They are young, beautiful and live on the fast lane â€” enjoying every city luxury, yet their monthly pay is peanuts,Â
The Nairobi woman is barely 23, but she lives in a Sh55,000 apartment in Kileleshwa.
She wears shoes worth Sh4,000 (in five different colours); her handbags cost Sh6,000 and her long fake European hair costs a whopping Sh8,000 to attach.
She has an iPhone 4 or the latest gadget that everyone in town lusts for. She drives a new red Toyota Ist and, to top it off, has an accent that can easily be confused as American yet she has never stepped out of the country.
When she goes out with her girlfriends, she pays a Sh20,000 bill without blinking â€” yet she barely earns that in a month.
Brilliant budgeting? Nah! Shrewd saving skills? Of course not!
If you examine her life closely, you realise her rich lifestyle can all be attributed to one thing:Â â€˜Multitaskingâ€™.
To survive todayâ€™s tough economy, young Nairobi women have taken multitasking to a new level by â€˜triple dealingâ€™ â€” dating three, or even more men depending on their financial ambitions.
Their excuse? You cannot eat love.
In the good old days, all a woman had to do when she wanted to climb the social ladder quickly without breaking a sweat was to get her hands on an rich sugar daddy.
Nowadays, since not everyone can have a rich sugar daddy, Nairobi women delegate and spread their financial obligations amongst different men.
The new â€˜sugar daddyâ€™ is no longer that sneaky old rich guy who is married with children. These days, he does not even have to be married or extremely rich.
All a man has to do to qualify is to have some income and he is a good breathing ATM for todayâ€™s Nairobi woman, who has expensive tastes but no cash. Roles are distributed to unsuspecting men, usually according to their financial capabilities.
Thus, while one boyfriend pays for the monthly hair and shoe expenses; another pays rent and food and the other provides the monthly entertainment allowance.
Often, a fourth â€” the â€˜realâ€™ boyfriend â€” is added into the mix. The number usually depends on how greedy and well horned a womanâ€™s multitasking skills are.
Jackie, an administrator with a locally owned company in town, claims she can barely survive on what she makes at the end of the month and is unapologetic about her lifestyle.
â€œI have always wanted to stay in a good house and drive a nice car. I canâ€™t do it on my salary. I have three boyfriends; one who pays for my house bills, another who pays for my beauty upkeep and my real boyfriend who doesnâ€™t earn much,â€ she says.
Because of this arrangement, she is able to live comfortably and is even planning to buy a Toyota Vitz next February.
Juliet Akinyi, a student who owns a clothing store, says she has two boyfriends.
â€œI have an older boyfriend who is married; he pays most of my bills and the rent for my two-bedroom apartment in Westlands. He is even the one who helped me start my business,â€ she explains
But she also has another boyfriend who is three years older.
â€œHe has just gotten a job and doesnâ€™t have much money, but he is the one I love and intend to marry,â€ she states.
Naturally, the men caught up in these â€˜loveâ€™ webs rarely have a clue that they are a crowd in the relationship.
Mike Juma, a banker, says he was shocked when his girlfriend, a fellow banker, invited him to her place for dinner.
â€œShe lived in a three bedroom maisonette in South C. Everything, from her 46-inch Samsung television to her double door fridge, was state-of-the-art. We earn the same salary, but all I can afford is a servantâ€™s quarter in South C. It made no sense. I suspected something was not right because she was living way above her means. But I kept quite,â€ says Juma.
His fears were confirmed a month later when he found out from a colleague at work that his â€˜girlfriendâ€™ had a string of men who took care of her financially.
Shocked, he made a random visit to her house one Friday night when she was apparently â€˜not availableâ€™ only to find her entertaining another man.
Moses Owiti, a businessman who found himself in a bit of a muddle with the last woman he dated, is another victim. He claims that she did not even bother to hide the fact that she had two other men in her life. After going on a few dates, she casually let him know that he was not the only man in her life as she already had two other boyfriends.
â€œI could not believe her nerve. She let me know that she had two other boyfriends, yet she was stunned when I immediately ended our relationship. She actually believed that we could continue our relationship as if nothing was amiss!â€ he says.
But why would married men spend large amounts of money keeping women?
Several men who spoke to this writer said keeping a woman is cheaper than having one night stands.
â€œThe most you can spend on such a woman is say Sh30,000 a month. But she cooks dinner and you have a getaway from home when the wife becomes a nag. You canâ€™t compare that with sleeping in lodgings, which cost as much as Sh5,000 a night in some places,â€ one explained.
It, however, appears the real attraction such Nairobi women have for men is the opportunity for unprotected sex.
Jorum Martim, who runs a sleek butchery in Kitengela, says that when he starts paying rent for a woman, she becomes his wife, meaning using condoms is out of the question.
But that is where things start going wrong. Most obvious is the risk of contracting or spreading sexually transmitted diseases, since the men they fraternise with often also have relationships with other women.
There are also the Nairobi women who eventually fall in love with the good life and the men who fund it. In a bid to make the relationship permanent, they become pregnant. To their horror, instead of that tying up men, most vanish into thin air.
Tales abound of pregnant Nairobi women who suddenly find the financial support cut off, the rent to the apartment unpaid, and the Vitz towed away. Little wonder the Childrenâ€™s Court remains a lively name-calling circus.
Abandoned with a child and without cash and the comforts they were accustomed to, their lives careen downhill and they end up bitter and angry.
But there are the smart ones who juggle it so well that financial security is assured for the rest of their lives. When they land a big fish, an apartment is bought, business and employment contacts are made and exploited, enabling them to make a tidy sum and lift their social status even higher, where they can play around and hook even bigger fish.
So men, when you see a Nairobi woman approaching you with killer hips, a seductive smile and a bewitching bust, donâ€™t fall flat. At least donâ€™t brag too much about the conquest, or dream that you are firmly in the driverâ€™s seat.
You may not be the only bean in her githeri, but just a cog in her financial base.
Your role could be to service her fabulous but elusive Nairobi lifestyle in return for a token service once in a while, when he â€˜realâ€™ boyfriend is out of town.
Come to think of it, you could even be paying her boyfriendâ€™s rent!