It is long ago since I last paid a visit to a brothel.
Oops! I’m sure my readers are not going to like the foolish things I’m going to put down on this post.
My dear readers,reserve your judgement about my morals,till the end of this post,otherwise you will be mistaken to label me a ‘pervert’.
But Daisy,my partner egged me on to visit a brothel.
I had just related to her how I lost my cherry to a mature prostitute during my high school days.
I thought she was going to be pissed by that whole account of abominable things I did during my teenage years,but instead,it got her very excited,and in her devious mind,she schemed a plot to have me enact that memorable experience.
“Sadly, you have become what
you write in your random journal nowadays,” she egged on, “and one day, when this middle-class skin has grown old, you will be left
un-reinvented and stewing in your own reservoir of inoperable words.”
I asked her, “are you here to knock my head
against a wall or is this going anywhere other
“Get out of that shell, Ben,I think you were more exciting when you were young.”
“By doing what?”I asked her,quite astonished.
“Leave what you know. Go to the unknown,” Daisy replies casually.
“Unknown? Like where this conversation is
headed?” I ask.
“Close. Why don’t you one day show that you
have the cajones to write about something
challenging?” Daisy implores.
“I actually like that.”I add cynically.
“What, the idea?”
“No, cajones. People don’t use that word
“OK, fine. What do you want me to write about
that you imagine will get me out of my comfort
zone?” I inquired.
“Write about Sabina Joy,that place where you lost your cherry to a prostitute.” Sometimes,I think Daisy,my girlfriend is a bit crazy.
“But that was so long ago,I can’t even remember how the places looks like from inside,I don’t have the feel of the place anymore!”,I protested.
“I will help you refresh your “memories” about ‘Sabina Joy’,just leave the whole plot to me”,Daisy added in her small voice,the voice of a conjurer,a schemer-that’s my Daisy.
Enter stage left,Gathura,my bossom friend.
He hails from Kerugoya Town and attended Kaitheri Primary School.
By the way when some Kikuyus tell you a name of a school they attended you always imagine they are pulling your leg because the names sound like a traditional herb: Riamukurwe Sec School, Ithekahuno Sec School, Gathuki Mundu Pri School (meaning: shake up a guy), Kianguenyi Second School, Kangubiri Sec School, Kiangoma Sec. School (meaning: the devil’s), Muthuani Second School…It goes on and on like a horror movie credit.
You meet someone who attended one of these
schools and you want to reach out and hug them.
Hug them and tell them, “it’s all right, you are
here now, you are here, that’s all that matters,and please forget about those awful names of your former high schools.”
I met Gathura in 2012 during some KTB(Kenya Tourist Board) loyalty trip where we scored the country from Laikipia to Tsavo.
On our last stop at Shompole Lodge (now defunct), a top-of-the-range resort clinging on the edge of Nguruman escarpment and charging about 50K per person per night for
a view and a bed, we shared a large condo which had two monstrous four post beds, a private pool, no windows or walls facing the escarpment and a view so stunning it looked like a prank.
Anyway, this morning I stir awake because the
room is suddenly awash with orange as the sun
From my bed I could see the sunrise without leaving it and as I lie there half-asleep, I
see Gathura walking across the room, heading to the loo. He’s naked. Buck-naked. I’m stunned.
Not stunned at his nakedness but at the fact.
But he’s nonchalant, shuffling across yawning and scratching his back.
That’s how life is; you wake up hoping to see the glorious sunset instead you get your sun blocked by a naked man.
And you dare complain about traffic in downtown Nairobi City?
If that were Nyanza it would have been a different story, because the only folk who walk naked at dawn are night-runners.
Gathura, unbeknownst to him, has that
recessive night-running gene of Nyanza night runners.
I called him last week and told him, “Boss, how
about you take me to Sabina Joy, I want to check it out. Two hours tops. I’m buying the drinks,plus you will have yourself a beautiful company in the name of Daisy,my girlfriend.”
He was confused but agreed.
