We tend to think we are alike and I have met many people, including counsellors who insist we are. But we are not.
Everybody who has ever been inside a woman (I mean for nine months) knows what hospitable people these human species are.
But there is more. Apart from being motherly; speciﬁcally designed to nurture life both inside and outside themselves, they are focused.
Survival, security, assurance and commitment tend to be their main disposition. I have never been a woman, just as I haven’t tested IGP Ochola’s Police. But I can tell without experience that it should be better than Kayihura’s regime. There can’t be worse than worse. But, unlike Ochola who replaces Kayihura, men and women must live together.
From my 18 years of counselling, I can authoritatively say that our major love problems in relationships emanate from the gender misunderstanding. We tend to think we are alike and I have met many people, including counsellors who insist we are. But we are not.
Today, I am inviting you into the brains of a man and woman to establish the truth for yourselves. Though concocted, the story is pretty much similar to what happens between husband and wife.
Mamdan (no relationship with the professor) and Nyanzi (no relationship with the doctor) have been married for ﬁve years.
Today, they are driving home and a thought occurs to Nyanzi. Without really thinking, she says it aloud: “Do you realise today is our anniversary?” “Oh, anni-what? Sorry, why did I forget? (Then realising they didn’t actually wed in March) But did we wed in…?” “No! It’s not the wedding anniversary. It’s the day you ﬁrst asked me for love.” Long silence. In which, Mamdan is thinking: Good Lord! Women! How could she even remember such a day?
If I had to remember days when I asked all the women in my life, would I have space for anything else in my brain? Okay, it was in 2013. I can remember because I had just bought my ﬁrst car, a Toyota Camry. Meantime, Nyanzi thinks: I wonder why it is bothering him? Maybe he is realising I am no longer the pretty girl I used to be. Or maybe I have not turned out to be the sweet wife he expected.
Should I ask his honest opinion of me or our relationship? Is he feeling conﬁned like most married men feel? Does he want more freedom, more intimacy, more children, more sex? And Mamdan thinks on: Oh my God, that Camry was good! It had a four steering option.
It’s sad I had to sell it for this 4X4 because all my peers were driving big machines. Anyway, the Prado is also a good machine, very respectable. Except it is high maintenance! Nyanzi thinks: Now he is shaking his head. I think he is upset.
I can see it on his face. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed I am doubting his commitment. We really need to talk about our marriage. I need to get him to see the good in me not just the face and ﬁgure. Mamdan thinking: And that funny tapping noise in the engine has persisted.
I need to have it checked before it spoils many things. That may take over sh500,000. Where am I going to get it? That mechanic guy had better not ﬂeece me again with his faulty troubleshooting. Nyanzi again: Now he is frowning. He must be angry. And I don’t blame him.
Maybe I have been too busy with children to mind his needs. Men, I am told, need motherly care. I am just not sure how to regain his conﬁdence. No wonder he is also too detached, always minding more about his other issues.
Maybe I am driving him off me after he failed to become my fantasy knight, riding a white horse to pick me. “Daddy Roe.” Nyanzi speaks out, startling Mamdan from his thoughts. “What?” he asks. “Why can’t you be open and tell me the truth?” “What?” asks Mamdan, wondering what she wants to ﬁght about this time. Has someone told her about that girl at NSSF?
People and their rumours. We have been playing so safe. I make sure all her messages are deleted before I arrive home. Did someone see us at Tarvan on Sunday? “I am such a fool,” Nyanzi continues, placing her hand on his thigh. “I mean; I know most men are worse. I really know that. I know you are a good husband and father to the kids.
I do. But it is just that…, I don’t know, there is a lot more on my plate.” “Your plate? Which plate?” asks Mamdan. “You think I am nagging, don’t you?” Nyanzi asks. “No!” Mamdan replies, glad to ﬁnally know the correct answer. “It is just that... It is that I... you never tell me what kind of wife I am and whether our marriage is… Don’t we need time to sit down and talk about this?” Nyanzi says.
(There is a 15-second pause while Mamdan, thinking as fast as he can, tries to decipher whether she actually knows anything about the girl at NSSF and to come up with a safe response. Finally, he gets one that he thinks might work.) “Yes, we do,” he says. Impressed, Nyanzi moves her hand to stroke his hair “Oh, Daddy Roe, I am glad you feel that way.” she says. “What way?” Mamdan asks.
“About the changes in us …” says Nyanzi. “What changes?” asks Mamdan so relieved that his phone rings to interrupt the scary conversation. Later at home, Nyanzi lies on the bed, a conﬂicted, tortured soul and wonders what her husband will say about the marriage.
But Mamdan turns on the TV and wonders whether Ochola will change anything in Police if the appointing authority is the same. When he eventually goes to bed, Nyanzi has cried herself to sleep and dreams about her late mother entreating her to mind some eggs under a tree, which she interprets to be her husband or her marriage.
On the other hand, Mamdan dreams about Wenger being sacked as Arsenal coach, which he doesn’t interpret or remember at all the next day. That next day Nyanzi calls her closest friend, or perhaps two of them and they talk about this situation of a husband who is giving her his best as she fails to reciprocate because she also has to tend to the kids, her job, relatives, social responsibilities.
They talk for six straight hours on what they can do to retain the beauty and ﬁ gure they had when they ﬁrst met their men. They also analyse in detail Mamdan’s expressions in the car and the way he pretended not to know what changes she was talking about. They explore every word, including the ones he didn’t say, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramiﬁcation.
Later, Nyanzi’s friends continue to discuss this subject on and off with their other friends, boyfriends and husbands and many conclude that: a) The Mamdans love has died; they are just pretending before society. b) Nyanzi is pretending to have marriage problems to make those who are battered and cheated on feel bad. C) Men are just pigs; how can a man just not talk about his ﬁ ve years of relationship? d) Waiting for the Mamdan-Nyanzi meeting to appraise their marriage, which may happen later after The Movement has lost power. Meanwhile, Roger continues to consider Arsenal as his main problem. Nyanzi and the marriage never get to feature anywhere close in his men talk and bar discussions.
If the above isn’t convincing about the sweet woman, feel free to do one of the following: 1) Go back and start all over. 2) Pick up your stone and hit me. 3) Buy me a drink anyway. 4) Stop reading and buy some special woman in your life a gift.