She came to me the way death comes to good characters in a well told story. For a moment there I had begun to drone off from my present, completely underwhelmed by what I had come to find in Amsterdam. A city in a country whose lore had been foretold; tales preceded my visit to this place, tales about its seediness and raunchiness, and in my head I had pictured something way more exhilarating than this. You know the way your boy can speak of his new catch, going on and on about how striking and long her legs are and all the exaggerations that men invent when talking about girls not present? And then you finally get to meet this bird and you are, well, not underwhelmed, but not overwhelmed either. You are just whelmed. Which is a dip in your mental expectation. Amsterdam had felt like that.
Until She appeared from nowhere. Well, not nowhere nowhere. Of course She emerged from the dressing room from behind the counter where all the other girls were. A tiny, cagey room that did not seem to have any space at all. Which is not surprising, really, because Amsterdam is a city with no space. You can find a corridor that you would not even imagine can be of much use, but a Dutchman will squeeze a library or a bar into it. If there is any correlation between the Dutch and the landlords of Githurai, it is the penchant they both have for building mansions from a room so small that when you put the key inside the lock, you stab everyone inside. I did not catch her name, this dancer of mine. There was no time. I mean, when you are neck deep in the racy woods of the Red Light District, with a boner for a lap dance – your first ever lap dance from a white woman, no less – trust me, the last thing you want is to start debating whether her name is spelt Racheal or Rachel. Or whether that is even her real name.
The moment She stood over me, I turned to Jaber and told her that this was the one. Even Jaber knew this had to be the one. She knows my type; older. Those other girls who had been prancing around before She showed up did not look anything older than the iPhone X. It even felt wrong looking at them like that. You never know with these odieros. They age faster than avocadoes left in the open, and me I was not taking any chances. I was in a foreign country bana. I may request for a lap dance and then the next thing I know, the long arm of the government is tapping me on the shoulder like Jimw@t and then I am there, ng’iengoing my half tooth in bewilderment, talmbout Eh! Kumbe ni under 18?
[P.S. in hindsight that was such a horrible song glorifying adults having sex with underage school girls].
Before we get to the things She did to me, let us talk about The Red Light District.
However, I cannot talk about the Red Light District before talking about just how this country called Netherlands has bad manners. Thinking about it now, the first red flag should have been the name. Exactly what should anyone expect from a place called Netherlands? Can you imagine the balls (lol) on these guys? I think they must have intended to call this place Crotchlands and then changed their minds and figured they needed to be polite. Otherwise Geography classes today would be rated PG. And if you think Holland is not a clever play on Hoeland, then you have got something else coming. Just feel your underwear.
By the way, this is not me being judgmental or anything. As a matter of fact, quite the opposite. I am in awe of this country. The way they are free about their vices. How they embrace them. In Kenya, we are shamed of our vices, which are not really vices. I mean, sex is just sex, right? While we hide our boners and pretend that sex is something so hideous it should only happen at night, with the lights off, places like Netherlands decided long time ago that they are going to let loose. That is why they have some channels that show chudex 24-7, 365 days a year. On TV bana! Sisi hapa Kenya, two people so much as kiss in a CocaCola advert, and the entire Kenya Film and Classification Board is jizzing all over itself, then calling a press conference the next day waving the Old Testament, cursing these white imperialists who have come to Africa to interfere with our traditional values and morals.
Can you imagine that kind of lifestyle? Not KFCB having wet dreams. I mean one in which Zuku introduces adult channels. Imagine sitting next to your father at 9pm. Everyone is at the table, having supper, hands full. And you know how fathers command the remote controls, eh? They cannot claim to have watched the news if they have not watched all the news from all the channels. So he mumbles, “NTV wameingia Weather Forecast, hebu tuangalie KTN inasema nini?” Halafu instead of pressing the BACK navigation button, he presses the FRONT. Then papo hapo he lands on a chudex channel.
And because he is an SDA who sings Pengine Milimani every night before bed, shock drives him. Everything goes dark. It is like his entire system has experienced a blackout. Now his senses are operating in pitch blackness, feeling around for candles and a match box. He is sweating. The remote is slippery. It drops into the basin with water for washing hands. He rushes to pick it up then knocks over the food. He grabs it and starts pressing everything. Only the volume keeps going up. He changes the channel only for it to move from the initial SSBBW, to Gay Porn, to Pygmy Gang Bang, to a Grandma being fisted. And as the volume keeps going up, the faster he is driven to madness. So he grabs the one thing he finds next to him. A stool. And hurls it at the TV in the mighty name of Jesus.
That night, you are all bathed in Holy Water, never mind that holy water is largely a Catholic thing and the papacy is the antichrist in an Adventist’s eyes, but what the hell. The following day you are told to pack because you are moving from that god forsaken house.
Can you? Can you imagine? No? Just me?
By the way, I imagine this would only happen to a father, because in my experience, mothers do not get embarrassed at all. In fact, if chudex ever showed up on a screen while Mother Karua was watching, she would actually provide commentary, To ma dichuo manade makasre ka e gi sianda mondochre ondochre go? Mbla dhako no bende baro wiwa. Oyuagre ka malich, kwani ng’ama no ore kuro? Chokeee!
Anyway. Where were we, Red Light District, donge? Right.
Allow me, for the benefit of my uncles tuning in from Wich Lum in the bowels of Bondo, to dispel certain notions about The Red Light District. First of all, it is not really a District. Not in the strict 8-4-4 sense of the word. It is not as if it is headed by District Officer. This I know because I never, even once, saw a man in brown uniform and a fancy cane tucked under his armpits, walking around collecting chicken as Hut Tax. Also, it is nothing more than a series of close-walled alleys intertwining in an area no bigger than the Mwer market in Alego Siaya. So, I do not know why they insist on calling it a District. These are the problems that come with not being colonized properly. The concept of Provincial Administration as we learned from the British – who invented the language – is sort of lost on the Dutch.
