There have been discussions about the politically correct way to refer to prostitutes. And the suggestions have ranged from the hilarious dealers in horizontal refreshments to the obvious commercial sex workers. The truth is however we don’t give quite a damn about how we are referred. I mean it would be escapism if we are referred by some rosy names; we still do the same thing, and the names don’t increase our value. We actually refer to ourselves and to each other as malaya; a name perhaps more crude than prostitute. But we are not the only malaya, very many men in their twenties and thirties refer to their girlfriends as malaya. A man saying "wacha nikaone malaya wangu" won’t be meaning he is going to see a prostitute but rather her girlfriend. The underlying logic is that all women in a way or another are prostitutes. Very few, if any, women would say with a straight face that they never had sex even once with the money or security component at the back of their minds. We the so called prostitutes are the brave ones to come out in the open and stop beating about the bush; we are in it for the money, the pleasure is secondary.
Talking of names, none of us or rather few of us prostitutes use their real names when introducing ourselves to our clients. Its not really about protecting our identities for if we have the guts to parade on the streets then it means we have little worry about our identities. The trick is to use the name as a selling point. Let’s face it; the truth is that there are names which sound sexier than others could be such a turn off. Due to all the influences around us men have come to associate certain names with some people. Thus if I call myself Beyonce, the man will for a flash think of Beyonce Knowles. Same with a once popular name among the girls here: Naomi...yeah Naomi Campbell. But then you have to be clever in these things; Most men know we use fake names but why make it so obvious? For instance why call yourself Paris, you know Paris Hilton, while Paris is such an odd name here.
The days of Shiko, Shiro, Maggie and Rosie are gone. The trend nowadays is to sound exotic, unique and well to have a name that feels edible. Exotic is not necessarily in the context of the country but Nairobi, where most prostitutes are assumed to come from particular regions. Cheupe for instance has a coastal ring to it, though she comes from somewhere in Central province. And there are all those stories about chakacha, flexibility, sex lessons from the coast. The common name in this category used to be Amina and Mariam but they are now out after they were over used by those who couldn’t even twist their waists. Nowadays French and Amharic names are common. So are unprintable Baganda names. Then there are the “innovative" words given to almost all female children born these days; Furaha, Amani, Pendo, Mimi, Nini, Tamu. Names which signify nothing in real sense, but hint at freshness.
As for me I change names as need be. Many men want to sample women other than those of their tribes. So the first thing is if I am able to guess the tribe of the man from his accent or physical look then I give a name which is from a different and not closely related tribe. The more rare or smaller the tribe the more excited the men are. If it’s a white man I will give some 'real' African name. My favorites are Naliaka and Pendo. I still love Claire and Marilyn. My default name among the girls is Sue, which you too know. Never mind about my real name.