For Skirt And Glory.


Men love skirts. That is pretty obvious. It’s never about the design or color of the skirt, men don’t bother with trivial matters like mauve, lavender or a thousand shades of grey. No they don’t. Their fascination with skirts is more intricate than just ‘skirt’ as an apparel and probably dates back to the days when the skirt was just a leaf or a piece of animal hide around the waist. Those days, i presume, morals weren’t as corrupted as they are now so ladies were safe in their attires #MyleafMychoice!

We (i use plural here coz the issue is universal) had the same fascination while in high school just like every other male. The sight of a skirt would drive us mad; we were infatuated by young female teachers and harboured illicit notions and fantasies. School girls who came over for drama and educational congresses would find us in our best behaviour and attire, having splashed our entire bodies in cologne which was specifically bought with such situations in mind.

If there happened to be such an event in school, we would all be waiting anxiously for the ladies to arrive and, as if it was embedded in the school rules, most boys would have a girl (or two) towing along as we toured the school from one end to the other. Presumably, we would be dead tired at the end of the day and i guess the girls just collapsed in bed when they got back to their place.

Conversations would be quite hilarious and utterly nonsensical at times;

Boy: “My name is Michael, and you?”

Girl: chewing gum (or fingernails) “Corinne.”

Boy: “Porrine?”

Girl: “No, Corrine, like coriander!” (Probably thinking to herself that she landed the jerk of the century).

Boy: “I love science, Chemistry especially, and you?”

Girl: “English.” Straightens her skirt, “I want to be an author when i finish campus.” Smiles like J.K. Rowling!

Boy: “I want to be a gynaecologist, and you?”

Girl: rolls her eyes and flashes a fake smile.

Boy: “This is our Biology lab,” peeping through the huge window. “I love Burettes, just look at how beautiful it is, and you?”

Girl: confused. “Me what?”

Boy: “You love them too?”

Girl: peeps through the window and studies the solitary burette in a shelf, sees nothing extraordinary about it. “No i don’t, sorry!”

Boy: giggles.

Girl: “Umm, listen Mark….”

Boy: “Am Michael, or Mike…”

Girl: “Ok, Mike. Listen, i have to get back to my friends, see you around.”

Boy: “Oh, umm…you will send me a letter, right?”

Girl: “Yeah, of course. And you?” Walks away laughing!

In ’98 when i was in form 2, i joined cultural club as a female dancer. Not that i wanted to be one but my frail body, as Gusto so perceived, wasn’t engineered for the rigorous dancing of the bigger male dancers. I, thus, contented myself in donning a skirt; make up (paint), fake boobs (crumpled papers) and shaking my tail feather as a female dancer.

As with everything, we had to make the stuff required for our skits and for this we would go deep into the Kavau jungle, a place so wild that they lacked a proper name for it and called it ‘Monyon’. Look for it in a map, you will not find it, the place is completely wild. You step on a patch of earth and you get a feeling you are the first human being to set foot there, makes you feel like Columbus you know. The way leaves blushed at our touch indicated that this was virgin land indeed!

So we are there in wild Monyon, the entire drama and cultural gang, looking for sisal which we would later make into those ‘zulu-like’ dancing attires. Every sisal bunch we came across wasn’t good enough so we kept venturing deeper.

You see, not everyone in Nyeri High was familiar with Monyon. The bad boys who used to sneak out on weekends knew some parts of it; parts which were at the perimeter of the jungle and had pathways that led to town and a drinking den not far from school. Good boys like me were not familiar with any part of it; hard i been forced to sneak out i would have no idea which way to go!

Either way, we kept drifting further and further from school all for the love of skirts; skirts and the glory that awaited us if we performed well in the drama festivals. Who wouldn’t love a boy who had danced his way to the National drama festival finals? We would be heroes; they would sing praises even long after we left Nyeri High. We all knew that we would miss supper that evening but what the hell, we mused, anything for a skirt. For a skirt we were willing to break all the virgin lands we could, cross every river just to ensure that we got the skirt and nailed the girl as well.

Ultimately we did come across the kind of sisal bunches we desired, only problem was that they were across a raging river and the only way to cross it was by climbing a tree which conveniently had an extended branch to the other side, wonders of nature. One by one we crossed and as fate would have it the branch started getting slippery as a result of some cowardly boys climbing with muddy shoes.

I remember there was a guy who slipped and almost plunged into the raging, brown waters below. He was screaming, at that point when death was flashing before him with such turbulence he had no chance of acting all manly and cool. No, he screamt like a little girl. The Dining Hall Captain, some muscular guy called Odhis held on to him and tried to encourage him, guy just looked at the waters below and kept screaming. He knew, we all did, that if Odhis let go of his hand that would be it, gone baby gone!

We got our sisal and got back to school late at prep time, dead tired but exhilarated by the adventure and near death experience.  The thrill that we got skirts to nail other skirts was epic!

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