Monday, January 30, 2012

Mr. Ugly

It is said that all children look beautiful and in my life of looking at children, I should say that I agree with that assertion. Well I agreed with it until I had drinks with a friend of a friend. We were discussing a project that he wanted me to be involved in when the kaboozi switched to children. He was in his element because the following day, his daughter would be celebrating her first birthday. And with that, he whipped out his wallet and showed me a picture of his beloved Mabel.

Looking at the picture, I wanted to say: “Oh isn’t she beautiful and sweet” but I couldn’t. You see Mabel was far from being sweet and beautiful. She was ugly, terrifyingly ugly that the person who took the photograph must have had a hard time. I tried to force out sweet and kind words about his Mable but they wouldn’t spew out.

Instead I choked, coughed, excused myself and took myself outside for more than a dose of fresh air. What went wrong with Friend of A Friend? He has the looks and though I have never met his wifey, I am told she is a stunner.

Then there is and ha! And I mean a real ha! I can’t mention who I am talking about because she will kill me so let’s call her Pretie Nasuna for arguments sake. When Pretie was born, her parents took a gamble and named her Pretie and fortunately for her and everybody round her, Pretie bloomed into the vivacious and good looking lady that she is today.

I shudder at the thought that thankfully Friend of A Friend did not name his daughter Pretie for with the way her eyes are positioned on her face, things are going to be tight for her and modelling for Sylvia Owori, Santa Anzo or being an usher is unlikely to happen.

But looks are relative so I thought. Many people say that FDC leader Kizza Besigye does not have the looks but yet he managed to snare a very good looking Winne Byanyima from a man who not only has better looks than he (Besigye), but he also has dime, a private jet and a country as some of his ‘assets’.

Then there is that chap who figures himself to be a fashion icon because he always dons a white robe and cap and whom I gather is the head the Catholic Church – Pope Benedict XVI, that is what they call him. By the way, can I enquire, on his days off, does he wear Calvin Klein jeans, a sweat-shirt with words that read: “I am the Pope”, put his feet up and watch a movie with his pals who wear the red robes?

Getting back, Benedict XVI sadly has not been blessed with good looks. The Pope before him was better looking but this one. If you saw him down a dark alleyway in the Vatican late at night, the most natural instinct would be to turn round and flee. I know I would.

So it was back in the day when I still worked as a producer and director with WBS. At that time WBS was still a new station and the programmes it screened were way ahead of the stuff that the then UTV screened.

On a Thursday morning, two gentlemen walked into the office from a company called Abbitex Promotions, who had ideas of doing a show at Nakivubo Stadium. They were at WBS because they wanted coverage. Not a problem so Elvis Sekyanzi who was then Executive Director said.

And what was the Abbitex Promotions show all about? They wanted to find out who was the ugliest man in Uganda. Adverts filled the screens on a daily and urged men who had not been blessed with good looks to come forward and take part.

To be quite honest, I didn’t think the show would take off but it did and on a hot Saturday night the show went ahead. But I had issues. I was scheduled to work at the show and for the people who didn’t know I worked at WBS, what would they think or say when I walked into the stadium?

I stood across the road from the gates to the stadium and scanned the vicinity just to make sure that there was nobody that I knew and when I thought the coast was clear, I made a run for the gates.

I was almost through, when I felt a grip on my arm and when I turned round, the conversation that I had with Affande Asuman Mugenyi who was then Police PRO went along these lines.

Mugenyi: “Bukumunhe, I was wondering if you were going to show.”
TB: “Affande, I am not here to take part in the show. I am here to work.”
Mugenyi: “That is what everybody is saying!”

Out of Mugenyi’s clutches I headed deep into the heart of the stadium and as I walked, men were shouting out at me, shouting out words along the lines of: “Gwe musajja, tolina chanci, fasi yo ekyaali nungi (you man, you have no chance, your face is still good). Excuse me?

When I looked at the men who thought I was the competition, it was obvious as to why they were telling me I had no chance. These men had facial features that defied normal reckoning. There was also the probability that if their mothers had not disowned them, then the village elders had given them their marching orders. It was sad and scary!

As the show progressed, men who were uglier than the ones I had previously seen, came up on stage and just like that, the moderator dismissed them for he said, and this time I am not going to bother with the Luganda translation because it consumes too much of my time in trying to get the grammar right, he said: “Get off my stage. We are looking for men who are ugly! Do you hear me, men who are ugly!”

Just after 11:30pm, the competition had whittled down to three men but I didn’t think the three men looked ugly. Rather they looked deformed.

And when Ssebabi was eventually crowned winner, a huge cheer went up for he truly deserved to be crowned winner. Has anybody seen the movies Elephant Man and say Nightmare on Elm Street? Ssebabi resembled a cross between them. One side of his head was not rounded and looked liked it had been hammered in with a sledge hammer!

As we left the stadium, some men like the man who seemingly had one of his eyes up where his eyebrow was supposed to have been, was cursing and thought he should have at least made it to the semi-finals. Then there was the chap whose nostrils didn’t look like nostrils for they were as big as PVC water drainage pipes. So large they were that it was a shame the he didn’t get the chance to show off his trick.

Ssebabi, so I later found out lives on Masaka Road, owns a shop and guess what, he is married too. Better still for him, of his children that I have seen, his daughter is good looking as is his wife though I am not too sure if she married him after he picked up his winner’s cheque.

So to Friend of A Friend, if Benedict XVI with his ugly looks can scale the highest ranks of the church and become Pope, Besigye can head FDC and Ssebabi can snare a beautiful woman, then there is hope for your beloved Mabel. And to Pretie Nasuna, she got the best deal because her looks carried forward and on to her children. However, a question begs. Will the good looks stop with her children? We have fifteen or so years to find out. I am a patient man.