Project 44’s 1st Milestone

Today, the Project 44 blog is one year, one month and one day old. Now, we should have celebrated on the day we turned one year but we decided to be a little unconventional and go for an unusual timing for commemoration ;). And here we are. Whilst that one month was passing, we had an update on the Lord of Chivalry who had sent Fridah on an EXPERIENCE when they went on a first date – this experience raised many an expectation and hope for our Eve readers, with all proclaiming that “hope is alive and chivalry is not dead”! Talk about maintaining sanity! We also had Alex as a guest writer who helped Eves put aside niceties in order to declare a bollocks campaign on things perfectionist when it comes to Eves’ (…..and Adams’) looks and actions. This was in response to what would be called a battle of sexes which was propagated by Naomi’s post on a glimpse into Adam’s mind – Adams cast their swords aside and took to the online pen to jot their agreement with Naomi’s boys. The post was abuzz with comments! Speaking of battle, Tumbleweed elicited a heated discourse about the choice of whether to settle down or not – there was no fencing around with this one, there were opinions and opinions!

Back to the year that was, Project 44 has explored the art of restoring sanity in relationships.  We started off with The Bachelor, a glimpse into the modern day avenues of finding a significant other and how Eve’s best laid plans can sometimes make Adam sprint from site.  A lot was said about signs: there were the vital signs and the road signs that help us to look out for and determine the relationship is headed, whether to “stay on one horse or dismount and get on another horse”. In this age where there is a lot of talk about clocks ticking (or as one reader put it “Tick Frickin Tock”), it was only proper that we talked about Foreplay after 30 – and it is at this juncture where one reader put Joyce to task, asking her to carry on that belly in the fire; we are not sure if it has been seen since ;). Bin Ben Reloaded resounded the theme.

There was a general thread of looking at how we can better ourselves in order to be in more fulfilling relationships and not expecting things from our partners when we ourselves have yet to look in the mirror – Detox, Happiness Begins in You, the Eve/Adam in the Mirror among others were posts that reflected this. We even talked about how to kiss better – a post inspired by an almost blinding encounter in the great city of Nairobi – yes, kissing carries a lot of weight, even more than global warming!

We struck some sober tones as well when we broached topics such as ‘Zero Grazing’- in which tried to explore faithfulness in relationships but fell short of saying ‘be faithful’. Allow us to share an inside joke on 44 – it is always amusing for us to realize how many people bump into our site whilst looking for online material on zero grazing – yes, that real stuff involving cows and bulls! 😉 We talked about respect, trust and maturity – all sobering values that anchor relationships but are sometimes not given due regard.

you don’t mind if we do…;)

Believe it or not, we went all musical – The Moment and The Song inspired us get in tune in relationships and keep up the hope that even though sometimes we may find ourselves alone on stage singing out of sync or with people having little of expectations of us to seize the moment, all is not lost. The Moment brought out the preacher in Fridah and the ‘masses’ urged her to preach on, that the song needn’t turn into a dirge. In a lengthy topic 🙂 titled ‘Life is Beautiful’ (which we have picked up as one of our mantras), we talked about the beauty of life even when all seems to be doom and gloom in the love arena.

We would like to pay homage to our guest writers – you did us great! Newton, Brian, IAA, Kidikibudi (we’re waiting for that blog!), Victor, Cynthia,  George, Naomi, Otieno Hongo, Munene Gangi, Marylyne G, Sokayjulo (he of the real manhood) and Alex (she of the self professed dark side ;)). In the simplest but sincerest words, thank you!

Even as Project 44 turns 1 year, one month and one day, we are alive to the fact that we live in a world where cynicism triumphs over hope. A lot that is happening around us can easily make us believe that love/healthy relationships are a mirage after all.

In an era where the bad in relationships is amplified over the good, when almost everything seems to point to the direction that it is not possible to pursue happy fulfilling relationships based on mutual love, respect and nurture, Project 44 has in subtle ways set out to dispel the fear and exalt that which is good, respectful and fulfilling even though it was sometimes not written in black and white (we recommend, we do not prescribe :)).

