam are not Siamese twins but individuals who come together based on common values, care and affection for each other. These are lines that you as an individual feel that no one, never mind whether you are having daydreams about rolling in the hay with the person ;), I mean, no one is supposed to cross. They offend your person and your dignity; they make you feel disrespected. Now, I know that in many romantic relationships, people tend to make excuses for each other, even when the bare minimum standards are not being maintained. However, it is this kind of forbearance that can frustrate a relationship.

There are many simple things that uphold the threshold of respect; we are not talking about calculus here.

Keep time. When you have a rendezvous with your Eve or Adam, be thoughtful enough to be on time and if not, let them know if you will be running late. (I have to say that the time spent waiting for someone, mostly in annoyance and a kettle steaming inside the head, is fertile breeding ground for repugnant feelings).

Listen to your partner and understand their emotions/feelings. Acting disinterested or interjecting them in the middle of a conversation is not only disrespectful, it is insensitive.

Do not speak on their behalf; they have an opinion and they will voice it out on their own; it is about valuing your partner’s opinion even when you do not agree (unless it is something radical like joining the scientologists ;)). Likewise, respect is knowing the discomfort zones of your partner and being considerate about them; not embarrassing your partner or putting them in a state of unease in public.

Consult your partner and together make decisions that are good for the relationship; of course if you are going to take her (or him? ;)) to Shompole’s on a surprise trip, you need not consult! Just do it!

Make an effort to work towards making the relationship work and meet your end of the bargain. Respect is about taking responsibility in a relationship; admitting when one is wrong and resolving conflict with honesty and maturity. It’s a tall order because of the mixed and hurtful emotions that are bound to prevail but it is not impossible.

Never ever make a derogatory remark about your partner. You know all that stuff about ‘men are dogs”, “women are gold diggers”, etc.

All of us want to be in mutually respectful relationships; it’s a lovely aspiration that is attainable – but let us not take for granted that it will come naturally.

Now I feel like I have asked Eves and Adams to be saints!

Have your say, respectfully.

By Joyce