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“How To”: Stop Amorous Men in Kenya

March 22, 2010

No matter your age, shape, or size, if you’re white in Kenya, chances are someone is going to find you VERY VERY attractive. Part of this is the novelty of the mzungu, part of it is the dollar sign that is inevitably tattooed on your forehead (even if you’re broke like me), and part  is the possibility of a US visa at the end of the long, wooing road. So, how do you put a stop to these ill-intentioned advances? I’ve complied a short list of ways, starting with the easy, and progressing to the outright lies!

 The Easy Methods:

(For the “Average Joe” on the street)

  1. Avoid eye contact – chances are, if they don’t see your interested by looking at them, they’re not going to pursue much more than a hello.
  2. Don’t answer at all – this, especially when combined with no. 1, is a pretty fail safe way to avoid unwanted interest. Who knows – you might be deaf! Of course, this can also be considered pretty rude, and is hard to maintain in the long run.
  3. Give the simple “hello” and keep on walking – Since it’s often hard to determine from a “hello” or “good morning” the intentions behind the comment, it’s often nice to reply in kind. By keeping walking, however,  it is generally communicated that you have somewhere to be, so a less than stalwart pursuer will back off at this point.
  4. Just say “hapana!” (no) – Obviously, if you really don’t want someone to talk to/follow you, you can just say no. This is also generally easily effective, but can be misinterpreted, rude, and ill-directed, so best to avoid this quick out if at all possible.

The easy methods – while applicable for most situations – aren’t always going to do the trick. (If it was that easy, I wouldn’t be writing this…) So, for those pesky pursuers, I give you…

     The Half-Truth Methods:

    (These are best used when a quick hello manages to turn into a conversation with a “pesky pursuer”.)

  1. “I can’t cook chapati/ugali/suku mawiki”- this virtually foolproof method has been the go-to for countless female FSD interns. If you can’t cook them the food they want to eat, your appeal as a future wife greatly diminishes. Caveat: if you, like me, actually do know how to cook these sorts of food, it may be more difficult to fall back on this method, especially if you are moderately acquainted with the pesky pursuer.
  2. “I have a boyfriend back home”  – this may discourage the less eager advances, but even if you, like me, have plenty of “friends that are boys = boyfriends” back home, the general impression is that since they aren’t here – you’re free game. Must be used with adept skill and cunning.
  3. “I’m very busy right now – going to work/school/market/home/anywhere but here.” This might get you away from a few people, especially those with only moderately dishonest intentions. However, you better have a good place to duck into quickly if this is the excuse you’re going to use, especially since there’s a possibility of them responding “well, I’ll walk with you there…” YIKES!
  4. “I want a washing machine, and a car, and a computer – are you going to buy me those?” Chances are, this method will put a stop to anyone who’s only interested in you for the supposed money you have. Of course, they could also answer something like “Yes! I love you!” which then blows this method out of the water and can make it more difficult for you in the long run.

So far, we’ve covered the methods that will help you steer clear of almost any sticky situation. However, there maybe those desperate few amorous adventurers who just won’t give up, even when confronted with the previous tactics. How do you stave of these fellows?

     The Outright Lie Methods:

  1. “I’m very happily married” – Similar to the boyfriend excuse, but a little more effective by the binding nature of marriage. Unfortunately, a lack of outward signs (like the husband right there or a very large ring) can indicate to the amorous adventurer that you’re still fair game. Fails due to similar reasons as the boyfriend excuse.
  2. “I’m very sick/dying/have a disease that I’ll give to you” – Given the prevalence of disease in Kenya, this can almost be taken as a legitimate excuse, although the potential negative ramifications could be disastrous (for instance – if the adventurer actually did have HIV, then this excuse might make you feel like trash). Also tricky to pull off if long term employment/living is sought in the area where the excuse is given, as rumors about your health could spread very quickly around town.
  3. “I’m gay/lesbian” – An excuse of the utmost efficiency, but with potentially terrible cultural results. Caveat: this method has NOT been tested, and is not advised for any but the most dire situations by the most skilled women. I’m not even sure what the cultural ramifications of a statement like this would be, but I’m guessing that “very bad” would be an understatement.
  4. “I already have 7 children, 2 husbands, and 3 mortgage payments – Can you afford all that?” If one husband isn’t enough, try, try again! A simple compounding of the above factors may be enough to drive off the amorous adventurer. Best results achieved when a half-truth method fails but enough additions are made so as to completely overwhelm the guy.
  5. “Oh really? – When!!!” Useful in the case of a random marriage proposal. Tricky to pull off at the best of times, a response demanding specific details of when the amorous adventurer plans to marry you might frighten off the A.A. without negative cultural ramifications. Of course, this method has a fallback… he could actually give a date!
  6. “Hapana!!!” If all else fails, just scream no. But beware – mob justice is right behind you and your adventurer may be in for a brutal beating if your outburst happens around a crowd of people willing to teach the amorous adventurer a lesson he won’t forget.

And to finish it off – my all time favorite/the one I use most:

     “My brother wouldn’t be too happy about that/this – you know, he’s that big white mzungu you’ve seen me with. In fact, I’m headed to meet him right now” – Thank you Nick for looking so similar to me and also being massively tall!!
2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jessica Steele permalink
    March 24, 2010 4:47 pm

    We should have bought you a fake ring before you left, like really should have, well but then we might not have had all these interesting stories!

  2. propaganda permalink
    April 27, 2010 3:27 pm

    Hilarious! I’ve always wondered why many white women dating Africans pick village yokels or dread-locked high-school dropouts. (This is sadly true of women of all ages, including pretty young things that could do a hell lot better). If only they had been armed with these lines…

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