Here’s a look at why Ms Jones and I were kindred spirits in the spring of 2016:
Lying to a preacher man:
Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned …ok, so I have never been to confession but if I ever do, I solemnly swear that I will never, EVER lie to a man of the cloth again as I did on a sunny September afternoon.
The holy man in question was a layman deacon and, unfortunately for me, the My CiTi bus driver who had a tendency to speak the word of God to me whether I wanted him to or not.
We had had a previous run-in a month earlier when I had set him straight about me not following the Islamic way and him trying to bully me into coming to church with him – obviously I refused. Have I mentioned I had major commitment issues, especially when it came to religion?
On this particular spring day, I firmly told Brother Simon that I did not want to speak to him about religious matters at all.
He condescendingly assured me he wasn’t going to preach to me and rather asked about my personal life i.e. was I married? Where was I living and whom with?
The man was starting to sound like a stalker and a single woman can never be too careful about her safety so I panicked and lied… I told him that I was unmarried but that I lived with He Who Shall Not Be Named and we’d been together for 10 years.
Sweet Mother of the Seven!
The man saw red and went off at me about how I was giving my body away to a user and sinning against God. He ranted and raved for the better part of 10 minutes about how He Who Shall Not Be Named was just using me for sex and didn’t respect me.
I couldn’t believe my ears – I had lied to shut this cleric up and here I was getting slut shamed instead!
Only in my wildest dreams would I be sinning all night every night for ten years…
Kids, I have never felt so ashamed of something I didn’t do in all of my life … Damned if I do and damned if I don’t.
Eavesdropping on a noisy neighbour:
“Oh God! Oh God, Oh God … F***!”
By September 2016, I had been listening to my male and very vocal downstairs neighbour scream his gratitude to his Creator in the throes of passion for the better part of nine months.
The fact that he was doing this at 8pm and 1am respectively with his apartment windows left wide open for everyone in all of Vredehoek to hear his every grunt and movement aside, the thing that bothered me most was that I never heard his partner … which begs three questions: 1) was he gagging his companion, 2) was he using a blow-up doll or 3) was he just that good at loving himself?
More importantly, how the f*** did I politely ask him to keep it down?
I was sorely tempted to march down to his apartment the next time he got too loud and say: “ Look, if you aren’t going to be quiet about it, at least invite me in to join you!” but as we all know, I am utterly useless at chatting up men. I am also nowhere near that adventurous!
To avoid embarrassment, I quickly ran past his front door every time I needed to leave and prayed that I would never have to see him at a building meeting ever because I would blush all fifty shades of red for sure.
Kids, after Mr “Let’s Go Dutch”, I was a little gun shy about meeting new people – spending two hours with someone boring who hogged ALL of the attention just wasn’t appealing.
Also, after the spate of bad, and I mean, BAD online dating chats that were leading nowhere fast, I had all but given up hope of ever finding your Dad.
Hope, though, always springs eternal for singletons and so I turned to back to my old faithful, Ok Cupid, for a bit of a romantic shake-up.
Here’s a look at that time I schooled an American tourist in the art of dating a Capetonian woman:
September 2016 …
Tdater 31 was a Pennsylvanian engineer, visiting Cape Town for the first time ever (I am stressing this because it becomes important later in the story) for his sister’s wedding. After a weird stop and start, we got into a rhythm of flirting (mostly him because as I might have mentioned, I am Bridget Jones-bad at picking up hints that guys are into me).
Date One was a coffee (and that was the actual hot drink, NOT the other hook-up kind of coffee) and pizza meeting at Cape Town’s new caffeine hot spot, the Honeybadger in Loop Street.
He wasn’t impressed I was keeping the date to 90 minutes because I had a movie date planned with your Spirit Mom (screw it, we’d won tickets for a Michael Fassbender movie and there was NO way I was missing out on it!).
We got along well, though, chatting about Star Trek, Comic Con, work and family. He was funny and smart but …
Tdater31 seemed to have no sense of desire to explore Cape Town, a city he had travelled 25 hours plus to visit. Call me crazy but I always research a destination before I visit it to know what’s on and where I should explore. Hell, I’ve stalked New York so often, I feel like I live there.
Mr Man was annoyed that I had to work and that I had a social life filled with family and friends ‘engagements that I wouldn’t cancel to spend time with him:
Bro, let us be clear on a couple of things: a) I am a busy woman with a full life who will not be your personal tour guide and b) no man comes before my friends and family.
Against my better judgment, I agreed to a second date because hey, maybe he was nervous and just coming across as a doos inaccurately.
At 30, I still had to learn to trust my gut feelings about people. If I found you annoying, boring and a pain in my ass the first time I met you, that impression would not change later.
Tdater31 had indicated that he wasn’t into the big touristy things like the attractions and he wanted to experience what the locals do as well as the local cuisine. Since it was First Thursdays, I decided we’d do that and then I would take him to Biesmiellah in Bo Kaap for some authentic Malay dishes.
Right away, he pissed me off by being WAY too handsy … I do not like people touching me unless I initiate it and grabbing my ass repeatedly or balancing bottles on my head while I was crouching to snap a photo was not winning him any brownie points.
Secondly, he did nothing but bitch about how most of the patrons at the Gin Bar were white. Where were the locals, the Africans, he wanted to know. Jerk, are you seriously getting racial on me? Caucasians are f***ing local!
The moaning about not wanting to leave his hotel room because he didn’t want to go where all the tourists were carried on throughout this date from hell.
By 7pm, I had had enough of Tdater31 and his narrow-minded bigotry and stupidity so I helped him order his “authentic” meal, stuck him with the bill and wished him safe travels back to Pennsylvania with a “Yeah, I am never visiting you, see ya!”
Here are 30 things I learnt about myself and life after turning 30:
I have no more f***s to give and it’s ok:
No, really. Before 30, I would be stressed about what people thought of me and whether they’d accept me for the weirdo I was.
After 30, I was like “well, f*** a f***ing zombie, if you don’t like me, screw you!” I liked me, -the dressing like a hobo writer; dance in the car and the supermarket; can’t be bothered to even pretend to like people I should me and that was all that mattered.
No was my new favourite word:
As in “No, I am not attending a family function where I have to pretend the perpetually divorced aunt’s comments about my inability to land a man doesn’t hurt my feelings” or “No, I really don’t want to pay for your mother’s birthday cake just because you’re broke AF and didn’t plan ahead”.
I especially loved saying Hell to the f*** no when friends, acquaintances and potential dates tried to talk me into going to places or doing things because it was more convenient for them.
My comfort, after 30, came first… f*** the rest!
Here are my boundaries, now f*** off:
So-called friends who couldn’t deal with not being the centre of my universe whilst I was in the middle of taking care of my dying grandfather and dedicating myself to passion projects or clients who contacted me after hours were not so graciously told where to f*** off to because I have boundaries.
Staying home was my new favourite past time:
Time was when I’d be out there with the most narcissistic of socialites, snapping pics on red carpets and attending every event or show opening under the goddamn sun.
By 2016, I was tired of the constant fake behaviour and forced friendships with so-called celebrities so I found new events (GOT premieres) and red carpets (my bedroom’s) to frequent.
Shutting myself in my apartment for at least one day a weekend where I didn’t have to go out at all because it was too peopley out there was how I held onto my sanity during all of the adulting I had to do.
Holding my tongue was no longer an option:
I learnt to be blunt AF because it was the only way people would understand me when I kept saying no (see point 2).
My entire life, I was always worried about protecting other people’s feelings and not daring to retaliate when they hurt mine.
New me didn’t have such qualms. If you were a guy wasting my time with small talk about the weather or asking me to send you boob pics on dating sites, I told you exactly where to stick your small member and not ever f***ing contact me again.
