You’ve probably had a tipple with him, this guy. He swaggers into the shingid late. Hands in pocket. He’s rocking this blue jacket and black khaki pants. He’s clean shaven. No strand of beard. His scent is expensive, you can tell. So is his time piece. He’s always in Clarks. Clarks or Hush puppies. He a drives a pretentious car like a Morano. A car with a big ass. He’s probably am ass guy himself. Or maybe he likes men, who knows? You can never tell in this town. He almost impresses you with his suaveness. He looks dapper. He looks polished. He shakes hands of those he knows around the table; ignores those he doesn’t. Then you realised he might be dapper, yes, but not as polished as you thought. You now notice his shiny lips and gleaming nails. “So this guy applies lip balm, and he goes for freaking pedicure?” you wonder. You’re even tempted to question his sexuality. He remains standing. Still, hands in pocket. He knows a standing posture is an imposing poster. His head is full of his own hype. He orders for white cap. And throws y’all at that table a round. He’s taking charge.

Two hours earlier;

You drove in with a friend. A lady. One of those calm and collected type. A miss independent. Buys her own drinks and pays her own bills. She still doesn’t consider herself a feminist though. She’s a neat blend of the modern woman and the tradition girl. She’s good looking. Good looking and very decent. She’s here to introduce you to her guy. The guy she’s been telling you incessantly for the last two months. Maybe she wants to get your male perspective – which you know doesn’t bloody matter because when a woman decides, she’s decided. Your opinion means squat. Means shit. Her guy is with his boys, watching ball at this uppity hangout that plays deadly rhumba and has a legendary reputation as a pork haven. His boys are cool. You hit it off instantly. They’re cracking you up with their naughty jokes and crazy one liners. You order pork, they order booze. Her guy is a little removed. You don’t really connect. There’s something off kilter about him. Only that you can’t place it. He strikes as you as sly. Sly and coy and phony. He has the tendencies and mannerisms of a college boy, never mind that he’s in his 40s. His has this chutzpah that acts as a veneer to the shallowness of mind. Talks a lot; has an opinion on everything. Strong opinions. He knows everything, this guy. His diction puts you off though. You can tell it’s been eons since he picked a book. He’s lean and dark and of medium height. He’s rocking a red jumper {loves attention}. Drives a Merc. Drinks tusker.

Of course you’ll never tell your friend what you really think about her guy. You’ll just say you connected with others more. But one morning you’ll notice that she’s soaking in a brackish liquid of melancholy, and you’ll press her to tell you what’s cutting, and she’s tartly mention his name, and you’ll ask her what she really thinks of that union. And if she thinks he takes it as seriously as she’d want or like. And if she’d fall for another guy, given chance. And her answers will point her to the right direction, but she’ll find an excuse to stay. Because love is shit. Okay, love ain’t shit, but shit can disguise itself as love.

Anyway, our guy with shinny lips and gleaming nails dominates the conversation. The conversation itself is as shallow as sandpit – football. United is playing Arsenal. It’s a clichéd interlocution. I stopped having arguments on football. So jaded, such arguments. I don’t watch soccer as ardently as, say, a year ago. And when I do, I watch mostly in silence, always sipping my wine, and I go home. I’m trying to employ this approach in matters politics. Because I realised we’re hopelessly tribal. You get nowhere with objective reasoning in this country.
So shinny lips offers a round of guarana to my friend. She’s knocked back quite a few and she’s getting to her apogee. She politely declines. Shinny lips insists, saying, “there’re many girls who wish I bought then booze, how dare you turn my offer down?” So for some reason, my friend budges. Her guy looks on apathetically. I’m baffled by his aloofness. I wish he could say something, anything to this racoon. I mean, you don’t address my girl in such a manner and get away with it. I deduct his brownie points even further.

It becomes more apparent, at least to me, that shinny lips is either trying to prove a point to feed his ridiculously inflated ego, or he’s on a mission. A coup de-tat of sorts. There’s this point he smirks and tells my friend, after her guy trys to crack a joke; “huyu mtu wako hana kizungu.” The table erupts with a raucous laughter. Not at the joke of her guy, but at the low blow of shinny lips.

Shinny lips made me realise just how many people out there – ‘friends’ – think they deserve your date more than you do. They’ll buy her drinks and throw you under the bus to make you look inadequate. They’ll out do themselves with presence. They’ll try to be funny and exude machismo. They’ll try to impress – desperately. They’ll use their shiny car keys as a prop, or their perceived smarts, or anything they think holds a sway. And because they’re deluded and so self-absorbed, they won’t realise that they suck.

There’s this guy I know, a narcissistic gym instructor, who could be all over your woman when you introduce her to him, say over lunch. Cracking naughty jokes, showing her naughty video clips on his phone. Trying to come across as smarter and funnier and more adventurers. He wouldn’t pick the tab though. Such a mooch. He thought his abs and biceps were everything.

I admire the courage of such guys. Guys who think they can supplant another guy and walk away with their woman simply by showing how better they are. By impressing her for a few minutes. By making her laugh, maybe. They imagine every woman in a relation or marriage isn’t happy and needs some adventure. And that they are heaven’s gift to these women.

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