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MANTALK: Salute to all-round men.

figure By JACKSON BIKO Ivisited my friend who recently got a baby. He's in the business of vanity, this friend of mine.

He dresses men. As in, men make appointments with him to get advice on how they can match their belts and shoes and what kind of girth is good for what trousers.

He also shows them how they can sit upright in meetings to gain advantage. And when he has time, he tailors men's' suits.

He's so good at making suits, apparently, that he just doesn't tailor suits for anybody. He handpicks you and not the other way round.

First, you have to "have the right body" for his suits. Which means, if you have a waist of a rhinoceros, you are not wearing his handiwork.

No sir. He can do without you telling people that the suit they are wearing was tailored by him.

He has a particular body type that he prefers for his suits I don't know exactly what he calls them but sometime when I'm in his office I hear him say over the phone measurements like 23, 45, 32. Or something like that. I'm never paying attention because I'm also busy eating the mixed nuts and drinking the whisky he always keeps for guests.

Besides, I don't wear suits. Wearing a suit always feels like wearing a coffin.

I associate suits with funerals and galas where people eat food using toothpicks. class="MsoNormalAnyway, he met and married a white woman, which didn't come as a major surprise because very few black women would tolerate a fellow like him.

class="MsoNormalA few years later they were blessed with a baby boy, who he named Magere, Jones Magere, from the legendary Luanda Magere of Luo folklore, a warrior who was so powerful spears would bounce of him. As befitting of a warrior, I went to a store in a mall and bought a teddy bear for Magere, because what are you going to buy a six-month-old named after a traditional warrior, a shield and spear? class="MsoNormalAnyway, I go to his house and stand under a massive monochrome picture of a shirtless and lithe Fela Kuti framed on the wall.

Jones Magere was taking an afternoon as only princes do in the afternoon. I was led into his bedroom.

(He's been trained to sleep alone at an early age because mom and dad, apart from being parents, are also lovers). class="MsoNormalHe was sleeping there, his small hands folded under his chubby cheeks.

Sleeping like a prince should. "I like this cot," I whispered, "where did you buy it?" He whispered back, "I made it.

" I whispered, "what do you mean you made it?" He motioned for us to leave the bedroom so as not to awaken the prince. Outside he explained that he also loves making furniture.

He has made his own kitchen cabinets and the small coffee table in the living room. He loves woods and what wood can do.

I was blown away. Here was a man, who apart from telling men how to sit during meetings, can make cabinets, baby cots, suits, and a beautiful baby.

class="MsoNormalI felt somewhat envious. Maybe that is not the right word inadequate.

I can never make or fix anything. I once bought a writing desk from Ikea and I had to ask a friend to come put it together even with its instructions.

Because who has the time to find out which part goes where? If my car stalls, while most men might diagnose (or pretend to) I will never be the chap opening the bonnet and poking their heads in there. Oh no.

To look for what? I will scroll my phone and call Ka-wire who always picks his phone never by saying "hello" like normal human beings but by saying in a drawl, "nduuugu!" class="MsoNormalI can't make a chair. Or a table.

I can't bother with plumbing. I'm not going to wonder why the iron box isn't getting hot anymore unless it's the fuse that has a problem.

If my computer won't power, I will call the young chap from IT. I'm not curious to know why the clock suddenly doesn't tick and tock, that's the job of the Horologist.

I never Google what's wrong with my body I leave that to the doctor. Whereas there are men who are adept with DIY, I'm not.

I have such a small attention span that even Legos give me a headache. But I think this year I will attempt and fix one broken thing.

Just one. Related Stories
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Publication:Daily Nation, Kenya (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Jan 19, 2019
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