Men at a Shower

By on September 24, 2018

Attending birthdays, weddings, cocktails and other such fun gatherings is generally a great thing to do in Kampala. If you are an unemployed sworn bachelor surviving by the mercy of the Universe, not only do these gatherings give you an opportunity to enjoy free meals and thus cut down on expenses, they also give you the chance to interact with people whose lives are rosier and more complete than yours.

The downside to being unemployed and having all the time in the world to yourself is that random event invites flood your mailbox. You have to constantly remind yourself that you do not need to say YES to all these invites. In the past, I would get between 6 to 8 event invites in a week. And I would happily attend 2 or 3 of them. Nowadays, out of 20 or 30 invites I receive a month, I will most likely say Yes to 2 or 3, and these, I do because there is a friendship that can only be redeemed by attending the said events. I suppose I am growing more accustomed to being a couch potato.

Last week, I was invited by a friend to an exclusive event happening at one of the big hotels in the city. The mention of a hotel often springs up thoughts of extravagant buffets, crunchy confectionaries, smiling waitresses and drinks on the house. And so I said Yes without thinking much about it.

The person who invited me requested for my email to send details of the event and in an hour or so, there was an email thread count of 34, talking about the exclusive event. A total of 15 people were on the thread with 13 females and 2 guys; my friend Nicholas and myself being the only dudes. The thread revealed bits and pieces of what was going to happen at the exclusive event it almost semed like it was the launch of some huge Government project involving the Gov’t of the United States, the European Union, Russia and The People’s Republic of China.

As I combed through the thread, trying to understand what exactly this exclusive event was, I landed on some strange facts. As it turned out, the exclusive event was actually a baby shower for a friend named Penny. Her closest friends had been planning it for a while and Nicholas and I had been invited at the last moment; Nicholas because he was her brother and I because I was one of Penny’s oldest friends. Apparently it was safer to have Nicholas and I on the inside than on the outside where we could leak the information of the surprise baby shower. I don’t even know how we were going to do that without knowing a thing about it.

Anyway, as I was trying to make sense of it all, I was added to a Whatsapp Group Penny’s Shower. One of the admins instantly started laying down rules of engagement for Nicholas and I. In summary we were barred from texting or speaking to Penny about the baby shower and we were tasked to look for ‘white outfits with a touch of pink’ within twenty four hours – and this was the part that really ripped me to shreds.

After combing my entire closet three times over, I realised that the closest I was to making the cut was a white teeshirt I got from Rwanda last year with the words “Bald King” and a pink wrist band with the words ‘No Sex Before Marriage’. I had no pants or shoes matching the theme. After having a private chat with Nicholas, we complained a little and considered showing up with different colour outfits – in protest. But neither of us wanted to be thrown out of the baby shower and threatened with legal action for attempting to send the mother-to-be into premature delivery because mismatched colours. So we opted to look for the white outfits after all.

I hit the town.

Every time I go to town, I see white outfits sold everywhere. I see white hats, white shirts, white pants, white socks, even white shoes. But on this particular day, it felt like the white outfits were all out of stock. I moved around for hours but there was no whiteness to be seen, save for a few white tee-shirts with inappropriate words written across the chest or faded white jeans which are not exactly my style. Out of frustration I decided to make a few calls and a more fashion forward friend offered a solution. She was going to make me something customized to my style and taste. All she needed was me to pass by her shop, tell her what I have in mind and then discuss the money bit.

I got to the shop and after nearly an hour of going over designs, she told me the entire outfit would cost me UGX 280,000. I nearly fainted!

I began to question whether I really needed to attend this baby shower. I started to evaluate my relationship with Penny to ascertain whether or not I really needed to spend this much money on an outfit which after the baby shower would probably only be appropriate for a fashion show. After questioning my soul over and over, I renegotiated and we agreed on UGX 200,000 to be paid in two installments – one before the job is done and the other when the job is done.

On the day of the exclusive event, Nicholas and I arrived right on time but it seemed like no one else had arrived. We later learnt that when ladies purchase new outfits, expect them to arrive late because that is the only way they will showcase their outfits to everyone. Since Nicholas and I were not interested in the fashion show, we simply took to ordering for drinks but we were promptly reminded that nothing would be happening until Penny arrived.

After about two hours of waiting or each person to showcase their extravagant white outfits, Penny was finally brought in with blindfolds on. Everything seemed like it had been choreographed a hundred times before because the moment she arrived, everyone knew what to do and how to act, except Nicholas and I of course. We just stood there, smiling sheepishly and wondering why we were even there.

Penny went around hugging everyone and exclaiming how she was shocked that person A or person B was also in on it. Nichola and I quietly smiled and received our shocking hugs, falling short of telling he that we just dragged into this thing at the very last minute, and almost against our will.

After this little ritual, each person was then asked to say something to and about Penny. What the hell! Nicholas almost lost his cool and nearly stormed out but thought against it, prompted by me because I wouldn’t let him leave me alone in this mess. Luckily we were now permitted to order drinks. Nicholas ordered a hard drink and I followed suit. It was now us against the order.

When all the ladies were done with their speeches, some involving teary eyed recollection of childhood memories with Penny, it was Nicholas’ turn. He got up, went over to Penny, hugged her, said ‘Congratulations Darling’ then went back to his seat and turned to look at me as if to say “Dude, I am done!  Your turn.” My jaw almost dropped! Everyone else had been elaborate with their well rehearsed speech and now Nicholas was putting so much pressure on me with this short and precise speech.

I murmured a few words that I don’t quite remember, quoted a nonexistent Bible verse and asked Penny to teach the child music, love, kindness and defiance of the Government. Everyone laughed, and I felt a bit warm. Then I quickly took my seat, careful not to ruin my warm feeling with any further speaking. I managed all this in under two minutes – something I rarely do because I am quite the talker.

Penny gave her speech too and for reasons unknown to Nicholas or myself, she started to personally thank everyone seated at the table, carefully remembering and narrating a story to go along with each thank you. Another half hour crawled by painfully. And after all this, one of the girls whispered something to Penny and then all the girls walked away from the table, leaving Nicholas, Penny and I seated. Nicholas and I were utterly confused. Then the girls returned bearing gifts. Turns out we were supposed to carry gifts to the baby shower! You should have seen the humiliation on our faces.

By the time the ladies agreed it was time to order food, Nicholas and I had confessed that we would never say Yes to any Baby Shower invites. If one wants to stay sane, baby showers are a no-go area.

Despite all this drama, I kept thinking to myself that perhaps every man needs to attend at least one baby shower in their lifetime – every man deserves to suffer at least once. That, plus men need to see just to see how meticulous and serious women can get with some of these things.

“It is easy to decide on what is wrong to wear to a party, such as deep-sea diving equipment or a pair of large pillows, but deciding what is right is much trickier.” ― Lemony Snicket, The Slippery Slope

a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
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