Chinese eyes


I don’t know how to say this gently so I’ll come right out and say it – I’m balding.

Smack in the middle of my head, right here are the top of it, a few inches down from my hairline, the spot where the sunshine or a light bulb would hit, I have a patch of thinning hair.

It’s hard to miss.

If I’m seated across a table from you – either we’re chatting over a nyama platter or drink at Coco J, maybe sharing a workstation at Nairobi Garage or I’m getting a magazine story from you – you’ll see it when I bend my head forward. Doesn’t matter how slightly I bend it. Doesn’t matter how I angle it against the lights. Doesn’t matter what time of the day it is or what music they’re playing. Doesn’t matter if you’re squinted or cross-eyed or as blind as Victor Korir, you will see my bald.

(The fact that I’m referring to it as ‘my bald’ sort of suggests I’ve made it mine, that I’m owning it. And I think I am. I am. This is my late adult handicap and I’m going down with it with pride. I’m a balding woman, people.)

Waiters see it when they’re standing beside the table to take my order.

The barber sees it when he’s standing behind me to wrap that smelly polyester protector around my neck.

Conductors see it when they’re hovering about asking for bus fare.

My opponents, nay enemies, see it when we’re fighting it to the death with Scrabble.

Muna sees it when she’s sitted on my shoulders, watching TV, with her arms around my head and her ankles choking the life out of me. And she’ll ask in that pitchy jerky way she does when she’s concerned but humoured, “Mummy, what is that?”

GB sees it when I’m taking…. (OK, you can fill in the blanks there.)

Friday I was at a hairdressing parlour in Kampala Business Centre downtown interviewing a chick who styles natural hair. Her name is Shee, she runs a page on IG where she uploads her work, @kinkycurls_fros_hairstylist. Shee was nominated last year for Afro Hair Awards, under the category of ‘Afro Natural Stylist of the Year’.

Before we sat down to chat, I asked Shee what fun style she can do with my short hair. I was swivelling about in her salon chair. She stood behind me for a long time saying nothing, staring at my bald, my bald staring menacingly back at her. I imagined she would run out to call another hairdresser, and another, then another. Then without warning, I’d have ten hairdressers standing around and looking down at my bald, murmuring in pitiful whispers as if they’d seen the antichrist spawning from my fro.

Anyway, I said it first, “I’m balding. Can you see it?”

She nodded.

“Why do you think it’s like that?”

She exhaled, sounding defeated, as if I’d asked where snails come from. She said, “It could be genetics, or styling damage… maybe alopecia.”

I scoffed. ‘Alopecia.’

That’s the politically correct urbanite term for balding. Balding sounds like an obese unhealthy man from the 90s. Like Homer Simpson. Alopecia sounds uppity, cultural and acceptable. A shortcoming you’re proud to have. A sexy chink in your armour. It’s like saying you have anxiety. And you cap it with proclamations like, “I smoke weed to calm my anxiety.” Or, “I meditate and do yoga to manage my anxiety.” And, “Expressing my art is part of therapy for my anxiety.”

Kim Kardashian says she has alopecia. So does Tyra Banks. And Viola Davis from ‘How To Get Away With Murder’. Donald Trump. And Wayne Rooney. As you can pick from the mentions here, it’s a first-world problem. Africa we’re here dealing with hunger and disease to knot our knickers over alopecia.

Anyway, Shee suggested I see a trichologist, someone who specializes in scalp and hair loss. “I’ve WhatsApp’d you the number for Dr Muli. He’s at a clinic on Ngong Road called The Hub. He’s one of the best.”

“And what will Dr Muli do for me?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. He’ll test for genetics… maybe advise you to get a hair transplant.”

I laughed out aloud. “Guys in Nairobi are doing hair transplants now?!”

They are. We’re doing hair translates. Getting shots of botox. Butt enhancement creams. Breast reconstructive surgery. Turning our skin to the colour of butternut. I won’t be surprised to learn our banks are advancing loans for surgically-enhanced beauty. Jeremy Awori seems like the kind of chap who’d be down for such an urban product.

Anyway, I feel I should be worried about this… this… problem, but I’m not. I shouldn’t be making a joke about it either. Women in this town too insecure to take off their wigs and undo their weaves are having sleepless nights about their bald. Others wouldn’t be caught dead without braids. I’ve seen a handful at the swimming pool at Ole Odume and at my old gym suffer through workouts in turbans.

And not to mention, you imagine you’re still single because you’re bald.

Friday night, you’re lonely in the digs, without a plan, phone in hand. He’s blue-ticked you and you can see him online but it’s been hours (OK, four minutes… and counting) since his last response.

So you think to yourself, “I shouldn’t have let him get so touchy. He felt my bald head and won’t call me back again.”

“Maybe he was laughing at my jokes because the joke was on my balding head.”

“Ghai, can I let him see me without my weave?”

I’m thinking about my own bald and who to point the finger at for it.

