Once I tie the knot, that’s it. I will no longer hang out with my single friends as a matter of principle.
Just to be clear, I mean the forms of single that are present in Nairobi i.e., single but still friends with an ex, single with baby mama drama, single with bestie, and single coz she hasn’t asked ‘what are we yet’.
Cutting off my good friends was not an easy decision but it had to be done as it is based on my very own story as a single guy among married friends over the years.
I was always the single (proper single) guy in the group. The life of the YOLO party. The chief derailer if you like.
This gave me a front-seat view of just how my married and semi-married – this tag belongs to the come-we-stays or ‘Boko haram’ as they are commonly referred to in the streets of Nairobi.
It gave me a front-row seat view of how they behave around single people and let me tell you Maina...it was not a good look.
Being single, the task of ‘fishing sports’ for married men in Nairobi was my weekend job and boy did with chill with the big boys. Any new watering hole was a cause for a dusk to dawn party. From the leafy suburbs of Lavington to Ngong Road to Kiambu Road...you name it and I have probably been there with my bunch of misfits.
Don’t get me wrong, partying isn’t bad. It is actually a way to let loose and release any tension or stress but my issue was in the way my married friends were acting single.
I didn’t have an issue with it then – most probably coz I was high most of the time back then, but sobriety brings clarity.
Take one weekend as an example
As usual, I called up my partner in crime -Kim (not his real name), and told him that there was this new spot along Ngong Road that was the mother of all spots.
It was the end of the month and my pockets were just itching. Back then, budgeting was something I had left to the CS Finance to read out in parliament. I don’t know about other singles but in my case, overspending on vanity was a big issue.
I made sure to inform Kim well in advance of the weekend as I knew he had to get a ‘visa’ from his wife. For those in the dark, visas for a married man are a thing and most come up with very creative ways to get one.
From lavishing the wife with expensive jewellery, to a random family trip that will be used as a bargaining chip to an outright lie.
I hated the latter, but it was Kim’s favourite. I think his 10+ years as a salesman had sharpened his tongue to a point where coming up with imaginary stories was second nature.
That was how he ended up telling his wife – who knew me very well, that we were going on a short business trip to Kisumu. Apparently one of our contacts had set up a meeting with a big fish in the lakeside county that would be a game changer for us.
This was why Kim came out of his 3 bedroom house in Lang’ata with those little traveling suitcases with tiny wheels. I had gone to pick him up as we had planned but I almost blew our cover when I found myself laughing at the suitcase.
His wife seemed perplexed when we exchanged pleasantries but I guess she thought it was a boy thing.
‘I have a 2-day visa with a possibility of extension,’ Kim excitedly said, barely a few meters from his gate.
It was going to be another epic night out I thought to myself.
The day dragged but we eventually got to the new spot and this was where things took a major turn. Being single, I made it a point never to ask any of my female friends out for drinks. The possibility of drama was too high for my liking if you know what I mean.
However, for some reason unbeknownst to me, I had asked Stacey – my wing woman, to join us on that particular day.
She then decided to bring along two more ‘single’ friends and our table was ‘lit’.
There I was, flashing my credit card and swiping as if my life depended on it, budgeting is for people with small brains – I can’t help but laugh at some of the lies I used to tell myself in my young, wild, and free era.
Somewhere between midnight and 2 am….it happened.
Some familiar-looking dude walked straight to our table smiling from ear-to-ear and leaned in for a homie-one-shoulder hug, the kind you only reserve for people you know.
My brain was trying to place the face but the drinks had other ideas. Where had I seen this face before? Kim was of no help as he was enchanted by one of Stacey’s friends. He decided to take it to the dancefloor and the ‘stranger’ took his seat.
‘Do you remember me?’ he shouted
‘What?’ I shouted back. E-sir was booming through the speakers and I wasn’t much of a lip-reader. He leaned in and asked again.
‘No,’ I said while shaking my head from side to side just in case he hadn’t heard me.
He leaned in again…
“We met in Nakuru during Kim’s introduction, I’m Carol’s small bro,’ he said.
Every ounce of alcohol in my body deserted me right there and then. This was bad...really really bad.
Stacey – my hawk-eyed wing woman, immediately knew that something was up and swiftly ran interference as I feigned a sudden urge to visit the men’s room.
I found Kim jamming away without a care in the world. I told him the guy at our table was his brother-in-law.
‘Niiiice. Let’s buy him a drink,’ he said, clearly still high as a kite.
‘We are Kisumu. Remember,” I said.
You could see the life draining out of his eyes when it hit him.
A hundred profanities later, he came up with a plan. Run and deny everything. By this I mean we decided to switch locations and simply act like we didn’t run into a guy who had literally hugged us, drunk, and ate at our table.
It wasn’t a good plan in any way but it was all Kim had and we went with it.
I have tonnes of other stories of a similar nature involving me and my married friends back in the day.
It usually involved meaningless flings, a lot of late nights, and a lot of money spent without any kind of plan.
I’m guessing that is why some of my really good friends dumped me the moment they got married. Out of a group of 10 really close-knit brotherhood unit, I only have two who are currently with the woman they married.
Of the two, one cut me off to a point where we only exchanged pleasantries on Christmas and Easter weekends, and the other only makes daytime appearances at family events.
I used to call them party poopers but with age comes understanding and now I get it.
Just in case you’re wondering, Kim, is no longer married...Such a shame as there are kids involved and it got messy.
This is why I made a conscious decision to dump my YOLO lifestyle the moment I met ‘my rib’. She may not be perfect but then again, who is?
I know the kind of temptations that single friends can bring which is why I have decided to flee from them.
The question now becomes whether or not the decision to dump all my single friends points to my wife changing who I am fundamentally or is it simply a grown-up move? Does it mean ‘nimekaliwa’?
Kim recently called me up for nyama and rugby and it was shocking to see how the tables had turned. That was my move just a few years ago.
I’d call him under the guise of food and rugby, then derail his entire evening.
I told him I had plans with the missus. He said I could bring her along as well. He sounded serious and so I did.
Turns out that he was reuniting with his ex and didn’t want to be there alone, mostly coz of all the guilt I guess. Guess who was there as well? Carol’s small brother.
It was an awkward evening, to put it mildly, but it was good to see boys turning into men.
So this is why I’m dumping my friends. I have learned to say ‘no’ to random ‘plots’ and discovered that there’s a lot of cool and fun stuff to do with my friends who are married and responsible.
Interestingly, ever since I met this rib of mine, my accounts are as clean as a whistle. I’m not saying she’s the next Finance CS, but I would definitely not be the man I am today in terms of both social and financial responsibility without her influence.
This is also not some form of endorsement for marriage and you shouldn’t now go running to get hitched. It’s just a call for self-honesty as I’ve discovered that it goes a long way into shaping your personal finance as well as your social circle.
In the end, all friends should have something core in common and marriage is a game-changer.