Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Ripped Jeans and Movies

Image result for ripped jeans for men
Courtesy of Ali express
I recently bought a pair of ripped jeans. This happened when I showed up for a look-see session at my clothes guy. 

First off, all of you guys should know you need to have a clothes guy. A guy to keep you looking like a million dollars even when you can barely afford those Umoja slippers. The guy can also be a lady. A lady like Shiku who has a shop at Ronald Ngala and who I stopped visiting once she started selling those shirts that come in batches of a million and every Nairobian seems to have one. I don't buy such anymore since me and my future girlfriend agreed that the only time I can be in uniform is when in a choir garb singing Kumbaya with my angelic voice. 

Now, I really didn’t go there intentionally (not at Shiku’s, at the other guy’s shop). Rather, I was looking for a banking agent and in the process I thought why not say hi to Mr. Clothes.

“Karibu mzeiya, leo kuna mali kali” – he always says this. “Umepotea sana.”

“Napitia tu leo” - I’m giving a heads-up the only thing I’ll buy there is time (I was mistaken!)

So I scan through. He shows me shirts and we get on the usual ‘I don’t like it’ ride; 

“Zi, hii ni bright sana inakaa madem”.

Another one, “Ona sasa, hii inaweza shona shati zingine mbili bana”. 

Him “Si ulibeba kama hii last time?” - he remembers things I buy awfully well.

Me, “achana na hio, nataka kitu different”.

Another one and another one and another one;

No – “boss hio imejaaa maua maua”, 

Nope – “hii inakaa zile za Kibaki na Uhuru”, 

No – “hio ni ya mababa”.

He’s a patient guy. We go through the entire collection – literally. And onto trousers;

He goes, “Uko na rugged jeans?”

Me, “Apana. Siwezi buy kitu ishararuka”. I mean would you? We both laugh. Then I seriously think. Why don’t you have ripped jeans Wesh? The ka-voice in me that perfectly knows my bank balance but ignores it insists I get one. I take a moment to convince myself about the ‘work hard play hard’ thingie we all use as a free-pass to spend money extravagantly. That ka-thing is even there in French  - my mother tongue, just so you know; 'huthira beca ikumenyere' which loosely translates to 'use money until it gets comfortable with you' or something of that sort. It comes in pretty handy when you've used up all the monthly entertainment budget but you still want to squeeze in some Sunday afternoon guilty-ridden--because-you're-overspending chicken wings. Also when you want to buy ripped jeans on a random day.

I gulp and ask “hizo rugged ni how much?” The price wasn’t that bad for normal dad-like pants but bad for a torn pair of pants. By this time Mr. Clothes had talked me into trying on a pair – grayish. The tilapia-skin kind of grey. They did fit well. And they were pampers-level comfy. I legit felt them cuddle my legs. Two minutes later I’m standing by his mirror with a black and white pair of Airmax sneakers (these should be categorized as high heels for men) and the cuddly grayish rugged jean pants and a slim fit shirt that Mr. Clothes convinced me was by and Italian designer (I just kept telling him it was his ploy to gonga me out of my had earned browns). 

You should’ve seen me! I looked like akina Kendrick Lamar. I could’ve passed for an accomplished platinum name-on-billboard rapper with several awards to his name, a bulldog, a condominium in Abu Dhabi, a mansion in Beverley Hills and a beach house by the Caribbean islands. I looked all uptown and progressive. By the way when I get rich I will start a Mutura joint under my name and mention it in all media interviews I go to because I feel we don’t appreciate Mutura people for all the finger-licking 20-bob pieces we swallow every evening. 

I’ll be like “Yeah, I own a Bentley, 10,689 Acres in Rift Valley na base moja ya Mutura pale Ngara.” 

“Zinakutoa fiti” – Mr. Clothes quipped as he punched figures into his scientific calculator. Yeah, he has a scientific calculator - like he needs to find the Cosine of the prices. Lakini I figured out it might the one he used in high school and brought it in as an asset to the business - declared under fixed assets in his balance sheet. He has this Karatasi brand note book that he meticulously tucks between a pile of branded t-shirts and ladies tops and on which he scribbles things on after every sale and I'd bet there is a balance sheet in there. “How much?” I asked. His next statement had me remove all of those Kendrick Lamar stuff and put on my – what now seemed like Mjengo overalls – clothes. I wanted to leave but my guy (the clothes guy, not what you think – I’m into chics only) insisted I get the jeans and after the “nitakufanyia poa” higi haga (I've always wanted to use this phrase when writing!) I bought them. Oh, I bought the shirt too.

I hope I remember to carry these rugged jeans home when I visit my folks. I know it will be interesting. 

“Hizo jeans zako zilifanya nini kwa magoti?” My mom will ask. 

“Nilinunua hivo”, I’ll say. 

She’ll seem not to believe me and then probably in her mind question my ability to spend money rationally. I’ll sit with her outside the house and as we remove maize from cobs (is there a word for this in English?) convince her why ripped jeans are life for young people and that they are trendy and that they are made like that and they’re all cuddly and comfy. She’ll object and say that she does not see why anyone would buy torn clothes at all . Then we’ll talk about why I stayed so long without visiting.

My father wouldn’t care much. Rather he will but won’t say much. 

“Hii ndio fashion ya watu wa Nairobi?” 

“Eee hizi zimekua fashion tangu kitambo” – I’ll say.

I’m sure he will be proud of me. He will remember the 70’s when he was all young and exuberant rocking an Afro and bell-bottomed pants with those high-heeled shoes they used to wear. He will relate and know I am not lost, that I am just young and finding my way. He’ll be happy because he will have raised a chap that can only be arrested for dressing to kill. We will then talk politics and who will win the 2017 general elections. We will sneer at leaders that loot our country then be proud of our athletes’ performance at Rio. I will remind him that white people have gone crazy over our national anthem and he’ll be exhilarated because he lived through the Maumau era. He will tell me about the struggle for independence as we drink lots of tea and listen to crickets chirping incessantly outside. A couple of storied later midnight will rudely interrupt and he’ll pray for people and things and then we will retire to our beds. Happy over ripped jeans and our athletes.

Now that I’ve talked of upcountry, maybe you should know that for me this is a guilty-free place. All I do there is eat and watch TV series. No curious neighbors wondering whether you brought someone over and left them in the house or prying eyes of the landlord wondering whether you’ve been fired. Oh, and “Niko ocha” is all you need to tell people and they leave you alone. You eat and watch. It makes me feel young again (young means prolly 15 years).

So here’s my advice, buy a pair of ripped jeans and go upcountry. Go be young. Don’t grow up too fast aye.


  1. I see Wesh you are becoming really good at this .Nice article,Though I will never buy ripped jeans.... Keep it up man!!

    1. Thanks for passing by Edu. And please buy ripped jeans...you'll thank me later and your grandkids will be proud of you.

    2. Maybe i will and take a photo to reminisce the youthful days in old age

  2. I haven't seen you in these ��