If you were a client who wanted me to rise at the crack of dawn to fill in for you because you were going away for the weekend, I told you where to get off on the bullshit train.
Biting my tongue to keep the peace was no longer my modus operandi.
I am a cosplaying freak:
Who loves nothing more than donning tights and a cape and showing off at events to other geeks.
Your aunts Sam and Mishka and your godparents Leo, Tendai and Leon are the only five people in Year 30 that I felt completely at ease with.
They loved me when I was crabby and happy over silly things; they let me cry when I needed to or just be quiet when I couldn’t put into words the things that hurt me and they weren’t afraid to call me out on my crap when they needed to.
Feeling guilty is a waste of time:
So I finished yet another tub of Nutella without using it for the pancakes I actually bought it for… so freaking what?! Did anyone die? No? Then, shut up, Brain, and just let me enjoy my chocolate high right now.
Ditto for not finishing blogs, reports etc for work when I was ill. I was delirious on medication and sleep deprived, for Drogon’s sake, it’s not like the company would fall apart without me!
I am worth showing up for:
Old friends who bailed last minute on plans and dates who stood me up were no longer worth my tears.
Spending time with me, especially when I had to rearrange shit so I could see them, was a f***ing privilege. If they couldn’t be bothered to show up, I wouldn’t be bothered to answer calls and texts in future.
I will not settle for mediocrity:
I deserved the very best I could give myself – from a future partner to what I ate and who I spent my time with to where I travelled to – so if those things were not up to par, they had to go.
We are so focused on making sure everyone else (family, friends, significant others etc) is happy and getting what they deserved but what about ourselves?
In 2016, I made myself my priority – f*** anyone who thought that was selfish!
It’s never too late to do anything:
Like read the Harry Potter book series for the first time (yes, I know, considering I saw all the movies and worked in magic, I should have done that yonks ago but whatever!)
If I don’t know how to do something, I’ll ask Google:
Dudes, what I knew about being an executor of an estate or how to process a medical aid claim back was dismal. Being an adult doesn’t come with an instruction manual so thank the Seven for Google!
Eating breakfast for supper is ok:
As a kid, I would laugh at my Dad and your Aunt Sam for tucking into a bowl of Kellogg’s at 6pm but I came to appreciate the wonders of a good scrambled egg or waffle at supper time.
Life is short, do shit that scares you:
Like training for and running a 10km race or lasting five minutes in a paint ball game (I am NEVER doing that again!)
I felt broken and strangely well-put together at the same time. I cried at the most inappropriate times, like being surrounded by 13 000 people at a public running event or went for weeks without shedding a tear because I was so busy organising his affairs.
I laughed at his multiple memorials because he would have loved seeing his entire family together for once.
There is no rhyme, reason or quick fix to grief and I had to learn how to be patient with myself until I got to the other side.
Being afraid and insecure are realities of adulthood:
I can’t take money with me when I die, so I spend it:
I splurged on spa days at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel with your Nan and went to several 3D movies with Leo a month.
I did body shots at Beefcakes; applied for loans to go to Mauritius and bought multiple cosplay costumes because I could. Life was for the damn living!
I can let it go:
That grudge I have against the boy who broke my heart; the too tight dress from 2007 I’ll never fit into again and the paperwork of things I sold eons ago – I’ve cleared them out.
The awesome Bennii was a HUGE inspiration to me in this regard. I watched her give away sporting equipment she didn’t need; disperse advice freely or say exactly what she was thinking and it made so much sense to me.
Cleansing yourself emotionally, mentally and physically is important so be like Frozen’s Elsa:
I will not compete for anyone’s time or affection:
Throughout my childhood and early adulthood, people, especially family members would compare me to my siblings or cousins, making me feel like I had to compete for their affection because I wasn’t good enough.
That belief spilled over into my friendships and working relationships. By 30, I realised that this shit had to come to an end and it started with me.
I was f***ing awesome just as I was – I didn’t need to be more like anyone else. Again, if you didn’t love or appreciate me for who I was, f*** you!
I hate SMS texting:
I also hate people who use it. If you are over 18 and writing lyk dis, I will f***ing disown you.
I detest selfie sticks and their users:
Unless you’re Zoolander and Hansel – then let’s do a #selfiestickselfie and can Alexander Skarsgard be in it before I lure him away for a long, LONG stay in my love dungeon?!
I can’t party like a 22-year-old anymore:
Dear gods of Westeros, my liver roared its dissatisfaction at being used as a chemical waste ground the minute I turned 30 and I couldn’t manage more than one glass of bubbly or four watered down cocktails on a night out.
Gone were the days of bar-hopping with Tendai and Leon down Long Street …a damn shame!
I can still shake what Soraya gave me:
Sure, I couldn’t down shots anymore but man, could I still dance like no one was watching!
Clubbing occasionally whilst sober or you know, giving everyone in my local Spar a show by dancing in the aisles still felt really, really good as I got older.
I do not have to pretend to like every theatre show or movie I’ve seen:
Man, I wish I had learnt this earlier so I could get some hours of my life back.
I love babies, children and animals:
It is other adults I have an issue with. Seriously, if people could just keep their unwanted opinions, their filthy habits and oversharing to themselves, that would be great.
I adore food:
I will eat anything and everything and I will not feel guilty about it.
If you are going to be one of those annoying as all hell women who talk about how many calories are in curly fries, I will silence you with a death stare or get up from the table and let you eat your cardboard in peace.
Spending time with my family and friends is more important than anything else:
I don’t care if there is a conference or launch happening that simply everyone has to be at – I am not everyone and the people of my heart come first.
Tag me in shit if you have to and I might retweet, repost or like it but my must-attend moment is where my tribe is.
Equally important is me time:
Even Wonder Woman needs a break from everyone else’s troubles and to find her centre. When I am having me time, I am not doing nothing, I am being me.
Age ain’t nothing but a number:
Aaliyah was right (though she may have been referring to something else!).
Age is a state of mind – at 30, I felt more in tune with my 18-year-old self and rediscovered the values I had as a teenager. When applied to my adult self, those ideals made life really simple for me and I was far happier for it.
Here’s why the Afternoon Bliss package at the Belmond Mount Nelson hotel is a must-do:
It ain’t expensive to treat yourself like a movie star:
I’ve had people the world over tell me that Cape Town, and especially its luxurious hotels are pricey… they’re not.
At just R2225 per package for two people, the Afternoon Bliss package is well worth it. Weighing up what the usual cost of a full body massage, followed by lunch at a restaurant would set you back, this package is value for money.
Location, Location, Location:
Gods, the Nellie is beautiful! It is also so multi-layered with seemingly endless gorgeous places to relax (snag a table in the luscious garden if the weather is good and keep an eye out for a visiting Hollywood star every now and then).
While the Lounge is the spot to be, I adore the Planet Restaurant &Bar for its amazing cocktails (my favourite being the Alexander, a perfect concoction of Van Ryn’s Brandy, crème de cacao, fresh cream and nutmeg, of course!).
Heaven is for real:
And it is located at the Librisa Spa!
From a statuesque chandelier in the foyer that demands to be swung from (don’t worry, I didn’t!) and the healthy but tasty fruit and tea bar to the oh-so-gentle touches of the talented therapists in suitably styled rooms, being a pampered angel is a reality.
Drink tea like the English:
With cucumber sandwiches, mouth-watering chocolate cake, scones with clotted cream and an endless array of the finest teas (or speciality coffees if you’re a caffeine addict).
The Nellie’s Afternoon Tea buffet is renowned for being one of the best in Cape Town, laden with every savoury and sweet treat imaginable and it is quite difficult to know where to start!