I want to point it at Adhis, that hairdresser at the top-most floor of Kenya Cinema who dressed my hair for many a years in my 20s. She’d pull my locks in a tight bun until I got Chinese eyes. And she’d have me sit in the furnace of a drier, in a halo of heat. There’d be so much white smoke you couldn’t see my face. You’d think it was the Papal conclave at the Vatican all over again. And I’d tell her at the top of my voice, “Eh, Adhis, si umeweka moto ya juu sana?”

Then she’d casually brush me off as she turned the heat up by two notches. Having me burn as if I were in hell while she belted out her gospel tunes.

Adhis took this hair dressing thing far too seriously.

I want to point it at Charles Darwin and his silly theory on natural selection. I feel that evolution has chosen wrong. I don’t want to have been the hand-picked one from my gene pool. Has nature taken away my hair because it wants me to ‘compete, survive and reproduce’? Am I the only one from my family tree – me and the 20 plus others who’ve inherited this thin hair from my Ol’Man’s side – going to live up to 120? ‘Cause I don’t want to live to 120. I’m happy with 70, thank you very much. Unless they reincarnate me as Chadwick Boseman then I’d reconsider those 50 extra years.

I also want to point it at industrialization. All that shit we put in our hair when we were kids, the Pressol and TCB and Satin Sheen. These hair pomades – hahha – were probably our undoing. Nowadays I only use water and natural castor oil in my hair. I never know if I’m doing it right, though. Alex, the Hair Master in Hurlingam, told me I’m not applying enough. My little sister told me I’m applying too much, that I’m drowning my pores, I’m suffocating them in oil so they can’t even breathe. Can somebody set the record straight here?

I’ve looked alopecia up on Google. They say there’s a derivative of testosterone (oh yeah, testosterone, the male hormone, the one that makes men manly) which triggers premature balding and hair loss in women.

OK, hang on, hang on. Am I balding ‘cause I’m manly? Am I losing my hair ‘cause I have some elements of manliness in me, some exhibits of masculine traits? Is being assertive and driven and forthright making me bald? Jesus.

They’re also saying it could be because of menopause. I don’t know, I’m 34, maybe I could be slipping into early menopause? You can never be too sure about these things. Girls are growing breasts and starting their period when they’re 10. What’s my argument for ruling out early menopause?

Anyway, the only person I feel really bad for is GB. He got the short end of this stick.

He married me with a healthy head of hair and no sooner had the ink dried on our marriage certificate than I shaved my head and begin to bald.

His hair is graying with age and I’m balding. How unfair is that?

I hope he doesn’t leave me. Or make a caustic comment about it next time we’re having a tiff.

Maybe he’ll set up fake account on Facebook, as a Njoki Chege or someone, so he can join Tricia’s Naturals group to collect tips for me. Or we’ll be catching ‘Marlon’ on Netflix, and he’ll casually ask if the hair on all the women on the show is real hair. Maybe he’s thinking, for my birthday in October, to get me a shopping voucher for Verushka Wigs in Westy.

That’s not the worst part though – for all we know, he just may have married a balding man.

Chef Tom of Crave Kitchen: “Food goes with music”
My baby is a chameleon

Comments (6)

  1. W.K

    Hahahahahahahaha….. I really do not mean to laugh at your bald. This is funny…. Own it girl , own your testosterone. LOL! Ok. done laughing.

    ION: Came at a time when I am staring at my screen. I need to submit two stories by Thursday morning and I am blank. Yet Bett writes about her bald so effortlessly. Teach me your ways thy master.

    • Bett

      Hahhha. You’re nasty, W.K. N.A.S.T.Y.

      Anyway, some days it comes, some days it doesn’t. I’m at Nyama Mama Delta writing this. I’ve been here since 2 (it’s 6.15 now) — these are the first complete sentences I’ve written. I’ve been refreshing my email. Scrolled through memes. Listened to old albums for Rick Ross and Oliver Mtukudzi and J. Cole…and still nothing.

      We’ll try again tomorrow. That deadline will light a fire under your ass, a fire so hot you’ll also go bald. Hahhha.


  2. W.K

    Hahahaha…. then we will be two balding babes, with new found testosterone. Such Bliss! Maybe we can now sit at the table … LOL!!

    It’s Wednesday and nothing. My blank screen and I now have a new found relationship. Anyway, let’s see how the day goes. Wish me luck!

    • Bett

      Good luck. I can smell the words coming already. Like rain.

  3. Maureen

    Heh! I have surrendered to my balding head. I have the light bulb designated spot bald as well and my hairline is gone! My hairline is non-existent. Gone. Bye bye. No more… meaning I have plenty more face to wash hence more soap to buy and less shampoo to use. I should be charged less at the salon for the latter.

    After reading your post, I have come to the conclusion that if you’re 34 (I am also 34) and married ( also married) you bald up. The end!

    • Bett

      You’ve cracked me up, Maureen! Hahha. More face and less shampoo. SMH.

      So now it’s weaves and wigs, huh? Well, at least he loved you beyond your bald. And at least you can have some loose fun bringing on your alter egos with the different hair styles.

      Cheap thrills know no end.

      Keep reading, you sexy bald bad babe. Hehhe.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to our content

Florence Bett-Kinyatti


Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,

  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 


No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.


It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)


The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker