One would think they are only found at Carnivore during Super Soul night, where they like to sit alone – drink in one hand, and a cigarette in another. Smoke rushes from their pursed painted lips and disappears into the darkness where music from DJ Pinye floats. Some escape from their noses, and they look like tired dragons (in a good way).These are not women who buy one bottle of Black Ice and then wait to be seduced. No. They can get their own drinks. They are here for the music, and the company.
But that is not the only place you can meet them. You can meet them from your living room in Lang’ata. You will be on your couch, with your laptop purring on your lap because it has been on since morning, but you cannot switch it off because you have unfinished business with the internet. Furthermore, you are streaming Star Wars (before The Force finally Awakens) on your Smart TV, thanks to the good folk at Zuku who came up with the idea of fast internet for home users. You no longer have to visit the 50 bob movies guy. You have Zuku. Movies load in an instant.
Then a tab pops on your Facebook chat. A woman you do not know named Kerubo. And all she says is “Hi”. It is annoying to receive these messages from women from Singapore and Mexico who supposedly want to give you the time of your life for free. You want to ignore it, and then block the user, but you figure, why not humor a catfish for today? What’s the harm? Yes, you have been burned before by the real catfishes of Malindi, but then again, lessons not learned in blood are soon forgotten. Now you know if anything happens between you two, there is no way it can end other than badly.
Then it turns out that this is no catfish. Kerubo is indeed a real person. She is forty something, when life supposedly begins, and she is looking for some fun. She does not tell you much about herself other than the fact that she is a divorcee living in Nairobi. She says she reads your blog, so you imagine she already knows you are not day older than twenty four.
So you are left guessing. What is her story?
The clichés come to mind. Her husband cheated. Or she cheated. Or he used to beat her up. Or he was a thug who was convicted for Robbery with Violence; judge threw the book at him so he is now serving a life sentence at Kamiti Maximum Prison. Whatever the reason, loneliness has become Kerubo’s best friend. Her bed must be super cold for her to flirt with you on Facebook, you reckon.
The script is typical. These chats will keep on going, then after a week, phone numbers will be exchanged, and the conversations will move from Facebook to text messages, to awkward phone calls, to awkward first-first dates at Kaldis, to more phone calls (the Zuku to Zuku calls are free), then finally to steamy nights at O’Sinkirri.
Our Kerubo becomes what people with no creative compass like to call a cougar.To you that term sounds more tabloid than taboo. A little harsh. You think of it as merely having range or intergenerational dating. Feelings are involved, and yes, sometimes canoodling a senior citizen ends up in marriage. Think Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon. Too far? Then bring it home – you remember Wambui Otieno (67) and Mbugua (29)?
In the movies and on raunchy internet sites, Kerubos are portrayed as hot aging women, with hidden wrinkles, posing for shots in what seems to be uncomfortable lingerie – usually black or fire engine red in colour. Old women hanging on desperately to their long gone youth, hungry, ready to pounce on the next piece of meat they can find. But this all showbiz fiction. These are the same internet sites that lie to you ati there are some hot females in your area dying to bang you.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Kerubo never imagined a day when she would date a guy younger than her, but here comes a jamaa who is clearly a decade late, promising to make her feel like she is 25 again, and she is extremely flattered, and wonders, “Why not?”
Let’s face it. For a woman like this one, the options are rather limited. Men her age are no longer available, and the ones who are, are parking tinted SUVs in front of University of Nairobi gates waiting for girls who call them Uncle – but who, in the throes of passion, will ask “Who is your daddy?”
It is also true that most men in their mid forties have let themselves go a bit. Of course this is a blanket statement, but where are the ones who keep themselves past thirty five these days? So the attitude of a woman looking for a little excitement is ‘Why settle for a wrinkly old burger when you can have a juicy sirloin steak?”
For the most part this is how mature women end up dating younger men. It is out of a need to feel wanted again. To feel in control and take charge of their lives again, after a series of unfortunate events that have fucked up their adulthood.
But the world will never understand. Most people, including her friends (especially the married ones) frown at the idea. These are those useless friends who let her make mistakes and then after the separation say something like; “I always had a bad feeling about George.” They think she is experiencing a mid life crisis – that she is inundated by an uncanny desire to delay her adulthood. Hell, some will even start suggesting names of therapists in town.
Also, there are lots of young men who would love to be cougared. They are dying to be cubs. Guys in their mid twenties who are (ironically) tired of the girls in their pool, and so they prefer to have a seasonal affair with an older woman who is in a particular era of her life in which she is not quite certain of her next move, still gambling with the chess pieces that life has left her to play with.
As with any other date, they go out, have fun, stream those movies on Zuku, share insecurities, bond. It is not always about the sex. The problem with cubs is that they think they will meet a sexually starved human being, or a crazy nymphomaniac, who will rush them into bed on the first date and ride them till they moan in hieroglyphics. Sadly, a good number of them get nothing more than a peck on the cheek after the first night out, and a goodnight. Even cubs need to prove themselves worthy.
There are downsides to such an arrangement. The generational gap. Many times she will not understand the LOL at the end of every sentence, and the wearing of pants so close to his knees that she’ll keep wanting to pull them up.
The first time they have sex will be weird. She will keep worrying about her wobbly bits. But it is nothing a few martinis can’t handle. Even then, the advantages far outweigh the cons. She brings experience; he brings stamina and hot, young blood.
So here’s my bottom line. If you are a Kerubo, yet still doubtful about being in this situation, and there’s chemistry and you like the guy and feel good with him, go for it. The worst that could happen is that you will start texting using that stupid monkey emoji – the one covering its eyes.
But really, go for it because it is the honest thing to do.
Read my column – A Man’s View – on Healthy Woman magazine, the May 2015 issue.