Certain things we take lightly but they are the lamest ever, and I am very tired of hearing the same song. So here is what I told one friend I met over the weekend.
He spreads his arms wide to give me the biggest hug I so much needed in that moment and of course the girl in me runs excitedly into that embrace and right then, all the excitement vanished. The nastiest stench of sweat fiercely attached my nose and I was nearly suffocated. Boy, I was so glad to see you but not so glad anymore. But I be polite, and welcome him, after all he journeyed to visit sick me, I can’t be rude to my guest before he even has a glass of water. Catching up is five minutes in, and he is pretty useful with his hands. His fingers are super animated and at this point I notice the claw like protrusion of his fingernails. You can imagine the strained look on my face; No? You must be one of those boys. Mercy on you.
My friend continues to get comfortable, I am that kind of host that lets you be as free as politeness can allow. We have a long day ahead of us, there is so much to catch upon, its been nearly ten years, you know. So the wretched stockings fly off his feet, not to mention that wicked stench that accompanies dirty, sweat laden, water and soap thirsty feet, and he just piles them right there on the floor. Didn’t at least think to put them in his bag. My polite patience is wearing thin at this point. I am struggling to keep the ‘happy to see you’ smile, riyale trying. His toe nails are the dirtiest I have ever seen on shoe wearing feet. But of the things a girl can endure about a guy, I had reached my limit. Enough was enough, I either had to ask him to leave or be the rude but honest friend and give him a personal hygiene lecture. I clear my throat and re-arrange my frame in a more comfortable sitting posture.
“Hey xxxx, I have to be honest with you about something.” I said
“Talk to me, dear” he responds.
Am rolling my eyes at the ‘en-dear-ment’. It totally doesn’t impress me in this situation. Henewe…I gotta tell him. So I summoned all the politeness I have ever practiced or seen others practice, all the good manners I could think of and also mentally consulted all books I have so far read on effective communication. I couldn’t afford to fail at this.
Me: “I am having a hard time breathing, which deodorant do you use?”
Him: “Aaaah ebyo sibikozesa.”(I don’t use those things) Accompanied by the most disgusted face I’d seen that day.
Me: “Why not? Its part and parcel of daily personal hygiene.”
Him: “Am a guy, why should I bother with that? Personal hygiene is for you girls”
Me: “Are you for real, right now?”
Him: “I wake up in the morning and have to rush, so I dress up and go. Bathroom and all wastes a lot of my precious time. Those things of over cleaning up are for girls.”
Me: “Even clipping your nails is for girls?”
Him: “Maria, you know how things be. Where do you find anyone telling boys about cleaning and washing? Those are things that we get a wife for.”
Me: “I wouldn’t marry someone like you. Honestly speaking.”
Him: “Why not? I give you everything you need; buy you a car, give you a house, and I..” I interupt.
Me: “Where do you get those ideas from? Who tells you a woman was created to put up with a dirty man? Would you sleep with a woman who doesn’t bathe?”
Him: “Shyaaaaa, why should I? I would send her packing and won’t take her back until she learns to be clean.”
Me: “Am very glad you said that. You have justified my secret plan.”
He is confused and asks what my secret plan is, which I boldly tell him.
Me: “I am close to asking you to leave, I am only being polite because you’re my guest.
He stares blankly at me. I very precisely tell him how much he was stinking, so much that my improvised air conditioner wasn’t enough to relieve my nostrils. He took offence and I told him he did not have the right to even be angry with me. And as a friend he called ‘dear’, I had to tell him or did he rather I keep quiet and pretend to be too sick to host him. He asks for my advise and it was as simple as this;
1 – Basic possessions for every human being, especially the average man include a toothbrush, shaver, deodorant, a nail cutter, at least two clean pairs of stockings and a minimum of three clean pieces of underwear at all times. Trust me, women have more than these few, so please keep up.
2 -You haven’t woken up until you have showered and brushed your teeth. Therefore, every time you toss that blanket, head straight to the bathroom.
3 – At worst, have a general cleaning day. Get a stool, sit on it and clip those nails, shave, wash your clothes. Clean your space. We too are attracted to a well groomed man. Don’t be deceived that only character matters. Sooner or later, your untidiness will drive her away or have her nagging you from sunrise to sunset. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
4 – You all have that female friend whose opinion you trust. If you don’t, find one. And regularly ask her to check out your general outlook and give you an honest opinion. Trust me, it saves you a lot of time. That trick works for me, of late, I know which designs to avoid or which hairstyles make people run.
5 – Have a role model. And by role model, I don’t mean the shabbiest man in the hood just because he is a celebrity. No! A decent man, successful to a degree recognisable to society and well groomed. Follow them closely and imitate them. If you can find out their daily routine to keeping in shape and looking sharp, the better. But don’t just follow. Learn from them.
If that does not help you appreciate basic personal hygiene, am done with you. Forever.
My guest left a reformed man. We meet in week’s time and I will know whether my advise was applied accordingly.