My Friday nights usually start like a bar joke, a guy walks into a bar, but there’ never a punch line. I’m the guy and I always walk into a bar, on Friday nights. It’s become routine. The bar has become a shrine of sorts, here people glorify anything from the fat bartender – elephant in the room (sic) – to the expensive bottles of whiskey in ice buckets bought by a bunch of college girls’ being bank rolled by one of their friends’ sponsor. Ironically these are the same girls that will let you know how independent they are, like a bottle of Jameson and cold sprites is testament to financial freedom. They will drink and make a ruckus until one of them passes out and they are scrambling for their purses trying to rustle up some chums for an Uber.
Usually, thanks to heavy traffic and half price beers during happy hour at a restaurant directly adjacent to my office I’m among the last guys to grace our spot. I get there inebriated with a spring in my step and with my drunk smile. You know the drunk smile? It’s that smile that’s permanently plastered on your face because you saw something funny. It’s usually something stupid like a lady getting onto a motorcycle and the uncanny resemblance it has to them mounting a guy’s thighs – guess it’s why they call it riding. No? So you see this or something equally stupid and funny, and you smile to yourself. Only you forget to stop smiling and before you realize it you’ve had that smile on for the past two hours and you look like a retarded frog.
This one time I got there before anyone else. It was strange, for a moment I did not know what to do with my life. It felt like a recent college graduate with no bearing in life and the looming dark cloud that I might have done the wrong thing. The place was barely full save for the college girls, the bar tenders and an old guy with an unbuttoned shirt babysitting a beer that might have been a favorite to officers at the Imperial British East African Company. He looks like the kind of guy who spends his days lobbying in the corridors of power along Nyayo house, getting driving licenses for students from scrupulous driving schools that litter Thika road near the Githurai stage from KRA. This guy looks like he could enter a board room as a cleaner and leave as the director’s driver, bang his wife and have one of his seed ‘living the life’ before he gets fired for using the Mercedes as a taxi but not before buying an NZE and starting an actual taxi business of his own. For some reason I imagine his breath reeks of matumbo and supu explaining why even with his protruding belly (read sponsor like qualities) he is sitting alone.
The waitress in her black apron and done hair walks up to me and asks what I will have. Usually, I’d ask for two beers and a glass. I never use the glass though it just sits there, half full. It’s a subtle way of telling the waiters ‘don’t come to my table we’re good’ it’s the bar equivalent of girls being on their periods. They keep off. I’m alone, the place isn’t really full and I have this weird temptation to order a cosmopolitan. It’s a cocktail – I don’t know why I didn’t crave for a martini, shaken not stirred – but I wanted a cosmopolitan. A martini speaks sophistication. Having a martini while wearing a t-shirt, jeans and high top jeans is an insult to the suit wearing Daniel Craig. Plus, you need to fake a British, or is it Bri’ish accent while having one.
A cosmopolitan says I’m metrosexual. Guys that drink a cosmopolitan also dab their chins with a napkin every time they take a bite of food. They eat their burgers with one bun off using cutlery – they also say cutlery not spoon or fork. They wear pink shirts with a guy on a horse logo and a brown belt with brown khakis and smell of expensive cologne. A cologne that’s subtle but dominant. They also have shoes that match their belts. They have well done hair and it glistens from the heavy use of products. They know their girlfriends hair dresser on a first name basis. They give their girlfriends advice when the side nigga is acting up. A cosmopolitan gives the impression that a guy is a lady, spoilt and kept.
It’s not a manly thing or feeling to have a cosmopolitan. But sometimes a man just wants to feel lady like and this was one of those times. You want to feel like you’re worth a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates and being the inner spoon in a cuddle. These are feelings a beer denies you. You want a girl to approach you in the club and ask if you think her nails match her dress. You want her to order a cosmopolitan and trade hair do’s and don’ts punctuated with inside jokes from sex in the city. You want to look like the kind of guy who’s at home getting a mani-pedi drinking wine and reading – ironically – a cosmopolitan. So why wouldn’t I want to be that guy?
She walks up to me and asks what I’ll have and I say two beers and ask for a glass. See, I eat burgers with my hands, nyama choma straight from the chopping board, my shoes and belt don’t match, and I don’t want to feel like a lady. This had nothing to do with the fact that my friends were half an hour away and I’d have to explain to them that what I was drinking wasn’t calpol but alcohol. Plus I did not want college girls to think I could help them with their hair and nails.