Note: While looking for an appropriate image for this story I ran into this image and it just spoke to me. I hope it touches a heart.
You bring your car to a halt outside her apartment block and you leave your engine idling – you’re trying not to be presumptuous. In the distance a male Tropical Kudu calls out. Odd. Very odd. And because you are a gentleman, because in your head you live by the code that the universe will hand you what the universe knows you want, you start to say you had a great time, but she says, “You wonna come up for a bit?” The green light from the car stereo illuminates her face making her look like a femme fatale in a Tony Scott movie with a switch knife strapped up her thigh.
Of course you “wonna” go up for bit.
The evening has dovetailed well. You were dealt rubbish cards but you played them like an MVP. You are that guy. Although you are just about ready to break into that Eddie Kenzo dance, you remain cool as you step out of the car and into the wet night, which you hope is the metaphor the universe is willing to live by tonight.
Inside, you stand under her massive chandelier (that can also make a good idiom) and look around her pad as she points towards her modest bar in the corner and says, “Pour yourself a drink, get comfortable. I’ll just be a minute,” and then waltzes through a corridor switching on lights as she is swallowed into the depths of her house.
The “bar” you realise is called a bar only because it has a few bottles. There is a VAT 69 (probably her ex-boyfriend’s favourite drink, you think with a wry smirk), some liqueurs and wine, one aperitif and a half bottle of Hennessey. No whisky. Brrrr. You hate to mix your liquor, but cognac will do, so you look for a brandy glass, fail and opt for a short stub glass to pour yourself just one finger of Hennessey. You are slightly buzzed, balancing on this hard-to-attain parity, a delicate nirvana of equilibrium which you don’t want to put the kibosh on. Any more drink and you hurdle face first into drunken stupor . And you don’t want that. She doesn’t want that. Jesus doesn’t want that. The universe is rooting you on.
She sashays back into the living room wearing a smile over this flowy Somali-looking dress, fake eyelashes gone, barefoot (and much shorter without heels) braids untied falling all the way down to the small of her back. She looks like a fucking black Rapunzel. Ravishing! Yum!
Can I get you something? You hear some guy ask. “Whatever you are having,” and a cheeky smile appears at the corner of her mouth which means she is flirting with you – it’s all systems go. You pour her just a finger of Hennessey, because you don’t want her drunk. You want to maintain her giddiness. You want to titrate that status quo and keep that smile where it belongs; at the corner of her mouth. Mission status; engage.
You coaster the drinks on the coffee table. She curls herself
at the end of the sofa then puts her feet across your legs. She has these very small delicate geisha feet, well pedicured nails. Red polish. Lovely feet. Glam feet. You slowly begin massaging them. “You are so warm!” she coos. You want to tell her that warm hands reflect warm hearts, but you don’t because she won’t believe you, and also because you are walking on a tightrope here, and you will never forgive yourself for spoiling the night by saying the wrong shit at the right time. You know how mamas are; you only have to say one wrong thing, just one, and ati now she isn’t in the mood anymore. Nkt.
You turn on the charm; longer eye-contact, jokes with shorter punchlines, you flirt like a madman and you listen because you read somewhere that mamas want to be the ones talking because what they have to say is more important than what you have to say. Plus she’s the one carrying the breasts, so…
It’s going good. She’s eating it up, throwing her head back and giggling. She is loving the foot massage, you can tell, but you are already bored with it, but you know what they say, nothing good ever comes easy. I mean , freedom didn’t come easy for the freedom fighters. Plus, if you can’t demonstrate that you can do the small stuff well, you won’t be given the big stuff to do. (Will Smith’s voice: YouknowwhatImsayin’?).
You are taking things very steady; no sudden movements. No reaching to touch her where FIDA might call “inappropriate.” Holding her glass on her navel, she slowly slides further in the chair, and she starts looking at your through this lazy romantic eyes and you are like Shit, what if she dozes off? She can’t doze off! My goodness, no! God please don’t let her say she is sleepy. Please. Just do this one thing for me; keep her awake! I promise I will come to church every Sunday. But you realise that it’s all the foot rubbing that is making her too comfortable, so you stop and she raises her head and looks at your poutingly, “why did you stop?” So you start again, but only half heartedly.
She starts telling you about the kind of shit men she meets (women seriously need to chill with these sob stories) and at some point – to make her stop talking about her exes – you start massaging her calves ( if she isn’t lunje) and a small lovely sigh escapes from her lips. Then with horror you see this painful looking pimple on her chin and you ask yourself, Where did that come from! I hope it isn’t what I think it is. You stare at the pimple. It sneers back. She’s saying something about Nerea, Sauti Sol’s video, but who wants to talk about Sauti Sol now? Fuck Sauti Sol. And Nerea.
You then start feeling pressed but you don’t want to get up because it will interrupt this rhythm. You might get up, go to the loo and when you come back the trail might have turned cold. So you say to yourself, “mind over matter” over and over again but your bladder is taking none of that zen-shit. So you finally excuse yourself to use the john and she says, “second door on your right,” and you walk down the corridor to the second door that also doubles as a shower and you stand there and try not to pee on her toilet seat. You direct the stream away from the water because it can be heard from Mavoko.
Then something happens.
As you stand there, you turn nonchalantly and look to the side of her bathroom and there you see something that stops you cold.
A parade of ugly underwear!
Oh, I’m sorry, let me be more specific,you see a line of mother’s unions. An assembly of truly appalling underwear. A gathering of retail sin. A tableau of eyesore. A cluster of heartbreak. A fashion faux pas of underwear. A Chernobyl of fashion. Your life flashes before your eyes.
