Things that can kill your love dead.

I was there, you people. I witnessed it. If you haven’t watched love get killed dead, mercilessly smothered, stomped out, erased and given a strong kick into its next life, you’re still young and innocent in the cruel ways of the world.

This love didn’t see its death coming, nobody did. One minute it was skipping across meadows, holding hands with fairies and getting high on fairy dust and the next, weee wooo weee wooo it needed an ambulance.

Location: Coffeeshop. Mission: Observation.  There I was, sitting one table way from a young, attractive couple, eavesdropping. To make my mission easier, I pretended to be reading a book (and because I’m almost always reading a book, it all came natural) .

First of all, context. I’m not a creep who goes to restaurants to watch random couples fall out of love with each other.  What I am is the world’s biggest matchmaker. Shoving these two in each other’s amorous direction had been my project for a while.  I was even getting ready to bill the girl (my services are not for free, please. Love costs money)

All was going well until silence descended, and we all know how dangerous silence is for budding romances. I was even considering tripping a waiter to give them something to talk about when the boy started chewing his cheeks. What? Yes. He started to munch the skin inside his left cheek. Eew. Why would somebody chew their cheeks? What level of hunger is that?

As if to counter his weirdness, she started, with a practiced hand to pluck her eyelashes off. She didn’t even seem to know what she was doing. Now she wasn’t tearing them out, no. she was methodically plucking, one by one. Twick! Twick! Twick! I was alarmed. My eyelashes had even started twitching in sympathy when a menu bearing waiter came and broke their party of disgustingness up.

After poring, ordering and sharing a few shy smiles, they realized that they had nothing to say to each other and so went back to showcasing their individual weirdness (es).

He kicked it off by tucking his tongue between his teeth and proceeding to chew it. Her reaction was indescribable. Rather, it’s too describable and I’m too lazy a writer to do it justice. She literally folded into her frame like a polythene bag on top of a sigiri. He was totally, happily oblivious until she started to blow air in and out of the gap between her teeth.

The waiter returned with the food and broke up their grossness party. Again.

As they ate, she began to do something that I had never, in my 10 years of knowing her witnessed. She started rubbing her belly. Now this rubbing wasn’t random. It coincided with every revolution of her jaw. So munch, rub, munch, rub. It was really very disturbing but not more than the loudness with which she swallowed her food. Such an audible swallower was she that people around their table started debating whether or not it was possible for a human being’s oesophagus to be too narrow for food.

How, I asked myself, did I know these absurd people?  I’d just decided to withdraw my services and affections from the both of them and hightail it out of there when she recognized me and started to signal, “S.O.S” in that universally recognized way.

So I think it’s safe to assume that that love was crushed under the buttocks of bad etiquette. The moral of this story is: Don’t be gross.

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Feeling Crushi-onate?

When you start crushing on somebody, the first thing you do is stalk their facebook profile; obviously. This is  what may have even caused the crush in the first place. You proceed to like as many of their status updates, notes and links as possible to keep a steady presence in their mind and notifications folder (but not too many because we don’t want them associating your name with spam).

Fuck you for being so gorgeous

When tralalalala, the forces of the universe throw you together, be grateful. Don’t start saying things like, “Nga this person is way more attractive on facebook…”.

The Date:

So according to the people watching, the two of you are getting along like a madhouse on fire. He’s saying things, you’re laughing. You’re saying things; he’s nodding and listening attentively. Whenever your friends, the watchers can manage it, they quickly jam their mouths to your ear and ask, “Anha? How are things going? Progress? Eh?!???!”

This is all very exciting for you because you are hopelessly obsessed with this person. You think he’s the hottest thing since the I.T guy at your former workplace.

But because laavu teli feeya, there will arise many opportunities for you to make an utter fool of yourself. Fear not for Plan B knows a thing or two about cupid, crushes and mortification.  We present:

Idiot’s guide to avoiding mortification at the hands of cupid:

Relax. Please refrain from squealing.

Yes, you’re absolutely chuffed about spending time with him (or her) and can barely contain your joy. You must however, try not to squeal. Even more important is to try not to gurgle. If you haven’t ever gurgle-talked, thank your gods because it is a most humiliating and ugly sounding phenomenon. Your words actually gurgle in your throat before they come out. On account of your excitement.

If he’s being slow, guma.