You might know Sabina Joy as Karumaindo Bar.
It’s legendary, a mythological train that tirelessly keeps chugging and coughing decades of lustful notoriety.
Karumaindo has been there since god
was a teenager.
It’s ideally a whorehouse,a brothel but if you are of the more decent disposition you will
call it a bar.
Everybody who has been in Nairobi town longer than a week has, at least, heard one urban
lore about Karumaindo.
It’s revered for its licentiousness; it’s total lack of sympathy to the naïve or the urban-virgins.
Depending on whom you ask, it’s the den of thieves and the spot in town where Jezebel hangs her bra.
Karumaindo swallows the innocent and spits them out baptised in the roguish ways of Nairobi.
Although you might be with people you are always alone at Karumaindo because the quest for the pleasures of the flesh is a journey pursued alone.
And I was dying to see it for myself,again,after a very long time.
So, 8pm last Friday.
I leave my wallet, phone and watch in the car, not because I’m a wuss but because…OK, because I’m a wuss.
Daisy,my girlfriend,does the same,and her face lights up as if she is on a trance.
“Do you know that all the prostitutes inside there were once virgins?”,I pose to her,to break her trance.
She looks at me full on my eyes,and she just smiles.
Whenever Daisy does this,she makes me her slave for another hundred years!
Wr meet up with Gathura and together we walk down Kimathi Street, cross Uhuru Highway at Hilton and past the statue of Tom Mboya that stands forlornly in the dark pointing towards statehouse and in the process turning into a pitiful emblem of the Luo’s reiterated inability to rise to the big seat.
Gathura reads us the riot act: don’t order anything that can’t be opened before you, so no whisky, or brandy; don’t leave your drink unattended;
always keep your eye on the drink; minimise
bathroom breaks; don’t use a glass; stay close;
don’t get drunk; don’t touch any chic that not your Daisy.
“What if she touches me first?” I wonder.
We stroll past National Archive, past hawkers and street bums and vagabonds and the evening
crowd rushing home with the weight of the day
slung over their shoulders.
We pass that square before Ambassador Hotel, where all the suited Luos carrying folded newspapers (The Standard mostly) hurdle in circles talking politics animatedly.
You will not find a more boisterous and
dedicated political panel of analysts South of
Sabina Joy doesn’t announce herself because
Sabina Joy doesn’t need to announce herself.
That’s how cocky Sabina is – whoever she was/is.
One moment you are walking past the
smorgasbord of heaving commerce at the
Ambassador stage and the next the entrance is
Only a small dusty Tusker beer ad shingle above directs you in.
Once you cross this threshold you have crossed
Now you are in a rabbit hole.
(A bit of pun, of course). You walk up a tunnel-like winding staircase, following the thudding sound of the muffled music above.
You walk up this tunnel of debauchery with other men, trudging up determinedly and with all that unbridled hope of those led by their crotches.
On the second floor there is a security guy with
rheumy eyes the colour of strong tea, patting us
down, groping our pockets and impatiently
waving us in.
We are patted by about four different security guys.
Then we walk down this corridor with flashing gaudy disco lights.
There are girls writhing around in what in this part of town passes for sexy. Fat girls, slim girls, light girls, dark girls, pretty girls, girls with faces only a mother can love, girls with faces that can fit at Brew Bistro, girls in heels and girls in sandals, girls with long weave, bald girls, girls with talons for toes, dusty-footed girls, red eyed girls, girls with red lips, smiling girls, scowling girls, girls with teeth from Nakuru, girls with breasts that can
asphyxiate you, girls with chests so flat you can
shoot pool on them…then iron your shirt off
They all have one thing in common; they
are here for you. At a price.
Daisy’s face is now painted in dismay,scornful of these women who scored a “first” with me before she entered the scene,many years ago.
She clings closer to my arm. It is Gathura’s arm she should be holding onto,if she wants me to enact the scene as it was many years ago.
I uncling her arm and hand her over to Gathura.
