February is drawing to a close. In a few hours’ time, we will be basking in the glory of full-blown March, all 31 days of her. The vibrance with which we faced February, welcoming her like the prodigal daughter after having left us to the dogs over January, is a vibrance we should mirror in the coming month(s). This includes the dreary CATs and the ever so tiring group assignments.
There was a swagger with which people carried themselves over February. The lipstick shades seemed brighter, the weaves looked fuller. Now, this does not in any way mean that I think bright lipstick and a shiny Brazilian weave are the epitome of satisfaction and fulfillment in life, no, far from it. However, you have to admit, there is power in these two items of vanity.
Life in university means you have to be prepared for curve balls thrown your way. Bouncing classes, missing marks, random group presentations, abrupt strikes, union members appearing on television randomly in the middle of the day telling their members to down their tools which loosely translates to yet another three months of drinking, frolicking, gallivanting and all the other’-ing’ gerunds we can afford on campus.
Life in university also means you are susceptible to the Kardashian-esque pressures of this world. Lighter skin= Carolyte. Longer hair= Brazilian/Peruvian. Colorful lips= DUBOIS ROAD hoyee!
The guys say they don’t like it.
“I like my women natural bana! In their God-given beauty. Sio mtu anaenda kulala akikaa Avril, kuamka ni the image and likeness of Timmy Tdat.”
This statement and similar sentiments are met with slaps on the back, approving hand movements and loud laughter, a kind the Naija nation in Roysambu will refer to as ‘Shine your 32’. See, these sentiments will be raised but when the ‘natural’ one comes along, the looks are disapproving, sneers even.
“Yaani, you mean, some ladies on this campus don’t have time to fix themselves up kidogo. Hata kaVaseline kwa mdomo at least.”
Her saving grace comes where she has a sizeable posterior. P-Unit referred to it as a ‘dendai’. Vera Sidika in the background in a figure hugging black and white piece. Creators of illusion will tell you that that, right there was a trick that worked. Now, to lighten the skin and sow in rows of Priyanka’s hair on the scalp, then the Instagram, more Instagram, foreign accents, more Instagram… You get the drill.
See, standards of beauty are a constantly evolving piece of work. In the olden days, the prettiest women had dark skin, a gap on the upper jaw and long drooping earlobes. Tribal tattoos were in particular quite the rage. Not today’s flower tattoo on the bicep or just above one mammary gland. That got diluted over the centuries with Western influence and now, lighter skin and hair that grows down is what is desirable. This, the men will talk badly about but still seek out in a woman. Beauty standards: a calculation, a balance, a tight rope.