Try very hard not to try to speed things up by saying any of the following things because they will make you sound like you are interviewing his loins:

  • What is your opinion pertaining to us heading back to yours?
  • What are your thoughts on you and I doing the bumpy-grindy?
  •  Can you feel the lust in the air? These bars are places of iniquity! What do you say we head back to yours?
  • Are you as interested as I am in cutting to the chase or are you enjoying this mating dance too much?

Don’t get too drunk

Because nobody accepts that as an excuse anymore. If in your inebriation you do a fake thing like puke on his shoes or sit on the floor of the bar and refuse to get up until he buys you another drink, pray that you forget it. And if the events of the night hit you in the head like a wet boot the next morning, try not to send him an irrelevant text message (to assess the damage).

If he ever asks about any of the horrifying events of the night past, tell him that you can’t, for the life of you, remember anything. Not even draping him like a wet curtain. Keep a straight face, because some truths will not only fail to set you free, they will condemn you to a life of embarrassment and mortification.

Just how local is too local?

To decide that certain aspects of another person’s personality makes them less deserving of your affection automatically makes you a vile snob, even when you’re just being an honest observer. Because most people aren’t comfortable with being vile and snobbish, countless euphemisms have been invented for the word local for example: street, native, homegrown. REAL is a firm favorite.

Women are really flexible when it comes to the men that they date/ fall obsessively in lust with. We don’t expect you to have that big a wallet. You can be ugly as sin and we’ll look for that one thing, like, ‘Ooh, he’s got such nice skin between his pimples’. We don’t expect our mates to walk right off fashion TV. There’s however this ONE limit. The local limit.

Localness is an attitude. It’s a disease. It’s a thing that men who don’t like being fancied pretend to be in order to sabotage your feelings for them.

Meet Rodney, the hottest guy you will ever read about. I could write five pages in description of the right side of his face and another 10 inspired by the cleft on his head. He has pretty ears, an upper lip that veers off ugliness by the smallest degree. Basically, this guy has patented hotness.

Rodney was made for the big screen, for paintings. He was born to be the male face of Uganda. If Rodney went for BBA, big brother would reveal himself, fling his arms around his perfectly formed ankles and sob for him not to leave. Rodney is so fine; he makes the word hot feel inadequate.

But he’s also extremely local. Obviously, you only find this out after you’ve pledged allegiance to his face.

So, what horribly local things does he do?

Rod, Uganda’s Adonis, keeps his money in his puffy looking off-grey socks. We’re not talking a tenner, two fifty bobs, no. We’re talking a whole salary. When you catch him stuffing all those notes down his legs, your first instinct is to laugh. And then you feel very sad, because how will you ever convince yourself to like him again? You ask all your trusted male friends, the most liberal ones if, haha, keeping money in socks is normal behavior that every grown man indulges in from time to time. They ask you when you started dating security guards.

When you’ve finally drowned out the protests of your mind, when you’ve said ‘Rodney is the man for me, he’s real, he knows what’s what’, his neighbor catches him greedily eying the thighs of some badly photographed woman in Red Pepper. ‘Catches’ because he’s trying to be clandestine, pretending to facebook with his hand on his mouse and everything and yet his eyes are fixed on the newspaper in his lap. Hello? I’m right behind you, Rod. If filthy fantasies are going to slide slimily against each other in your head, fantasies so filthy that the air around your head starts to smell, let them be about me, please, and not some anonymous pockmarked tabloid thigh.

And just after you’ve declared that boys will be boys and have made yourself protagonist in a story where you’re a tourist in Buganda-land who falls in love with one of the sexy native boys and lives happily ever after, enjoying a love that stretches beyond the limits of language, he starts to kwemolar. You remember that thing that happened to all the girls around you when you turned 14? How the sound tss mysteriously attached itself to all their words? The way they’d weave their necks like cobras as they spoke? That’s the stuff Rodney starts to do.

First, you’re perplexed, mildly disturbed, then it dawns that ooooh. He’s noticed that you like him and this is maybe his way of acknowledging and encouraging your bad intentions. You have to be careful here because the despair you feel at this point might be strong enough to drive you to permanent celibacy and then what will happen to your dream of making babies with him, babies so hot, they’ll be able to change the world with their exquisite looks?

The mbogos. English has really messed us up. We don’t mean to think lowly of guys who can’t speak it but we’re stuck in this…neo-colonialist warp. Uganda doesn’t even have an accepted variety of Pidgin English. This has led to the birth of a thing called the mbogo. A cutter. An mbogo/cutter is a very big, bad, amusing mistake in grammar/ wording. If somebody says ‘seeing at them’ to mean ‘looking at them’ or ‘take a pose’ to mean ‘take a picture’, they are the official king of mbogos.

