For the past five months, 28-year-old Lagat has been a kept man.
“She’s a senior credit officer at a bank in Nakuru. She is paying mortgage for her house, drives a Toyota Premio, and has one child living with her mother,” he says of his sponsor.
He first met the 35-year-old woman in March 2015 at his mitumba (second-hand clothing) stall in Nakuru town. She became a regular customer and he took her number to inform her whenever he brought in fresh stock.
“Then I started sending her funny and romantically suggestive video clips on WhatsApp. A few weeks later, I asked her if I could take her out for dinner and she agreed.”
Lagat secretly thought he was about to hit the jackpot.
“I was interested in her purse, but she looked very romantically interested in me,” he says.
One dinner date led to another, and a month later, she asked if she could visit him at his house.
“I suggested that I visit her instead since I was living with two of my friends with whom we shared rent.” In his first visit to her place, the two ended up getting intimate.
“I began visiting and sleeping over regularly, and missing work as I streamed live sports on her 42-inch smart television,” he says.
Gradually, he began to ask her for soft loans which he always promised to refund, but never did.
“I started with small amounts which soon graduated to relying on her for my stall’s rent.”
And later, due to frequent closure, business at his stall dwindled and five months ago, he closed shop.
“I have been living with her since then as I think of what to do next.”
Lagat, who is being kept for the first time, says that his partner takes care of all his bills, including giving him money for drinks with his friends, money to buy underwear and money to send to his siblings in Bomet.
“I make sure that I stay incredibly good in bed. Good sex is my leverage. No woman will leave you when you’re so good where it really matters,” he asserts, adding that on days that he can’t get it up on demand, he has a pack of Viagra tucked away somewhere to help him.
Lagat is one of the new breed of men who are being kept by rich lovers. These men will do anything to keep such women happy and satisfied.
“I am the wife at home. I ask for money to buy milk, clean the house, prepare my own lunch, wash my clothes, iron her work suits, and prepare supper if she’s late,” says 30-year-old Ikinu, who has been kept by three different women since age 25.
“On the one hand, I feel that I should be a provider like other men, so I feel like a disgrace to men by living like this, but on the other hand, I love the easy but good lifestyle being with this woman affords me.”
While kept men are not busy attending to the needs of their sponsors, some use that time to cultivate relationships with women they actually love, who often don’t have as much money as their sponsors. This is the case for 26-year-old university student Johnstone, who has a 39-year-old sugar mummy. His sponsor has no idea that he has a girlfriend, because he met his girlfriend long after getting into a transactional relationship with the older woman. His girlfriend who is his agemate, also does not know about his sponsor.
So what kind of women do these male gold diggers target? Thirty-one-year-old tout, Otiato, who is on the lookout for a woman who can provide for him, says that, the woman who fits the profile is often a mature woman in a financially rewarding career.
“They don’t have to be stunning, what matters is that they have cash. Single mothers with more than one child also fit the profile, because they believe that nobody can date a single woman with many children. Women who are also desperate for love, romance or sex, also make easy targets.
“Once you shower them with romance and show yourself as different from the men who previously hurt them, they will fall for your charms, and give you everything you want,’ he says.
A gold digger on the other hand, is not usually loud and extroverted, but he is very romantic, says 36-year-old Kwamboka, who paid a man’s rent for four months, two years ago.
“What drew me to him was that he was very chivalrous. He was the kind to pull my chair and open doors for me, and tended to my every need before I even asked. And what he lacked in finances, I was more than willing to make up for it because no other man had ever treated me this way,” she says.
The man charmed his way right into Kwamboka’s heart and she gave him her car keys so that he could have a car to get around with. She also gave him a fuel allowance, fun money and paid his rent.
“He was so caring and humble, not forgetting he was well-built, so I put up with his ‘between-jobs’ story. I only realised what hit me when he swindled me out of Sh200, 000 in a ghost supply deal he allegedly wanted to seal with an NGO in Maralal.”
On her part, Olive, 39, found herself trapped into paying a man’s bills, after the younger man she had an affair with when her marriage of ten years was in trouble, threatened to disclose this to her husband, if she failed to take care of him. As a result, Olive has been blackmailed into paying the 24-year-old hairdresser’s rent in Ruiru for the past one year.
“He was my hairdresser and we had a three-month fling when I was having difficulties in my marriage. It was thrilling having sex with a younger, energetic man, and we even took photos, which he is now using to blackmail me. When things got better with my husband, I tried to end the affair, but my lover started threatening to expose what we had been doing to my husband. I have to pay his bills to buy his silence,” the investment analyst reveals.
For some women like 34-year-old accountant Idah, keeping a man meets their need for dominion.
“Most of the men I dated before were egotistical losers. He’s a loser too but knows the rules. He can’t just move around or come in as though he’s the one bringing the bacon home. I must know his whereabouts every passing minute. He is my property.”
Still, even as more and more men look for women who can take care of them, society still frowns upon these kinds of relationships. Musyoka, a 30-year-old lawyer, epitomises this sentiment.
“Men are the protectors and providers. Turning the tables is a shame! It is against our values,” he says.
While most of the men Saturday Magazine spoke to tended to look down on men who are kept by women as lazy, there were those who were more lenient, saying that male gold diggers and kept men are victims of circumstances. That they are so desperate and jobless that they are willing to do anything to get money.
“It’s easy to detest men who are kept by women when one is able to take care of his financial needs. But I don’t judge them because I would result to being housed if I was jobless, stuck in poverty and desperate,” says Edwin Okumu.
Some men also believe that only men of a younger age can be excused for gold-digging. Kimani, 34, is one of these.
“It might be understandable for a man in his 20s or in college to be housed by a woman. But once he hits 30, he should be serious about starting a family and holding onto a stable career. Being kept at such an age is detestable,” he says.