Originally posted in my The Bachelor column in Modern African Guy on 23-04-2015
Jamo is this burly buddy of mine from college days. He is a typical man’s man. The ultimate wingman. Rugby jock meets wannabe ladies’ man. An air of chutzpah hangs around him like a classy cologne. When you are out with Jamo, you can never be scared of anything that might happen because he is the muscle of the group. When you are out with Jamo, you can never be scared of anything. The dude can handle himself pretty well in a bout. . But there is one thing that my boy cannot handle; his alcohol.
It is not his fault. We serve a fair God. He does not give you everything.
Take this one time for example. We were going to a party. It was a farewell bash for this pretty miss thing that I kind of fell for but denied those feelings. Well, truth is, I fell flat on my face because those feelings were not mutual. She was travelling down South the following day and it would be a long time till we would see her again. So as usual, we had to say our farewells respectfully. Thing is, her boyfriend was hosting the party, which already made things complicated for me. My idea was to lay low. Keep my little goon in check and talk only when necessary.
I was with my usual crew, which of course included Jamo as well. We started drinking from town, you know, to get in the mood. Pre-gaming, so to speak. We hired a taxi to take us to the venue, and all the way there, we took turns at sipping from a mzinga of vodka.
You know we bachelors of Langata do not really care about halitosis or any communicable diseases. We are ISO Certified. Jamo will drink directly from the bottle and pass it on to me, and it would go round in circles. Much like Maji Maji warriors passing around the war medicine before battle.
Unfortunately, the effects checked in earlier than expected. Jamo started to get off the rails, talking loudly and getting this uncontrollable urge to dance.
Here is the thing. Jamo cannot dance for shit. You could point a gun at his nuts and he still would not burst a decent enough move to save his crown jewels. But when he is drunk, public opinion never got in the way of his resolve. Boy will he pull stunts quite unlike anything you have ever seen. There is an okuyu woman along Kimathi Street who comes out to beg for money every Friday night. Every time we meet her she is wearing a black buibui. We do not know her name, so we just branded her Fatuma. She is Jamo’s favorite dance-mate. After every rave they have to meet. With Kidero’s cameras flashing to record their dance, those two will lock arms and dance to the imaginary music in Jamo’s head.
The rest of us stand and look out in case Fatuma tries to pinch his wallet.
But this madness is nothing unusual.
Different people in our crew have different indications of inebriation.
I mostly switch off. All my sinuses experience black out and I just sit there; zoned out as my mind wanders off like a vagabond with no fixed abode. Kibaki will start getting drowsy, his eyes half closed, before launching us into an argument about which is more muscular Pilsner and Tusker. Paulo turns nostalgic and group texts all his exes. Mukundi gets hyper, and depending on what he is drinking, has been known to start undressing once in a while. Maitha tends to announce his entry into the zone, “Aaaargh! maze niko buzz.” Apparently as he enters his state of highness, bees start buzzing in his head. Weirdest shit!
Well, Jamo started chanting in the taxi. “Waaaaadeefuaaa!” which is his corruption of “What the fuck?”…followed by a seemingly deep but pointless statement. “No bwana! We cannot allow!” He has never volunteered to explain what this is that we are not allowing.
We got to the bash in one piece and made quite the entrance. By the time we arrived at the venue, Jamo was shirtless and in a foul mood. He started sniffing around for a fight, daring any man in the room for a challenge. The bravado did not last and he started getting woozy and shortly afterwards began returning change. ‘Returning change’ is basically a drunken bachelor’s way of giving back to the community. Commonly referred to by lay men as vomiting. The party was over before it started. My prospects had gone south literally.
We have all been in Jamo’s situation. When our insides are just dying to be emptied out onto the street. That is why I do not understand guys sneer in annoyance when it happens to other people, you know? When your boy is down in the trenches, you pick him up and wipe off his charitable contribution, and then carry him home. That is the most honorable thing to do to a fellow bachelor.
That said, just make sure you do not use your money on the cab ride. You take his wallet and use whatever is in it to pay for his ride home. Even if it is his rent. Especially when it is his rent.
It is all about looking out for each other.
It is no different from Paulo telling Mukundi to belt up, get a grip, and keep his boxers in. It is no different from Jamo telling Maitha not to consume Tusker Malt, or any drink that glows like bulb of Christmas lights, or anything masked with straws and umbrellas all over the place, or anything else that his girl would be having for that matter.
Friendship is built on the solid foundation of shenanigans, blunders, sarcasm and alcohol.
When I go out with my boys we have a few rules that we live by. No fancy pink drinks. There is no classy way to get wasted. Stick to beer. Amazing things happen when geeks drink it. Where there is an open bar, stay focused. It is all fun and games until the beer runs out. Also, we like drinks that actually have alcohol in them. Because come to think of it, in Nairobi is generally a cruel city of first impressions.
On a boys’ night out, nobody is allowed to bring their girlfriends. If you need to talk to a girl, speak to the one perched on the bar stool by the counter, with her legs crossed feigning sophistication, waiting for someone to buy her a round. Preferably a shot tequila – a drink that has assisted women in making poor judgments for years.
Fortunately, we are also gentlemen, so if you are dating someone we actually like, we will ask you to keep your hands to yourself. In alcohol’s defense, my mates have done some pretty dumb things while completely sober.
The last rule is Leave No Man Behind. If Jamo finds himself in the trenches, you take up the responsibility of getting him home. God knows he would do, and has done, the same for you. And as a rule of thumb, you never whine about it. You do it with grace.
Forget Shakespeare. “Turn down for what?” that is the question.
However if you notice that one of you is getting too close to the bottle, always pissing himself, and his lips are becoming as pink as a strawberry daquiri, you ask him to stop. The last thing we want to do is visit one of our boys in a rehab centre – where he is forced to go through some twelve steps to sobriety.
Oh, always remember to eat boiled eggs spiced with kachumbari after every rave. And don’t drink and drive. You are replaceable. There is more life than alcohol, money and sex. Good luck convincing a thirsty Langata bachelor.
Cheers to the freaking weekend, fellas.