Whether at work, family nucleus, or just friendships, life is centered on relationship, albeit with different kinds of dynamics depending on the relationship. Project 44 has focused on the woman-man relationship, not only to find humor and laugh at the folly of some of the stunts that people pull, but also hoping that through some discussion, we all learn something and make changes for the better.

It has been a good year. If you like to make a contribution to restoring sanity by being a guest writer or you would just like to have your say, you are most welcome (we’d like to put some names to those ghost readers ;)) – even when your opinion is divergent. Thank you for your patronage, encouragement, kind words and lessons.

Have a great week!

Project 44

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Change Is Inevitable

“Never change who you are to please someone else.”

I think that is one crappy saying! I find it so crappy because I know you stop living solely for yourself the moment you get into a commitment. The truth is sustaining a relationship is no easy task. Those who have been in long term commitments can attest to this. It takes a lot of self-sacrifice and selflessness. If you really treasure the one you’re with, if you see yourself being with him/her for years to come, then you will feel the need to please your partner, meaning there’s a lot you will have to change about yourself.

A relationship is a work in progress, and for it to blossom, the two parties need to be dynamic. When I talk about being dynamic, I do not mean going against your principles or pandering to your partner’s whims. I do not mean becoming Bonnie/Clyde because your partner is an adrenaline junkie and gets a kick from robbing banks and getting shot at. No, that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about dropping those qualities that make your partner cringe. I am talking about working on your shortcomings and trying to better yourself.

Thing is, in the initial stages of a relationship everything seems all rosy and smooth-sailing but over the years, those things that seemed inconsequential start sticking out like debris in the aftermath of flash floods. All of a sudden the thorns on the roses start pricking. This is because the shroud that once masked those little flaws is worn out and you are now able to see your partner for who he/she really is. It is in this stage when a relationship undergoes the ultimate test.

Those of us who work in corporates are well acquainted with the term restructuring. Companies are always making changes and going back to the drawing board. They do what they can in order to keep their heads above the water. Same should happen for a relationship to flourish. As much as one cannot be perfect, there’s always room for improvement. From time to time, both the man and the woman ought to self-examine themselves so as to establish the areas that need change. I believe that is how a relationship withstands the test of time.

Ladies, for example, if you like dressing like you’re going for exotic dancing auditions (or on the other hand dressing like you work in a home for old people), you might want to change your wardrobe.

It wouldn’t kill you to take up cooking lessons if your cooking tastes like napier grass. If you are not confident about your bedroom skills, it wouldn’t kill you to go to the internet and do a bit of research. Don’t be shy, it’s for your own good. After working hours just go to Google and type ‘making love for dummies’, or ‘sex 101’. I’m sure you will find useful tips and tutorials that will transform you into an expert in no time. Like they say, whatever you do, do it to perfection.

Still on ladies, regardless of whether you were brought up by a wifely mother or you practically raised yourself, eventually every man wants to settle down with a woman that has got a handle on things. While a man is the head of the house, it is the woman that makes a house a home. This is because women (proper ones) are orderly and efficient. They give us (men) direction. If you have a man and you let him ‘rewind’ the same shirt three times a week, or he smells like he only showers on public holidays, then you need to change – not just your man’s shirt, but also your comportment. When a woman settles with a man, she has to act like a wife. No compromises.

When it comes to men, well, we are seriously flawed. I think it takes a special woman to put up with a man. We are selfish, we forget fast, we are lazy, we are insensitive… the list is endless.

But we are not beyond repair. Problem comes in when a woman tries to change a man. When a woman tries to fit her man into her dream prince, she will burn out. That’s the fastest way to end up looking like an 80 year old great grandmother. This post is not about trying to change anyone. It’s about introspection.

If you are a man and you want to keep your woman, you will need to work on some things too. The process is a two way street. You will need to change some default traits. For starters, you can start by swallowing your pride and acknowledging your mistakes. For most of us, saying sorry is like pleading guilty to murder. But apologizing never turned anyone to stone. Your girlfriend won’t make you carry her handbag if you admit you were wrong. Not owning up to your mistakes is a sign of immaturity and insecurity.

