I’m good with scents. Not choosing them, that I suck at. I remember scents (not smells, just to be clear). They trigger something in my memory: a period of time, a situation, a person, a book … there’s a nivea scent that reminds of a first kiss; I catch a waft of it in some random space and find myself scanning the people around me for that particular lady …then there is that Conspiracy cologne.
There are folks who are good with faces or names, I’m good with scents and laughter. Yes ma’am, I’ll remember how you giggle faster than your first name. I am that type of guy who chooses a bus seat according to the scents the next person is wearing. So I end mostly sitting beside ladies. That should explain why I think Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is a great movie. My nose isn’t that acute though, I can’t smell life …YET! Okay, I’m kidding.
That said, I should add that I’m very keen on what I smell like. I hate bad perfumes so mostly I go without, but then a dude gotta surprise himself at times. This brings us to Fridah.
Fridah is my self declared perfume dealer. I like the mystery that emanates from that word. Dealer. It is not the same as hawker or vendor. It has a ring to it, almost illegal, covert. And it is; she disappears to the coast for short periods then shows up with a rejuvenated accent, filling up her jeans more (that doesn’t mean fat! DON’T YOU EVEN DARE!) and these little flasks of sweet smelling liquids. You know those small glass bottles that look like they were pulled from the ocean floor? Like the liquid inside is a potion? Those. She sells them at 200 a piece.
Now, you gotta support a pal’s hustle; after some nagging, I agreed to buy one. So I told her to get me something potent. Something that commands respect. Something that says alpha male! Because I can’t stoop lower than that …Okay I didn’t say all that. I just wanted a subtle, masculine scent. You don’t introduce yourself as Ngatia when wearing a scent that screams “LAVENDER!” or “DAISY”. Unless you have those soft names, like Lavin or Paul. Not Ngatia. With a name with such strong syllables you need a solid scent. A scent proclaiming, “Born in the mountains, raised in the farmlands, matured in the…” like those bloody brandy adverts. So anyway, I got my little flask, straight from the ocean bed and she confirmed it was masculine. Look, I don’t know exactly what masculine smells like, I know how the opposite is because that is how men’s noses are wired. Then she added that her ex used to wear it and got me confused, I don’t know whether I remind her of her ex so much that she wants me to smell like him when I’m around her or she hates me that much or… HEY! Fridah! I know you’re reading this, help me out.
Fridah is a beauty.
And she understands fashion. Actually, fashion understands her. She is one of those few women who can wear anything and make it look good. She is a trendsetter this one and isn’t afraid to stand out, the kind of woman to tag along to a party just to brag. Even though you’re tucked snugly in the friendzone. She has a great personality too, just to answer that “inner beauty” question you’re dying to ask. She can dance her legs off and is insightful as they come.
There are people reading this waiting for me to mention her ass. You buffoons! Look, Brian, Masido, Alex, and Tonny, I’m not going to objectify* a woman. She has brains and beauty and worth that cannot be reduced to just… just … *sigh* That ass has a personality. It is the kind of posterior that commands respect, it walks into a room and words disappear. Forget those socialite things that are forced on your screens. Her’s doesn’t need to be in a P-Unit video to get attention. Or on an avi. It is the kind worth getting slapped for … okay I’m getting carried away.
I know what you’re thinking, “A woman like that has to have a weakness” right? Yes. Apart from chocolate (Wanjiku you’re not alone in this one) and fashion, she’s carefree. Too carefree; the destructive type. Then to add to that, like almost every campus girl in Nairobi, Fridah Mwongeli is everything: Model, Designer, Actress, Stylist, Music Video director, Dancer, Choreographer … We are in the same stage of life. Where you are confused on what you really want to major in, acting like you have shit figured out but knowing exactly how torn apart you are. Which is scary. And the scarier part? Knowing you can do each one of those things really well.
Fridah is also an aspiring photographer. Which was really the point of this post before I started thrashing around the bush.
Photography is a fine art. One of those arts that comes triple distilled. It is almost a science. No, it is a science. Combining depth of field, opacity, ISO, shutter speeds, exposure durations, controlling the aperture (don’t even act like you know what all that is. Be a good sport and consult Google, I did) to create a single frozen moment of beauty needs extreme patience and dedication. Intrinsic skills. It kinda reminds you of titration, yeah?
Fridah knows that much, that is why I said she’s an aspiring photographer. When you listen to her speak about it, you notice a lot of future tense. Things she will learn, do, shots she wants to pull off, cameras she wants to have, lenses… I understand all that, because I share the interest, I study the art and it’s one of the careers I would love to have. (Partly because it involves being a fashion rebel and staring at women discreetly through the lens. Zooming in at will.) She might claim to be a fashionista, but she acknowledges she’s just an aspiring photographer. Because photography isn’t just something you wake up and become. It’s not like being a Kenyan “socialite”, where you leak dreadful nude photos and Ghafla! declares you one. It something you grow into, mature into, learn!
We share contempt for one breed of people; those wannabe photographers all over Facebook who cannot pull a good picture without Photoshop. Right, I know I’m just a humble Farmer’s Son, (I’ll probably save for the next 5 years to afford a 7D) but hey! Just because your father gave you an expensive camera for your birthday doesn’t make you a photographer kid! It makes you an idiot with a good camera. And taking pictures of your brat friends on your parents’ Range Rovers makes you as much of photographer as having fists makes you Floyd Mayweather.
Yes I’m vitriolic, because I’m tired of all these pages with work that cannot even be filed under “amateur”. No, I’m not a professional, I’m not even a critic, I’m just a person who appreciates the art. It would be really sensible to take time, like my friend Fridah, to learn what the damn gadgets do before you fill my TL with weird photos of models with phony poses. I have legs and can sprint for 30 meters before collapsing, but you don’t see me call myself an athlete now, do you!? Get the picture!?