Second, the district is not really red. And that is is the most disappointing thing about The Red Light District. I do not care what they call it. They can call it the Red Light Continent for all I care. But I took particular offense to people who misuse my favourite colour for exaggeration. I honestly expected to walking into a huge locality painted red everywhere. From neon lights, to street lights to everything. Turns out the district is as red as the town. Only that there are these alleys as narrow as Moses Kuria’s reasoning that are lined with cubicles. Each cubicle has a glass door, and in each and every one is a woman standing, on display like the mannequins on Moi Avenue, drenched in crimson light from a red bulb.
Men –and women- stumble out of pubs and coffee (ahem!) shops and walk around playing picki picki ponky before choosing a dame. Although most of the people who frequent The Red Light District are mostly tourists like me who came, not for the sex, but just to see what the big deal is about white hookers bathed in red light, these girls still put on a show. Some turn around to show you all that you could have. Others beckon you with that come-hither gesture using the index finger. Others stare at you with that false longing in their eyes. While others simply couldn’t give a fuck (hehehe). They cannot be bothered. They stand by inside, heads bent over their phones, probably engrossed in Justice JB Ojwang’s dissenting judgement in the Raila Petition of 2017.
We did the walk around for a good thirty minutes before our hosts led us into a strip club. I have never seen so many naked white women in my entire life. Well, not in person anyway. And not without a box of tissue next to me. Just white nipples all around. It was White Boobs Heaven. All of them calling me by my name. And because I was raised by a proper African mother, I respond when called.
Yes, Britney. Yes, Candy. Hello Stephanie. Looking good, Brigit. Oh, aren’t you a tonic for weary eyes, Tiffany. I walked in waving at all the boobs the way notable black politicians do. Like Obama at the Democratic Convention. Like Mandela walking out of prison after twenty-seven years, goddamit!
Here is the thing though. I was here with Jaber, her friend and her friend’s Dutch boyfriend. Two black girls. One dude. One odiero. And because I was meeting her friend for the first time, I badly wanted to impress her and convince her that I am the proper guy for her friend. Which is so difficult to do when you are inside the real life manifestation of Xvideos! But before I could say Hello to a pair of lovely Katherins, the odiero asked, So who is going first?
I looked at him like, Where? The bathroom?
To get the first dance, he clarifies.
I turned around to get a look at his girlfriend, waiting to see whether she was letting him get a lappie. Girlchild did not seem to mind. I was shocked! Which Kenyan girlfriend would let her man be danced upon by another female, leave alone a naked white one? As I was wondering what kind of world I was in, guess who was the first one to volunteer as tribute? Yeaaaap! You guessed it right. Jaber. Which was just perfect because if she got a dance, then it meant that I got to get a dance too. It is only fair, donge? Then I would not need to worry about impressing our host. If she asked I would simply point at Jaber and say, Your friend started it!
The sign at the top of the counter said
€10 for a dance
€20 for topless
€12 small pint of beer
€20 a tall glass of beer
Nothing else. Nothing else is needed anyway. This is the sort of place you nip into to get a beer and a hard-on. But so many things were startling about that menu. Leave alone the fact that it is only when you travel to a European country that you are forced to learn the multiples of 120 just so that you can convert prices to figures that make sense….could we take a moment and consider the cost of a beer being more expensive than a lap dance? I mean, that is just disrespectful bana! Are they trying to say something about their women or their beer?
Anyway, pesa otas. Moving on…
Later on, the two egged me on to get a dance as well. Jaber even sat next to me and started checking out the girls as they came and went. Many of them did not impress me though. Many of them seemed too young for my liking anyway, and the ones who were not, were bony as hell. There was also an ebony charmer, sexy to a fault, who Jaber knew was going to turn me on like an ignition, but I turned her down. I acted as though I would not even ati feel bad if I did not get a dance, when deep down the thing between my legs was holding its breath.
And that is when She walked onto the counter to tag out another girl. Like I said, I have no idea where she came from. She just appeared before my eyes like a revelation. Like a light bulb moment. Like an idea whose time could not be any more perfect. The first thing that I noticed were her legs. Long and endless legs. Tender and pale, yet gorgeous, leading my eye up into a woman in black panties and bra. She begun to take off articles of her clothing while looking me in the eye. Honestly, it could have been somebody else, but me in that moment, I knew she was searching for herself in my eyes.
When she finally got to me I was so short of breath that when She asked, Shall we dance? all I gave in response is a timid nod.
Relax hunnie, She said, It is just a dance. You don’t have to marry me after.
Then she dropped herself astride my crotch. And begun to move. At first I was shaking because I did not know what I was allowed to do. Can I touch? Can I grab? Jaber and her friends were just over there observing me. Which made things even more difficult because I knew they were judging me, trying to see whether I would be a gentleman about it or a ratchet ass nigger. But She eased me into it. She leaned over, placed her chest on my face and whispered into my ears, Where are you from?
Alego Siaya, I said. I do not feel the sense of nationalism here. At that moment, all I wanted to do was make my ancestors proud. And when she turned around and asked me to grab and smack her ass I did not just do it for me, but for them as well. That ass, man! Soft like a ball of cotton.
At the end, she kneeled on the counter in front of me, pulls down her knicker and requested me to deposit the €10 inside it with my mouth.
She smelled of orchards.