And I’m e not talking numerous colourful sexy modern underwear and then one ugly mother’s union. No. I’m talking a string of them, maybe seven or eight of them, one for each godforsaken day; in faded browns, colours of the sahara, ugly looking mother’s union rudely staring back at you as you pee. Judging you. It’s like a pack of hyenas on their hind legs just staring at you. Shit!
Even your pee stops midflow. You slowly sit on the toilet seat and hold your head in your hands. A deep dark sense of trepidation – to use a tattered word newspaper journalists love to (over) use – engulfs you. But wait, maybe those ugly things belong to her cousin who’s visiting from shags. I mean, surely, this mami is just too fine to be walking around in mother’s union, right? Right, Universe? Talk to me Universe, tell me I’m right. They belong to her cousin, right?
See? Even the Universe is speechless.
You flush the loo and you slouch back to the living room an unsure man. A defeated man. Your mojo robbed violently. The wind completely knocked out of your sails.The little man has packed up and gone back to the car.
She looks at you concerned; “Are you OK?”, she asks with a smile when you take your seat and you say you are fine, why? And she says, “You look like you just saw a ghost,” and you catch yourself from saying, “You don’t say, I saw a parade of them!”
But seriously, why do chicks wear mother’s unions? Young funky learned “things” doing big things in this town in mother’s union. The hell? OK OK, fine, we all know that a woman has to have these undergarments for that time of the month. Necessary evil et al. Fine, but to have them as an everyday wear?? Aii, zii!
How does a fine “gel” (as Nigerians call fine mamas) wake up in the morning, do her meditation with folded knees then slip into fitted jeans, a nice top and high heels and wear mother’s union underneath?? Ladies! Don’t you feel like you are betraying some universal code of sexiness when you do that? Does a mother’s union build your confidence? Does it make you feel secure? Appreciated by the world? Do you feel that you need to have your ass held in place? Does that float your boat?
When a woman wakes up, does she look at her wardrobe and say, “Today I will wear a mother’s union because today is the day the Lord has made?” Forgive me, but I need to understand why this happens. I’m sure you are thinking, come on Biko there are worse things in life than a mother’s union…wait, you are right, a mother’s union in animal print! Have you seen those gentlemen?
They look like she works with the KWS special crack unit sent to save the white rhino. When you pull off her jeans and find this animal printed “thing” you can’t help wondering if you are under arrest. Is she on a sting operation?
Boss, ati you think you have seen many ugly things? Well, you haven’t seen ugly until you have seen an animal print mother’s union my friend! Oh you haven’t, baba!
The thing with mother’s unions is that if you think they look ugly as sin on the bodies of our women (which they do), they look 100 times worse when they are hanging from the clothing-line, half wet. Is it just me or is it that when you wash those dhings they expand? Like they balloon up? Don’t they look like half engaged parachutes? Now imagine running into six of them, face to face, where do you even run to? Where do you look? It’s like acid thrown into your eyes.
I understand that it isn’t wise to speak of things from an ignorant point of view. That to understand something you have to go back to its history. So I asked myself, “Bikozulu, who do you think invented the Mother’s Union, and is there a chance that after realising their folly they committed suicide out of deep guilt?” It had to be a woman surely, because for a man to call it a mother’s union, they must have seen their mother’s knickers, and that is sacrilegious to even think about as an African!
So I Googled “Mother’s Union.” Do you know how many results you get when you Google “Mother’s Union?” 53 freaking million! If I’m lying, I’m flying. Do you know how many results you get when you Google “penicillin” the famous antibiotic that shaped modern medicine? 15 million results! Should I press on or do you get the general thrust of this argument? The twist in the tale is that the search results for the mother’s union only shows that it’s a Christian membership organization. Godly things. I step away.
Look, I don’t want to flog a dying horse here, but allow me to say this with as much respect as I can muster, to any woman who swears by her mother’s union, that shit is ugly. Yes you can’t be sexy every day but it is still ugly. Women will always defend themselves by saying that they wear mother’s union because they are comfortable, but so is scratching our balls while listening to you prattle on about your day. But your don’t see us doing that in your face do you????
Women have made amazing strides in the fashion industry. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry, always pushing the envelope with design & innovation and yet you want to tell me that in all these huge creative fashion boardrooms where smart women with trendy glasses sit for fashion powwows, sipping green tea, not a single woman has ever said, “wait a minute, what year is this, 2015? WHY are we still wearing mother’s union? Can’t we design something trendier that is actually comfortable?” You mean not a single woman has designed something that can replace the mother’s union without compromising its functionality? Camaan, you are jiving!
I asked a pal of mine – a fine “gel” – why she owns mother’s union and she said it’s comfortable because it’s – wait for it – “100% cotton.” Uhm, well, it’s also 100% hideous.
Fine. I’m probably getting my knickers in a twist here. (Hehe). It doesn’t matter what a woman wears underneath as long as she is happy with her life’s choices. Women don’t wear underwear for men, women wear underwear for women. For themselves. And it’s only a complete wazzock, like me, an idle mind who would waste over 2,000 words pleading with women to please stop scaring us with their superfluous militant underwear. It’s a complete pillock like me who imagines that women actually enjoy having a string floss their butt cheeks the whole day when they wear g-strings just for my – and my type’s- amusement. Of course it’s the height of delusion to imagine that women will read this and bury their savanna-brown bloated, ghastly underwear in their flower gardens. Or stop hanging them in their bathroom when they are throwing a house party. Because it’s absolutely horrifying to go to the stunning hostess’s bathroom and see her tragic underwear hanging there and try and reconcile that with the same sophisticated person who just served you vanilla tweels with raspberry sorbet for dessert. Of course not. What do I know about shit that is 100% cotton? I can barely pay attention to my own undergarments.
So carry on, please. Let me not stop this mother’s union train. Let me not weigh in and say that y’all should leave mother’s union to their rightful owners; our mothers.