These girls will not talk to an accompanied man,so she sticks with Gathura for all the time we are inside Karumaindo Bar cum Brothel.
Karumaindo comes as a sinking disappointment when we walk into the bar.
Based on the stories I’ve heard recently, I pictured a dysfunctional, treacherous and extremely seedy joint.
I pictured something smoky with patrons all wearing those Kikuyu hats and tapping their pointed-toed boots to Mugithi songs that Gathura was to translate for Daisy(she come from a different tribe from mine and Gathura’s).
I expected everybody in there to wear loose pleather leather jackets and big golden chains around their necks.
In my head, the common word spoken there was going to be “ciigana?”(How much money in Kikuyu).
Instead it isn’t; it’s seedy all right but you don’t get the feeling that danger lurks around.
And there isn’t anybody wearing pleather jackets or pointed-toed boots. I’m crushed.
The sitting area is T-shaped.
Tables are wedged close to each other with men slumped in them sipping their beers.
There are TV screens all over, showing National Geographic, of all the things for crying out loud.
The men raptly watch a scene of male Gazelles locking horns.
There are old posters on the wall, some still proclaiming Lil Kim as the hottest star.
How old is Kim now, 60?
Cooling Fans whiz overhead.
At the end of the room is a cage from where the deejay peeks like a caged psychopath.
That cage for some reason reminds me of Hannibal Lector.
Sabina Joy is packed.
And it smells.
Not a foul smell, but this smell of blue-collar struggle.
I order two beers.
Gathura’s Pilsner comes in this titanic bottle that the size of a rocket launcher.
I’m curious to see how he will lift it to
his mouth alone.
Daisy enjoy’s her can of Sweet Cherry.
Her eyes are dilated,probably with anticipation,fear or excitement.
She is to remain as invisible to the girls as possible.
The girls won’t play if she decides to mark her territory
Girls parade by sipping from plastic bottles.
Dodgy looking men pretend to ignore them, like they just came here to watch National Geographic then they will be on their way.
Soul music blares from the speakers hanging overhead as 80’s disco lights flash about.
A guy selling boiled eggs stops by our table.
We shake our heads, he moves along.
Guy selling Kenyan porn next stops by.
Again we shake our heads, he moves on.
This girl with very dark elbows walks by eyeing us.
We shake our heads…at her elbows.
We drink and make small talk.
My beer is warm; I might as well order a boiled egg to go with it.
At 10pm, I call this girl.
You know how Tony Soprano,the mafia don used to call those strippers over?
It’s very chauvinistic.
It has to be chauvinistic, that’s the only way it can work.
But it won’t work at any other posh place.
It works here because, here is ideally a
cave and we are all cavemen and the year is, well, what year was Lil Kim a hot commodity?
This girl I summoned wedges between Gathura
and I keeping away from Daisy on the other end, and offers me a smile that is supposed to
make me imagine that she is shy.
Well, she’s as shy as a wolf.
She’s light with a decent face but a body that contests that decency; large belly a flat bum, small legs and a tyre of fat around her waist just in case El Nino or Tsunami rocks up unannounced.
You guys, I believe, fondly refer to it as a “Kikuyu momo body”.
Let’s not get emotional. “Priss”.(Please as accentuated in Kikuyu Language)
She tells me her name is Samantha.
No matter, at Karumaindo names mean squat.
I tell her I’m Musa.
I offer to buy her beer, she orders for canned
Pilsner, which I pop open for her and she raises
it up and we knock up in cheers like decent folk.
Samantha has this red tattoo of a Playboy bunny on her right breast.
Yes, I was looking.
They were perked up in my face, OK?
What did you want me to look at instead, the Gazelle’s locking horns in National Geographic?
I ask her what the tattoo is and she (I swear) holds the whole poor breast up (jeez Samantha, I forgot to mention I like my tea black-no milk!) and asks, “Hii? Hii ni Playboy, I am a Playgirl.”(This is a playboy,and I’m a playgirl).