As the head of the house, a man should take responsibility. A man should do whatever it takes to keep his significant other (and kids if applicable) safe and well taken care of. These are the most important people in your life and they should come first. You should be willing to sacrifice your money, independence, and time for their sake. If I were the President I would give a directive that any man who abandons his family be arrested, stripped naked and whipped thoroughly. Same would apply to wife beaters and drunks who spend the whole day and night in pubs while their children sleep on empty stomachs. The ultimate archetype of masculinity is taking responsibility – not the number of children you can sire.

My point is, despite that fact that we all come with default flaws and deficiencies, when you’ve found that one person that you truly adore, when you’ve finally bagged that person whose smile fills your heart with warmth, then you will want to be at your best. You will want to be their number one and you will do what you whatever you can to keep them smiling because when he/she is happy, you too will be happy. There’s no room for complacency and settling in relationships. The moment you get complacent is the moment your relationship starts going south.

By Joeytales – Guest Writer

Visit Joey’s blog at http://joeytales.wordpress.com/

The B Word

This is what happens when you go shooting your mouth off in other people’s houses, you are promptly held to account, forced to stand up in front of everyone, hands clasped behind your back and head bowed in shame, nervously drawing circles on the floor with your big toe as you mumble a vague explanation that’s not only light on details and logic, but ultimately complete rubbish.  That’s why I’m here today.  Now ordinarily, I don’t mind being asked to explain myself, I put my foot in my mouth so often I’ve come to expect it, but when asked to do it here, well, I hesitated.  Restoring sanity to relationships?  Me?  The poster child for insanity?  Really?  This cannot possibly end well…

A couple of weeks ago, the men in these here parts were running wild making all manner of ludicrous assertions and generally beating their chests, all ‘I is man!’ like, and all because one Naomi graciously shared the thoughts of ‘her boys’, this in what I assume was an attempt to educate the ignorant masses (that would be the rest of us).  Slight detour, so the date update?  Am I the only one who’s still waiting to hear what happened, or didn’t?  Come on woman, share…  Back to her post.  ‘Brilliant!’ the men raved, ‘I hate old stockings…’, ‘…clean shaven head is a no-no…’, and on and on and on.  Bollocks!  That’s right, I said bollocks, as in rubbish, as in bull-poo (I’ve been instructed not to swear).  Folks, men and women are different, very different.  Don’t be fooled by that rib sharing story, we have nothing in common except our surprisingly unique ability to sleep on our backs.  We’re built different, and nothing we ever do and say will ever change this fact.  Yes, we’ll spend a lot of time wondering what the other half of the species thinks, and wants, and thanks to our collective obsession, an entire industry thrives on our confusion, and for what?  At the end of the day, all we’re left with is a niggling feeling that for everything we claim to know, we really don’t know too much, do we?

Ladies, ask a bunch of men what they want and they will trot out the tried and tested, ‘a lady in the street, a chef in the kitchen, a whore in the bedroom!’  Bollocks!  Perhaps if they include a magician in the closet, item sold separately, to help her transform seamlessly, as and when required.  Folks, for a woman to be lady, chef and whore, she needs to possess a disturbingly vast skill set that is practically impossible to find in one person, scratch that – should not be found in any one person.  I figure, the lady/chef combo is likely, that’s what our mothers taught us to be, it’s drilled into you from the day you can reach the cooker-top in your pink nylon (fluffy) dress.  The chef/whore combo is possible, because they’re both all about pleasure, wanton pleasure for that matter.  The lady/whore combo, on the other hand, that’s rare, because it requires a bit of a split personality to be a contained demure woman and a raging nymphomaniac, at the same time.  Lady, chef and whore?  Really?  Do you recall ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’?  Remember Mrs Smith trying to stab Mr Smith with a very big knife?  I rest my case.

