Saturday, October 22, 2011

UP Magazine: “Meet my girlfriend, Sue.”

 I still write a monthly column for UP Magazine. Below is an excerpt from this month's issue. UP Magazine is distributed free of charge at coffee shops, shopping malls and petrol stations in Nairobi. Of course the article has gone through an editor.....

There seems to be so much anxiety in this city. It’s all reflected in the daily hustle and bustle of the residents. Few people are calm and relaxed in what they do. An example, the ever growing party scene. Rather than end up looking genuinely happy and relaxed, party goers wear worried looks and their joy seems artificial.

The Street is not immune to the city’s anxiety. But whereas the anxiety in the rest of the city seems to be driven by the search for the little more and the pressure to become the best, the worry on the Street is more a result of efforts to maintain the status quo and keep from falling. In most of the City settings success is well defined, and the formula for success is clear. However on the Street the formula for success is vague; as anything that is largely made up of luck, unpredictable human emotions and what not.

The girls who show most of their skins or dress up fashionably are not the most successful. And so are those who only pursue white men and sleek cars. Success on the Street is thus left to “God” and our daily labors are aimed more at maintaining our present state of achievement. The fear of becoming worse than we presently are generates a lot of our anxiety. We are focused less in succeeding and more in preventive measures to avoid a fall. A fall is a matter of both personal and peer honor. If I am yanked off the Street because I was jailed for stealing from a man, or since I could not sweet talk the city council askari or the magistrate, then that’s a fall.

And so is when a once-favorite man stops picking me in favor of another girl; it does not matter whether the girl is less glamorous than me. If I am out for two months or so because of sickness, not necessarily sexually transmitted, then that is a fall.

If I am sick I would rather say I had gone to chase Ugandan men in Kampala. Here on the Street there is a very thin line between a decline and a fall. Well, here they are one and the same thing. A fall will mean that I become part of the Street fable. And because girls talk so much, I will be walking round the city thinking everybody knows everything about me. What causes a fall, whether chance or choice, is seen as contagious, and girls want to have little to do with a girl who has fallen even once. Thus girls will use all manner of trickery to avoid being seen as fallen.

Sometimes the anxieties of the rest of the city’s residents converge with those of us on the Street. As happens once in a while a regular client will drop me and pick another girl. The only way to avoid being labeled a failure by the other girls is not to let them know that has happened, which is almost impossible, or to redeem myself by having a better man pick me. Better would mean a man who drives a more expensive car, or who is foreign. The country of origin matters little. So it happened to me the other night. A regular client ignored me for Nancy; a newbie. But before the other girls could start talking I got a chance to save my skin the same night...Read the rest here

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Episode 49: My Retirement Plan

Now that I plan to quit the Street in the next six months or so, I am thinking of a retirement plan. The ideal retirement plan for most girls here is to hit a jackpot and live happily ever after. The jackpot could be through marriage to a rich white man or pinching a substantial amount of money from a local. The Street is full of legends of girls who retired that way. Yet that rarely happens nowadays. The white men, I think, have  professional, decent girls to chose from. It seems more than ever before many Nairobi girls are willing to throw themselves at the feet of white men. I see it always when occasionally I pass through Westlands at night or while in a cyber  and a girl has opened Love Find Me. On the other hand its long since I heard of a girl who had stolen more than 20,000 shillings from a man, bet over time  the local men have learned not to carry more than a few thousand shillings when hitting the Street.

I am not planning to quit as a result of a moral conversion or having identified something better to do. Simply I am avoiding reaching the point of diminishing returns. In our trade supply outstrips demand by a factor of almost three. The girls are much more than the men. The men who come to the Street are somehow a constant; their numbers and identities don't change much. It's the same men who started coming here five years ago who still come. Those coming to the Street for the first time increase at a less proportionate rate to the girls, and also to the men leaving. There will be nights where every car coming to the Street will be familiar. And weeks where I sleep with the same usual men who know how much I charge and my point of faking orgasm.

 By the time a girl hits three years on the Street the men know her. However good one is there gets a point where one stops being the first choice of a man. At that point a man will pick a  3 years plus girl  because he has come late when the fresh girls are gone, for old times sake or when too drunk to recognize her. It is more or less like what happens in marriage after a few years.

When a girl is no longer the first choice of any of the men anger and hatred starts building inside. She insults men who leave her behind, and the girls who go with them. She drinks a lot and start developing a cold aged look, which makes her less attractive. I have seen it with many girls here. Of course there are exceptions, girls who maintain their shine even after practicing for three years and more. But such are few, and many of  those who outwardly look beautiful are ugly inside. I know myself and I don't expect to be among the exceptions.

Marriage has never been part of my plan and pinching a good amount of cash a long shot. So my retirement plan has me thinking of doing something with almost similar traits as what I do now; the adrenaline rush, some creativity, independence and the lack of formality and commitment . Sometimes I think I am lazy . See I want to do things at my own pace and to my own satisfaction, which is adjusted every time failure requests. I don't want to be appraised and set goals by others. Anyway I digress. So one of these things with similar traits  is what made me enroll for a certain course. The course that has made me miss in action for the last two and a half weeks; reading and writing exams.

My next occupation is just one of the challenges of retirement. How to fill the emotional and physical gap left after quitting is another thing. I am not talking about lurvy durvy emotions, but the simple emotions that come as a result of connecting with people who really matter to you. The happiness that I feel when talking of my escapades with colleagues, or the temporary comfort I get when I sleep on the chest of a nice client. Such emotional connections take time to build, and when out there I am not sure I will be able to connect with other people, and if I do, it may take long by which time I will have been labeled a snob, freak, recluse or any such words that describe those with emotional oddities. Yet I am not so much worried about the emotions for all said and done I will have a great relationship with my local barman.

