Dating in Nairobi is like playing minesweeper, no one knows how to do it. Those that do are few and spread thin like a bachelor’s budget. So what we end up with a lot, and I mean a lot, is situationships. There are so many guys who have no idea what they are doing just that they are doing it with someone.

Ask Janet about Steve and she’ll say “we’re just hanging out. You know?” Ask Steve about Janet and he’ll probably give you a weird look and say “Why are you asking? Did she say something?”

But then again I believe dating and being in a relationship are two different things. Mutually exclusive. You can date someone and not be in a relationship with them. Otherwise, imagine how weird it would be if all those long lost pals from primary school that bought you coffee in the name of a date; but tried to sell you one pyramid scheme or the next considered the two of you were going steady?

“Babe tell akina nani where us we’ve invested our cash.”

She will look up to you with dolled eyes and long lashes. You will not be bothered. You’ve told this story a million times before.

“Public likes.” You will announce.

Your guests will have a look of resentment on their face. Like they swallowed a live tadpole and should’ve hated it, but they didn’t so now they hate themselves for realizing that tadpoles actually taste nice. Confusing.

“I know. We get that a lot. Guys think it’s a scam. Actually I thought it was a scam….” At this point you will look up at bae. You call her bae. Anyone that invests in public likes call people bae. This is her cue to take over. It is seamless.

“… but then I convinced bae to take the risk.”

Then you will chime in.

“But anyway nowadays what’s not a risk? Didn’t guys lose billions to a rent as you own scheme?”

The guy will nod.

“And apparently there is a bus somewhere that will hit you if you’re too healthy.”

You guys will laugh. And maybe convince the poor chap to take up the venture. You are a power couple. It is how it works. Mummy and daddy scammer.

Do you see where I am going with this? Because I don’t. Hehe But the point is a date does not mean it is a relationship. But, yes as always there’s always a but, you can be in a relationship and go on a date. Are we together now? Okay.

There’s only one way to know if you are in a relationship. An actual ‘we are now in a relationship’ conversation needs to happen.

Here are things that might get people confused:

  1. Fancy Dates

Listen just because you got a call and an invite to some fancy restaurant where the ambiance is fake accents and airy environment with chirping birds in the background; it does not mean they are interested in a relationship. This could just be a rare case where they had extra loose thousands to spend and free points to score. They want to be that person you talk about to in your circle and say things like

“You know I don’t even like him but he has good taste.”

You open doors for them with that line of talk. Someone in your circle might like them. And like the good taste too. No one in your circle will show interest to the guys you describe as

“He didn’t even offer to pay for drinks.”

Guys will want to maintain their CV across the board because as the adage goes “dunia ni ndogo”. This cuts across the board by the way. When a girl takes out a guy; we talk about it. The effort that went in behind the scenes and the thoughtfulness behind the concept. We eat that shit up. Though we might still refer to you as the one we don’t like but with good taste though.

So guys and ladies. Fancy dates does not mean relationship.

  1. Jealousy

Now this is a bit tricky. At first it is cute. Shows concern and makes you feel wanted. But, that’s where it hooks you line and sinker.

I mean look at it this way. Ever seen a car you loved so much you were jealous you were not the one driving it? Now, did that jealousy mean you got to drive it? Own it? Nope. It just remained a feeling you can do nothing about since you cannot control it.

While this feeling might be an accelerant to getting you to relationship stage, on its own it is nothing.  It is mostly shrouded in fake concern by girls and guys that want to reap the benefits of a relationship without having a relationship.

Stay woke fam. Hehe

  1. Attention

Attention is addictive. If you do not believe me go argue with your Instagram followers. There are some people who do not do much for it; it is just theirs for the taking. For others; it comes in sporadic torrents spaced between long dry spells. They feel neglected, lonely and even get a teddy bear and give it a name.

I think that would be rock bottom for loneliness. Naming a teddy bear. Its name is already teddy. Why are you giving it another name? Is teddy not good enough for you? What happens when it grows up and hates its new name? When it blames you for all its woes as a teddy bear? What then will you do? I guess you do not think about that because you are selfish. Hehe

But anyway, attention is free to give. So why not give it anyway? That’s what most guys and girls do. They will shower you with as much attention as you could possibly need. Sometimes more than enough so you pack some in the fridge for later. At some point you forget that attention is merely a slice of their time. You mistake it for all their time. Then make an assumption that you are in a relationship.

No. You. Are. Not.

They probably just think you are interesting. Which is not a bad thing. But do not jump any guns and make any assumptions.

  1. Pet names

Remember teddy? Yeah. He gets names he does not even want from people he doesn’t even know. What makes you so special? Of course you will get called love, hun, honey, sweetie, and many other gag reflexing affixations for displaying TLC. Tender love and care for all you non-millennials. Not the 90s hit pop group.

Anyone and everyone gets a pet name these days. Heck I even call my long-time best friends babe. For the hell of it and for the fact that it pisses other people off. So if I were to call you babe that would not mean a relationship. Maybe I just find your name to be a mouthful. I mean if your name is Truphena Theophillus Omwambaji. I will call you babe.

There’s this misconception that a pet name is the equivalent of owning. No it’s not. It’s not the secret title deed of a relationship. I could call everyone on my contact list babe and call my girlfriend by her name. Okay, that might piss her off but it does not mean that I am in a relationship with everyone else but her only because of the pet name.

But we get it, sometimes it is too good to be true. Then there’s the spawn of Satan that call you all these sweet names in the presence of their friends or your friends so it feels like it means something. Then you probably read into it and see your future and put yourself in a relationship that does not exist. Well, that’s your fault. No sugar coats here. Not even sweaters.

  1. Frequent dates

After mentioning fancy dates I should probably also mention frequent dates.  The guys that will always look for you and plan something to do over a weekend or a Wednesday morning. The ones that will text to tell you they arrived and that they’ve ordered your favorite. Yes; they know your favorite. You’ve been hanging out a lot.

The guys that will put in the effort to see you. Buy you food. I hear that’s a big deal now. Buying food.

The guys that will get a list of your favorite movies invite you over to watch them and get you some wine while at it.

Do not even let this confuse you. Chances are you are awesome. Who isn’t? But if none of those frequent dates end up with them asking for a relationship then it is just that a date. Whether it is the first or the one hundred thousand and second date.


So guys stay woke.

No they are not keeping you guessing. They just do not want that relationship. Then. Later. Or ever.



6 thoughts on “Minesweeper

Add yours

  1. You sound like an old soul. I am one so I know we sound.

    You put in a lot and every word counts. Most of us would like to listen but the heart is a deceitful organ. And those friends and family who won’t give you space


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