Monthly Archives: February 2012

Inspirational Love

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This past week there has been a lot of talk about love because of Valentine’s Day. This is how you know how hallowed the day is when I tried to type it in with a small “d” the computer gave me the green grammatical error line, oops sorry Microsoft word. Historically Valentine’s Day has been termed a day of lovers but it is a day of business people too. Next to Christmas nothing puts a smile on business people’s faces quite like Valentine’s. Heck you don’t even need to be a business person; you just need to be enterprising. Since last Tuesday the number of flower and gift vendors has reduced like the liquid in 24 hour lamb. The good thing is the vendors who are left are in it for real love. These are the guys who make life tasty like the liquid left after 24 hour lamb; it is a delightful sauce that makes waiting 24 hours for a meal worth it (I’m not sure many people would agree with this but well…). The point I was trying to make (using all my thousands of words that I need to use in a day) is love should be an everyday thing. It should be expressed as often as there are breaths. A random gift or bouquet of roses or a single stem, a sweet card and a kind word does not require occasion.

The subject of love is fodder for books, music, cinema, TV, conversation in bars, coffee shops, salons and living rooms. I don’t know about you but mi thinks most of these conversations are based on trying to understand what this thing called love is. I cannot say I understand it either but I have a little insight on the kind of love I would like: the inspirational kind. Oh so many years ago there was a movie called The Best Man. The sound track of the movie was called “Best man”. It was sung by Ginuwine, Tyrese, R.L and Case. I must admit I couldn’t remember who sang the song until I googled it but when the song was fresh I would have been weak in the knees if I ever ran into any of these guys (thank God for time and distance). In the song the persona talks of this girl who changes his life for the better. That he was a boy when he met her and he has grown to become a men because of her influence and she has helped him be the best man he can be. I thought the song was golden I mean it’s really sweet that she influenced him for the better. I realized that love should be at the least inspiring many years ago and now I am more convinced of it.

A few weeks ago there was a discussion amongst my youth fellowship on sex and love was invited into the conversation. One guy said the most awe inspiring thing that love means adding value. It means you take a person who was ok when you met them and you love them into a higher level. Sounds good doesn’t it? Who doesn’t want to be in love right about now? Have you thought about the people you have ever related with are they so much the better because they encountered you? Let’s start small let’s go to your family. Can your family members say that your good qualities have rubbed off on them? Or did they pick up most of their bad habits from you? Are you adding value to their lives or are you taking them down a notch or ten? So many questions right. Let me let all of us off the hook and stop asking.

Relationships are a two way street. Whatever goes down between two people who are in any kind of relationship is the responsibility of each of the party involved. I would like to hope that you are inspiring the people you relate with but they also have to decide to be inspired. A few months ago I was hanging around this guy who was really interesting and I liked him. I realised that we had something in common a passion for food. Around that time I kept telling myself I was waiting for some perfect opportunity to experiment in the kitchen. When we had a conversation about food and he mentioned he likes to experiment in the kitchen and he actually does, I thought to myself why not me? I haven’t seen the guy in ages but the desire to experiment in the kitchen has stayed with me. I have since cooked for a few friends and family and it was amazing! I want to do this for the rest of my life. People may walk in and out of your life but what you keep with you from these encounters is entirely up to you. Sometimes we get hurt but even when we have been hurt there was some good in that relationship. What was it? Can you figure it out and take it and run with it. The truth is if you choose to hold on to the hurt and the pain then you lost and when you lose so many times you are in danger of feeling like a loser. On the other hand if you can take something that will benefit you in a future relationship then you are so much the better. What can you take you ask? Where do I begin? How about you take those characteristics you found admirable in the person and practice them. Like your ex was a good time keeper you can learn to keep time. I know it sounds silly but maybe your new ability to keep timing will elevate your status and you never know who is watching. Maybe your dad was a lousy husband to your mother but he taught you to be philanthropic, take it and run with it. Your ex was a go getter, borrow a leaf or better yet get that leaf! This person has a great relationship with God, start asking God what you can do to have an awesome relationship like that with Him if not better.  At the end of the day, if you are in any relationship and you choose to inspire the other person and be inspired by the other person then no matter what happens everybody is a winner. Last I checked winning is cool!