The super cool but still dignified ambience:
How often do you actually get to dress up smartly and rub shoulders with the rich, famous and fabulous?
At the Mount Nelson, that could be any day of the week! With its old school glamour, classic décor, soft music and excellent service, this world-class establishment made me feel like I was Romola Garai in Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, about to meet my parents and lover for a dance in the 1950s.
I know you’re wondering what the heck this has to do with meeting your father but what I learnt about the search was that sometimes a girl has to stop and eat a cream puff or three whilst being pampered and spending time with her Mama in one of the Mother City’s most luxurious hotels. A happy me is a more attractive and holistic me, right?!
I can’t wait to go back to the Mount Nelson Hotel soon!
“Fazielah, pick your jaw up from the floor right now and stop staring! Wait, did I brush my hair this morning? Good Gods, this man is HOT!”
Those were the rambling thoughts running through my lust-addled mind as the elevator doors of your Nan’s hospital opened on the totally shaggable doctor one fine winter’s day in 2016, Kids.
Typically, it was once again one of those bloody days I hadn’t bothered to do much more that put my long hair up in a ponytail and just about remembered to slap on some lip gloss before visiting your grandmother to collect my Harry Potter cosplaying tools.
As the elevator whizzed up to the eleventh floor, I was in a bit of an insomniac-induced stupor and barely paid attention to the frantic new father or senior patients who got on-board.
The doors opened on the ninth floor and there he was: Dr Sexy himself – in all of his effortless white collar shirt; form fitting jeans; stethoscope casually hung around his neck; bemused blue eyes and Lord Farquaad-flowing blonde haired glory:
He stopped for a split second, smiling his million dollar smile at me (I am pretty sure I heard a chorus of angels singing Hallelujah at that very moment!), before boarding the elevator.
I wish I could say that I had said something smart or smiled back at him but judging from the rueful grin and head shake from the frantic father next to me, I pretty much just drooled back at Dr Sexy whilst imagining all kinds of naughty scenarios that you don’t need to know about.
As I finally disembarked on the eleventh off while trying desperately not to look back at my five second crush, I tripped over my own feet …
Kids, as you know, in the winter of 2016, 21st century dating lingo was confusing the crap out of me .At the time, I thought that that was the worst I had to contend with – boy, was I wrong!
Over and above the absolutely befuddling slang they used, online dating prospects also seemed to have WAY over inflated egos.
I give you, the ways of the dumbass online men:
Bachelor Number 1:
“Is it shaved or bushy?” he asked, eagerly awaiting a response.
I stared at my screen, my jaw literally dropping to the floor and certain that I must have read wrong. Surely a thirty-year-old Brazilian man I had never met nor been contacted by before had not just straight up emailed me to ask about the grooming and state of my lady bits?
I even thought that maybe he had confused with someone he’d been chatting to for a while and mistakenly emailed me. Sadly, I put way too much faith in the basic decency of the male population online.
When I furiously hit reply and demanded to know just who the f*** he thought he was talking to, he responded that of course, he was talking to me and that he needed an answer immediately to help him reach his, uh, happy place.
Hells to f*** no, dude! You’re blocked!!
My prayers for a suitor with online finesse were not answered because of …
Bachelor Number 2:
“”Admit it, you think I am totally f***able!” he asked arrogantly, making me wish I could reach through the screen to smash his stupid head against a wall.
Seriously?! This fool, who didn’t bother to introduce himself, let alone say Hi like a normal person, expected me to say what exactly? That yes, I did indeed find him so utterly irresistible, I couldn’t wait to tell him? My inner sarcastic critic was dying to pull a Julia Stiles in 10 Things I Hate about You move:
For the love of Hades, what the actual f*** was wrong with men in 2016? Had they no respect for the women they were trying to pursue? Had the world gone totally and utterly bonkers?!
I learnt to love that block button like it was my best friend. NEXT!
So, when the opportunity arose to transform into Hermione Granger for the highly anticipated Harry Potter and the Cursed Child launch party, there was NO way I was going to miss out on it!
Your Spirit Mom Leo, lovely mermaid Emma and I had to complete quite the rigorous process to get our owls and golden tickets to Hogwarts aka Exclusive Books ‘party at the Canal Walk Shopping Centre – I mean, seriously, with the amount of hoops we had to jump through just to score an invitation, I practically had to give one of you up before you were even born…
After two months of emails, registration AND costume planning, The Night finally arrived:
30 July 2016 …
Any fan of the book or movie series will know the feelings that hearing the signature Potter music conjures within you.
Add that to the incredible sense of belonging you feel when you see hundreds, nay THOUSANDS, of fellow Potterheads dressed as Dementors, Dumbledore, Luna Lovegood; Moaning Myrtle and more and you’ll understand when I say that I felt like finally, I’d come home.
Leo, Emma, your aunt Bennii and I were utterly gobsmacked at the realistic and detailed costumes on display. While we rocked the crazy hot Bellatrix, gorgeous Quidditch Seeker, beautiful muggle and sexy student looks; other fans were unbelievable Snitches; Sybill Trelawneys and more:
As I said, the atmosphere was utterly magical because of all of our die-hard Potterhead enthusiasm and seeing everyone in costume BUT I need to stress that the event was no party.
By the mere mention of the word party, we’d been harbouring fantasies about chocolate frogs, a sorting hat ceremony etc …what we got instead was a four hour long queue and preferential game playing cards with very little communication from the Exclusive Books staff about what was happening.
The organisers either desperately needed to hire Leo and I to do their book launch parties for them in future because we’re kickass publicists, magic fanatics AND awesome cosplayers or they should have taken a leaf out of Ster Kinekor and Mnet’s, uh, books (pun TOTALLY intended) who rocked a feast with music and entertainers worthy of a Westeros wedding for the Game of Thrones Season 6 screening.
“Travel far enough, you meet yourself…” Cloud Atlas
Kids, in 2016, I was in a bit of a rut… seeing friends’ engagement, baby and new job announcements on social media gave me huge FOMO (fear of missing out).
It made me nostalgic for a time when I was doing something epic – like travelling to the US solo for a two week Contiki trip across Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and New York in the (South African) winter of 2014.
Sometimes I need to leave home to get some perspective
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the fishbowl that is your life when you stay put. In 2014, I was up shit creek with the disastrous Monroe flirtation, hating aspects of my job as a Cape Town marketing writer and trying to figure out what to do with my life.
Travelling to the States wasn’t so much running away from my problems as it was getting a new perspective on them. Seeing world-renowned icons like the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon and the Golden Gate Bridge up close, made me realise that while my problems were important, they were small in comparison to the rest of the Universe.
Looking at it that way made me calm the f*** down and just enjoy being me.
Conquering my deepest fears was possible
I’ve had a paralyzing fear of theme park rides since I was three-years-old and your grandfather decided to rock the cabin of the Ferris wheel we were on, scaring the hell out of me.
That fear, though, wasn’t going to stop me from enjoying or at the very least, attempting to enjoy the rides at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.
I’m not saying all of it was fun – in fact, between the Transformers and The Mummy rides, my pancake breakfast kept threatening to blow all over my fellow riders – but I pushed through my fear and did it anyway.
I held hands with complete strangers in the Haunted House; screamed for all I was worth during the King Kong ride and held on for dear life in that final drop of The Mummy roller coaster but at the end of it all, I was extremely proud of myself for conquering my deepest fear.
Being just me is more than ok
The greatest thing about travelling solo is the chance to shake off all of the labels and personas people you know impose onto you or force you to be (you know what I am talking about – some relatives, co-workers and friends push your buttons so much that you react negatively and get labelled as the nasty/mean/perpetually single one in your social group) and rediscover who you are.
