AOKO OTIENO: Young city women are using dates as avenues for free booze, food and selfie locations

A distraught lad sought counsel from my inbox a few days ago.

“Aoko, I am not well off but my family owns a hotel where I also work. I met this woman a few weeks ago at the hotel, we echoed each other’s vibes and planned for a date. A day before then, I candidly told her I had a budget of Ksh1, 500 for a date and she understood, or so I presumed.

But I was gobsmacked when on our day, she showed up with two of her friends. Barely a second into pleasantries, they had beckoned the waiter and asked for a whole bottle of gin. I had to lie that I do not fancy liquor and we agreed to share a packet of Delmonte instead. Then we asked for food.

I had to implore the waiters to return my plate since I could not pay for four plates, they would, however, hear none of it. I resorted to texting friends to bail me out and help me top up the budget I had for the date which had been exceeded by some hundreds.

To pay back, I had to get that cash from the business, for an issue not related to the business. She nearly killed me with anxiety that woman!”

Too familiar a script for many men who have invited most of these 20-something-year-old city damsels for a date. Picture this, you are the quintessential ‘mama did not raise a reprobate’ kind of guy looking to meet someone with whom you share mutual, core beliefs and start something worthwhile.

Brace yourself, for you are likely to either meet; the ‘classy’ Nairobi woman, the cabal who strut around with an aura of hubris like they can snatch oxygen from the rest of the wretched of the earth; everything about her is infused with a whim of foreign standards. But her fake twang acquired from watching too much Tyler Perry cannot hide her deep Nyandarua or Nyalgunga accent, the same way mint does very little to camouflage the stench of cheap brew on someone’s breath.

This type who earns some average salary and has the wheels of her pseudo lifestyle oiled by a horde of men she extorts – will insist on a date at Java or Dorman’s on a Friday evening where she can order a large cup of latte macchiato accompanied by a slice of black forest.

There are those who would rather meet up for dinner, suggesting that you meet in high-end joints that sell bland, overpriced food just because they are given fancy names and the only thing worth the trouble is the ambience. The lady will nimble at the food because of the asinine need to appear cultured and oh boy, your money will go to waste just like that. Then you head to a joint in Westlands for drinks where the cheapest glass of wine goes for Ksh800. You end up spending at least 4k on her drinks alone. Oops, did I mention that you better upgrade your camera skills because you will be taking photos for her Instagram page.

Dare suggest taking her to any of these mid-level restaurants in town that serve fresh, pretty decent, affordable meals and you will be hit by an award-winning sneer. Or she will cite an excuse like, ‘I don’t fancy crowds.’

The result is that struggling men have very minute options for dating or even getting laid. Their options are thus to order a whole buffet of humble pie and constant supply of ‘Arimis’ or turn to the services of the Ksh200 a shot estate sex worker.

Someone tell these ignoramuses of girls that pragmatism should inform their so-called standards. Things like Uber can be a burden to most of these men who are genuflecting under the burden of a pernicious regime, taxes, unemployment, pay cuts et al. Just because you saw the miscreants called socialites or your peer whose life is financed by County government arrivistes, con men, drug peddlers, government kleptomaniacs, Nigerian drug hawkers does not mean the same should be expected of the other ordinary dudes.

The second ilk you are likely to meet is the average girl, probably attended these gorofa colleges where classrooms also double up as evangelical churches on Sunday, where she studied an inconsequential course but walks around with a phone that can pay a typical Kasarani rent for eight months. If you are lucky, she will come alone and pick the priciest item on the menu.

Reality is, she is probably living in a bedsitter in Mwiki with a few of her friends and their daily menu is Sukuma wiki and avocado, waru ya supu but the moment you ask her out, it becomes an avenue for a diet change. Her lips used to cheap vodka now develop a sudden pout for bourbon.

She might serve you a number and tag along with her co-fickle minded entourage who you did not budget for.

Gents, if she tags along with her friends, two things: Either pay for only the girl you invited and let the rest of the leeches sort themselves or entertain them all, then flirt with the prettiest in the pack. Chances are, it won’t be your date. Or better yet, why not go have a ‘fivesome’ or something, if they can empty your pockets, they sure should empty your balls, no?

There is nothing wrong with being poor. There is nothing wrong in aspiring for the good things in life. But these young women should as often as possible step out of the bubble they live in and step into the real world.

Decent, well-meaning men are asking, where are the ladies who do not even want to go to an expensive restaurant (because she can take herself to one with her girls); those who can easily sit at an Indian restaurant and dig into the curries with her hands.

A lady who can sit on a plastic chair at a corner table in a late-night fast food restaurant and watch the black of the night get darker without flinching and appreciate the effort of the man who took time to try and make her have a good time. If you can and want to take her to a great restaurant where she will be welcomed at the entrance by a maître d’hôtel, she’s down with that. But she will not make you feel pressured. As long as you will not drag her to these dingy, noisy places where you will have to shout as you converse in a background of loud Gengeton balderdash.

A woman that is drawn to a man’s chivalry and depth in his conversation and his view of life rather than those who are mesmerized by mundane shit like men who show up swirling car keys, gelled hair and tuxedo.

Where, they ask, are the women who could offer a stimulating discourse as the scent of the man wafts around her, arousing her to this guy who wants to be approved and not to approve. One who just wants a guy who makes an effort.