I remember thinking that nakedness was more punishment than clothes. I remember sitting there, at the pew, suddenly taken aback by how a simple attire could define, or not define you. How could Adam and Eve just sit there, naked, not knowing the pleasures of self-expression, how clothes could actually set you apart, or make you a part of. Like most things in the Bible, I was taken aback, amazed by their very nature, of how one man’s petulance and punishment was to wear clothes?
If the punishment was clothes, was God then being rather too coy? That’s what I remember thinking every Sunday in church, as our Sunday school teacher rambled on and on about the Garden of Eden’s inequities.
For me, the punishment would’ve been nakedness, for there is only one way to be naked. But clothes? Have you seen that magic trick where a lady turns your tee-shirt into a headband, a crop top, a top, a crested shoulderback—you know, anything? Every piece, unique?
Speaking of unique, this is the time of year when the Kenyan Coast is billed as paradise’s Promised Land.
When you think of Mombasa, you think of one thing: beach. Wait, make that two things: beaches and nightlife. Wait, no, three: beaches, nightlife, and giant, fancy hotels. Er, hold on. Let’s just say that Mombasa has a lot going on.
Mombasa is surely Kenya’s glittery, neon-washed capital of lavish life and entertainment. You may think it’s all about ritzy casinos, but with everything from booming concerts to sophisticated bars available, Fun City’s round-the-clock nightlife offers something for everyone. And that’s even before I have touched the cuisine, which, in no exaggerated terms whatsoever, is to die for. It really does seem that the Kenya coast has a lot going on for it. It’s that teeshirt in your woman’s hands. And the cherry on top? Warm weather which is only rivalled by the locals’ warmth.
It is no lie that Kenya’s coast is an oven of warmth, everything tuned just fine to accommodate even the most picayune of guests. And I’m not just saying this because two weeks ago I was at the Coast, and now I can’t stop thinking about going back. If you ask me where I would like to go for my honeymoon, babymoon or any moon at all, I’d not even have to think about it: drop me in the Indian Ocean, in Nyali or Mombasa, carve my wedding band from the reefs at the Kilifi Creek, then bring me a bride from Malindi Beach. Okay, I think by that time I should have already got my own bride. But the point stands.
And during that day, saying I do to the woman I love, and who, hopefully, loves me back, I want a piece of Africa with me. I want to play to the stereotypes, I want to be connected, if not in culture, then in couture, by donning something that makes my moments everlasting memories.
Memories that can be printed on souvenirs. I’d tell you to get our Africa Themed Tshirts, but really that’s a no-brainer. Whether it’s an I-Love-Kenya tee, or Africa Born and Bred, there is something for everyone.
Because putting on clothes—whether or not anyone is there to see them—is the ultimate performance of self-expression. Old codes are out the window, and new ones are still being written. And as sweat pants have become de rigueur for anyone, it’s time to throw in something else. A t-shirt. Probably the most overlooked piece of clothing ever. It is vastly simple and yet is there anything that gets flak for just getting flak?
Is it revolutionary? No. Is it influential? Probably.
Sometimes, it’s the basics that make the biggest impression. No matter how considered or current a particular outfit is, the simplest things done right are often the most effective. Smart and casual: the yin and yang of putting your clothes on.
Maybe that is why my mind is redrawn back to the past, to that moment back in the Garden of Eden, when God banished Adam and Eve, putting a lot of strain on their marriage. Really, God?
How, when putting on the tee, and remembering Adam and Eve, I smile and take it all in: how a simple clothing maverick can say so much in so little, how it can identify me with the locals and make me instantly a part of the tribe, at once at home, thrilled by the world outside the garden, and wandering, maybe just a tad too much, how, in God’s green earth, did the punishment end up being clothes?
And so there at the sandy seashore I stand, all my guests wearing something African, my bride’s smile rivalling the beauty of the pristine beaches around us, and me, inside my tuxedo, wearing an I-Love-Africa themed tee, and when I say, “I Do”, it’s just not the bride I’m talking about.