On this trip, I discovered how much I actually enjoy magic, separately from it being a requirement for my passion project. I was totally prepared to attend Criss Angel’s Believe show in Vegas on my own but just by being so excited and passionate about it, a few of my tour mates eagerly joined me too.
People liked me for being the weirdo, magic-fanatic I was and you know what? I liked me too.
Most importantly, I also realized that I like doing things solo – something I’d be reminded of again a year later in Mauritius.
I am capable of pretty much anything
A week into my trip, I was standing in front of the fountain at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas and I suddenly had an Oprah-style A-Ha moment…
I realised that little ol’ me, who had sold my first car, worked crazy hours and saved for eons just to be able to afford this trip, had actually done it! As I stared up at the full moon in Sin City, I realised that I could, and was capable of doing just about anything I set my mind to.
I knew I’d wanted to visit all of these cities since I was a teenager hung up on Sex and the City and I had made my own wish come true. I was my own Fairy Godmother, Superhero and Guardian Angel and I was awesome!
Letting go of my inhibitions every now and again is a good thing
A lot of crazy things happened in the Big Apple, like Drew, and that one time I wandered around Times Square high on Nyquil trying to treat a cold while almost being kidnapped by a Hispanic man (don’t tell your Nan – she will never let me travel alone again!).
A photo posted by Fazielah Williams (@fazielahwilliams) on
My favourite memory of New York, though, is the final night of our trip when my Contiki group and I visited a local karaoke bar. Emotions were running rampant in the group, knowing we’d have to say goodbye to strangers who had become family in the two short weeks we’d been travelling together.
With various tour mates getting up on stage to humiliate themselves belting out their favourite hits, it was only a matter of time before my three closest friends Candice, Natasha, Cheree and I followed suit.
A video posted by Fazielah Williams (@fazielahwilliams) on
Yes, we were totally out of sync doing the mermaid dance to Cher’s Shoop Shoop song but boy, was it fun and the perfect way to end off a trip that had totally changed my perspective on life and my own capabilities.
By 2016, with all of the adulting I’d been doing, I was aching to rediscover myself via travelling again. All I needed to do was choose a destination … but where to next?
Kids, as difficult as it was to find a man in 21st century Cape Town with its unavailable, confused and jerk non-potentials, navigating the dating lingo was on another level of insanity.
The sheer volume of terms like hang-out, hook-up, non-date date, ghosted, bae (one which particularly made my ass twitch!) and their definitions boggled my mind. Do not even get me started on Netflix and chill ( no, I am not explaining that to you until you’re all 21 and even then, you may need your Uncle Tendai to do it!).
You remember my utter mortification when I discovered that Mr Overeager No 2 and I had very different definitions of what a coffee date was, right?
Well, let me tell you about the time I got into a heated debate about what a date was.
Yaneez was a 24-year-old Irish expat, who was doing his PhD in Electrical Engineering at UCT at the time. He didn’t fit my usual type but I was trying to date outside of my comfort zone so chatting with him didn’t seem too bad.
Right off the bat, his poor use of grammar and spelling put me off somewhat. I get that being Irish, fangs for thanks and nefink for anything were par for the course for him but seriously, the use of kewl for cool and “you sound like you are very common to dates” , which basically implied I was a slut, grated on my nerves. I mean, even Darth Vader would take insult to that:
Still, I was determined to make the best of a slightly less than good situation so when he suggested meeting up, I agreed on the condition that he understood that I do dates – not hook-ups, not hang-outs and not meet-ups.
This, unfortunately is when I discovered that the youth of 2016 did not quite grasp the concept of dating:
Yaneez: “So when are we going on a date?”
Me: “I am free to meet for a drink or a bit to eat on Sunday.”
Yaneez: “So you paying for my Redbull coz I don’t drink. Let’s go out for drinks today”
Me: “Uh, no, dude. You ask a lady out, you pay. I am not available today- as I’ve told you I have plans”
At this point, the conversation quickly descended into a myriad of definitions and arguments which gave me little hope of it having a successful outcome.
Yaneez: “You meant to say I pay for mine and you pay yours.”
Me: “Look, I know you are used to the casual way of doing things but I do old school dating. That means whoever does the asking out pays for the date.”
Yaneez: “So basically you want me to spend on you?”
Me: “No more that I would if I’d asked you out.”
From there it spiraled into how he will only pay for the date if he was guaranteed to get some physical action after which made me SUPER angry!
For the f***ing love of the gods, while I am no prude, what the hell happened to just talking and getting to know someone over a meal?!
The who pays for what issue aside, the fact that people didn’t even spend quality time discovering what they liked about someone else by doing activities, attending events or sharing a meal before they made a beast with two backs together at the drop of an ill-written text scared the bejesus out of me.
No wonder more and more women ended up as disillusioned as I was at the scarcity of quality men – the boys who were used to getting what they wanted without putting the effort into growing a relationship by dating were turning into men who cared even less. Everything was going to hell in a basket!
I learnt my lesson and stayed away from anyone under 30 from there on out.
“Dear Fuzzy, I am sad to hear about your grandfather. You are very lucky that you had a grandfather your whole entire life. Love from Kris.”
Kids, your Great-Grandfather, Mogamatdien Shellar nee Percival Francisco Shellar, gently left this world on Thursday 30 June, 2016, causing my Universe to come to an abrupt halt. Of all the condolences I received, this one from your 11-year-old Spirit brother really hit home.
Kris was right – I was indeed ridiculously lucky to have had a grandfather my whole entire life. Bittersweet moments from more than 30 years flashed through my mind but they didn’t seem to be enough.
Eulogies aren’t really a thing in the Islamic faith the rest of my family follow but I’m a rule breaker of note so, here is what I would have said if I had had a chance to speak at Pa’s funeral:
A week ago today, you took your final breath and left us to join your beloved Tiema in Heaven. I know you’re super excited to get all of your kisses and hugs and make up for lost time (away from prying grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s eyes) so while you’re doing that, let me look back at some of my best memories of you…
Last year, I lost you in a Strand beach parking lot. Sameehah, Freddy, Mishka and I had treated you to an afternoon out and you gave us the slip so you could go on a walkabout like a naughty teenager.
I don’t know how you did it with an aching leg and a walking stick, Percy, but like a magician, you were there one minute and gone the next!
Sam panicked and call Hiema – I took a deep breath and realised you probably needed some me-time, something you’d had fairly little of since your health starting deteriorating.
I found you eventually, sitting on a bench that you and Mama often visited on your day trips to Strand, gazing out on the crowd and view. You had a wistful look on your face and I realised that what you had needed was to be close to her – the only time you ever let on that you were still mourning.
The love that was evident on your face that day and whenever you spoke of her since, makes me want to live long enough to experience my own someday.
I freaked out when I received my first ever traffic fine for Mr Winchester, my Opel GSI, and couldn’t for the life of me remember when I had been speeding along Vanguard Drive.
I checked the date and looked at the photo and saw that actually, Old Man, you were the one breaking speed limits as you cruised in my sports car. By then, you weren’t allowed to drive your own vehicles anymore so you had taken mine for a joy ride under the guise of returning it to me ahead of a magic event.
I couldn’t stay at mad at you for that – after all, just a month earlier you had held my hand while yelling at me for crashing it into another car on a highway.
Buying, driving and fixing that car together are some of my favourite memories with you because as much as I was coming into my own as an adult, you were right there with me every step of the way, guiding me as you had in my childhood.
