Thursday, June 21, 2007

Are we seeing the death knell of romance?

Maina Kageni in the morning, for most mornings, is a disappointment. I am sure he has legions of female listeners who imagine themselves being the new Mrs. Kageni. However, on this particular morning, while his show had the usual mix of inanity and morning intoxication, it did raise one glaring fact: romance is dead. It has been dead for a long time.

I am not talking about the mzungu concept of romance involving flowers and champagne. I am talking about chivalry and graciousness. Men are no longer chivalrous and women are very rarely gracious. It all has to do with how far we have come on this road to male/female equality. This equality is killing off the last vestiges of romance in this country. After all, if we can all do it all, why should we allow someone else to do it for us? I am aware that the legions of women's rights activists are not (all) divorced harridans with axes to grind. I am also aware that they have very valid concerns on the inequity and iniquity of the current state of affairs. But I just wish that things could have been done with a lot more sensitivity to the kinds of families we would end up with.

Nairobi is no longer a hospitable city. I suspect that neither are our larger towns. This, in my opinion, has to do with the fact that with the collapse of the village and the extended family, and the attendant bonds they fostered, and the failure of the nuclear family to take up the slack, there has been no inculcation of any values for the young men and women of today. So we end up with motivated over-achievers who do not appreciate the simple joy of doing something for someone without pay or reward or, more crucially, having someone doing something for you without any ulterior motive.

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