Ladies, ask any of these chest-thumping men to show you the specimen of perfection they have hidden in their caves and I guarantee you, not only does she not come close to meeting their ridiculous expectations, they are quite happy to go home to her each night, because they know that for all their tough talking, macho, bull-poo, they’re just glad to have a woman who can put up with their nonsense.  That’s all we’re all looking for, isn’t it?  Gents, given that you are a less than perfect creature, you may want to cut that (perhaps not so) innocent girl a little slack and leave her be, flaws and all.  If you can’t handle, then you have no business being with her, set her free to find the man who’ll take her, just as she is.  You know what they say, there’s one born everyday (sucker, gents, not woman, although there’s one of those born every day too…).  The unrelenting pressure to have women conform to some mythical ideal is what got us into this mess in the first place, what with women trying to fake everything from boobs to hair, all so we can become the Barbie doll men claim to want.  The harsh reality is that no woman will ever be the perfect woman.  The good news is, no woman will ever be the perfect woman, so she can’t and shouldn’t expect you to be the perfect man.  It’s win/win, no?

The same applies to us women and our obsession with tall, dark and handsome – and rich apparently – the illusion of fairy tale perfection has us so enthralled we constantly refuse to see the beautiful imperfection all around us.  A girl will insist on finding a loving and romantic man to cherish and hold her, who’s miraculously not already taken because she’s the only one who can see his brilliance?  A wealthy man to spoil her rotten, treating her like a queen and what not, but one who’s not a workaholic, which then begs the question, how did he make all this money if not by working very hard, day and night?  A man with no emotional baggage, because he’s spent his adult life in a monastery, just waiting for his little princess to come along?  Bollocks!  Your man is just as flawed as you are, so get off his back and let him be the man he is.  For as long as he’s not engaging in serious foolishness, why are you stressing the poor bastard?  If he can deal with the fact that you insist on wearing a headscarf to bed (mine is black silk-ish, and I’m proud of it, so there!), because you know you need to look good at the meeting the following morning, then you can deal with the fact that every once in a while, the idiot will wander off the reservation in search of a cold beer and a hot goat (and goat here means four legged creature commonly roasted over an open flame, not ‘goat’…).  Some fights are not worth having, is all I’m saying.

Ladies, if you really want to know a man, just stop talking and listen to what he says, in his words and in his actions.  If you’re silent long enough, I assure you, he will speak.  Given the chance, your man will tell you everything you need to know, everything that’s on his mind, even, dare I say it, his feelings, but only if you give him the freedom to do so, in his own time and at his own pace.  If he doesn’t, or can’t, then perhaps he’s not the man for you, go find another one.  There’s one born….…  And while we’re on the topic, gents, if you can’t talk to your woman, skulking off in silence doesn’t solve anything, if anything it just makes it worse.  Talk to her.  Despite that look she gives you when you lie that you only had two beers and in reality you had six (you know the look I mean), she cannot read your mind, so help her out a little.

Instead of wasting time trying to read each others minds, constantly searching for impossible perfection, how about we just get on with it?  Folks, go out, find someone you like, genuinely like, for whatever reason.  If they like you back, for whatever reason, then give it a go.  It may work, it may not work, who knows?  Worst case scenario, you’re one person closer to finding your Mr/Ms Right.  Progress, right?

By Alex – Guest Writer

The guest writer is a blogger in her own write. Visit her blog at http://kainikii.blogspot.com/

The Lord of Chivalry

“He leaned forward and opened his door, politely standing aside to let me by before following me in. There are some advantages to dating a guy from another era, I thought. Though I am a big believer in gender equality, chivalry scores high in my book.” Amy Plum

If you have been on Project 44 for long, you might have come across the post ‘The Experience’. If the comments were anything to go by, the post was particularly well received by Eves: @ Alex wanted a follow-up post, part 2-7 complete with pictures; @ Vivacioushy exclaimed “Halleluiah, chivalry is alive!”; @farmgal was “warmed up” in autumn and @ Kbaab wanted to read about more of these experiences.