And yes, you still don’t know that I have the worst road rage known to man – I never swore when you were my passenger😉
I’m 15 and going through an “I hate my life and my family” phase but you insist on taking Sam and I for our weekly Sunday drive to Sea Point.
On the way back home, I am wedged between you and Mamma on the front seat of your van and the two of you are pointing out the landmarks of where you first met.
You turn to me and say:
“And that is where your grandma and I used to park and “watch” the view at night. I showed her things she’d never seen before.”
I protest and mock vomit because no teenager wants to know their parents, let alone their grandparents, did things like that but secretly, I like being entrusted with details of your courtship.
That courtship gave birth to the lasting love Sam and I were raised in. How lucky were we?
I’m 11 and I wake to the sound of you crying … in all of my life up until that moment, you had never done that sober so I immediately knew something was wrong, horribly wrong.
My dad, your son, was dead and you were inconsolable.
Your sobs were so terribly heart-breaking but soothing too because if you were crying, it was ok for me to cry too. You showed me that you were human- that we all are and it’s ok to miss the people you love most when they’re taken from you.
Today, I am a heart-broken, grown woman trying to be strong for the family when all I want to do is be the tiny, sassy little girl you taught to read time; called your “Charra Meid” ( Indian Girl) and gruffly held tighter when I tried to squirm out of your hugs.
I miss your hugs.
I miss your smile.
I miss your voice.
I miss hearing you say “Ok, I love you too, Zielah”.
You were so proud of the eulogy I wrote for Mamma on “Facebrick” as you called it, I thought it only fitting you get one on my blog too😉
I love you, Pa – I don’t know if I said it often enough, but I do. I don’t know if I said thank you enough too – there aren’t enough words in this world and all of the universe to express my gratitude for loving, raising and being there for Sameehah and I.
I will miss walking into your house, my childhood home, or calling you up and saying “Hello Percival!” and hearing your voice light up at the sound of mine for the rest of my days…
Give Mamma and Daddy a hug for me and know that I love and miss all three of you so very, very much!
There were various apps, of course, to help you find your match but I had returned to OkCupid because I’d had the most relative success with it… or so I thought.
Here are the three types of men I “met” on OkCupid who made me think the app was SO stupid:
The Angry Harasser …
Andrew37 of Ottery was a just a teeny bit forceful from the get go – he wanted to move to WhatsApp and then Facebook within two messages of “meeting” me, which I declined.
I already spent all of my time managing social media platforms in my day job, I did not need to be conversing electronically in other spheres of my life too.
Back and forth banter ensued with him trying to force me onto other platforms so we could get more personal when he hadn’t even introduced himself yet – I told him he could get to know me on OkCupid or ask me on a date and that was as personal as I was willing to get with someone I’d never met.
Eventually, he told me he was an events coordinator and we agreed on how pointless endless chatting on online platforms are if people aren’t willing to meet in real life.
I then asked him what he was passionate about – meaning hobbies, charity projects etc and he immediately bounced to boasting about what an unusually high libido he has for a 37-year-old guy …
For f***’s sake, what happened to practising decorum with people you’ve just “met”?! I pointed out to him that he should ask himself if that is the kind of thing he’d have said to me if we’d just met a bar or at an event. He answered he would …eeuuuwww!
Later that week, after numerous messages in which he was quite vocal about rape culture and victimization of the culprits by people on social media (seriously??); Andrew informed me that he would quite like to date me but it was dependent on me agreeing to move to WhatsApp.
I once again, gently, reminded him that I wasn’t comfortable doing so – at which point he went completely psycho on me.
A barrage of messages followed in which he accused me of not being a real person, untrustworthy and dishonest.
Right…sorry, dude, you’re blocked! Bye Felicia!
The Italian Flasher …
The trouble with limiting your search to just your location is just that – it’s limited.
I cast my net wider by amplifying my location search which lead to Casanova20 – a twenty-year-old Italian boy toy who barely gave me time to blush at his compliments of how freaking hot I was before pouncing with the “Do you want exchange some photo hot with me?” line.
Ignoring the obvious language and grammar barriers, no, Bello, I do not want to see photos of your nasty bits and I sure as hell am not sending you any! I wanted to see that as much as I wanted to see a flasher gremlin …NOT!
Gods, why the f*** do guys the world over think online dating equals instant sex?!
The Cheap Date …
Giovanni was a Game of Thrones –loving, comic book geek horticulturist who loved historical movies, had an eclectic musical taste and adored dogs…so far, so good.
When he invited me, and I stress he invited me, to lunch because he wanted to get to know me better, I happily accepted and we arranged to meet at Cafeen, one of my favourite local Southern Suburbs haunts.
The date went really well for the first hour – we talked at length about travel, series, movies etc but hour two quickly descended into a cesspool of political hatred; how South Africa was going to s***; family drama; unnecessary long explanations of work etc – I barely got more than a “uh huh, really?” into the conversation.
After hogging the spotlight for that final hour, Giovanni called for the cheque and … we went Dutch.
Are you kidding me?! He invited me to lunch! Call me old fashioned, but when a guy invites a girl to lunch, surely he should be paying?
To add insult to injury, he freaked out because I overpaid the waitress’s tip. Oh hell to the f*** no, Dude! If you are going to make me pay for my meal, you have no f***king say in what I do or not share with the serving staff.
Watching him battle this silent and dangerous disease, the way it ravished his body at a rapid pace was almost too much to bear. Seeing the once powerful man he’d been reduced to a withering, childlike figure in constant pain broke my heart.
Emotions, as you can guess, were running rampant within the family, further annihilating existing estrangements and making things even more difficult so I was determined to remain strong, the voice of reason and not verbalize my own reactions.
But I did need to express my feelings so here are three things I wish I could have said to Pa on Father’s Day 2016:
You were more than my granddad… you were my Dad:
My father was murdered exactly a week after my eleventh birthday and for most of my life, I carried that sorrow as a HUGE chip on my shoulder.
I hid behind my identity as a fatherless child and used it as the excuse for all of the s*** I got up to in my tween years but it wasn’t true… I wasn’t fatherless.
My dad’s Dad stepped up and did all of the fatherly duties a second time around – he was the one who picked me up from school and my first internship; searched for me when I ran away once (long story); helped me move out of the parental home TWICE; taught me to be responsible for my actions; grounded me a lot; helped to pay for my tertiary education; collected me from the airport after my international trips; disapproved of the bad boys I seemed to love; helped to nurse me through various illnesses and helped me navigate the tricky parts of adulthood.
Anyone can be a father but it takes a man to be a dad and granddad!
You were imperfectly human and my superhero:
Pa wasn’t perfect – far from it. My childhood Sundays always ended with him being a drunken, crying mess because he’d helped himself to one too many drinks from his business.
He always seemed to say the wrong things at the wrong times and seemingly favoured my siblings over me. Most of my teens and early adulthood were spent crying over insensitive things he’d said about me, my life plans etc.
As I entered my 30s, I realised that actually, Pa was my superhero role model for adulthood. If he was doing the best he could and winging the rest of it well into his 70s, I wasn’t doing too badly either.
Thank you for loving me:
Pa had been raising kids for nigh on 30 something years by the time I came along and he thought he knew how to do it well … but then there was me.
I was a sensitive, strong-willed, prone to emotional outbursts creative who refused to conform to any of the customs set by the culture, religion and class my family adhered to.
For years I rebelled against these constraints and vocally so. It led to endless fights, countless time-outs and dramatic stand-offs because I felt that no one, least of all my grandfather, understood me.
It wasn’t until my mid to late twenties, when I learnt to accept myself as the emotional, weird writer and unconventional woman I was, that Pa let go of the apron strings too and our relationship improved dramatically.
