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50 shades of a Nairobi woman (Part One)

It has often been said that women dress, act and live for other women and the men in their lives. While it is difficult to rate the worth or background of a Nairobi man because they have mastered the art of public relations, with women, it’s a different ball game all together.

A man would easily park an Sh18 million Jaguar F Type (by the way there are less than 20 of these on Kenyan roads) outside Joyland Pub in Umoja to catch up with a high school buddy he bumped into while looking for land to purchase around the neighbourhood.

With women, however, it is written all over their faces despite the fact that most of them will always try to act better than their worth. Here is what our survey revealed about women and their hoods.

Umoja, Roysambu, Kasarani

She is most likely on her first job and can afford not more than Sh18,000 in rent.  It’s hard to define her social class as she is not anywhere near middle-class although she is not poor either; she might be depending on her numerous boyfriends to foot other bills as a huge chunk of her income goes to rent.

Though she may have stepped into a university class, months of being in an ordinary career have made her lose her ability to speak more than three consecutive sentences in proper English. Hence, she switches to Sheng after getting stuck on the second sentence.

A Umoja lady dresses nicely in second-hand clothes and knows all the fashion trends as they come and go courtesy of the dozens of fashion magazines (also second hand) that litter her bed sitter or one-bedroom apartment – or read at the salon.

However, her cheap perfume re-bottled from a corner shop in Moi Avenue betrays her as there are no second-hand designer perfumes in the market. Her counterfeit Sinobi wristwatch is also an extorted birthday gift bought from Facebook at Sh3,500.

She dates anyone within her class, knows all the bars in town and matatus with the best music. Infact, she would rather be late to work than board a ‘boring’ matatu.

Rongai, Ngong, Kahawa West

Is very reserved, knows how to cook, will not miss church every Sunday and is a wife material, that is if she hasn’t just arrived from upcountry.

An all too familiar tale is told of a girl who came to Nairobi wearing long pleated skirts and drank only milk but after three and a half months, she knew more than 20 DJs on a first-name basis.

This chic thinks Mojo’s is a type of candy, Tree House is actually a house on a tree and the Millionaire’s Club shares a similarity with the  4K, debate or drama clubs that she was part of in high school. Mention BB and she thinks it’s Blue Band (not Blackberry phone).

She is in a boring eight to five, Monday to Friday job most likely a marketer, teacher or a clerk in any government office so that she can be home by dark as she lives in a different county from where she works.

Dandora, Pangani, Kariobangi, Huruma

She doesn’t have a job and if she does, it is as a mobile money agent, supermarket attendant, or in any of the countless mobile phone shops along Ronald Ngala Street/Luthuli Avenue or any other job that does not require a CV.

She has attended public schools all her life and her highest level of education is high school or a ramshackle makeshift college on the third floor of a flat in Kayole sandwiched between a bar and a church most likely called Kayole Aviation College.

Consequently, English is Chinese to her and you will need to consult in order to understand her complex Sheng lingo that is punctuated with useless words like arif, favela and inakuaje is her greeting.

She was born in the same neighbourhood that she lives in and still sees her parents on a day-to-day basis because they live less than 500 metres away.

She is 24 but still thinks matatu conductors or chewing miraa are the coolest things in Kenya since the British started constructing the railway in 1895 and would not be embarrassed to send you five “please call me” messages when she wants to talk to you.

She has a 50 Cent attitude and her ideal meal during a date would be chips, chicken and a cold soda on a fast food joint near the junction of Moi and Haile Selassie Avenues.  She also thinks people pay to access to Arboretum.

Kinoo, Kawangware, Kangemi

She came from upcountry recently and is either living with a relative as she looks for her first job or is still trying to learn the ways of the city by first living in an area that is almost similar to – and has many people from – her rural areas.

This is a girl you will comfortably find in a wines and spirits joint in the neighbourhood hanging out with a potential date and thinks Blue Moon Vodka is an expensive drink just because it has an advertisement on prime time TV.

She watches soap operas from 6am to 9am and will try and act like the actresses only that she does not have the money to boost the image.

An avocado is an accompaniment for all meals and looks down while scratching the ground with her feet when a man says hi.

It is difficult to differentiate between a house-help and this chic from these areas as they are likely to shop for clothes together.

In fact, a chic from this area will most likely turn up for a proper evening date adorning a pair of blue jeans or tights because she thinks they are the ultimate fashion statement.

To be continued…