The Other Form of Sex Work

Recently, there was a feature on the sex dens in Kenya highlighting the alarming increase of prostitution, more so in Nairobi. Half of the estimated 7,000 prostitutes in Nairobi were said to be university students.

They transformed from knowledge thirsty nerdy look girls during the day to tight-barely-there skirts and leave-nothing-to-the-imagination tops in the evening. These were ladies that walked the streets but what about those who remained in the confines of the students’ hostel and all they had to do was wait for the client to come pick them up in the latest four-wheel drive at the very least.

I am reminded of Melanie, the young lady who stayed in the room opposite mine. Melanie came from a middle class family that lived in Nakuru which can hardly be referred to as a ‘rural’ town; hence she couldn’t use cultural shock as an excuse. She was an above average student who never lacked a definite answer for the lecturers.

Her looks had quite a number of our classmates willing to carry her books whenever she needed assistance, but books weren’t the only thing these boys were interested in holding. In other words, Melanie was never in a state of lack and did not suffer from any deficiency in looks or otherwise.

To any reasonable human being, she had no justification for what I came to refer as her ‘Friday indulgence’. Every Friday evening, Melanie would dress up, not in short skirts but in decent figure-hugging dresses that spoke of class.

The kind of dresses that a student could definitely not afford, yet she never wore the same dress twice! Some tried to defend her by saying that her parents must give her free reign when shopping.

But what explanation was there for the different cars that picked her up on different Friday nights only to drop her off early Saturday morning? But Melanie did not seem to care what the rest of us thought and she would occasional be heard saying that life was too short to spend driving one car. I am sure this was not only in reference to the change of cars but the men as well.

This message seemed to serve as an inspiration to some of the more impressionable ladies. One late evening, she knocked on my door and asked whether I would like to join her and her ‘male friend’ who was extremely ‘generous’.

I politely declined but my room-mate who as I later found out had been the initial target, thought otherwise and the two of them walked towards the black Mercedes E350 parked outside.

My room-mate soon after requested to switch rooms; apparently she had acquired new taste in clothes, men and friends. And as she packed her clothes preparing to move in with Melanie, she paused and as if trying to convince herself more than me said, “There is nothing wrong in what am I doing.” And I remember thinking there was, it’s only she wasn’t out on the streets.

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