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Please Don’t Talk To Me

Of men and their wanting behavior in matatus

BY Pauline Katethya

Jan 24, 2023, 09:13 AM

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I was in a matatu seated next to the window, when a big man, sat too close to me. Ever come across people who don’t know how to respect people’s personal spaces? Yes, he was one of those. He was squashing me as if he wanted me out of the matatu. I’m sure if he had an option, he would throw me out the window. Why? I don’t know.

Halfway through the journey, he turned and asked how much money we pay for the bus fare. He had already paid, so he knew the answer. I was seated there wondering, where the conversation is headed to. 

And, can’t you see that I have a dislocated shoulder and my right hip has shrunk? My life will never be the same again and here you are asking me about the fare. How about how much you will pay me?

As if I hadn’t been through enough, he asked my name, what I do, and if I could go visit him before he leaves for Busia. Man was I surprised. You don’t even know me, I don’t know you, other than you crush people in matatus. You might be a serial killer or one of those men who ask women to suck your toes. 

Hell, you might even be trafficking short girls with big foreheads to Russia and now I have to come and visit you? No, please. I haven't visited The Red Light District yet. 

What Is Wrong?

I don’t know why but Kenyan men are so bland when approaching women. Most of them barely have any respect and dignity. It’s like they leave their charisma, their sense of humour, and part of their brain out the door before boarding the bus. Some will tell you, mrembo wewe ni size yangu or stare at you until you understand what they are trying to communicate. 

Others will ask you to open the window, doesn’t matter if it’s already open and when you do, that’s how they’ll start talking to you. Or rather interrogate you until your ears bleed. What is your name? What do you do? Are you married? Do you have kids? 

Just Leave Me Alone 

My name is minded your own freaking business. I live. I am single, I have three children, and could you please stop talking to me? You are seated too close, I can smell your breath and I'm almost throwing up.
After a long day, I just want to listen to my music, stare out the window until I get home, or realize I’m past my bus stop. I am not in the mood to have a conversation, especially with someone who tried to kill me.

So please, can I just get home in peace? Can I enjoy my music? Or is that too much to ask for? You don’t even know whether I like guys or girls and here you are trying to force your way into my life. Surely ni nini mbaya?

You don’t interrupt someone when they are listening to music. You don’t poke them as if their skin is made of wood and force them to talk to you. No. 

Communicate Effectively 

I want to sit down with men and teach them a few things. You don’t start a conversation with 'you look familiar', or 'Hi Jane' yet we all know I’m not Jane. People stopped doing that in 1990. If you want to talk to me, introduce yourself and express yourself freely.

If you want my number ask for it. If I want to give it to you I will. If I don’t, I won’t. Don’t just hand me your phone and expect me to know what to do with it. I’ll stash it in my bag and thank God for giving me another one. Don’t tell me 'na si unipee number'. That’s rude. 

I Am Just Not Interested

The last thing on my mind at that moment is socializing. I just want to go on with my journey in peace. First of all, you have me squashed like a mashed potato and here you are trying to start a conversation. Can't you read simple ques? Can't you see my facial expressions and agony? I am just not interested and I would appreciate it if you stop bothering me. 

So unless you are willing to be kind and behave like a gentleman, please don’t talk to me. How boring can a human get to start a conversation by asking how much the fare is? And if we end up together, will I be telling people that I knew you were the one when you asked me to open a window and then I decided I wanted to open windows for you for the rest of your life? How romantic could a story get? Kindly let a girl get home in peace.