I was once a wide-eyed, mesmerized 22 year-old girl, excited to be working in a large multi-national company. Mostly, I was surprised at the ease with which guys of all age groups and all backgrounds and ethnicities seemed interested in me. When you have just survived MUBS and its broke boys showing off on daddy’s money, when you are just coming out of the boda-boda system and roadside rolexes, then you find real men who go on vacation in Bali, who eat Japanese lunch and order spare parts directly from Germany, something in you unsettles. Your scent becomes a waft more feminine, your fingers begin to rub that “yes” button, waiting for the first one of them boys to ask you out.
This is how I landed in the hands of a one sir, let’s call him Calvin. He took me to lunch on my first day at work and was super sweet. He always brought me a small present every single day of the week and was very attentive to me, always making me feel like some princess. Within weeks we were totally inseparable. He was my confidant. I was enjoying work life.
Two months down the road things didn’t go so well and he called it quits. I can’t say I was heart-broken, because it was an affair of thrills and not the heart, but I sure was very disappointed. And then in came the next sir, let’s call him Marvin. Even when he knew I was with Calvin, Marvin had never stopped giving me that “eye” and constantly throwing compliments at me. That very day when he heard that Calvin and I were done he asked me to lunch.
Within a month Marvin and I were inseparable. I made it clear from the beginning that I had hopes of getting back with Calvin and he always said that he wouldn’t stop me if that’s what I wanted to do. So when Calvin and I finally got back together, I broke up with Marvin to focus on my real boyfriend. Who knew, maybe it could become serious in the future.
Everything was going well, or almost. For some reason I missed Marvin and didn’t wish to let him go completely. Many a times I clandestinely met up with him, stayed even two days at his place and Calvin had no idea. So, that’s how a 22 year-old me started seeing two people at a go. When you’re still young and stupid you believe every flatter, every utter, you eat whatever your supposed lover has served without asking why.
Cheating as we know it as a largely subjective term, depending on the culture and context. In African culture before the White invasion, it was not unusual for a man to have more than one sexual partner. It was not a social or religious crime. In fact, it was celebrated and brought high prestige to the man who could hold as many a woman as possible. In Buganda they have that notorious saying of “Omusajja asajjalaata” which can be loosely translated as “A man should have the freedom to have many sexual partners.” The obligation to marry them wasn’t there, but still a man with many wives was celebrated.
Society, however, severely castigated women with multiple sexual partners, and polyandry was not even considered worthy of a word. Many African languages don’t have a term for “polyandry”. Such an abomination it was and still is that merely suggesting it can get you expelled from the clan. But that is almost expected due to the objectification and proprietorship of women. Throughout the ages, throughout the cultures and civilizations that have inhabited Earth, women have always been viewed as objects owned by men.
Through marriage object ownership would be transferred to the new master who would then label the object with his name and it (she) would henceforth have to live according to the new master’s regulations. The price (dowry) of this object depended on its “value”, whether it was brand new (young and virgin) or “second hand”. Its efficiency and usefulness was also put into consideration, as well as its face value (beauty). If the goods had a damage (non-virgin), instead of returning them you could withhold part of the payment (A goat or any other form of payment).
In modern day, a woman is still expected to take up her husband’s name upon marriage and it is widely considered inappropriate if she declines to do so. She is also expected to be a bit understanding if (or when) she discovers that her husband is having an extra-marital affair, because he is a man and men apparently have that weakness. Yet, if she is the one caught “cheating” she is highly demonized and treated as a slut and no one wants to listen to any explanation she might have to give.
Does this social police, therefore, control women’s sexuality and ensures that only one man tastes a woman’s honey for her entire life yet he’s tasting other pots left and right? Does it mean that women actually “understand” the need for their husbands to branch off at another road once in a while? Do the women ever forgive these misdemeanors or they pretend for the sake of society and family reputation? And the men, do they ever feel guilty after “cheating” or they feel entitled to their freedom to seek new pussy once in a while?
What about the trouble that goes into hiding an illicit affair? Checking that no hair strand remained on the car seat. No unfamiliar earrings under the seat. No lipstick stains on the shirt. Making sure that your story of yesterday matches that of today and that everything is coherent and every minute of your supposed business trip is fully accounted for. Deleting messages, clearing chats and employing very complicated passwords and patterns. Is it ever worth it?
I was lucky to have learnt my lesson at an early age. Being a really terrible liar never made things any easier for me. One of the cons of cheating is that you have to remember not to know the things one told you in private, when you’re in public. So when we had this work party and Marvin announced that he was going rafting on the Nile for the weekend, I unconsciously blurted out that he had earlier said he was going to Kidepo Game Park. Everyone turned and looked at me, waiting for an explanation, and after minutes of staring in space I cleared my throat and said I probably heard Conrad saying that the other day. Luckily Conrad was not around to deny it in my face.