We could joke about my drunken debauchery in the US and his fumbling courtship of your Great-Grandma; talk about work (even if he still didn’t know exactly what PR was); debate religious convictions (he was the only one in my entire family who accepted my deflection from the Islamic faith without having a nervous breakdown or keep pushing me to choose another religion) and be honest about our feelings ( my proudest moment was when he said I love you to me without me having to say it first).
When I finally learnt to love myself, I discovered that Pa had loved me as I was all along.
The thing that frightened me the most about Pa dying was being truly fatherless for the rest of my life – of not having someone who fiercely loved me, worried about me and looked out for me being there when I needed him the most …
He’d raised me to be a formidable, independent woman who could and would be the pillar of strength he and our family needed during a difficult time. I hope I’ve made him proud.
So, when I say that I was back on OkCupid as a last bloody resort, you should know this was a Hail Mary …
The usual frustrations re-emerged for me and left me wondering whether I should just throw in the towel, put out a “be my sperm donor” ad on Gumtree and be done with it.
The calibre of candidates was dismal … take LaidbackMF from Fort Lauderdale in the US, for example.
After the initial pleasantries but not long enough to figure out each other’s name even, Mr Man was keen to talk fetishes.
Dude, I know it’s online and generally people think that means the whole courtship is accelerated but slow down there a sec…
I politely explained that since he was way out of my location specs and there was zero chance of us meeting ( this did NOT apply to me re-meeting Alexander Skarsgard, though) , I didn’t really want to know his particular kink.
Him: “No, really, I promise you it’s not anything weird – it’s actually funny “
Me: silence because now I was starting to have serious doubts about this guy’s sanity.
I figured he’d get the message and f*** off silently into the online night but …
Him: “Are you ready for this? I like it when … girls fart on me. What do you think about that?”
Are you f***ing kidding me, Dude?! I think I don’t ever, EVER want to meet you or talk to you again.
Kids, by now you know that I am weird and I own that s*** like a superhero. Wonder Woman, to be exact.
So it should come as no surprise that when I heard the comic book store I virtually grew up in, Readers Den, would present a local version of the Nirvana of Geekdom, Comic Con to the Mother City as FanCon Cape Town; I decided to suit up and have a Wonder Woman costume designed.
You’ve seen the cool as ice photos of my and your Spirit Mom’s Game of Thrones cosplaying, but did you know my dress-up antics date back all the way to the 80s?
1985/ 1986 …
The story goes that your Grandpops was desperate for a son after two daughters from his previous marriage and because he was a huge, and I mean, HUGE Superman fan, he was determined to create a costume for his heir.
Luckily for him, your Nan was crazy about knitting and geek boys so whilst he drew the Kryptonian emblem, she crocheted a blue, red and yellow onesie, complete with a cape to accompany it.
Their last ultrasound revealed that I was, well, me … and the doctor turned to them to say:
“As it turns out, Superboy is actually Supergirl”
I “flew” into your super grandparents ‘lives two months earlier than expected and had to spend several weeks in an incubator so my lungs could grow.
Two months after they took me home and I had grown to a satisfying size and weight, your Nan and Grandpops suited me up for my first ever cosplaying session … meet the Girl of Steel:
Fast forward some 30 years later and Supergirl had evolved into Wonder Woman.
I had loved Gal Godot as the Amazon heroine in Batman vs Superman and was determined to rock her modern look because it was a sure bet no one else was going to (patterns for the new costume were hard to find on the internet).
Yeah, the skirt was short and the look required LOTS of skin to be shown but f*** it, you only live once, right?!
When I told your Nan about my plans, she was more excited than I was and promptly took me shopping (her favourite activity!) for material and accessories.
Luckily for me, because I loathe shopping like a cat hates bathing, we found all of the material we needed to bring Wonder Woman to life at Fabric City in the City Centre.
Keeping your grandmother in check as we searched for toy swords and shields was like trying to contain an over-stimulated child in a candy store so I let her run rampant😉
The material paired with the corset I’d commissioned from fellow cosplayer Candice-Lynne Barker, left me satisfied I had everything we needed to breathe life into my iconic character. I reached out to your Great Aunts Shamiela and Shanaaz and their back-up team at the Bernina sewing shop in Claremont for assistance in creating the costume.
Several fittings, late night sessions and tons of comparing it to the movie look, I could shimmy into my suit and blow fellow cosplayers away at Fan Con.
Your Aunts Sam and Mishka joined in on the dress up fun as Harley Quinn and Catwoman ( yes, yes, I know, how can two DC Comics villains hang out with a Justice League member, but we made it work!):
FanCon itself was such a mind-trip and it was so amazing to be able to roam about with other like-minded people, exchanging compliments on costumes, ideas on characters and thoughts on movie adaptations of our favourite comics and graphic novels.
Having your Nan, Great-Grams and your Great Aunt there to support me was also a ground-breaking moment in finally being accepted as the Wyrdo I was.
Sharing the stage for a cosplay competition with other contestants was thrilling but I still had time for one more costume change…
FINALLY! Khaleesi Fazielah could claim her Iron Throne😉
What, you may ask, has this got to do with meeting your father? Well. Kids, as my own parents proved, there is a handsome geek for every Wonder Woman and mine would do a superhero landing in my life pretty soon. You guys listening to my wacky adventures are proof of that!
I was so bad, I made what Daenerys did to Jorah look like mercy…
Zunaid was my be all and end all during that first blissful year of my teenage hood and needless to say, I only had puppy-love filled eyes for him but that did not stop other guys from crushing on me.
Imran and I had known each other since kindergarten and because he was a year younger than me, he was the kid brother I had never had.
A funny, sweet guy, Imran somehow didn’t seem to fit in with his own grade so he hung out with my click and quickly became one of us.
Initially, when he started making snide remarks about Zunaid, I put it down to him being super overprotective in a brotherly fashion.
It was only when Imran set fire to the school field one day while Zunaid and I were making out that I realised that my “little brother” and I needed to have a chat.
The heart-to-heart that followed is one that still haunts me…
When I explained to Imran that while I loved him, I didn’t love him the way he loved me, he turned those sad, honey brown eyes at me and said:
“I don’t want to be just your friend …”
Imran eventually went on to date Lameez, one of my friends, but it killed me to see that sadness in his eyes every day …sigh.
Thirteen years later, I was working at a tourism company and unexpectedly, my friend’s then-fiance Ted joined the team.
We’d hung out before, of course, in social settings and Ted and I were, if not completely chummy, at least well enough acquainted to have lunch together occasionally and chat up a storm on Skype.
Even when the company domestic made remarks about how I seemed to laugh too much and glow when Ted was around and he kept bringing me treats all the time, I still didn’t think there was anything more to our friendship that just that – being buddies, bros, amigos etc.
Then, a text message from my friend arrived out of the blue, to say that she really appreciated everything I did for her and Ted, telling me what a good friend I am to both of them and that she hears a lot about me from him.
Ok … weird, when I hadn’t heard from her in a while and extra suspicious because the tone of the text seemed to imply lines being drawn.
You guys know, though, that I am utterly clueless when it comes to guys hitting on me so if that is what Ted was doing during our work day, I wasn’t picking up on it and any way, he was my friend’s man – hoes before bros and all of that.
Fast forward a year later and both of them had disappeared out of my life like mist before the sun. It hurt me greatly but like all break-ups, I got over it and moved on until a few months later.
My friend reached out and invited me for lunch, where she explained she had dumped Ted and was getting married to someone else. No explanation as to why I had been iced out of their lives but seemingly willing to put whatever chilliness had arisen between us to rest.
By 2014, she was married with a kid and I was about to set off on my US trip when Ted reached out, to commiserate about the break-up and wanting to meet for “coffee” or dinner.