I have previously said  that I don't care much for sex, especially the fun part of it. But that does not mean I do not have urges. I do. My clients whether good or bad help satisfy my sex urges, and I feel naturally whole again. So what will I do about sex when out of the Street? A relationship for me is out of question. I will fail. It will be difficult  for me to commit and not cheat.  A tit for tat for me because  after what I have seen so far on the Street I will always be convinced my man is not cheating. Although I wont tell any man about my past, some of the habits I have acquired from the Street might live with me forever, and when they pop certainly create tensions between me and my partner. For instance in moments of frustration and drunkenness  I use rough filthy words which no man would be pleased to hear his girl use.

There is also the option of going for one night stands. But these will be almost the same thing as what I do presently.  I wont enjoy them as much. I know these days a girl  can pay a man to have sex with her, like I once did. Yet this snatches a key component of sex; the testosterone part; knowing I am having sex with a real man. A man who agrees to be paid to have sex, rather than fight for it,  may not have enough testosterone in him.

Yeah I can't forget the toys. I have couple of those, but like a friend said everybody sometimes craves for 3D sex, where you hold and kiss each other during the act. A sex mate is the best option. But men have presently become very poor in bed, and to find a good one I will have to road test several ,something I am not very enthusiastic about. I can only wait and see ,but I am sure to get a solution for this little problem

When a girl joins the Street she soon hears of the legends and experiences of other who have been in the trade before. Some of the experiences sound exciting,others generate curiosity, while others feel like a must do . Like there are so many positive and negative stories about the white men who pick girls here, and every girl wants to experience it. I have slept with several of these. There are also things said about men from a certain tribe, and only when a girl spends the night with such does she feel  not missing out. There were days I wanted to know how it feels to drug and steal rom a man, something I have done. I also wanted to see viagra in action where its rightfully needed, with a man past 75, and I got to see it when I slept with a 78 year old man. The things to do are many,and some can only be done when one is in this trade because the opportunity and attitude are right and present.

Recently I have heard about the Great Lakes Civilization. Its the great art of love making by the men from the Great Lakes region; Burundi, Rwanda and the others. Apparently the name Great Lakes is a result of the small lakes the men from the region are able to create down there in women bodies. So I have to sleep with a man from the Great Lakes within the next six months or I might never have another chance to experience the civilization without any inhibitions. And here, for reasons I might mention later, I exclude the Congolese men based in Kenya.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Episode 48: The New Competition & A Strip Club

Like I mentioned before competition in our industry is becoming stiff as a result of uneven distribution and the alcohol laws.You know how many of the cheap downtown bar cum brothels have been turned into exhibition halls, and how the bars are not open during the day. Until recently the competition has been with prostitutes proper; yeah the stereotype of a downtown or street prostitute;not very well educated, with a kid or two, 'tired', rough and all those other things. As much as these brought competition it was nothing disruptive. Maybe the biggest consequence of their flooding was accelerating the fall of the Street from the place men find girls with panache at a fair price to just any other place.

But now there is new competition coming in; the one which may actually be disruptive. There are more of the educated girls coming in, yet its not only about their education but their attitude, style and well their aura. And they are not exactly young, certainly not in college. They act and look like they are done with college and have probably hit more than a year out of school. They have the maturity, freshness and that other unexplainable thing that especially the older and more loaded men look for.

The new girls are coming in everyday; its as if they are being mobilized. My guess is an upmarket brothel was closed and they girls decided to come this way to 'liberate' themselves. And they hate us as much as we hate them . Us the veterans and old school girls. They know each other and will cluster together talking in their Nairobi-girl English and laughing out loud . They are very confident, quite street smart thus it has become impossible for us to intimidate them into following the ground rules. So they are getting the men as we are left frustrated,letting it out in  insults. I know I should probably be on their side, what with my education and all but no my heart and loyalty is with Cheupe and all the roughies.

We the veterans are angry because we feel these girls should not be on the Street; they should be in classy brothels, clubs or in lanes in Westlands, Hurligham and those mtaas. That is if they are not  trading on Facebook and the many other local hook up sites. Why they chose to come here is beyond reason. It's as if they want to irritate and frustrate us. But this state of things won't last for every long; not here. Something will have to give in a big way.

On a different note I have made a strippers club to be my local bar; where I will dash for a drink in the evening when I am not working . I go there to have a taste of a different version of our work. The club is the Super Mambo. This must be the lowest of the strip clubs in this city. It looks like a bad version of one of those nude club scenes in old Van Damme movies. The girls look tired and disturbed. Last week when I was there only one of the girls seemed to enjoy herself. The others didn't even pretend to be having fun. And when it came to baring their all one of them could not even look straight at the audience. These are no like the strippers I saw in some brothel. A reader recently asked me why I should not be a stripper which according to him is  more respectable.

Really?Is stripping a more honorable version of our trade? I don't think so. But then it depends on a personal definition of self dignity. To the strippers showing what you got in public is better than giving your all. But to us showing almost all of what you got and then going all the way in private is more dignified. The debate can go forever.

I will be writing more about the new competition, strippers  & some other recent experiences later. For now I have to read. I enrolled for a short course to improve my skills here and elsewhere and now its exam time.