The problem with Kenyan fathers is that they insist on outrageous bride prices, yet their daughters, have had their “legs broken” by someone else. The rule of the thumb seems to be that the father must be reimbursed all the money that went towards the daughter’s education, from kindergarten to post-graduate, with some interest, before he can bless the union. The daughter, in turn, will demand a colourful wedding, the kind Swahili news anchors “ya kukata na shoka!” which her pals will talk about for days on end.
I think we should break the mould. Just after independence when virginity was greatly prized, it made sense to pay a million cows in exchange for a woman. I now don’t see why old men demand 130 acres in Karen to okay a marriage. Of course, there is the option of eloping (works all the time), but for those who prefer to do things properly, the biggest obstacle to the marriage is bound to be the prospective father-in-law, with a nose for the colour of money. I tabled an idea at The Male Society and members made serious recommendations which may sound crude, old-fashioned if you will, but by Jove! Aren’t they terrific for the good of all progressive men?
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For starters, we should present the woman’s social CV to her father, detailing his daughter’s social escapades and sexual encounters in colourful detail, with more than just a sprinkle of her past relationships. That is what we call her body count. As you may be aware, some women change their men with the same frequency they do nails.
We suggest that there be an indirect correlation between the body count and bride price - the higher the body count, the less the bride price. But how can you determine the body count? Simple. Just befriend her best friends, especially the ones who always throw you those furtive glances. Fill them with alcohol and sit back to take note of slurred revelations. Seek out the college she attended, as well as one or two of her workmates. Study them and keep in mind the ‘birds of the same feather’ wisdom. If she is more familiar with DJs than pastors, be very worried.
I propose that we need to determine the amount of alcohol in her blood and state of her liver as well. Further, a medical examination will be necessary to establish the state of her reproductive health, vis-à-vis, the pills she has consumed. This will inform your counteroffer against the father’s lofty expectations. Nairobi bars are full of young lasses who drink as if the booze factory in Ruaraka is closing down. I met one such lass in a Sodom like drinking den at 7 am, Sunday morning. Would you believe she had the cheek to proclaim she looks forwards to nothing short of a loving, faithful hubby?
Another important thing is the word count in her prayers. If it is zero, the bride price must similarly be low. We must also consider the number of debauched events attended by the woman in question between the ages of 17 and 26. A high number of events should eat into the expected bridal price. Then there’s the abortion profile. You can figure out for yourself the trajectory of the bride price in relation to a notorious case. It is important that the woman also know how to prepare your favourite meal, ferment milk in a gourd and cook using firewood on a three-stone stove to justify a bride price.
There is also the hot issue of ‘toto mamas’. Whereas some men will consider paying more because of a woman’s proven fertility, some would tighten the strings because they see a penchant for reckless mistakes. I am more inclined towards the latter position. All men should carefully consider these before raiding the bank to pay the bride price.