The Naked Truth: #mydressmychoice

It was Shakespear who said, “clothes makes a man.” I really don’t get half of what Shakespear says probably because he lived in the 17th Century so I will try and quote what my Social Studies High School teacher Fr. Toppo told me: You are what you wear!

my dress

 

So much has happened in the clothes department in the last couple of weeks, and the long and short of it is, how long or short should it be? While no one has the right to strip another human being naked, we seriously need to talk about how and when we got here. Truth be told, some things we see on the streets leave little to imagination and no, they are not a pretty sight. I call them things because ‘clothes’ seems too generous.

 

The ideology that what I wear affects no one and that there is nothing that should influence my dressing except me and my preferences is not only wrong, but also untrue. We live in a society of different cultures and much as we cannot please everyone, there are some basic dressing rules depending on when and where.

I once did a short term missions cause in Malkamanza, Garissa among the Munyoyaya tribe. Much as I love my trousers, that was one place we had to adhere to the dressing rules there. We all wore some loose fitting dresses that looked like parachutes and covered our heads. Waving my #mydressmychoice placard there would have meant a total failure to our mission and we would have been branded immoral and indecent.

But that was there. What about when we come home. Back to the place where we know has seen some ray of the civilization light, what should dictate what I wear when? There should be a few things that advice our dressing and to assume we are not accountable to anyone and so we can dress as we please is wrong. And especially if ‘dressing as we please’ means exposing parts of our body that are regarded as private in the society you live in.

A friend of ours told us of an experience she had while living in India. She had a white friend who had totally blended in with the Indian culture — she wore their clothes and ate their food and spoke their language. One time, as she boarded a bus, she raised her sari above her ankles to reach the steps better! Everyone in the bus screamed! She had exposed her nakedness –her ankles! In that part of the world, showing your ankles is taboo! Never mind that the whole of her midriff was exposed and no one thought that was inappropriate! As I said, Culture!

So, what happens in a place like Kenya where we really do not have an established code of dressing? Is it  a licence for us to dress indecently? You may argue that ‘decent’ is relative but I tell you it really isn’t. A friend, John Gathuku once told us that if you dress in such a way that people first see any other part of your body except your face, then you are most likely indecently dressed! Some people are perverted and they will ogle even if you wear a kanzu, but I can’t find a better description of decency.

I add: When you wear what you wear, look at who complements you. If the only people who think you look good are people who are dressed like you or they are the young and the clueless, consider a wardrobe change. Get the counsel of an older, wiser person. I always used to ask my mom if I should step out in a certain outfit if I felt like it could be thought indecent. If she approves, i’m confident! Now, my SI Unit is my husband. I know he would not like his wife to walk about indecently so if he approves of what i’m wearing — I’m game!

That said, develop a conscience too and judge for yourself if people need to see ‘all that’ as you walk around. Leave some things to imagination and dress for the occasion. We once went to the beach and there was this boy who was swimming fully dressed, complete with a sweater! Believe me, I felt like stripping him of that sweater and the T-shirt and the vest he was wearing beneath. But I didn’t. His dress, his choice, right? 😉

peugot

Let us all put some sanity on as we dress up and by all means, if you don’t like what someone is wearing, look away and walk away! Stripping them doesn’t  help and it makes you more guilty than they are. If the motive is to instill a sense of decency, shaming someone doesn’t help. It only makes the rest of us even more rebellious. And we will dress in those things you hate just to prove we can!

Just a thought, if God showed up today, or if he invited you for dinner, what would you wear?

Confessions of a Pregnant Dad

We praise the Lord for the blessing of baby boy! Mom and baby are doing well, dad is recovering!

That is a text message a friend of ours sent us a while ago after their baby was born.It was hilarious then just as it is now! I just can never forget that message, and I kept wondering what exactly the dad was recovering from! That is until I asked my husband exactly how it feels to be a pregnant dad. You know, we are so focused on the woman and her growing tummy that comes with growing problems every month until we forget that behind every pregnant woman, is an equally pregnant man whose troubles and needs are invisible but equally important.

The Way to a Man’s Heart

As we have been told, the way to a man’s heart is through the stomach. One of the things that catches the guy totally off-guard is a change in his diet since he cannot anticipate what his now pregnant will hate or love in her food.

