During our second year in campus, Brenda, Josiah’s girlfriend, ruthlessly dumped him for an engineering student who had a small M-Pesa shop outside the school.
“Women!” Josiah exclaimed with so much bitterness.
This was the first time I ever saw Josiah very angry. He, however, retained his calm disposition but with a strained smile. To date, Josiah has remained quiet about the cause of his breakup. Never has he ever talked about Brenda nor answered any questions regarding her. That single word is all he ever said about the matter.
By way of moving on, Josiah put to me a suggestion. ” Dan we should now go for white meat.”
By white meat, Josiah meant the white race; wazungu. I laughed off the entire idea. Where were we to get white ladies to date when we could barely manage our own local girls? But Josiah the pathfinder already had a way in mind. He always has ways, but which have consistently cost us, heavily.
In search of ‘white love’, we trawled countless online sites but settled on one: “Find exotic matches in your area”. Finding women had never been so easy. There was an assembly of women, beautiful women.
One was only required to create a profile and state his preferences. Josiah naturally rushed in for fat women while I kept my preference for size ‘open’ and non-biased.
I clicked on one profile, a Mexican lady. She immediately sent a ‘hello handsome… ‘ message. The excitement… the mirth! Titillated, I wished all those who thought of me as a failure -my uncles, my exes, and my primary school maths teacher who swore that I shall never make it in life – were there to witness.
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A beautiful Mexican girl had just called me handsome. Besides education, what else were the indicators of a successful man? Josiah, who developed an appetite for Turks, landed a click on one fat Turkish lady named Maarisha. Almost immediately he also received a “hello cute face” message.
As much as he was excited, we both silently agreed that the compliments were a fat lie. Despite the excessive filters on the profile picture Josiah put up, Josiah’s looks, naturally so, were nothing next to cute. But beauty, as they lie, lies in the eyes of the looker.
There was only one particular constraint about the entire matter. Before the conversation went any further and thus sharing of contacts, the middleman, the creator of the site stepped in. It was very naive of us to imagine that spending only a few bundles and polishing our profile pictures was all that was needed to get a white girlfriend.
Technically speaking, love has never been cheap. One either loses money or his heart, if not both. The ‘middleman’ required us to first subscribe and deposit Ksh950 through a pay bill number.
“…only 950 bob for beautiful foreign dates?” Josiah challenged me.
We unanimously agreed that despite our sorry financial status, it was a small price to pay. As I phoned home to ask for Khs1,200 for a “class trip’ (to ‘Mexico’ ), Josiah who never discloses his personal affairs or contacts never mentioned where he was to get his bit.
Meanwhile, as we waited for the money, fuelled by our excitement, we downloaded the photos of those white ladies (our girlfriends to be) and put them up on our Whatsapp profiles. At the time Whatsapp status was still just an idea in the founder’s head. We aspired to arouse jealousy and admiration from our circle of friends.
I posted one on Facebook with the caption, “Mi amor”. The first causality of my new found happiness was Martha. She was a girl I was wooing but was playing hard to get. To her loss.
“Mmmh so you had a white girlfriend ..and you wanted me? BYE,” she said via inbox.
“Good riddance!” I replied arrogantly and pressed the unfriend button.
Our walking styles, and mine in particular, changed to that of an arrogant and wealthy prince. None of my peers besides Josiah could tell me anything.
We paid our subscription fees and waited to be connected with the fresh laughs of our lives.
‘ACTIVATED.’ A message popped. With heavy anxiety and impatience, we immediately rushed in with our crammed lovey-dovey messages.
White lady, dark lie!
To this day, none of our messages have ever been replied. Martha never accepted my apologies and my excuse that I was just pulling a prank. My dad still insists on meeting the white lady that once appeared on my Whatsapp profile but mysteriously disappeared a day after.
Josiah -who never comments on the things that cost him pain, his happiness or regrets – summarized the entire matter with one of his philosophic phrases, “life is a gamble, you win today, you lose tomorrow.” He has never commented on the matter again.
And we thought that we had been conned enough in Nairobi. But here, people just sit behind their computers, in the comfort of their bedrooms and effortlessly make money. Robbery without violence! Again this was just a harbinger of the many other troubles we ran into as we searched for love online.