There are single women and there are rich, single women. The latter are the ones you will bump into at lavish clubs or high-end salons flipping through Forbes magazine. They are at ease. No pressure in life. They have everything in place. Their companies, which they built from scratch, are profitable and very liquid. Some hold senior positions in big companies and have a PhD or three master’s degrees from reputable universities.
They have no time for mwitu sponsors who run after campo girls to sate their sexual itches. When they hook up for chamas, these women only talk about business proposals and performance of their stocks in the securities market. They have no time for small gossip and care less if the government compensates freedom fighters or lob teargas at protestors in the CBD. They mostly hang out in groups of fours and on weekends, will be busy playing golf as they drown single malt whiskies and authentic cognacs.
If you are the typical hit-and-run fisi, these classy women are out of your league. They lounge in corner offices, have employed personal drivers and cooks and enjoy fully-paid company vacations, with allowances that can pay your salary for a whole year. Their bank balances read like a combination of the two numbers in your cheap dual-sim phone. That, will intimidate even the loudest braggart amongst men. No wonder, despite the have-it-all, easy and luxurious life aura, these high-flying women are lonely. Very lonely.
Take Caroline Mukami* for instance, a top manager in a multi-media and telecommunications firm. She is in a position to hire, fire and determine how much staff in the firm earn. Whenever the boss lady (as she’s popularly referred to) struts her way to her air-conditioned corner office, men and women can only kula kwa macho.
But unknown to them, Caroline sometimes wishes she was in their position. “Success comes at a cost, my friend,” she says, adding that, “Having a self-contained corner office and employees at your beck and call can make you very lonely.” Sarah Jepkemboi Chumo Serem (EBS), once Chairperson of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, confessed in an interview that, “Once in a leadership role, many women report feeling on their own, lonely and lacking support.”
One way of explaining the ‘loneliness’ is that, in general, women have a different way of finding security than men. Women crave affirmation to feel secure, but most do not find this at the top. Most of these women are 35 and above, divorced or yet to be married, but can’t tie any man down. We sampled some of the reasons why the Kenyan man fears this woman like the plague.
Men want a wife not a medal
If you’re a successful woman, there’s something you need to know. Your career accomplishments aren’t all that a man is looking for, says Ken wa Iringa, a casual labourer in the city.“A man does not fall in love with a degree from a foreign university, big salary or an impressive job title. He falls in love with a woman. A man is emotionally attracted to a woman when he sees something special in her personality, and suddenly recognises her as unique,” he told The Nairobian.
Some men like Pius Githinji are afraid of successful women because they lack personality. “I dated an accomplished woman but we could not have a meaningful conversation, as she always lapsed into academic talk. Even my friends started avoiding me. Can you believe she introduced herself as a graduate from a certain university each time we met new people. It only lasted for three months,” Pius told The Nairobian.
Men misread them
Having a busy and successful career changes the way a woman acts while in love and in a relationship. Balancing work and relationships can be a real ongoing challenge. There may be moments when a woman can’t offer love and affection, due to the stress of work.
If a man can’t see the kinder and gentler side of you, he may misread the woman you truly are, one who’s also about love and intimacy. “I’m looking for a man at my level, but all of them are afraid to date me because they think I will also bring work and stress to our home just as they do,” Nancy Mwende, a senior marketing manager at an international media house said.
Have class and lack style
To attract a man, a woman must also put some effort. The greatest mistake that most corporate women make is assuming that they can put let their guard down when they are not at the workplace. That means they ditch their miniskirts for some multi-coloured spandex, cover their Brazilian wigs with some shoddy hat or mavin and fake leather boots. “A woman must always look good even when she is going to the shop. She has no excuse. You never know when you will meet the man of your dreams. It’s all about impression,” Derek Bbanga, an image consultant told The Nairobian.
Second wife mentality
Women are usually pickier than men. These women have no time to ‘groom’ men and will prefer an already finished product. Deal breakers for women include laziness, dishevelled look, being too needy and bad sex. “Gone are the days when women were willing to groom a man into something they would like. We have so many women preferring to be second wives. They, however, forget that a man’s first family will always come first,” Lucy Njoki shares.
Alice Muthoni, a senior education officer, is dating her boss but hardly spends time with him. “We see each other at the office but that’s it. He will come over to my house once in a while, but spends more time with his first family,” she said. Her friends on the other hand are too busy with their families and since she does not have one herself, they have no common meeting ground.
According to psychologist Faith Atsango, contrary to the belief that men fear successful women, only a small percentage of men are actually intimidated by such women. She says that though there are studies that suggest men are scared of successful women, none is conclusive. “It is simply about men sticking to their lanes. A woman who heads a blue-chip company can easily get a partner from her crowd. It is the men who aren’t in her crowd who will feel intimidated. But still, there are men, who are in the lowest category financially or socially, but have no qualms dating high achieving women. It all depends on the type of man and if the woman can accept them,” says Atsango.
She adds that women who are high achievers are perceived to be tough because they were encouraged to be assertive and independent from childhood, “Generally it is simply misogyny, because men prefer to get a tongue lash from a male boss, than a female one. A female in the same rank as a male, especially if it is a higher rank, might be viewed as intimidating. But there are men who aren’t bothered by successful women,” adds Atsango.