In my first trimester, I was crazy about kachumbari! I would go out to buy bread and come back with onions, tomatoes and dhania — especially dhania! I just loved the smell of dhania in my food! Food was not food if there was no dhania in it. So one day Kamana decides to add dhania to the food as he was helping me cook! Shock on him! Even unknown to me, I had gone past the dhania stage. It was a miracle the food didn’t end up in the dust bin! You should have seen the look on his face!

I have always loved ugali! We ate ugali in our home 6 days in a week! That is until I woke up one day and ugali tasted like dry sponge! It was struck off our menu pronto! Sometime I would make my own favorite and then cook him his ugali. I didn’t know how bad this was for my husband until he confessed to me last week that he actually misses his ugali! Thank God I can stand the smell of ugali, but the hubby is not so lucky with meat! If meat is cooked in our house, I retreat to the bedroom or take a hike. He will have to wait a few more weeks before he enjoys a good plate of fried meat! But I have tried to make a few chapatis for the poor guy after I realized he was beginning to have chapati deficiency symptoms! Ask the wives, they know these symptoms!

Buying chapati flour every time, talking about chapati half the time, a meal in a hotel is not complete without chapati, whatever it is; attempting to make chapati on their own… yeah! The full blown chapati deficiency syndrome!

The fear of unknown

confused Pregnant dads have to deal with stuff even they don’t know, such as his wife’s moods. One day she is all over you, totally elated and in love with you like a love struck teenager. Then the next day she doesn’t even want to catch a whiff of you in the house! Or she is curled up in her duvet sniffing away the tears and the guy has no idea what he did or didn’t do!

This really used to confuse my husband. And then i’d feel worse if he doesn’t act the way I would want him to — like give me a hug or make me a cup of hot something. But the problem is I wouldn’t say what I really want. I don’t even know exactly what I want half the time anyway! So, relax guys. You are not the problem, blame the hormones!

Girls, please, differentiate between hormones and bad manners! I know of a pregnant girl who has banned all visitors from their home! They were quite the social couple since they were involved in church activities. Now the poor guy has to keep wading off people who want to come visit them and he has no real reason. It has placed them in a very bad position in church and it’s not fun! Did I mention that she has banned all cooking in their house as well! And when he brings food from outside, it sometimes is thrown away! Sad!

The pregnant man is also worried about how the delivery will be; will his wife be safe? Will he be able to give her everything she and the baby need? My husband recently gave me an African proverb that summarized for  me where his priorities were if he is ever to chose between his wife and his baby. As much as we are hoping and praying that it will never come to that, it gave me a glimpse of what really goes on in his mind when he slips into his nothing box. He said he would not break the pot while trying to save the water. Enough said!

Unfamiliar Territories

There is also a radical change in roles that plunges the man into very unfamiliar territories — like the kitchen! I know i’m a lucky girl because my hubby can whip up a meal that would shame a few chefs. He is quite comfortable around a cooker. That said, let it not be assumed that the man should automatically take over the kitchen once the wife bites the bullet. I made the mistake of getting too comfortable when I realized that the man can actually chop an onion without sending us into the emergency room that I forgot that the kitchen was still my department!

He had to jolt me back to the real unpregnant world by confessing he hates it when he has to decide what’s for dinner! So now I have to make sure at least I know what we should be eating and even if i’m not able to make it, he will feel he is helping his pregnant wife, not being turned into a mboch!

The Fun Part

It’s not all gloom for the dads — they are even the more excited than the moms! My husband loves to feel the baby kick and he has accompanied me to the clinics for scans and doctor’s appointments! It’s just a wonder for him as he watches his wife change every waking day and he seems to be enjoying the changes a little too much!

When my tummy started too show, he would hold his tummy and start singing, ‘katumbo, katumbo‘ to me! I hated it, but he seemed to enjoy seeing me grow a ‘potbelly’, and this time there is nothing I could do about it! He still thinks my round tummy looks really good — maybe because it comes with a fuller bust 😉 ?

The thought that he will be a dad soon too is just incredible! I guess that is every man’s dream. So now he is into talking to his ‘son’, and all. I guess he even has started shopping for a school for ‘him’. You see, we have placed a wager. I think it’s a girl, he thinks it’s a boy. By the way, you are all free to choose sides! The ‘winners’ will be called to a celebration hosted by the ‘losers!’ :). At the end of the day, all I want is a healthy baby!

It’s a great thing to be a pregnant mom, but let’s not forget the dads too! Give one a hug today and tell him, ‘Kudos!” And buy him this T-shirt!

Tsht