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The Village Dance

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When I was in high school in my Social Ethics class I learnt that the village dance was a great part of courtship back in our African ancestor’s times. Now that I think of it I also remember reading of the village dance being a precursor to courtship in Ngugi wa Thiong’ o’s “The River Between”. I am pretty sure Nyambura* caught Kinuthia’s* eye during the village dance. In our modern times I beg to ask what happened to the village dance. Some people may argue that it has been replaced by the rave. To that I would say the rave is a watered down version of the village dance of yester year or more like it is a spiked drink version of it. This is because you don’t need an expert to tell you, the rave is hardly good soil for good marriage mates. But for those who were lucky enough to find a good spouse in the midst of all that loud music, high temperature and smoke, good on you mate! You see the village dance had some romance to it though the participants those days would have never used romance in a sentence. The romance I am talking about is in the propriety of the dances at that time.

The men, they were brave. They had just undergone initiation probably slaying a lion and they felt fearless. So at the dance, when the guy identified the object of his admiration, he walked up to her and asked for a dance. I imagine thoughts of rejection may have crossed his mind but he figures he was out in the wilderness and came back alive, so what if a girl doesn’t want to dance with me? The women, they were poised and graceful. They had come from training in womanhood. They were confident that some good guy would ask them for a dance. All she had to do was make eye contact for a fleeting second, look down and smile. And if he didn’t come then he wasn’t it. It was simple. Things were so easy back then right? Now it is all so complicated.

I recently read an article about social dance and it made me think the principles of social dance could very well be applied for dating in modern times. With that in mind I propose that the village dance be brought to life with a few modern twists. For a start the traditional dances could be replaced with ball room dance but the exception is the “mwomboko” because it was ballroom dance. When I say ballroom some people may imagine some stiff sashaying around a ballroom but it doesn’t have to be that way. I prefer Latin ballroom like Salsa and Tango etc. Usually the guy asks a girl to dance. The girl is at liberty to decline or accept. If the girl declines it is not at all a reflection on the guy. He should move on and ask another girl. For the girl if you want to be asked to dance, it has been said stand at the edge of the dance floor. Put a smile on your face and stamp your feet like you are enjoying the music. This sends the message I want to dance and someone just might oblige you.

Now that you are all partnered and on the dance floor, the man takes the lead. Leading is supposed to be oh so subtle it is a gentle tag, a lifting of the hand. There should be no pulling and pushing. A girl should never lead herself or try to lead the man, it maketh the man mad. Men this would be a good time to remind you to watch your hand. Your hand should never go too south, north is always best. Don’t be the guy who finds a dance opportunity and decides to make maximum use of it by taking his hands on a tour. Like in the village dance of yester years self-control was a mark of quality. During the dance it will not kill you to have a good time. Have fun and try to look it. Also away from the dance floor, work on your dance technique.  If you have the ability to dance really well, it increases your popularity on the dance floor. For the fellas there will be no getting turned down. For the ladies, there will be a line waiting to dance with you. The rules of social dance say you shouldn’t dance to many subsequent songs with one partner. In other words even if the person you got paired up with is an absolute delight do not hog them. After one song set them free and find someone else to dance with. When I did salsa class in university, this rule made total sense. It was all about variety and variety is the spice of life isn’t it?

Another rule that cannot be ignored is don’t take dancing too personal. You danced with someone, you had a good time, the chemistry was palpable and you hope they felt the chemistry too. Wrong! Don’t assume that. When I did salsa class in university I always told myself it’s nothing personal it’s just salsa. Trust me it is better that way. If you take the dancing too personally and hope for romantic attachment afterwards, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and maybe heartbreak. Granted there are people who find romance from dancing it should never be the sole intention for dancing. I mean there are better reasons to dance like improving on your technique, getting a bit of a work out, meeting new people etc.

In conclusion what can social dance teach us about dating? The guy should initiate and take the lead. This means the guy should be confident. The girl should be warm and receptive remember look like you want to dance. Guys, be respectful just because you are hunters doesn’t mean you should maul the deer because she agreed to dance with you. Finally, enjoy each other’s company and unless there is information suggesting that there could be more, don’t put all your emotions in that basket. Social dance has been compared to a five minute encounter at a cocktail party. You have five minutes to impress but if you don’t, it’s never that serious same applies to dating. While it is argued people date to find marriage mates, I would also say like dance dating is good exercise to build your personality and character (if you meet inspiring people, it will rub off on you). So go on, dance away.

 

*names haven’t been changed to protect identity rather they have temporarily slipped my mind.