Weddings and sneers

There are all types of brides…

I guess its wedding season all year round in Kenya.

There isn’t a weekend that goes by without my errands being dragged out thanks to traffic coming to a halt in honor of a motorcade rushing to or from a wedding venue. The colour schemes of the said weddings seem to be inventing new hues, the basic primary and secondary colours must have died with the jerry curl.

So, I recently had the pleasure of attending two weddings that in retrospect made me feel things that I did not know I cared about. I respect that motivation to do weddings vary, but when the said motivation cannot be immediately understood then there is a problem.

The first one was, and I kid you not, all rainbows and sunshine. The couple to be wed was in their mid-twenties. They were the picture of happiness, health, energy, youth, virility and everything that comes before mortgages and offspring. Try as I might, I cannot name their colour scheme, because I haven’t the foggiest idea what it was. But they were close relatives to a very soft pink, maybe even blush, coupled with what I can describe as tea, and lushes of a shy green. All in all, those colours worked, they worked very  well. The church was all high ceiling, with frescoes of angels and various depictions of heaven. The pews were decked out in those wonderful colours, round garlands of pink Azaleas and green Orchids  nestled in a beautiful brownish bow (that color I presently call tea). There was soft pipe music playing, which made the lively chatter sound like birds in a garden, the air was alive and full of expectation. So in came the groom and his boys. Let me just tell you, that the only other place I have seen tails pulled off with such precision was on Downton Abbey. The groom, not at a slight man, stood tall with the gait of a soldier, his attire looked on him like second skin. Not in a shabby way, but in a way only a French designer would know how to do. Flanked by his boys, who wore finely cut suits in a shade darker than the grooms marine blue were a sight for sore eyes. I (and the ladies seated directly in front of me) decided that they were active members of a rugby club, if not polo. Yes, a fine physique is appreciated everywhere.

Then came the bride, signalled by the change in music to the Wedding March, played from pipes that I could not see.  As she darkened the entrance, we all stood and turned in her direction, and my oh my, was she a sight to behold! It appeared as if the universe conspired to make her entrance as dramatic as Elijah ascend to Heaven. With the sun behind her, she appeared to have a halo. Her gown was beautiful and embellished with the right amount glitter. She was not a size zero, far from it. All one could see was a curvy silhouette, and a veil that fluttered slightly in the wind. She glided down the aisle, with her proud parents on either side of her. As she came closer, the details of her fine dress only made her more appealing. A sweetheart neckline, holding a generous bosom, a cinched waist with pearl trimmings, and then silk, worked into a mermaid dress that must have been a Wang. Her veil was so sheer it looked like air. The expression on her face… the best day of her life! She wore a genuine smile, a happy smile, her face was flawless, her make up on fleek! Why was her make up on fleek? Because Wachuka Thimba + Mac = Angel face. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. No one should look like a troll on their wedding day, heck, no one should look like a troll on any day! But anyway, this girls makeup looked so clean, maybe it’s because she was young, maybe it’s because that nude lip was a welcome break from the trending red lips, maybe it’s because she has no pores whatsoever. Whatever the combination, it was in her favour. The back of her dress was literally a showstopper. It was a deep V, the kind that stopped above your crack, but a safe distance higher. She, and this impressed me, had not a tattoo in sight. No stretch marks, no dry skin or rolls of flesh. Just a perfectly arched back, with skin that looked good enough to collect dew. And no, there wasn’t a bra strap in sight, which has me wondering what was supporting the generous bosom up front. Her dress gathered in a long trail, that followed her down the aisle and arranged itself according ( I tell you designer gowns are worth every penny).

No, I did not forget about the maids. Because much to all our surprise, the maids came after the bride! Which was briilinat if you ask me, because we were all still in awe of her. They were just like the bride, but not in white. They wore blush coloured dresses, also mermaid, and floated down the aisle to stand beside the bride. These girls must have been models, plus size models, all hips and legs and washboard tummies, the men in our midst did not know where to look.

The sermonette was lovely, and delivered with gusto. The priest spoke on youth, yes youth (That boat sailed for most of us, but we were encouraged), and expounded on Proverbs 5:18. That the groom, should enjoy his wife, more directly “ Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth.” Not that he should acquire another wife upon reaching midlife crisis, but that he should be glad in what he has and cherish it. They were pronounced man and wife, and a kiss befitting Mills and Boon soon followed. The reception that followed was all dance and merry making; it was a joy to have attended.

My take out: Marry while still young and in love. It is easier to convince others to follow suit, and much easier to find perfect attire for your day. When people bless your union, it is honest and heart felt.

