When I was a young man, one thing that was greatly valued was the art of “The Vibes” or “chuffing”; the ability of a guy to be charming and talk to a chick in a manner that made her begin liking him within minutes, without taking her out even if he was broke like a church mouse. Some guys among us had perfected the art to the point of making almost any chick fall in love with them within days. When you spoke to one of the experts at this art and asked him how he got the most beautiful chicks to like him, all he would say was “It’s the vibes my friend”. Perhaps like any good magician, they could not reveal their secret formula.

In those days, young ladies were taught by their usually conservative mothers to respect themselves and not be easily moved by fat wallets of guys driving fancy cars. It was an age of innocence where you never found teenage girls out late at night drinking their heads off in questionable male company and puffing away at a cigarette with endless expletives pouring out of their mouths. Nor did you often find chicks trying to outdo each other in how much skin they could expose.

By 19 hours, young girls had to be at home or risk the wrath of their parents which usually manifested in a belt (father) or a stick (mother), better known as ubwembya. You could not WhatsApp, email or message a chick and link up anyhow. You had to go see her in person or call her on a land-line if you were both lucky that your parents had them.

Times have changed dramatically since those days. Nowadays, guys easily pick up and discard chicks in a manner reminiscent of the age old Bemba proverb that says “Abanakashi, mafi yampombo”. All that is needed is some wheels and some Kwachas and the chicks will come like bees to nectar in a flower. The number of expensive vehicles parked at our universities every weekend that are driven by 50+ year old men waiting to pick up young girls is staggering.

Moreover, it is now the chicks going after the guys with all sorts of machinations such as their scanty dressing and endless narcissistic Facebook photo contests that consist of posting shots of their posterior or their ample cleavage. Little is left to the imagination. Intellect and good character has taken a back seat.

“The Vibes” is a dying art form. A relic from the past made obsolete by a craving among our womenfolk for the life they see on 24 hour Satellite Television; a life of fancy cars, parties, nightclubs, weekend movies, pizza, chicken and chips, a smartphone, endless varieties of alcohol, expensive clothes and Brazilian hair; a life made possible by an exchange of certain pieces of paper with the provision of certain (usually) nocturnal “services”. Perhaps this is the price of economic progress wherein people want a better life. Those of us with young daughters have a gargantuan task ahead of us.

But on the positive side, economic progress means that one day in future, our women will more easily be able to afford a better life for themselves and more of them will come from middle class families. As most women become economically empowered and independent, a guy having wheels and cash will no longer be sufficient to get their attention. Intellect and good character in guys shall become gold again.

The art of The Vibes shall be rediscovered.