“No, you are a bunny,” I correct her.
“Hapana, mimi ni Playgirl,”(no,I’m a playgirl) she insists and I’m not in the mood to debate.
Playgirl it is.
Samantha is sort of funny.
Gathura had warned me not to ask questions that would get us stabbed, so I struggled to keep it light and nonchalant.
I’ve always wanted to interview a hooker. Or a
Madame. But I had to be wary of Daisy’s reaction. Now, I have her freedom. This is her game.
Can you imagine the kind of male
insecurity stories these women harbour in them?
I say insecurity because I think – and I might be
right- for you to pay for sex directly (not by
buying Pinot noir at Level 8) is a sign of
For now Samantha will do even though my hands are tied behind my back because Daisy is listening.
But I needn’t to because she’s a talker.
She tells me that she doesn’t service light older men because she never knew her father and her
mother wasn’t sure who her father was and she
telling her he was either a Kikuyu one or an
She laughs a lot,this Samantha girl, and when she does she sort of rams her body playfully into my shoulder, like we grew up together and Heck! Daisy is not enjoying this boob bumping on my shoulders.
The guy selling boiled eggs stops by again and
looks at me in case I’ve had a change of heart.
I shake my head.
He looks over at Samantha who asks me if I want an egg.
Well, not the one he is selling, I tell her in Kiswahili and it, unsurprisingly, flies right over her weave.
At some point she removes my hat from my head and asks if I wear hats. I tell her all the damn time.
She asks why?
I tell her to look tough.
Don’t I look tough? She puts it back on my head and takes a good look at me and says no.
She asks if she can keep it.
I tell her she can if she lets me keep her Playboy bunny.
She laughs and rams her shoulder into mine.
Then without warning she gets right to it and asks, “sasa itakuwa Kanu ama?”(What next,is it just this playfulness or I’m I looking for the “real thing?”
Kanu? Like Moi Kanu? I’m confused, is this a
political parties recruitment drive? I ask her what that is and she laughs and says “Uko na utoto!”(You are being childish)
I swear to her that I don’t know what she means.
She then wags her middle finger in that Kanu fashion (tingisha kidole fame) and looks at me naughtily.
I still don’t get it.
Then she wags it again, then I get
it and laugh.
You get it, too,my dear reader, don’t you?
Wagging the middle finger? You get it now? Alama ya jogoo? Anyone?
Sigh. She means sex and her finger is supposed
to represent a phallus.
These girls are creative.
I ask her how much.
She says five hundred.
I snort and tell her she is out of her mind, I aint
paying 500bob, not with that belly on you,baby!
OK, that last bit I think to myself.
She says that’s the going rate.
I talk her down to 300bob just to test my negotiation skills, or her desperation level.
She tells me there are rooms on the same
floor that go for 200bob for 20mins.
There, she says, you are timed, which I gather means no foreplay or asking stupid questions like “how was your day today?”
I ask her to come get me in 45mins that I need to discuss business with my pals first.
She leaves obediently.
Gathura,Daisy and I sneak out 20mins later.
After all I heard these many years gone now, Sabina Joy didn’t make look at life different or give me any unique insight into humanity or the trade of flesh.
It didn’t illuminate me or the people I saw.
It didn’t bubble to the surface my sense of morality.
I didn’t find it gritty or profound or humbling in its decadence.
Actually it disappointed me.
Raised my hope,that sex business has now been more refined as compared to my teenage years, then dashed it.
Maybe it’s because I’m jaded by such novelty of having my girlfriend watch me negotiating for transactional sex,devoid of any emotional feelings.
Or maybe it’s the first impression I got when we walked in; that image of grown men watching gazelle’s lock horns on National Geographic.
Has foreplay sunk to such lows? A rhettorical question that is pertinent to both within our bedrooms or in a prostitute’s den?
Food for thought,especially for you my dear Daisy-remember you asked for it!
Just some random thoughts that came to my mind….©Profarms’ Random Thoughts®