Again, my intentions were completely friendly and anyway, I was head over heels for Monroe at the time so yeah, a dinner with an old friend sounded like fun.
Said dinner turned into an awkward group hangout with your Uncle Tendai, which included a ghost tour hunt (sorry T!) and one where I realised that maybe, just maybe there was more to Ted’s reconnection request than meets the eye.
A month later, Ted contacted me on the day I discovered Monroe had friend-zoned me (the audacity!) and I was feeling emotionally vulnerable.
I figured we were still just friends so I told him about my heart-break and bless his poor kind heart, assured me that Monroe, the jerk, didn’t know what he was missing out on.
A lot was still left unsaid and it’s something I’ll always regret …I’m sorry, Ted, I’m really sorry!
As the search for your father continued, I vowed to friend zone guys as little as possible – after all, aren’t the best relationships born out of friendships? ;)
Kids, in the autumn of 2016, I had pulled on my big Wonder Woman panties and decided it was time to get back into the dating game – specifically, the scary, murky world of online dating.
How I wish I hadn’t!
Here are three reasons online dating depressed the hell out me:
Forget bimbos, guys are airheads too:
Look, I was well aware that apps like Tinder and OkCupid were not designed for long, soulful and intellectual talks but dear mother of dragons, some of the men, nay, perpetual boys, whom I was chatting to barely seemed to have a pea, let alone a brain ,between their ears.
Asking simple questions like what their favourite movies or interests were, was consistently met with “I don’t know” or “cars and money” … hell, at 30 and over, one would hope they’d experienced enough of life to develop wider preferences.
Being stood up was par for the damn course:
If I was keen to meet up with a potential mate, I had more of a chance of Orlando Bloom showing up that getting these online jerks to put in a guest appearance.
Oh, sure, they would be all eager in the beginning, super psyched to set up a date, time and place but when the actual day arrived, they vanished faster than a Dementor. Did I get apologies from these slime balls? Of course not!
Good manners, like dating, didn’t exist in the 21st century ..
I quickly learnt to agree to meet at restaurants I liked so at least I’d still enjoy myself …assholes.
Getting back on the online dating horse was more f***ing difficult after each failure:
No, I did not want to hear that there were plenty more fish in the internet sea … for the love of Westeros, being stood up or talking to yet another airhead felt like an assault on my heart and senses and I was tired – so tired, Kids.
The bad dating, the ever-ticking biological clock and having my social media timelines flooded with engagement, wedding and pregnancy announcements were driving me insane in 2016.
Kids ,in 2016 as I waded through various online platforms like , gasp, Tinder, for potential life partners and your father, I was adamant not to repeat the disastrous mistakes of my irresponsible youth – like falling for the user loser.
Grab a snack and let me tell you about that time I fell for the Biggest Loser…
April 2008 …
One of my very first PR campaigns for the TV station I worked for back then was marketing the local version of hit weight loss series, The Biggest Loser. As excited as I was to line up media interviews, write press releases and arrange the launch, I was not prepared for falling for one of the contestants.
Having battled some weight issues myself over the years, I had a healthy admiration for all that these men and women were going through, especially for the blonde Jacques.
As our initial emails became ever more friendly and flirtatious, I became really excited about meeting him in person at the launch of the show in Johannesburg, certain that his sweet online persona would carry through to his personal one. Yeah, right …
The day and night of the launch was like a dream – my first airplane experience, staying in a hotel room all by myself AND working on a hot new show was a huge milestone for 22-year-old me.
A milestone made all the more memorable by the fact that Jacques and his family seemed to adore me – his mom called me her soon-to-be daughter-in-law and he was all touchy feely – it was like my birthday had come early… swoon!
That night, with the help of your fabulous Uncle Clayton, we met up with Jacques and the rest of the contestants at a nightclub and things were going well – a lot of sweet nothings were whispered into my ear; intimate touches, numbers exchanged, plans for future visits made etc and I left for Cape Town feeling like I was on cloud nine.
Six months later …
After months of feverish emailing and text messages and calls back and forth to say how much he missed me and enjoyed my company, Jacques went radio silent.
Slightly worried but still hopeful, I put it down to him working long hours at a car dealership. Besides, I was so hooked on his daily morning and good night messages and seeing him onscreen, I could survive a few weeks without hearing from him, right?
Uhm, yeah, no news is never good news as I was soon to discover.
One not-so-bright morning I received a call from Jacques, sounding happy to hear my voice and eager to catch up. I was delighted and gushed profusely until he dropped the mother of all bombshells:
“So, the reason I am calling … could you assist with getting media interested in my upcoming wedding?”
Wait… what??!!!! Are you f***ing kidding me?!!!!
Months of flirting, hour long calls and naughty texts and he was engaged the whole f***ing time?!!!!
I was mad, Diary of Mad Black Woman mad and then it hit me: I had wrongly assumed that all formerly overweight people are inherently good, kind and loving people and I had fallen for the guy Jacques used to be, not the vain, slim man he became.
I’m proud of myself for not bursting into tears during that horrible phone call. Instead, I gathered the shards of my dignity and congratulated him on his upcoming nuptials before saying that I highly doubted any media would be interested in a reality TV show contestant’s wedding when said person was not the winner of the show.
I never heard from that user loser ever again … thank the gods!
Kids, you know that the one key thing I have wanted and always will want for you is for you to be yourselves completely … as your Spirit Mother Leonie and I have done with our numerous Game of Thrones, Comic Con and Rocky Horror Show dress up evenings.
Rally around, my progeny, and let me tell you about those times Winter came to Cape Town:
A year previously Leonie and your Uncle T had introduced me to Game of Thrones, a series that not only truly spoke to my inner historical romance-loving book worm but also totally touched me on my geekiness.
I had spent a month binge-watching the first four seasons and the characters, especially Daenerys, Mother of Dragons, felt like family – I cared deeply about what happened to them.
So, when the opportunity arose to win tickets to the season 5 simulcast at the Nu Metro at the Canal Walk Shopping Centre, I did not hesitate to enter. I win almost everything I enter and so, of course, I won a double ticket for your Spirit Mom and me.
Rocking the Arya Stark and Khaleesi looks, we were instafamous on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – people couldn’t get enough of the gorgeously crafted dragon eggs Leo had so lovingly designed; our costumes and our interaction with other cosplayers.
You’d think our popularity would have reached its peak at the time but then …
April 2016 …
Fast forward to a year later and we were once again attending the simulcast – this time at the Ster Kinekor at Cavendish Square with the lovely Lady Fuzlin in tow.
Now, getting suitably dressed, applying make-up AND having a great attitude at 3am in the morning takes quite an amount of dedication – something Leo had in spades.
Not only did she rock the undead out of a heart-stoppingly awesome White Walker costume
She also walked away with the coveted Best Dressed Award and won a DStv Explora decoder (because, you know, even White Walkers need to watch TV sometimes ;)!
As a Cold One and Melisandre, the Red Woman, Leo and I had people asking to take photos with us all morning, reporters asking for quotes and generally feeling like important stars.
As Fuzlin remarked: “Geez, it’s hanging out with celebrities!”
Yeah, it was! Everyone from KFM to Netwerk 24 featured us and the attention was intoxicating – not enough to distract us from the fate of poor Jon Snow AND that major Melisandre shocker but enough to make us SUPER proud of being alternative and getting our House of Wyrd name out into the world.
The ultimate dream, of course, would have been to showcase our quirky selves on the international set of the show but back in 2016, it was just a mere pleasure to bring the Games of Thrones to life in gorgeous Cape Town!