On to wedding number two. It was, and I am not exaggerating a sneer festival, in my mother tongue  Manyira. I do not know if women appreciate how much power we wield, and I mean literally. Men are the head of the house, we have accepted, but women are the neck. The neck in my opinion decides which direction the head turns, or if it will turn at all. This became crystal clear on this second wedding cum drama festival. So I figured they must be older than the last couples wedding, because the colour scheme was all secondary colours, or at least colours I could very quickly identify; Grey ( which is technically not a colour), Yellow ( the kind found in areas beyond Athi river) and Black (also not a colour). The church was modern, well lit and acoustic. The décor was mainly yellow flowers, Roses, because I guess grey and black are hard to work with. The Groom and his boys, who in actual sense were grown men who had supported EABL for a long time walked in;  looking dapper and cheerful and slightly inebriated. They stood at the front in dark grey suits with yellow boutonnieres, crisp white shirts and dark tan shoes. They were a handsome collection of Nairobi’s tall and dark fellows.

Then came the brides maids, all 90 of them (I will never understand why people have so many brides maids). The music playing was as expected, something by Sauti Sol, an instrumental version of it. Much to my horror, something akin to a shuffle or a poorly orchestrated flash mob begun to take shape. The groom’s men walked down the impossibly long aisle to pick up a maid (who were dressed in ill-fitting, possibly locally made grey dresses with the traditional yellow band around what was once a waistline). There was no gliding of any sort.  It was impromptu dance moves from somewhere before independence and all two left feet fiascos. And the sweating? Why were they sweating? Is it because of the dancing? How old were these people? Why was this procession taking 30 minutes? Aaaaaarrgh! Finally, the Bride arrived. She and her dress arrived. Two forces of nature. She was to be given away by her mother, and what I guess was an aunt. They moseyed down the aisle, for what felt like eternity. As she came closer, I hoped to be met by a dazzling smile, if only to compliment the brides mothers gallant display of teeth. But no, all I saw was lips, red lips, shut tightly together, behind a thick veil. In fact, it looked like she had a scornful sneer, the kind you try to supress while addressing an idiot. Her dress was a ball gown, off white, with a corset of lavish lace descending into a wide generous gown. Her make-up was on fleek an hour ago, the shine on her skin could not be mistaken for the glow of a blushing bride. Nope! That was a fine veneer of sweat. (what was it with these people? Do sweat glands multiply with age?) So I immediately wondered what the maid of honour was doing, and why she did not powder down the bride and make her look presentable. Then I remembered, she had gone ahead to dance, and was now helping arrange that mammoth gown. The entire assembly of the bride and her maids looked a decade older than the men, with thicker girth. The expression on the brides face is hard to describe without sounding biased. She looked annoyed, irritated, maybe even constipated. The screens at the front televised the sermonette; the bride did not show her teeth, not even once. The couple looked like they had been together since Sodom and Gomorrah, and were now solemnizing the marriage not out of love but out of duty.

The sermonette felt like a reprimand from a head teacher. The priest spoke on patience. Yes, patience, and how it is a virtue. Patience was the one thing that could guarantee a long and “happy” marriage because it allows you to better understand your partner. They were pronounced husband and wife, and it was followed by a less than acceptable performance, an awkward kiss and clapping of hands. I could not exit fast enough.

My take out: If you are going to marry after X years of bokoharaming, please pick a day when your mood is right. There is nothing worse than a gloomy bride who people do not know if to congratulate or get away from. When people bless your union, it will be a silent prayer for your husband to remain blind to your sneer and for his patience to never end.

As I reflected on the two events, which were as different as Cruella and Cinderalla, I came to some conclusions that have motivated me to change my ways. Motivated mainly by disgust, because I refuse to become a Manyira type of woman.

  1. Never ever allow yourself to look older than your husband. You may be in reality older than he is, but you do not HAVE TO look older than him. Dress according to your dody, aspire to keep up with suitable trends, invest in a good corset and smile for goodness sake!
  2. Find your waistline. I know it is there, somewhere beneath those layers of flesh you have allowed to accumulate. Go to the gym, find a way to be active, sweating is not sexy, unless you are Idris, which you are not.
  3. Appreciate that you are a woman. You set the mood for everything, including your home and marriage. Having a permanent sneer and a Martha K complex is not going to win you any favour, but if your insist on an RBF be bothered to practice.
  4. We may no longer qualify for the Youth fund, but that is not a death sentence. Changamka!