Social media has greatly transformed our culture. It has changed the way we listen, converse, interact, build and sustain relationships. It is said that adults now spend, on average, three hours per day on social networking and messaging platforms. Social media is the go-to media for learning, following current affairs and keeping up with our neighbours. We no longer have to walk to our neighbour’s house to see what new appliance she has installed so that we copy her. We just need to visit her social media page and vio-la! She has posted it all.
This acceptance of open bragging and trying to demean others by rubbing your acquisitions and successes in their faces has led to the rise of narcissistic entitlement. Narcissistic entitlement is the belief that one is more successful, important, superior or unique than anyone else on this planet. You believe that your opinion is superior to any other and it is always your way or the highway.
An invitation to Maria’s Sister’s bridal shower made me pause and reflect on how social media was driving and entire generation down the dark pit of narcissistic entitlement.
One evening while I was relaxing after work, my phone chimed. I picked it up and found that I had some new WhatsApp Messages.
“Phanice created the group Milia’s Bridal Shower,” the first message read.
“Phanice added you.”
I scrolled down a list of people Phanice had added to the group. Then came the following messages, “Hello close family and friends of Milia. As you know, Milia is getting married on 25th August 2019 and we are going to throw her an epic bridal shower! Stay tuned for details!!”
This message was followed by an emoji of a bride and an emoji of a ring.
Someone named Sweets replied to the message, “So exciiiiiiited! Can’t wait to send Milia down the aisle of love. Tx for the add Phanice dear! Xoxo!”
Then another person named Dora replied, “Who is Milia?”
“How can you not know Milia?” Phanice quickly responded. “She gave me your number as one of her friends! You must be a fake friend!”
Dora left the group.
“You should weed out all the fake friends first Phanice,” Sweets wrote. “We don’t want strangers in this close gathering.”
“Who are you Phanice?” someone called Njoki wrote. “Do you know all of Milia’s friends? So how can you weed them out? For example, I grew up with Milia and we have been friends since childhood, but I don’t know you!”
“Worry not,” Phanice wrote. “Fake friends will weed themselves out. Just like that Dora. And by the way I am Milia’s best friend and the maid of honour at the wedding. Happy to meet you!”
As much as this was getting entertaining, I needed to put my phone down and go and prepare dinner. I told myself that I would stay in the group for the entertainment value it was providing. Then I would politely exit the group, deliver a gift before the date of the shower and excuse myself from attending the actual shower.
I did not follow the proceedings of the WhatsApp group again until a fortnight later when Milia posted, “Hi all. We are now counting down one month to the grand bridal shower. We need to talk location, financing, gifts, dress code etc.”
She quickly followed with another message, “On location, Milia categorically stated that she wants an elaborate shower in a hotel and not someone’s backyard. She wants great Instagram photos with a glossy hotel background! Some of us have therefore scouted potential hotels and we settled with Savannah Grand Hotel!”
This message was followed by posts of the Savannah Grand Hotel and a link to the hotel’s website.
“Amazing!” Sweets wrote. “Derriere Mummy had her bridal shower there last month.”
Sweets posted a link to Derriere Mummy’s Instagram page. Derriere Mummy was a local celebrity who described her art as a “booty socialite.” As Sweets had stated, Derriere Mummy had recently had her bridal shower at the Savannah Grand Hotel and splashed the glossy photographs all over her social media pages.
I gasped! Who was going to pay for Savannah Grand Hotel? It was one of the poshest hotels in the region. It was located at the outskirts of Nairobi and had an exclusive guest list. This was one of those hotels that you could not just walk into. You had to make a reservation a month in advance! Foreign dignitaries, European princes and Asian royalty were known to spend several days at this hotel!
Meanwhile, Njoki is typing…
0744512 is typing…
Kadogo is typing…
Naima is typing…
0744512’s message came in first, “How exciting Phanice! I was having my doubts about having the shower in a house. Those who know Milia like we do, would know she would have hated it! @Sweets, Derriere Mummy’s photos are lit!”