And then, to crown things, Rodney reveals himself to be an incorrigible flirt.What’s this? Hello, my name is Rodiney, I’m frating with Maliya, Sala, Myuldred, Edisa…you! Bad man! Do you not know how much I’ve sacrificed to like you? My swag is cut to ribbons, you guy. Give a chick a break.

He fakes She fakes

Women are so good at faking things that the circulation of that stereotype alleging that as long as one is female, she is a natural born emotional con-artist comes as no surprise.

When, for example, a woman meets her ex with his new girlfriend, she’ll clutch the girlfriend to her bosom with such synthetic love and warmth that a whole friendship might spark up, when what she really wants to do is elbow the newbie’s front teeth in and tell her she’s the dullest, most unattractive person ever to exist.

In this case, it’s self-preservation. What she’s doing is guarding herself against embarrassment, a thing that men are yet to start being concerned about.

But men fake lots of things too, usually to impress or placate their mates, for example, the love of poetry, a particular genre of music and even devoutness.

Nerima says, “I don’t see any problem with pretending to like his friends, relatives or bone-jumping skills. These are relatively small issues in the big scheme of things and it’s only natural to go a couple of extra miles to keep the peace. A man can, however, fake anything from the very foundation of the relationship (in my case, fidelity) to his career.”

Long-distance relationships also provide the perfect conditions for a fully-fledged fake-athon. When Joshua sees his lover’s number flashing on his screen at an inconvenient time, he won’t answer her call and say, “Oh wow, honey. It’s just super that you’re calling now, when I’m right in the middle of a lecture and Eunice has her hand on my thigh.” He’ll just cite network problems the next time they talk.

Lies are an all too necessary evil, according to Jonah, because the company of a woman who is running low on self-esteem is intolerable. He says, “I always make sure that my girlfriend feels great about herself, even if there isn’t much for her to feel good about.

I will lie without shame if her ego is in need of polishing because it’s common knowledge that a contented woman is 10 times more likely to put out than one with the self-worth of a cockroach.”

Being emotional isn’t something that comes naturally to many men and yet it is a powerful weapon to have in one’s inventory. Not wanting to fall behind, they fake it.

Thalia says, “In my experience, they’re either using it as bait or as a way to deflect attention from the crimes they’d committed. You catch him cheating, he bursts into tears.

This has happened to me twice!” Men have been pegged for always wanting to have their cake and eat it. According to Sofia, a man will maintain a relationship with a smart, independent and assertive woman because she makes him look good in front of his relatives, workmates and friends at his local kafunda but he’ll get involved in loads of steamy affairs with women whom he’d rather be with.

She says, “Cheating is one of the nastiest forms of ‘faking it.’ The traitor will often convince his woman that all is well — with gifts and such — to keep her contented. He’ll then search for a simple, pliant, controllable and less intelligent woman who makes him feel powerful. Sex and fulfillment are two different things.”

Most men are out to make a good first impression (note the use of MOST. Some think their possession of cojones is enough) and so they’ll hold your purse, be extremely affectionate, treat you like an egg with a calcium deficiency, etc. They’ll even laugh at atrociously bad jokes.

Maureen says, “I’ve actually tried and tested this, so it holds good. If you want to find out whether or not your man is faking things, wear the sexiest outfit you’ve got and make the worst jokes that you possibly can. Make them so bad that even people on the street will stare after you in dismay long after you’ve gone. If he’s still nodding attentively and humoring you with laughter, he’s a faker.”

Justus comes to the defence of men with, “Generally if the chick is hot enough, whatever garbage that comes out of her mouth will be hilarious. Fact of life. If she’s hot, she’s funny/intelligent.”

Sharon in the Big Brother house must be one big exception then.

Faking isn’t a thing that can be attributed exclusively to just one of the sexes though. Relationship blackmail, which is practiced by absolutely everyone, levels the playing field.

For example, if Gary doesn’t pick Maria from the gym, he’ll sleep on the couch. If she doesn’t cook food that night — subjecting him to cold pizza for the fourth night in a row — he won’t pick her up from the gym and so forth.

This form of blackmail can only work if it’s disguised by buckets and buckets of affection, tinkly laughs, hugs and other pleasant facades.

05-06-2011