I’ll be the first to admit that the subject matter in Crazy Monday last week was cringe-worthy to put it mildly. When men call out the slobs among the female species, we all cringe. Some things are a given – or so we think. It didn’t help that Maina Kageni and my Mkamba brother took the issue and run with it until husbands called in to complain about wives who didn’t bath for weeks – eish.
Incidentally – when men finally bear their souls on dealing with the slobs in their lives, you can almost feel the pain as they articulate the issue. From Las Vegas to Kisii and everywhere in between – some guy has penned a piece to a magazine or on-line blog on this matter. The letter could have written by any guy. Incidentally, men tend to fret, stress and tear their hair out if a girl is a slob and especially if they really, really like her. A rant from a guy goes something like this:
Let me put it bluntly, my wife is bonafide slob! I hate living with her because she is a slob. I'm ashamed to invite my friends over because she is a slob. I hate coming home from work because she is a slob (because I have a pretty good job and I work hard for my money and I have to come home to a mess everyday). If you want to walk through our house, you have to step on her dirty clothes and shoes everywhere and move dirty dishes out of the way when you want to do work on the computer.
I try to get her to clean up after herself, and she always says "I'll do it later" and never gets to it. When I confront her with this, she gets very defensive. This compliant may seem trivial to you but it bugs the hell out of me and makes me question whether I want to have kids with her or not. Other than this, she is a good person and I can totally trust her; I know she is totally devoted to me.
While I appreciate that the subject of messy, untidy, slobs is fascinating – I think the one thing we didn’t do is tell the slobs how to solve the problem or even how serious the matter really is. I realise as Kenyans we love, love to point out problems, but we’re not too good at offering solutions. So before we all assume that every young lady knows the ABCs of personal grooming and how to keep one’s surroundings neat – let me share what I know to be true, no matter who you are, where you’re from and what your social or financial status is.
Oga! Yes - Shower regularly. Showering helps get rid of dead skin cells, sweat, and dirt produced throughout the day. Don't use soap to clean your private parts, this will disturb your natural pH-balance, and might result in yeast infection. It is good to clean any of the sweat and bacteria gathered around your inner thighs and around your private general area. If you don’t – you will smell!
Learn how to wipe your behind and your front. This is something you should have been taught at potty training. You wiped your behind and your delicate area from front to back. Never back to front. Why? Well because if you wipe back to front you simply spread whatever bacteria found in your “waste” to your delicate area. A recipe for UTI’s and other funky stuff. Oh and a girl always wipes. Carry tissue in your bra if you must.
Say no to halitosis. Have good dental hygiene. Brush your teeth regularly. Toothbrushes should be replaced every few months, and after you are ill. Be sure to brush your tongue as well. The bacteria that causes bad breathe lives on your tongue. Drink water. It helps saliva production that cleans your mouth. Dry mouths smell bad.
Eww. Is a no-no. Make sure to always use a good deodorant. From the moment a young girl hits puberty deodorant becomes an extreme necessity. Incidentally, it doesn’t have to be scented if you don’t like the smell. There are many non-scented ones on the market. Incidentally, the year is 2014 – if your armpits tend to sprout an amazon forest – get rid of the hair. Veet, wax, blade – do whatever suits you, but for heaven’s sake groom your underarms.
Wear clean clothes. Keep in mind that clean underwear and clothes are a must! Do not wear clothes with stains, wrinkles, and smells on them. Sometimes reusing clothes are okay, as long as you are sure they're not dirty. But underwear – never!
"I don’t know what to do with my hair'! Then cut it off. What you are not allowed to do is keep your braids, corn-rows or weave for weeks on end until they stink and look awful. If aunty who cleans and washes for you can find Sh100 to get her hair done by that mathe in the hood every two weeks, girl-friend so can you.
Care for your nails. Trim your nails regularly, file them and if you must paint them, then make sure we are not looking at chipped nail polish. If you insist on keeping them long then use a brush to remove any crusty looking bits under your finger nails. We never know what to make of girls with long nails and that fine line of a brownish/black thingy under their nails. Yuk! Dirty fingernails are a rude shock, not to mention the harm to health. Don't forget your toenails.
The reason I am not and will not make this a thesis is that I do believe ladies are taught the basics of personal grooming and hygiene by their mothers, at school and especially in high school. Unkempt, fashion forward, urban women are simply lazy. No excuses. Good grooming isn’t about vanity or having time or money, it’s about a personal commitment to a ritual that prepares your mind and body for interaction with the rest of the world. Get your act together – mwanamke ni usafi.