Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Haircut Bewildered

Once upon a time I used to have a cascading mane that fell a few inches below my shoulders; yes my shoulders - which I grew and maintained for over 8 years but I finally grew weary of. Mid lastyear I began a journey of gradual reduction of my hair until I finally let go of it all with but a nights notice. Now this was a decision I took as an individual and at the time I did not realize what immediate or adverse effects it would have had on me.

So as I walked out of the salon a few meters from my work place and the boda boda men at the stage nearest to my office began to whistle and call me names, names that I was very unaccustomed to. Inasmuch as we all know that more often than not boda boda men are often ill mannered; I was still taken aback by it all and the conversation went something like this.

(4 Boda boda men seated in a circle at a kiosk adjacent to their stage)

Boda man 1: “Ehhh sweetie, student olotya jangu nkutwale.” (Eh sweetie, student how are you come and I take you on a ride to where you want to go.) He said this as he whistled amidst ongoing muffled conversations between his other counterparts.

Me: “Neda sebo, sigenda!” (No sir, I am not going.)

Boda man 2: “Ehh naye ofanana bulungi sister, owaye campuser nange netaga omuwala.” (Eh but you look realy nice sister, goodness campuser as I need a girl.)

Me: No response.

Boda Boda man 1: “Nga todamu sweetie.” (Why aren’t you responding?)

Chairman (also another boda boda man): “Owaye omukazi muleke temumumanyi ntino akola kumi ne wano ate tali size yo ali size yange.” (Goodness leave the lady don’t you know that she works near here and she is not your size style/ class but mine)

The rest of the boda boda men halted their conversation and burst out into laughter as I hastily made off in order not to further entertain or indulge their idleness.  But there was yet another occasion when I was left utterly shocked at the boldness of taxi drivers. As I took my usual seat in the front next to the driver on a taxi that was Kiwatule bound, when I got around Bukoto I realized I needed to jump out in Ntinda to grab a bite at Tuskys Supermarket. The driver noticed that I had paid my fare to the conductor and yet I had specifically asked for a taxi heading towards Kiwatule.

Driver: “Mwana nga oyagala okuvayo nga tona tuka gwogenda?” (Hot girl, as you want to alight from the taxi before getting to where you want to go?)

Me: “Silence.” (After badgering me for a while I decided to fold and respond) “Nkyali Ntinda okukola shopping ku Tuskys.”

Driver: “Kale njakulinda ko. Naye linda ko mpakinze bulungi nga tonavayo.” (Okay, I will wait for you a while but wait until I park properly before you alight.)

Me: “Kale sebo.” (Okay Sir!)

Driver: “Baby ojaku yanguwa ko tujakulinda kubanga njagala okwogera nawe sweetie.” (Baby you will hurry up right because I want to talk to you.)

Me: “Ngenda okuyanguwa, naye mugende njakusanga taxi endala.” (Yes I am going to hurry, but you can go I will get another taxi that is heading my way.)

Driver: “Neda mukwano, nanti nkugambye ntino tukyakwogera.” (No friend, you see I told you we we still talk.)

I paused for a while before I leaped out of the front taxi door and made a bee line for the entrance for of Tuskys supermarket. As I waited in line and I pondered how bold this taxi man had been to out rightly approach me with no warning at all. Then I wondered whether this gentleman would for whatever bizarre reason honor his inappropriate suggestion he had just made. So I rushed out and looked in the direction where I had left the taxi parked, the driver and his conductor for one reason or the other had decided to change their route to go back to town but to my surprise I caught him peering through his side window in the direction of the entrance. He actually wanted to wait to finish the conversation that he had started with me and I was startled at how bold this lad was.  I ducked of course and went on my way – for those of you who were wondering.

Then it dawned on me nothing this extreme had ever happened to me so it must all be owing to the new hair cut and within 2 months I had one of the most awkward encounters with a middle aged man of about 6feet 2inches (I know this because I am 5 feet 8 inches). I was wearing a pair of straight cut blue jeans, a long sleeved collared shirt with buttons running all the way down the front, cuffs at my wrists and I was carrying a back pack that day. The middle aged man entered the front seating area of the taxi before me and sat next to the driver but I noticed him stealing side glances at me the entire stretch of the journey. As I began to rummage through my back pocket for change to pay the conductor, he mustered up the guts to engage me in conversation.

Middle aged man: “Excuse me; I have to ask are you male or a female.”

I paused for 3-5 seconds owing to how tired I was given that I had just been through a 4 hour weekend class so I was in no mood to be conversational.)

Me: “Female!” (I paid the conductor and called out to the driver) “Stage, Parking, owaye driver maso awo.” (This is because the driver had zoned out and was not paying attention to me now leaning in front of this gentleman shouting at him to stop.)

Middle aged man: (after an awkward pause) “No offence intended.”

Me: (I jumped out of the taxi slammed the door and as I looked at him I responded) “No!”

Now dear Ugandans, I know that last week the Anti homosexuality bill was signed by our dear president but to use this as an excuse for insulting people (random strangers) in public places because of your ignorance, it is unacceptable. When you find a young stylish lady in a boyfriend style shirt and a pair of jeans and a back pack it does not mean that she is lesbian or bisexual and it is totally moronic to run your mouth and ask her that as well. In my defense I have a bust; I had pierced ears with silver cross design ear pins and flat ballets pumps all of which are obviously associated with the female gender. So the next time you seek to insult me with your illiteracy on all things fashion – beware I will definitely tell you off and yes a fashionable young lady can rock short hair.
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