So finally I met her, the hell date on Valentine’s Day last Wednesday.
Luckily, she was not with me, but with a man I pitied throughout his two-or-so-hour ordeal.
But let me start at the beginning. We were in Kisumu the other week with the better half (me, I’m just the ‘too clever by half’ chap), and at the end of a hectic day, remembered it was actually Valentine’s Day.
Not that it was hard to forget. Not with all the rose vendors on the street, and ebony ladies in red dresses. So we decided to do dinner at one of those swanky lounge places. Dimly lit (candles only cast a glow). With tables at different levels, like the way they place seats in a proper theater.
And that’s how we met her, the Valentine’s Date from hell. I had glimpsed her as we slid into our lower-level dinner booth – a dramatic looking young woman with a fire-red weave that matched her crimson-coloured lips and nails so scarlet they looked like they had been dipped in a bucket of blood. After a particular grisly ritual murder!
But now we could only hear her as we sat on a level beneath their booth; because she is one of those women the Lord has blessed with such a big voice you think it’s a pity they are not opera singers. Not that we have any of that ensemble in Kenya.
Anyway, the first we heard of her that evening was when the waiter brought a bottle of Amarula to table. “What is thisss?” she hissed, like a serpent that has stumbled on a not-too-impressive looking lizard. “I only do Bailey’s.”
Back up there a bit. I have never liked people who ‘do’ things. As in, “I only do Dior,” that kind of talk! Why don’t you just drink that liquor? Or wear that perfume? Who told you Bailey or Dior wish to be ‘done’ by you?
Anyway, the waiter went away and we got on with the evening and our conversation.
At least until there was a screech: “What took you sssooo long, getting the bloody Bailey? Did you go to get it at the brewery?” First of all, I’m not sure liquors like Bailey’s are made at a brewery.
But madam was not yet done with the hapless waiter feller. “I hate snails,” she snarled – and for a moment, I wondered if we were in a weird restaurant that has got escargot on its menu.
“You are a snail,” she said to the waiter. “You are a very slow man.”
The waiter apologised profusely, for being cornu aspersum instead of homo sapien. After he left, the ‘lady’ said loudly to her date: “If that man was sssooo slow in school alsooo, no wonder he is a dinnery stewart (sic).” (diner steward).
I was struck by both the flamboyance of her language; and offended by her contempt for folk in the service industry. Take it from me. A woman who is instinctively rude to waiters and watchmen is going to be hellish to be with, even as a girlfriend. Crudity knows no class.
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There was a blessed silence, or low whispers, that lasted about three quarters of an hour.
Then the scream for a bottle of ‘Amarula.’
And shortly after this bottle arrived, we in the lower booth were treated to a relentless narrative. The now drunk ‘Valentine’ in the booth above us was now giving a blow-by-blow account to her man-date of all the great men who ‘want’ her, but whom she has turned down.
From what I could gather, men in local government, vice captains of industry and a local celebrity, all want to date her. For what? I wondered. So that they can stake her blood red weave to raise the next Eurobond to pay off our massive debts?
The nondescript gentleman who was her Valentine’s date decided to cut his losses, ego pricked, and called her a taxi. “Don’t you have a car?” was her parting shot. “If I knew you didn’t, I could have called my cab guy (sic). Some of these taxi drivers are rapists.”
P.S. That wasn’t really her parting shot, though. As we exited the premises, we came across a small pool of thrown up liquor that looked suspiciously like Amarula/Bailey’s on the road. This Valentine hadn’t even been able to make it to the dinner stage, before her date (pardon the pun) got fed up of her.