When other brains discovered nuclear energy and launched revolutionary mobile money transfer systems in Kenya, I was thinking about sex.
“Welcome home, dear. You are tense and look tired,” Lilibeth observes. “Would you like a massage?”
“Not now, Lily,” I say as I lean in for a kiss.
“Of course, sir,” she replies, and her status light turns from bright green to amber. She goes to the kitchen and leaves me to my machines, the screen in front of me showing the images of the son I never showed how to be a man and a daughter I never protected from the world.
The emptiness in my heart is like a tornado, the numbness pounds my brain, and tears cloud my eyes. The sheer nothingness takes hold of my soul and threatens to engulf me entirely.
One day I might grieve for my wife, but first, I would have to be convinced that I meant anything to her. But for now, I hold every memory of her back. Instead, I grief for my heart and the pain she caused me, a hurt that snowballs as memories from our failed marriage ambush me.
“Supper is served, sir,” Lilibeth tells me.
I come back to earth and devour the scrumptious meal. The TV screen mounted high on the wall in the dining room shows me what awaits me after supper, whetting my appetite.
I wish she could eat.
I clear the table after eating and let the machine do the washing.
Lilibeth is waiting in the bathroom, the bathtub full to the brim.
Her hands are like rubber on my back, every pore of my body coalescing into fluidness. Faint and far away, I hear: “God, you’re so beautiful. I love your body.”
I imagine my wife saying such words. Not in a million years.
“I want you to try the new Rapture pill, G. You will like it.”
“Then you’ll remind me to contact my physician if the orgasm lasts an hour or longer,” I say. “God, that’s not practically possible, Lilibeth.”
“Trust me,” she says. When she leads to the canopied four-poster bed and pushes me down, I go into a dream.
This is where she gets real wet, incredibly wet, for me. I issue the command ultrasonically and close my eyes for the ride.
Hours later, cuddled together like teenagers, I whisper, “I love you, Lily. Love you to bits.”
And she, “Feelings are like temperatures: attraction is warm, curiosity is warmer, and anger is boiling. Hate can torch, but it can also freeze. Love ... well, that’s a temperature best left under neutral.”
Lilibeth is my creation. I created her from silicon. I customised her according to the traits I found appealing, with pre-programmed personalities like shyness, adventurous, wild, and others that I wanted. Put it blatantly: according to my idea of an ideal wife. She likes what I like, dislikes what I dislike. She has moods just like a real woman. She can be sleepy, conversational, or she can ‘be in the mood’!
And that’s how my company, Maisha Raha Ltd., came to be.
“If a woman (sic) can have a vibrator, why can’t men have a sex robot?” I asked one of the moral police crusaders during a live TV interview.
“Because that’s not the plan God had for man,” replied my opponent, a prosperity Gospel pastor.
“There are many disturbing aspects to the rise of sex robots,” another one interjected. “Replacement of real, human relationships, for one, but that’s not why I’m against them. They portray subservient female traits; the rapey connotations of moving on them are the most concerning. Women rights are under threat across the globe; men have moved from ‘grabbing them by the pussy’, and now sex robots? It is women under attack here.”
Jeez, feminists will never lack feminist shit to say.
“That’s the same reason my marriage failed,” I said. “Women always think that men force themselves on them. Until women realise that the pashmina that holds a marriage together, according to men, is sex, as men have known that women need emotional connection, marriages will always fail. And it has nothing to do with subservience ….”
“I disagree with you,” the pastor said. “If you base your marriage on bodily desires, it will fail.”
“Sex is a powerful union between two souls, a deeply spiritual act that bonds two people who are committed to each other. It builds strong relationships, keeps our souls healthy, and our self-esteem high. That’s what I yearned for from my wife, but she didn’t give it to me,” I said.
“Let’s be logical here,” I continued. “Even in the Bible, it is written that it is better to marry than burn with passion. See, if Jesus didn’t think sex is important, He wouldn’t have had a lover ….”
“Blasphemy!” screamed the pastor.
When the conniption cooled down, I continued, “I agree that these sex robots are not a mere fetish or just another sex toy. Their emergence and increasing use point to something darker and deeper within our culture, a retreat from the ideal of marriage and the real reasons why a woman and a man decide to live together. Blame it all on the wave of feminism and the so-called ‘women empowerment and rights’ that has ravaged the world ...”
“Yes, times are changing, but an ominous sign of the doom looming for the era we are living in. And many people aren’t weird or offensive until the free market gives them the permission to be so. Gilbert, you were not like this before the evil idea of satisfying your bodily desires consumed you, saw a ‘business’ opportunity, and began selling your sinful products to your ‘sophisticated’ clientele to drag them with you to hell,” the pastor was not stopping his pontificating.
Well, what I did not say then was that despite their increasing popularity, thanks to my advertising, sex robots were alien to consumer culture, and many men would rather contract STIs from prostitutes than buy my geloms.
Maisha Raha aims to create sex robots as much of a physical likeness to actual women but with more intelligence (albeit artificial) as technologically possible. My bots feel human to the touch; they mimic the movement of a real body, get real wet, and can talk to you more nicely than women nowadays. The good thing is that they cannot break up with you or walk out; no independence or anything that may disrupt the fantasy of total servitude.