Because I live with men, I am assured of freshly minted insults every time I interact with them. The creativity factory is always running with these idiots. On the odd Friday when it is not, I have no doubts whatsoever that they will revert to old favourites, or rehash choice pet names they may have overheard from the wife. If they are particularly stumped, they will switch to the universally acknowledged put downs like ‘madam’, with which they will kill two birds; calling me to attention, and indicating to the occasional passer-by a vital truth; that I have no balls. Why else would I buy a pink shirt? On purpose?
Because said men are Neanderthals, we live in abject chaos. Our room, on a good day (by which I mean on laundry day), is a ripe hive of anarchy.
Ripe because the skinny one had begun to cook eggs and then decided halfway that he would much rather do push ups, and so the stench of burning eggs now hangs around the room like cheap perfume.
A hive because any space anyone occupies is invariably the space the fat one would like to occupy. The room is therefore constantly buzzing with the sounds of people invariably barking at the fat one to move his left arm so the traffic between the beds can ease up, and his equally loud retaliatory insults.
The anarchy is down to one simple problem; we have a serial food thief on our hands. He has honed his skill to such levels that he now no longer waits for the wee hours. We have had to put up a sign inviting occupants and guests alike to leave their food at their own risk. As such, the room is occasionally converted into a courtroom, in which cases such as ‘Who ate my bread’ and ‘Where is the ugali I left on the table fifteen seconds ago’ are heard and adjudicated.
Because I live with men, there is a rigid refusal by all parties to take part in or acknowledge any and all activities that may be construed as ‘gay’. The fastest way to get insulted half to death is to ask the attending roommates how that shirt makes you look. There is no such thing as a compliment to these brutes (One of them has no idea what it even means). This is not to mean we do not appraise appearance. If anyone is stupid enough to, say, put on that nice ‘peach’ shirt that tragically has buttons on the left side, as good brothers, we will ensure his bra and purse all match the shirt.
But the more fascinating thing about this mind-set is that there is a strict no-touching policy. Last Tuesday at 8.26 p.m, while fighting back tears from the onions I was slicing, my left arm, quickly flicking upwards to forestall the stream, accidentally strayed and landed on the chest of the skater. Admittedly, my hurried withdrawal could have been misconstrued as a caress. The skater stopped mid-step and regarded me warily. The world stopped as we stood there, eyeballing each other. It took an hour to assure him that I did not, in fact, ‘want a piece of that’. We have since agreed to keep a two-meter buffer between us at all times.
Because I live with men, it has been a few years since I used the words ‘clean socks’, ‘mine’, ‘no’ or even ‘please’
But it is not all bad.
For example, an undeniable perk of living with smart, intuitive men (with the respectful exception of the married one), is this; on that lazy Friday, when the devil prevails upon you to invite that stunner from class to your room for ‘just tea’, the room will be cleared faster than you can say ‘bae’. The skinny one is particularly adept at picking up on your very noble intentions, and will scamper from the room as though it is on fire. The fat one only has to be promised to feature on your blog sometime, and he too will suddenly find himself very busy. The skater will not even be around to begin with. He is what we like to call a bit of a slut. There will be some trouble with the married one, but nothing a few veiled threats cannot quickly sort out. So you see, when you want that privacy to ‘make tea’, these men will practically boil the water for you.
In summary then:
To the skinny one, because I could never say this to you in person, that white t-shirt makes you look like a ballerina.
To the fat one, you actually aren’t that fat, if we’re being honest. You are, shall we say, relatively expansive, and tragically incapable of touching or- in a few short weeks- seeing your toes.
To the skater; everyone knows your shoes aren’t actually AirMax. Unless they have a branch at Ngara.
To the married one; I swear to all the gods, old and new, if your wife continues to insist on not laughing at my jokes, I will also refuse to even approach that tepid sludge she calls tea, or greet you in the morning. What is she trying to imply, that I am not funny?