You should smile more often and other things you should never say to a woman

Just don't say it

The smell of alcohol and stale sweat pervaded the air and along with Nairobi’s ever present smoke and dust, I was very unhappy. So much so that my face had folded unto itself as though I had just smelt excrement and tasted lemons at the same time.

These men lazily lounging on their mkokoteni took it upon themselves to tell me to smile and commented on the colour of my skin, shape of my legs and length of my skirt.

I went on a tirade and the friend who was my audience simply assumed that I was mad because idlers talked to me.

I made it clear, it wasn’t that they talked to me, it was that they made sexist remarks and made me uncomfortable. And these men don’t have a monopoly on asking women stupid questions. It happens in matatus, offices, markets, or construction sites.

For the sake of these men, I have compiled a list of things you should simply NEVER say to a woman.

You should smile more often

I really hate this one. I have a resting b!*ch face- which translates to, when I have no need to be animated I look bored out of my mind.

Many men take offence with this and constantly ask you to smile. Soften up. Why? What’s your problem?

You’d be happier if you had a man.

It was never written anywhere that a woman can only be happy if she is in a relationship. And even if it was, it’s not true. Happiness isn’t brought into a woman’s life by a man. That’s just backward thinking.

Is your hair real?

That’s none of your business and while you’re at it, don’t ask to touch it either.

Are you PMSing?

One man asked me this, thinking that he was showing off his headway in progressive thinking. Just don’t ask.

When are you getting married?

My response: Why? Have you started paying for the wedding?

Don’t you think it’s time you got settled?

Who died and made you king? It’s a free world. I can globe trot until I am 90, senile and arthritic.

Those legs, those boobs, that a**

Never ever say this to a woman. In a social setting, like an event, and you see a woman who looks amazing and you want to tell her she’s beautiful, go ahead and do it politely. But don’t shout out your favourite part of her anatomy then get mad when she doesn’t respond. What did you expect her to do? Raise her skirt for you? Stay quiet.

You’re so beautiful today

This is a sensitive one. Some women don’t mind. But others do, especially when it’s just before a meeting, just after a meeting, when you’re with your wife, when you’re with your kids, when she’s minding her own business. Don’t say it. Or be tactful about it.

You’ve become fat

Which usually translates into shock on your behalf.

“Aki nani umenona.”

Did you think I was unaware?

Haven’t you had enough?

Alcohol, food, fun- anything really. Don’t overstep boundaries.

You're too cute to get mad

I'm sorry, were you told physical attractiveness and emotion are directly proportional?

You’ve lost weight, did you lose your job too?

Unless you’ve been posting your fitness journey on Facebook, most people will associate your weight loss with cancer or losing your job because in Kenya people only grow fat when they’re rich and happy.

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