Le Patio is a bar, restaurant and nightclub in Almadies, a well-to-do neighbourhood filled with monied expats and Dakarois alike. I was supposed to go to this club with a girl I met at a concert at the French Cultural Institute some three weekends ago, but laziness and apathy overcame me and I cancelled on her both the Friday and Saturday. So this past weekend, I decided to do something with my life. I wondered if my accomplice chose this place because she was interested in the monied expats, but she told me she liked it because she liked the music. I wasn’t particularly convinced about this but when upon arrival (after midnight), the music was actually quite decent, lots of danceable music (even the techno!) including the compulsory convict music, the required Rihanna, the predictable P-Square, the mandatory Mbalax and the crazy coupe decale. A few songs were repeated but this was forgivable, especially since the dj was schooled enough to know NOT to play a song in its entirety.
Patio is an unbelievably expensive place. We didn’t pay cover but seating required drinks purchase, and the cheapest things on the menu (watery juice, pop, 50ml water) were each the equivalent of $6 (3000 FCFA)! Except that we didn’t really sit, although my accomplice’s friend was not much the dancing type so she sat probably 85% of the time. She seemed a lovely girl but I was rather confused as to why she came. But I was glad I shelled out the money to buy one of the watery juices because I danced and perspired so much – I must have danced for some three hours – that it came in handy.
There were definitely a lot of beautiful women there, many of whom could have grazed the covers of some magazine. Not the least because they were beautiful but also because they had some amazing shapes! But I was unimpressed with the calibre of the women themselves, beautiful or not. For one thing, they were vain! They all wanted to dance in front of the mirror and stare at themselves dance. I couldn’t understand this – I tried to do it myself but was distracted by some facial or bodily imperfection and kept loosing my rhythm. My accomplice was adept at this mirror-dancing exercise, however, as were many others there.
Also, there were two women whose cleavages assaulted me the whole night. Initially, I was overwhelmed, but this turned into absolute fright by the sheer size and sight of them. But then, this is not a uniquely Dakarois thing and I suppose if I had them I would also flaunt them (not really) but I thought this bore mentioning for some reasoning. Generally, the women here are well-endowed so I suppose I shouldn’t have been so surprised.
A lot of the women seemed to be there for the expat men, a lot of whom were old enough to be their fathers. When we first arrived and sat down, we sat beside a girl that perhaps was in her early twenties and a man that was at least in his sixties, and he kept kissing and groping her. My heart just fell! Now I’m not one to judge and I don’t know what situation these women are in, but to be frank, Le Patio is not a place that someone with meagre means would go to. You have to look a certain way (to say I was underdressed is an understatement) and many of the girls definitely did not look poor. But looks do deceive and having some means could perhaps still not compare to whatever lives the girls imagine awaits them in Europe or North America or wherever they hope these men will take them. Some may not necessarily want to leave Dakar, but are just looking to live a certain way while here.
A Dakarois man told me earlier this week that he was loathe to date Senegalese women because they’re only after money and do not really care about love. But I imagine it’s not that simple. Who doesn’t want a so-called “better life”? But for some who find these expat men, it does work out, at least for some time, and that is absolutely worth it for some of these women. On the flight to Dakar, I met a Senegalese woman with a mixed child who was returning to visit her family. She said she lived in Spain, and had been for a few years with her child’s father whom she met in Dakar – we actually communicated in Spanish and her kid was too cute! She definitely looked fine, so I guess for her it worked out, and I hope it continues to…