The ‘Mini’ Epidemic

Greetings. Today I want to talk about the tidal wave of minis (Not the cars) that has flooded our society. Yes, these little fabrics that are a father’s worst nightmare, a hyena’s (Team Fisi’s) greatest desire and a pastor’s sermon fodder. Sometime back there were demonstrations on the streets of Nairobi. A campaign was being run by women with the slogan “My Dress My Choice”. Basically, women wanted to be allowed to dress in any way they deemed appropriate without facing ridicule from society. The campaign was a success judging from the recent adoption of ‘mini’ clothing. Nowadays every article of feminine clothing has a mini counterpart. There are mini-dresses, miniskirts, mini-blouses (At least I think that’s what they are called), mini-jackets, mini-swimsuits aka bikinis, the list is endless. Now while some may argue that donning these clothes is a form of expression, they do have a tendency to make certain situations quite awkward.

The year? 2012. The month? Withheld. The day? Withheld but it was a nice Wednesday afternoon. There I was walking through the streets of Nairobi on my way to pick up a friend who I had not seen in quite a long time. I should point out that it was a female friend and hence, I had to suit up (In casual wear, not a suit) and look good. The streets were busy but navigable and I made my way to the agreed meeting destination, Kencom. On arrival, I whipped out my Motorola Razr V3, flipped it open (Flip phones were still cool back then) and called to enquire about my friend’s whereabouts. She picked on the third ring and said she was right behind me. Turning in a complete 180-degree angle, I saw Marla (Not her real name) standing a few meters away.  Our eyes met and she scampered towards me with a huge smile on her face. I would have done the same but I had to keep cool, and embrace my inner gangster. All was well in that moment until I happened to glance down at her dress of choice for the day.

The dress was short. I mean really short. Let me paint you a verbal picture. It was a dark blue strapless dress with black floral prints that hugged her really tight around the torso and widened below the waist much like a fish dress. The hem line stopped miles above her knees and her legs were bare for all to see. I stood there transfixed and momentarily speechless. When my senses returned I almost blurted out, “Msichana!!! What are you wearing?”. But I had to keep cool. I stretched out my hand expecting a hand shake (Yes, I was that old-fashioned) but instead Marla went for a hug. That was the most awkward hug ever. It was like navigating through a mine field. I tried earnestly to avoid touching any exposed areas that could be deemed inappropriate. A difficult task considering the dress covered so little. In the end, I resorted to a one arm hug that indirectly communicated, “We are just friends”. Once we were done with the pleasantries, we proceeded to a restaurant to catch up.

On our walk, I noticed everyone staring as we passed by, no doubt shocked by my companion’s rather “bold” fashion sense. Some women judged non-verbally, and some men drooled like fountains. I kept a straight poker face to both hide my discomfort and deter any “hyenas” that would have thought of making a move. In that instant I got a feeling of what I was sure most fathers go through. The only advantage being that my predicament was only temporary. By bad luck, a sudden gust of wind blew right by us. Her dress was blown right up and I as well as the passersby got an eyeful of her undergarments. Some men smiled and it took a lot of effort to keep my poker face in place. Being the free spirit that she was, Marla laughed of the event like it was nothing. Enough was enough, I took off my jacket and offered it to her with the pretext of not wanting her to catch a cold. She graciously accepted calling me a gentleman. The jacket covered her up quite nicely and was in fact longer than her dress. Grinning internally, I heaved a sigh of relief at having saved the situation.

We got to the restaurant and found most of the seats had been taken. All that were left were bar stools. We placed our orders, grabbed our food and headed over to two of them. I sat comfortably and Marla being slightly short got seated as well after a slight struggle. We talked about old times and old friends. Enquired about each other’s current pursuits and generally had a good time. At some point, she got quite warm due to the heat emanating from the restaurant’s kitchen and proceeded to take of the jacket. I cursed the heat under my breath and wished we had gotten seats that were a bit lower. The bar stool was like a stage on which she was elevated and one by one the customers in the restaurant began to look her way. I could not hold back any longer, I had to ask her about the dress but without sounding judgmental. “That’s an interesting dress”, I said coolly like a true gangster (Judging from the few movies I had seen). She smiled and proceeded to tell me about how she felt comfortable in it and how it had cost quite a lot. I nodded as if all that made sense to me when in reality, all I wanted to do was cover her up. Had a kanga been handy, she would have been cocooned there and then.

We completed our brief get together and I proceeded to escort her to the bus stage. This time however, I made sure to give her the jacket before leaving to “keep her warm”. I asked her how she managed to deal with all the stares to which she replied that she did not care and actually liked the attention. Oh, fathers with daughters, I do not envy you. “Your parents let you leave the house like this”, I asked. “They didn’t see me”, she said. I made a mental note to always check my future daughters’ fashion choice for the day before they left the house to avoid such scenarios. Once she found a bus, she returned my jacket and as I reached out for a hand shake (Yes, again), she hugged me and I got a repeat of the previous hug’s challenges.

This was back in 2012. Today the ‘mini’ epidemic has hit us hard. They have become so common now that soon a state of emergency should be declared. Minis here, minis there, everywhere minis minis minis. Why, even in church ladies are wearing minis. You walk in to get imbued with the holy scripture and get distracted by minis. It gets even worse when the pastor says, “Turn to your neighbor and tell them they look wonderful” or “Tell your neighbor you love them” then you turn to find your neighbor is a lady dressed in a miniskirt and you have to stave off the temptations of the flesh. All the while forgetting the sermon content for the day. The real kicker here is that a miniskirt or anything mini generally can actually cost more than its full length equivalent e.g. A dress. I made this discovery while walking through a clothing aisle in a supermarket. What was I doing there? I got lost looking for the bag section (I really did). So now think about it. You pay more money for less fabric. Fashion is weird.

Ladies, wearing the minis is your choice. But do realize that how you dress can have both pleasant and unpleasant effects on those around you. It’s just as Beyoncé says in her song ‘Run the world’ and I quote “My persuasion can build a nation”. Your dress code can persuade someone. Case in point, you would prefer to buy something from a well-dressed salesperson than a shabby one wouldn’t you? Why? Because how they dress affects your state of mind. The well-dressed one gives off a credible vibe while the shabby one comes off as being suspicious. The dress code can also have adverse effects. That’s probably how Ms. Lewinsky was able to lead Bill Clinton astray. She must have been walking through his office with tight outfits and minis (I’m just speculating).

Well, that’s it for today. Do leave your comments down below and let me know what you think. Oh, and in case you haven’t noticed, the site got a makeover to better present the content. It was time for a change and I do hope you like it.

Till next time. Arrivederci.

K.O. Su.