A few Adams responded to the post.One @George, who has been a guest writer on the blog, chatted with me and wanted to know if the guy was real. Joyce and I refer to him as ‘The Lord of Chivalry’ (LoC). Well, since I had written about him (after being WOWed), I assured George that the LoC is a real flesh-and-blood Adam. But then I realized he was not asking whether the LoC is a human being but rather, George wanted to know if all that chivalry was real or whether it was just an act. He wondered whether, in the house, this LoC would open the kitchen and lavatory door for his Eve; George signed out but not before saying, “we need to run the chivalry brigade out of town.”

I promised to do a follow-up post. We write for an audience that is composed of a great number of fantastic fans and most of them are  ‘ghost’ readers:) so, as you might appreciate, sometimes, we are not sure how much of ourselves we should put out there. (If you find yourself ‘floating’, you might want to go back to the archives and read the post). This is a somewhat “measured” attempt to fulfill the promise but I have to dissatisfy @Alex: no pictures yet, at least not in this post.

Incidentally, a couple of days ago, I spent a considerable amount of time with the LoC – this time not at the famous Blancos but at his home where he played host for a couple of days. I arrived in the city just as planned; he was supposed to pick me up at 6.30pm but he turned up late:). So one may ask, what the hell was happening to the chivalry and I guess this is where @George would give me that ‘I told you this brigade should be run of town’ look. Despair not – his lateness was just a slip; he opened the doors, helped me with my shawl and so on. You can tell that I enjoy this treatment. While in the house, he constantly inquired if I was OK. He was a perfect host and no @George, it did not include opening the lavatory door.

The LoC is not Mr. Perfect as the post made him look and that is probably why he was hesitant when I asked him if I could do a follow-up post on ‘The Experience’. He even went further and told me what I could and could not write in the post in the event that I decide to do write. When we talked about controversial issues, the typical Adam in him was roused (remember he is real-flesh-and-blood)! I asked him what he thought about Eve adopting Adam’s name after marriage and he put up an almost emotional argument that his Eve will have no choice but adopt his surname. Anyway, I concluded that he liked the picture I painted of him and he did not want to spoil the post by saying that he is not perfect as ‘The Experience’ made him sound, but he is OK basking in the praise.

However, he did throw in some insights on what he thinks is ailing modern day chivalry – from Adam’s perspective. He said that we are in the era where Eves have decided to fight for equality, they have showed and maybe rightfully so, that they can do what men can do. While it is clear that Eves have shattered the ceiling in all fields which is all good, it does not mean that they cannot relax and enjoy some pampering and nice treatment from Adam. He said that, back in the day when chivalry was marked by knights, at no time did the princess tell the knight that she could as well mount the horse; she let him do what he was meant to do and she was comfortable in that place.

His advice to Eves was that we need to relax, even as we beat the drums of equality and shatter the glass ceilings, we should not forget that there are many Adams out there who want to simply ‘dance’ with the princess in us. In his opinion, the sentiments that “Adam no clue what should be done” or that “Adam is a typical Kenya man” – meaning he is clueless on matters chivalry should not arise. If Eve hooks up with an Adam who does not know what chivalry is, Eve needs to let him know how she want to be treated, what makes her feel special and do it from the word go. Sure enough, he might not open the car door for you or wait outside the lavatory door (ha ha ha), but if there is a trace of a ‘knight’ in him, he will try to meet your requests as long as you are not asking him to get you someone’s head on a platter.

So to Adams out there, will you fan the ‘coals’ of chivalry? Do something out of your way for your Eve this week and we believe after seeing her beam with joy, you will be touched and do it more often (chivalry that is :)) or even make it your way of life. To Eves, will you heed the advice and just let Adam ‘dance’ with the princess in you? After all, it does not make you look weak or diminish your achievements and independence! The LoC said there is something sexy about it and I tend to agree with him. While at it, please remember to appreciate them when they do extend the chivalrous act(s). I guess @Bezingo might turn up with another tough question about where to find an Adam, leave alone a ‘chivalrous’ lord but as Project 44 reiterates we have to keep hope alive!

Have your say.

By Fridah