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Your man's boys aren't your friends, stay clear

 Your man's boys aren't your friends, stay clear (Photo: iStock)

Picture this, you are in a committed relationship.

Once in a while you hang out with your man’s friends, you get along with them and believe they are your friends.

Unfortunately, you break up. Then one day you walk into a bar and see him with a new woman and his friends are treating her the way they used to treat you.

Shemeji, a Kiswahili word meaning in-law, is a name that is supposed to be used by a man’s relatives for the wife. However, the ‘boys club’ officially took over this name and decided to christen every woman in their boy’s life ‘shemeji’.

When your man’s boys call you shemeji, you will be forgiven to think you are the one and only. The boys will even tell you they have never seen their friend so happy, that you complete him. Again, you will be forgiven to think that you were brought into this world to be his life partner. I mean even his boys approve, right? Wrong.

Your man’s boys will use that name on any woman he introduces them to and might be a potential “lay”.

Journalist Rosebella Ototo says that in her previous relationship, her name changed to shemeji.

“His boys would call me shemeji, even now when we bump into each other they still call me that and they know he is with someone else,” she says, laughing.

Rosebella also believes that they use “shemeji” when they cannot remember your name.

“To avoid the awkward moment of calling you by another woman’s name, they will call you shemeji, because they know their boy has a number of women,” she says.

Rosebella adds that the boys calling her shemeji have also tried to eat what their friend used to eat.

“They have hit on me several times, sometimes I pretend not to notice. They would make comments, or ask me to dance, they are just curious about what their friend has or used to have,” she says.

Rosebella says your man should also not be close to your girlfriends, boundaries must be respected. She also advises women to focus on making money.

“Soko ni chafu, just make money, and be comfortable first. I still believe in love but wueeh!” she adds.

Men have friendship etiquette or rules among themselves that must be followed to the letter.

Speaking with five men on what are some of the bro code rules, a rule that got most votes both in the provincial and final tally was “Bros before hoes” (no woman should come between you); followed closely by, always have your bro’s back; then coming strongly at position three is not sharing women, as they commonly refer to it as zero grazing.

Alex Omondi, an accountant in Nairobi, says he and his boys have a code of never sharing current women and exes.

“Sharing women in our crew is like incest, the moment one of the boys says he is dating a girl or has smashed her, we keep off. We just call her shemeji and move on,” he says.

Alex says another code is, a friend should not meet or call your girl without your knowledge.

“Imagine if I were to walk into a coffee shop and bump into them on a date. I will definitely think they are having an affair,” he says, adding that in his crew they believe that a woman can never come between them.

“We always joke and say, just fool around but you know we are the ones who will carry your casket. We have our fights and reconcile but a woman has never come between us. Because women come and go but our relationship is more than friendship, we are brothers.”

His sentiments are echoed by Felix Wairimu, an entertainment agent, who says the bond between him and his boys is strong, and even when one is cheating they never tell.

“If we know one of the boys is cheating, we keep it to ourselves. There are things we cannot talk about when the wife or the main chick is around,” he says.

However, Felix says that in his crew, they can share women if it’s not the main woman.

“First a photo is always shared amongst us, just to make sure nobody knows her. In case one has smashed her, he has to reveal that and the other will decide whether to smash or not,” he says.

Felix adds that another code is not smashing a friend’s sister.

This code is not only embraced by elderly men but also younger ones. Maxwell Kiptoo, 21, remembers a time a friend’s girlfriend tried making pass at him.

“She was having trouble with my boy, so she came to my hostel room complaining. Then she started touching me inappropriately. I was very tempted but I left,” he says.

As it is obvious that boys clubs discourage zero grazing, there are some who do not mind sharing.

Magdalena Achieng’, a salesperson in Embakasi, Nairobi, says her boyfriend’s friend made a pass at her.

“We would hang out together and sometimes he would even come for a sleepover at my boyfriend’s house while I was there. We were that close. Then he started making sexual comments, he would see me in shorts and say something like ‘nice thighs’ or ‘nice cleavage’,” she says.

Magdalena says at first she ignored the comments until they escalated to WhatsApp texts.

“I would post a photo on WhatsApp status and he would still make sexual comments. I took screenshots and showed my boyfriend. I don’t know how the confrontation was but their friendship was bruised and I hardly see him,” she says.

Martha Wangari, 57-year-old retired teacher in Nairobi, recalls when her husband’s friend invited her to his house to pick up a package from work, but the friend was planning to offer another “package”.

Her husband was working out of town, it was normal for him to send packages for her through the work post office, and his friend would always bring them home.

“So it was weird when he told me to go to his house to pick it, he lived alone, his wife and children were upcountry. I went and I found him in a t-shirt and a towel. He claimed he had stained his shorts that is why he was in a towel,” she says.

He tried to lure her into the bedroom, but she stormed out.

“I told my husband and he was furious, he confronted him, of course he denied. But my husband believed me because he knows I would never do that to him,” says Martha.

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