I went out with an acquaintance for lunch recently and when the menu was brought, she spent nearly ten minutes studying it. We were at a 'normal' restaurant so the menu was not complicated as it did not have items like prawns or octopus.
Tired of waiting for her to make up her mind, I decided to pick the most expensive meal for us, chicken and chapati, at Sh420 each. She nearly screamed when I pronounced that and stepped on my toe so hard.
The problem was, she explained, she never ate such expensive meals. "You know, that is the kind of money I use to provide my family's dinner and breakfast," she scowled as she stepped on my toe for making such an outlandish choice. Chips and sausage, or githeri should have been the choice. "It is affordable and cheap, you know," she said. Well, I made her relax by promising to pay our bill that day.
Did she ever treat herself? I wondered. Never, she readily said. I thought of the many women like her who viewed spending money on themselves as a sin and felt a dark sense of sadness engulf me.
They work hard and bring home the money but rarely do they remember themselves. I once attended a seminar outside the country and when a group of us went shopping, I noticed one lady buy everyone a gift except herself. When I brought up the issue, she said something like, "I don't even remember to buy myself anything. As long as my children and husband are happy with these gifts, I am satisfied."
Buying gifts for those you love is not bad. The only problem is that these ladies 'forget' that they too deserve to 'treat' themselves once in a while.
Before I am accused of comparing the sexes, I will mention one thing. Men just spend on themselves and others without translating to how many dinners the money can afford. During the same lunch date mentioned above, I saw a man next to our table give the waiter a Sh200 tip. While it is a fact that men and women are different, there are a few positive things we can borrow from the other sex. If you really like a dress, for example, just buy it. They buy costly suits and shirts without adding up sums in their head.
The cost should not inhibit you. You deserve the treat. Besides, who doesn't feel nice when wearing an expensive outfit or designer perfume?
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Think about it, you have worked yourself sore for six months and have never bought yourself anything. A dress of Sh7,000 or shoes of Sh4,000 should not make you feel guilty. Also remember that expensive clothes give you class and hence more respect and honour, both at work and home.
When you take yourself for granted by always going for cheap outfits and perfumes, everyone will treat you the same way. If you are keen, you will realize even in your office, it is the crisply dressed ladies who are assigned more duties that are finally rewarding as they scale the career ladder.
It is a fact that if you want to make more money, you must invest or spend more money. Thus good perfumes and clothes may cost you a fortune but in the end, the returns can be immense. Image gives a good first impression – for job interviews or crucial meetings, you put on your best, why not do the same on a daily basis?
Translating every expenditure in terms of how much that money will do to feed your family is what has imprisoned women. If you are the type who turns out clumsy while everyone else is smartly and sharply dressed, it is time to review your wardrobe. Do not punish yourself unnecessarily. Buying food will always be a duty as long as you are alive but feeling good about yourself is a decision you make.