Kadogo wrote, “Wow! This is amazing. Great job Phanice! You are Godsent. Have you made reservations?”
Njoki wrote, “What? Can we afford the Savannah Grand Hotel? Can’t we get a more reasonably priced place?”
Naima wrote, “The Savannah is too expensive guys. Let’s be realistic!”
Phanice replied, “@07445512, I know right! @Kadogo, as I said it will be epic! I have already made reservations. I have booked the Acacia Room and Garden for the event.”
Phanice is typing…
“So the total cost for the Acacia Room and Garden plus the food, drinks, entertainment comes to Kshs. 625,000. Milia’s fiancé has pledged to make the down payment of Kshs. 300,000. Her colleagues have also pledged Kshs. 200,000. That leaves 125,000 for the us to contribute.”
“Yaay,” wrote 07445512. “You guys are amazing. @Njoki and @Naima, no need for your concerns as you can see. We are 25 people in this group so we each need to contribute 5,000 only!”
“We also need you guys to contribute towards the fees of the Sex Aunty and the strip dancers,” Phanice wrote.
My antennae went up. Sex aunty! Strip dancers! What was this?
Phanice is typing…
Njoki is typing…
“Do we really need to have such persons in such an exclusive place like the Savannah?” Njoki wrote.
“See who is on board with the Savannah now,” Phanice wrote. “Milia stated that she wanted to have fun and so the strip dancers must be in. We also want to have a Sex Aunty as that is the tradition for bridal showers. We don’t want her to feel left out!”
Sweets is typing…
Phanice is typing…
Naima is typing…
“The Sex Aunty will cost Kshs. 50,000 for a 2-hour session,” Phanice wrote. “We have already booked Aunty Libidia. We will need to make a down payment by next week guys or we will lose the booking. She is fully booked for months to come. That means we each have to contribute 2,000 on top of the 5,000 for the hotel!”
“@Phanice, I managed to book the male strip dancers,” Sweets wrote. “Their fee is Kshs. 10,000 per hour. They agreed to give us a discount and charge us 25,000 for three hours instead of 30,000. That’s 1,000 per person in this group. They also indicated that we need to make a down payment by next Monday.”
Sweets then posted a link to the portfolio of the strip dancers.
“All this sounds weird and gross,” Naima wrote. “My faith will not allow me to attend such an event!”
I got a side chat from Maria, “Hi Dee, are you following the chat in Milia’s Bridal Shower Group?”
“Yes,” I responded.
“I have no problem paying for Milia to have her dream bridal shower at the Savannah Grand but I am not comfortable with the Sex Aunties and strippers. The original plan was that one of my aunts and her friend who is a pastor were to come and give us a talk on marriage and such issues.”
“You should tell Phanice and the rest that you had already made plans for your aunt to give a talk,” I responded.
“The same aunt and pastor gave me advise during my own bridal shower and I value that advise to date,” Maria wrote. “I feel that Milia should benefit from the same.”
“Let us see how this pans out,” I replied. “However, I strongly feel you should put your foot down on this issue.”
Back to Milia’s Bridal Shower Group. There has been an influx of messages.
“Naima is one of the fake friends we were talking about,” Phanice had written. “Anyone else? Please leave now so that we know how many are left to contribute towards the shower.”
07116631 had left.
Mama Anil had left.
“They are now revealing themselves,” Sweets had written. “Weed yourselves out guys. As I said before, the sooner the better!”
I put my phone down and concentrated on the TV show I was watching. However, I could not focus. This bridal shower was starting off on a dramatic footing. I kept asking myself questions. If the bridal shower cost over half a million shillings, what was the cost of the wedding? How could they tell us that we were to contribute ‘only’ 5,000 so casually? Was that such an insignificant sum of money to some people? Why was Maria finding it hard to reign in Milia’s friends and bring sanity back to the proceedings?