Also, you have to constantly remember which partner likes what and does things how. It was easier with Marvin because he knew he was the side guy and didn’t demand explanations, but Calvin had no idea I was sleeping with another person so whatever didn’t add up had to be explained. And the two only had one similarity. The same skin tone. Everything about them was the total opposite of the other.
Calvin liked me clean-shaved, Marvin liked some hair and always lamented when I took it all off. Calvin was extremely afraid of searing a baby and didn’t trust the pill. He said he knew countless people who got knocked up while on the pill. As a result he never launched without wearing rubber. No matter how bad he wanted it, if we were out of rubber he wouldn’t risk it. He even feared his seed would drop on my upper thigh and swim up and boom. A baby. Marvin on the other hand trusted the pill as much as he trusted the calendar. According to him it never failed. After our health tests came out negative he never ever wore rubber. Not even once.
Calvin liked order and sex had to be strictly in bed, whereas Marvin was ready to go at any point if I was down for it. At the beach, in the kitchen as the boiling rice spilled over and started to burn, in the shower, on the balcony at night tormenting the poor Askari with an unsolicited spectacle, even once in a hospital room!
Calvin followed sports religiously and couldn’t miss a match for anything, whereas Marvin’s passion was reading and he wouldn’t mind if I interrupted him with a silly story or a funny clip. Calvin was turned on in a classic way; sexy lingerie, sweet words, and a cool ambiance. Marvin on the other hand was turned on by heated debates and arguments, and my Chanel perfume which I wore to work every single day.
It was hard trying to remember what worked for who and a couple of times I would mix them up, bringing up the topic of the refugee crisis in Europe with Calvin, or getting angry when Marvin didn’t notice my new lingerie. Many a times I tried to make Marvin wear protection and he would scream in exasperation “I am not Calvin, damn it!” Worse, Marvin had long started catching feelings and had even asked me once jokingly why I didn’t just dump Calvin, get off the pill and settle with him.
Even though Marvin was a real sweetheart, of the two Calvin seemed more responsible, more mature. So I started planning to break up with Marvin. I intentionally became boring so that he gives me that “it’s-not-you-it’s-me” line, but all he did was suggest that we go on a mini vacation to Kidepo. Initially I turned down the offer because I didn’t want him to spend all that money on me yet I was about to give him the bullet, neither did I have enough savings to actually pay for myself a night in dollars. Also, without his knowledge, I had already been to Kidepo with Calvin, and, many of our workmates occasionally went there for mini vacations. He insisted.
I had already laid down the excuses I was going to use to jump out of the boat. “You smoke. You drink way too much. You’re a bit irresponsible. I am focusing on developing my career right now,” etc, etc. The list was quite long, with the lousiest reasons you can think of.
Imagine going for the weekend as A’s girlfriend and showing up on Monday as B’s fiancée. Marvin had the confidence to propose to a girl he was “illegally” seeing. Of course I turned him down, painfully, and he said he understood. As long as I didn’t dump him. And on coming back on Monday I learnt that the highly esteemed Calvin was on paternity leave because his wife had just given birth! But, but…
Yeah, he had a wife, a legally wedded wife with two children, the baby was the third! Meaning all the while he had been sleeping with the two of us at a go. It was so painful a fact that I had to hold my mouth lest I scream in anguish. So all along I was a side chick? I don’t know why but I felt so small and so humiliated that I wished I had a magic power that could make me escape that embarrassment.
And why hadn’t anyone ever told me nothing? Apparently they were minding their business, it wasn’t their position to tell me. And these were not Ugandans. They didn’t have lugambo because in a perfect Ugandan setting such a “secret” couldn’t remain hidden for long. And did Marvin know? No, he was as new as me in the organization. And boy, was he jubilant at the turn out of events! He was not even attempting to hide his excitement.
Eventually when I changed jobs and Marvin moved to another country, I listened to all the flatters and compliments from one ear, and let them go out through the other. I wasn’t twenty-two anymore, and I had learnt that just because he says he’s single doesn’t mean he actually is. Many guys are committed to one woman but still interested in an extra thigh to bite. Many girls are side-chicks without knowing it. Also, I decided to never ever get myself in a situation where I have to always remember who I’m with and where I said I was yesterday. If we can’t talk honestly and openly about our “extra leg-overs” if they happen, then we have no deal.
Because humans are humans and nothing is as frail as a human heart. Man is bound to get entangled with some other person at some point in his life. How about health protection and the risks involved in an extra sex partner whose health situation is unknown? In this era of disease importation and new maladies, you can think the condom will protect you but if you give or receive “head” the fluids are exchanged. If the person has strange skin or oral contagious conditions they can be imported to your loved ones. Not mentioning condom bursts and tears.
In other words, do your best to eat one thigh at a go. If things go south, (and they are likely to), then be honest about it and let all the involved parties be fully aware of the current state of your desires, before they find out on the grapevine or from a lab test. You owe this to humanity!
Big Kiss !