When puppy love and estate girls ruled


Published on 06/02/2009

Tony M

I was renewing my jalopy insurance the other morning when I came across Marie, a lass I hadn’t seen since I was in Standard Three. And it brought back memories.

You see, we all think February is the ‘month of love’, we being the grown-ups, and that kids do not know anything about liking the girl next door. Yet puppy love is real, it exists, it makes little boys happy, or sad beyond measure. I know because I can remember.

From Standard One to Three, Marie’s sister Suzie was the estate beauty. Her old man was a big Luhya and her mom a tiny Asian, and Suzie was smoking, and all the little lads in the court, me included, were trying to court her with idiotic grins and round white chalky sweets called Patco. And you think things change? Only the gifts get way bigger — pay the rent, buy a Vitz, mortgage some land for madam…

When wakina Marie and Suzie moved from the estate, there was the rending heave of a mass collective heartbreak. But at 10 years, collective loneliness does not last long.

The next little girl to get the invisible ‘supuu’ (beauty) crown was a Chicco, who had large soulful eyes, a bright smile, a breathy way of talking and wore the most adorable Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck T-shirts. I tell you, it was total war for her affections.

By the time we got to Standard Eight, though, a new tour d’force called Angel Mwangola from the Coast checked in, and adolescent hearts in the neighbourhood were going flip flop. I still remember dressing up early, then spying till Angel walked out of their gate just so I could run, catch up, and pretend I too had ‘just’ been on my way to the bus stop.

And I was a KCPE candidate! If she ever speculated about the coincidence of our many walks to the stage together, Angel never let on.

Young love, unlike grown-up love, is polygamous in nature.

There is the estate beauty then there are the school princesses to be heads-over-Bata with. The first shockwave in primary was this Kamba girl called Rhoda, who was both ‘hot’ (can an eight-year-old be so called?) and clever, and all the lads would run away from her, embarrassed to show their fancy, ha ha.

The re-union

In a strange twist of fate, recently, a US based guy from primary school called Nick Omale married this Rhoda, almost two decades after they ‘parted ways’, only to re-unite in the USA — yet Rhoda barely registered Omale’s presence as a living organism then.

Infatuation in middle primary continued in the person of a peculiarly soft haired and soft eyed Winnie G (for ‘Gacheru’). Whenever she showed up to watch the boys play football at break time, hitherto lemmings would turn into Drogbas and Anelkas of soccer — but since I was in a tarmac playground school (Catholic Parochial, here in the CBD) — our efforts to impress Winnie G with our soccer skills often ended in bruised elbows and profusely bleeding knees. And forget the ‘softie’ dettol ads ati “my dirty son will be the next MacDonald Oliech…” when we went home, our daddies automatically fixed us.

Adolescence struck like a mugger on a drunkard in the dark. Suddenly, the girls with curves were the school queens, and none came close to a Beverly Mudeshi back then, whose husband Reese I rose with in a Rahimtullah lift just this week.

Then there were the ducklings; Regina Kanyiri and Angela Macharia come to mind, who grew up into stunning swans to make men swoon, after all those classes. High school sweet love, though, is another story altogether, and Campus gambolling all together another Saturday.

But I’ll tell you this, folks.

Only in primary was love wholly innocent. Our woolly little brains didn’t analyse if the lass was humorous, and we did not care if she was as daft as a small red brick. Figures, naturally, were nowhere in the equation. A smile, nice eyes, cute little gestures, her hair — and love was in the air.

In these mercenary Valentine’s days and ‘War between the sexes’, try and think back, and get back, some of that lost innocence. If you cannot, I’ll remind the boys that this is the one week in the year where the women are most vulnerable, in hope of a peak next week.

It maybe a bear market in the NSE, but it’s a bull market in the Nairobi Sweetheart Exchange. So, bulls, charge while the Valentines are hot. Stocks last till next Saturday.

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