What love feels like in the time of isolation

Friday March 20 2020

Nobody ever died from sexual starvation. There is no single recorded case. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK


On the final years of his life, my old man did not have kidneys to speak of. So they connected his urinary system to a tube that directed his pee into an external plastic bag that had to be drained every few hours. This was done at home, and that is how their bedroom was converted into a kind of a mini ward. When my mother was about to change those bags, she would wash her hands thoroughly with soap three times over. She had to clip her nails, brush over them rinse in running water, dry with a fresh towel, disinfect those hands and then wear gloves. I was little then, so this was all so fascinating to watch. But the truth is, even one grain of dirt left hanging around and the old man would be sent straight into the emergency room.

This is what the past one week has felt like. It is almost the same kind of standard my girlfriend has put in place before I touch her. Not ati I think of my parent before getting in bed, uh-uh. That would be borderline sick. It is the process of disinfection that has been refreshed in my mind. And this time, it’s because of the flu that flew into our country on March 5, 2020 aboard an aircraft from US.

While Corona is causing havoc across the world, the lifestyle change that it has forced us into is a real pain in the sitting equipment. When the regulations came about from the Ministry of Health and CDC about how to curb this thing, they sounded easy. Wash your hands, disinfect, social distancing, quarantine. But then you quickly realize that corona is not a friend to romance, and that is a problem.

If I am required to maintain a 1.5m distance between me and the next person, how the hell is sex supposed to happen? And what is the name of that position? We are not biologically equipped to maintain that distance and still have an orgasm. There is also the simple things like kissing and hugging and cuddling. How am I supposed to grab my Lakwan by the nape of her neck, run my thumb across her cheek, look her deep into her eyes like Nameless taught us and then whisper sweet things into her ears…when we have been told we are not supposed to touch our faces, leave alone someone else’s?

The other day she said (no, decreed) that this house is no longer accepting guests. This ordinance affects mostly me because it is my friends and family that usually come to visit. The logic is impenetrable. Just that we are Kenyans, and I am a Luo. Back in shagz, my mother always has a pot of tea ready just in case visitors arrive. Our doors are supposed to be open to allow fresh air and people in. Now with that kind of upbringing, you see how social distancing can be a problem to master?

While we partnered folk have it crazy because the biggest concern amongst many is having to work from home with our actual partners and not office baes, it is the singles who we need to watch out for. The singles are the weakest link. Because you have nobody around, you now have a battle going on in your conscience. To stay indoors and not risk sending this country the Italy way, or to steel yourself and try and satisfy your loins. If you die, you die.


Many give in to the temptation, and I can see why, I still don't get it. Nobody ever died from sexual starvation. There is no single recorded case. And if you really have to, there are options.

First, get a quarantine partner. Stay with me here. In the colder continents, soon as winter approaches, the singles get into an arrangement with someone. It is not a relationship per se, rather an understanding that for those three- four months, if either one of them needs heat, they know who to call. Same thing. Instead of always jumping from one person to another, get one person. This is not about morality, it is about survival. This way you are less at risk with a regular who you can monitor, than random Tinder and Twitter mate who you do not know where they have been. Otherwise you will know that exposure is not just a form of payment in this city. If that is not an option because it sounds like a relationship in everything but name only (and you're strong willed in remaining single), then you can practice the art of self-love. In any case, it is hand sanitizers that are out of stock, not lotion. Arimis is still the same price as it was in January.

After all, was it not Whitney Houston who said that the greatest love of all is to love yourself? The trenches never rejected a good soldier.