I picked up my phone again and logged onto my Facebook account to read stories and divert myself from my current thoughts.
I went to the notifications and it was the usual, “Paul Ngichi sent you a friend request, Linah tagged you in a post, Mary commented on your post, Joel commented on Anita’s post.”
Done with the notifications, I tapped the “groups” icon and opened the “Aware Consumer” group. This group was always entertaining with people accusing others of consumer malpractices and those others lodging counter-accusations against their accusers.
The first topic which had over 3,000 comments was a link to an article titled “Aunt Libidia; Sex Pest Posing as a Sex Aunty.” The feature image was a portrait photograph of Aunt Libida. She looked devious in that photograph!
I opened the news article and it read in part, “…After giving a talk on sex and how to please one’s partner, Aunty Libidia gives live sex demonstrations using participants of the bridal shower as her props. One young bride who chooses to remain anonymous said that after giving a talk at her bridal shower, Aunty Libidia asked for a volunteer to demonstrate her theoretical lessons. The guests at the bridal shower happily volunteered the bride, not knowing the extent to which Aunty Libidia would go. Aunty Libidia then started touching the young bride inappropriately and when the young bride protested, Aunty Libidia gave her a hot slap across the face. Aunty Libidia then shouted at her saying that her future husband would slap her in that way if she refused to participate in pleasuring him…”
I quickly copied the link and pasted it in Milia’s Bridal Shower WhatsApp group. I waited for the reaction.
“These are false accusations,” Sweets quickly posted. “That bride’s friends had not paid Aunty Libidia’s full fee and so they gave a fake story to ruin her name.”
She followed her message with a link to Aunty Libidia’s rebuttal of allegations.
Njoki posted another link. This one was titled, “Police investigate numerous sexual assault accusations against Aunty Libidia.”
I clicked on the link. It opened a story by the Everyday News with a photograph of Aunty Libidia in handcuffs featuring prominently. The article read in part, “…Following an exposé on Aunty Libidia by the Everyday News last month, police have moved in to investigate allegations by many women against Aunty Libidia. These women have come out to disclose how Aunty Libidia sexually assaulted them during her sessions. Aunty Libidia was arrested early this morning at her palatial residence in Zenda Estate to help with investigations. One young woman stated that Aunty Libidia became violent towards her and even pulled out some of her braids when she resisted Aunty Libidia’s physical sexual demonstrations…”
“Guys,” wrote Phanice. “Let’s stop spreading the rumours against Aunty Libidia. In any case, Milia insisted that she must have Aunty Libidia because she is the most popular. See how she has even graced the bridal shower of celebrities like Derriere Mummy.”
Phanice then posted a link to an Facebook post by Derriere Mummy. I clicked on the link. It showed a photograph of Derriere Mummy in all her finery with her arms around Aunty Libidia. The caption below stated, “Thanks for gracing my bridal shower Aunty Libidia. Your advice will make my marriage last beyond forever!”
Maria posted, “Ladies, I have my reservations against Aunty Libida. Let us not consider her for now.”
Sweets posted, “With all due respect, Milia specifically requested for her. We must respect Milia’s wishes.”
“Let us shelve this topic for now,” Phanice wrote. “I will raise the issue with Milia again and advise you guys on her decision. Meanwhile, for the colours at the shower, we are going with peach and lime.”
“Great combination,” 0744512 wrote. “I saw an American celeb with the same combination at her wedding.”
She posted a picture from Pinterest showing the American celebrity in her peach and lime finery.
“The fabric is chiffon top and Ankara bottom,” Phanice wrote. “The skirt must be an above-the-knee skater. To avoid guys coming with off-hue colours, ugly designs and unwanted fabrics, we have arranged with Milia’s tailor who is also handling the wedding dresses to sew up the outfits. Everyone should go for a fitting by next Friday. You will each need to pay Kshs. 6,500 for your outfit.”
“Why?” Njoki wrote. “That is too costly for an outfit that I may end up wearing only once.”
“I don’t even look good in skater skirts,” I protested. “They don’t flatter my body shape.”
“Too bad,” wrote Sweets. “You either put on the outfit or don’t show up at all!”
“This is becoming too costly,” a previously silent follower known as Mumbi wrote. “5,000 for the venue, 2,000 for the Sex Aunty, 1,000 for the strippers and now 6,500 for the outfit! That means I have to cough up a total of Kshs. 14,500 and I have not yet even bought a gift!”
“That is not fair,” I agreed with Mumbi. “You are assuming we have all this kind of money to dish out. Why can’t you consult us first?”
“Sorry but we, the inner circle, have already fitted our dresses and Milia has approved them,” Phanice wrote.
“Who is this inner circle?” Maria wrote. “I am her sister and I am not aware of any of the things you are posting here.”
“You may be her sister, but you are obviously not in her inner circle,” Sweets wrote. “I have my outfit ready.”
Sweets posted a photograph of herself in the said outfit. It was an extremely short dress with a peach chiffon bodice and an Ankara skater skirt that had an intricate peach and lime print.
“Guys, we are here as Milia’s friends and our job is to make her dreams come true,” 0744512 wrote. “As we have been continuously stating, please leave the group if you are not interested in Milia’s happiness.”
I received a side chat from Maria, “I am about to exit that group.”
“Me too,” I wrote. “How can they dictate the outfit for a bridal shower?”
“It is just ridiculous,” Maria wrote. “I am communicating with my sisters, cousins and aunts separately about holding a parallel bridal shower. I’ll come back to you with the details of the parallel shower. I can’t stand the direction this shower is taking. Especially the Aunty Libidia part!”
Back to Milia’s Bridal Shower Group.
“Finally, the last cost is on the bridal shower gifts,” Phanice wrote. “As her inner circle we have decided that we should get her Moroccan Love Oil, aphrodisiac wine from Chile, Sweet Secret lingerie and the Sexual Secrets Manual by Aunty Libidia.”
“Wow, you guys are so creative,” Kadogo wrote. “You have saved us so much brainstorming and shopping time.”
“Yeah,” 0744512 wrote. “I would never have thought of the Moroccan Love Oil. I hear it is very good and has saved many marriages.”
“How much will all these items cost?” Njoki wrote.
“Party pooper,” Sweets wrote followed by a thumb’s down emoji.
0744512 posted a meme of Tyra Banks rolling her eyes in exasperation.
“The Moroccan Love Oil costs Kshs. 26,000 for 250 ml. The aphrodisiac wine is Kshs. 7,500 for 1 litre. The lingerie is Kshs. 32,000 and Aunty Libidia’s book is Kshs. 4,500,” Phanice wrote.
“I knew from the onset Njoki was a fake friend,” Sweets wrote. “I don’t understand why she did not leave at the very beginning.”
“You must admit that the costs of those gifts are ridiculous,” Maria wrote. “Why not buy her something meaningful that she will value for long. Like an Egyptian Cotton bed sheet and duvet set for their matrimonial bed.”
“That is so village,” Sweets wrote. She followed this with laughing emojis.
“You are one of those mamas who attend every wedding with a blanket and a plastic basin wrapped in newspaper as gifts,” Phanice wrote.
Laughing emojis from Phanice, Sweets, Kadogo and 0744512.
Mama Joy left.
“Guys you can see that your suggestions are not flying,” I wrote. “Why not listen to others’ suggestions. Everyone will end up leaving the group.”
“Which is good,” Phanice wrote. “This will be an intimate gathering!”
“Even her sister has left the group,” I wrote. “How is it going to be an intimate gathering without her close family?”
“We don’t want old people at the party,” Sweets wrote. “They will just dampen the fun. Let them all go! All broke people should also leave. We want only cool, sexy, independent ladies at this bash.”