P.S: Remind Uncle T to tell you the story about the time we raised our banners at the 2017 simulcast – it was all kinds of epic!
Kids, I’ve told you that I am utterly clueless when it comes to men hitting on me but I have no trouble identifying lecherous old men – the ones that are so obvious with their slimy intentions, it makes me want to simultaneously hurl and curl up into a dark corner with my comfort blanket.
This is the tale of two such horrible men who would put even Robert de Niro’s Dirty Grandpa character to shame…
December 2012 …
For my sins, I was being trained to do the Gangam style dance for a Facebook campaign activation, along with my colleagues, in the Visitor Information Centre of our tourism company one summer afternoon.
Post run-through of my decidedly uncoordinated moves, I was enjoying a little bit of free style dancing when a kindly older looking gentleman asked for a dance and I, being of the friendly travel trade industry, happily agreed.
We did a comical mash-up of a jazz and tango before finishing with a flourish and if I thought his hands had slipped to places they shouldn’t have, I quickly squashed those thoughts as being a harmless old man’s folly and thanked him for the dance.
Your lovely Aunt Smurfette informed me later that day that said kindly looking older gentleman was …wait for it … the owner of the brothel across the road! Oh holy mother of dragons … so when he was touching me, he was actually checking out potential future merchandise!!!!
I swear I had at least ten scalding showers in quick succession that afternoon.
April 2016 …
A beautiful Autumn evening had been spent drinking and socializing on a gorgeous Stellenbosch wine estate and I was making the rounds of the food stalls when I ran into a distinguished silver fox.
Unfortunately, this happenstance occurred whilst I was biting into a sausage roll of sorts. I blushed and Mr Man winked at me with a casual ” I already saw that”, flung at me as I scampered off.
At the end of the evening as I was saying my farewells to friends and acquaintances, I ran into him again.
Whilst refusing to let go on my hand and staring into my eyes, Mr Man said: “Why haven’t I been formally introduced to you before? I like watching you put things into your mouth”
F*** a f***king zombie!
Kids, I hightailed it the f*** out of there like the bats of Hell were chasing me and did not look back.
Thanks the gods, old and new, your father was not one of them😉
“When are you having a baby? Don’t you want children?”
Kids, in the autumn of 2016, I was sick to death of hearing this statement flung at me by smug married women and seemingly exemplary goddesses of fertility and I was hard pressed not to respond with a biting sarcastic reply like:
“No, of course not. I mean that’s totally not why I have been dating everything that moves, subjecting myself to torturous blind, online and speed dates and wondering why in all the known universes it’s so bloody difficulty to meet, marry and shag someone in order to produce miniature versions of ourselves. Thanks for asking, though!”
After yet another of these annoying rounds of questions into my potential babe-producing plans, I flash backed to that time I met with a psychic for a look into my future…
August 2010 …
Six years previously, I had been newly unemployed, living off my TV publicist pension and looking forward to my upcoming Italy Contiki trip.
But, I still felt that all-too familiar ache that something was missing – you.
So, when a friend suggested I meet with her family’s psychic, I was honestly desperate enough to do so.
Don’t get me wrong: I have a huge respect for sensitive people with extraordinary senses – I ‘ve had enough brushes with it, working on a TV dating show with a clairvoyant and via my own dreams which often come true and ones in which dying relatives have come to say farewell to me, to know that mediums possess amazing gifts.
On this particular winter afternoon, I was extremely nervous and ok, somewhat sceptical – I really wanted whatever this man was about to tell me to be true but I also didn’t want to put all my faith into it, lest I be disappointed.
After doing a quick analysis of my personality and getting a reading on my desires, telling me I should pray for the things I wanted, he gave me the following prediction:
“You will meet your future husband and father of your six children when you are 30. He will be a God-fearing man, perhaps a pastor, and you will raise your children in a loving home.”
Right … anyone who has ever met me will know that religion in any form and I have a bit of a chequered history. I believe in a higher power, just not necessarily a particular dogma and even in the midst of my joblessness singledom, I knew that the chances of me falling for a man of the cloth was unlikely unless he was one of the Winchester brothers in costume …
By 2016, I was once again wondering how much truth lay in the old man’s prophecy. It was true that someone from my past with a deep religious affinity had reappeared in my life just after my 30th birthday but he was married and I had already sworn off unavailable men for good.
Was your father just one crystal ball gaze away? The future, as you can tell, was anyone’s guess …
Kids, before your father managed to convince me that yes, really he was into me and wanted to be my forever weird partner in life, I was utterly clueless about men hitting on me.
I, of course flirted up a storm with anything that moved but when it came to recognising that someone else was doing it to me … well, let’s just say, these were not my finest moments.
Grab a seat and let me tell you about the three times I didn’t know I was being hit on…
New Year’s Day 2005 …
It had been one of those unbelievable nights my high school self could only have dreamt of – partying in Long Street with the love of my teenage life, the hot jock jerk Tashriq.
Sure, he had spent most of the night in the clutches of my frenemy Fatima (unwillingly so, I may add) and I had spent most of the evening playing it cool by dancing with strangers and our former classmate Imtiyaaz (not my childhood wanna-be husband), when really all I wanted to do was scream about how happy I was that we were hanging out together.
Midnight had come and gone and I had been blessed with a hug and a kiss from the dastardly good-looking crush of years gone by. I was floating on a cloud but of course, I had to pretend it meant nothing.
Fast forward to the boys dropping us off at home, and as we said our goodbyes in your Nan’s driveway, Imtiyaaz saved his number onto my phone. He handed the phone back to me with a coy “Call me”.
In what can only be described as me having a total blonde moment, I replied: “Why?”
Cue the awkward silence as everyone realised what exactly was transpiring, expect for me…
A confused look passed over Imtiyaaz’s face before he rallied and said: “Oh, you know, for whatever…”
I still didn’t get it, and ended the weird exchange with: “Uh, sure”
I know, I know, oh my gods, how could I be so dense but I was in a lust-filled fog, ok? That’s my story and I am sticking to it!
August 2009 …
My cousin and her then-boyfriend were big into the church scene and we were having a karaoke/dance fundraiser on this particular Friday evening.
I had already done my Good Samaritan act of the night by helping a fabulous teen come out of the closet by shaking what our mamas gave us on the dancefloor to Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive and was happy to spend the rest of the evening joking around with Jay, my cousin-in-law’s best friend.
We’d been friends for years and had a brother/sister relationship going so whenever he hugged or touched me, I thought nothing of it. His inquiries into my relationship status, too, was par for the course for us and I was really just having fun with him.
Later that evening, as we parted ways, Jay hugged me extra tight and lingered as he said: “I tried, I did but who knows? If only this night had gone as I wanted it to…” One last wistful look and he was gone, leaving me to wonder how the heck I hadn’t noticed the vibe was more flirty that familial all night!
August 2014 …
As you guys know, I was living life to the fullest in the States – dancing on bar tops in Las Vegas, day drinking in a San Francisco park and kissing strangers in New York.
What you don’t know is that Mr Tall, Dark and Handsome wasn’t the first guy to put the moves on me that night in the Big Apple.
Our tour manager Rammel had been all kinds of awesome all through the tour and I had stuck with him to get the insider’s guide to all of the local spots, enjoying his insane sense of humour. Likewise, he was always thanking me for getting some of the others to join us on these escapades which was cool.
On our first night in New York, the group was having dinner at a pub on Times Square. I was joking around with Cheree and Tash, my friends when I had the sensation someone was watching me. There was Rammel, staring at us and looking hesitant before making his way over to us.
Completely unnecessarily, he ran his hand slowly down the middle of my back as he told us we’d be leaving for the bar soon, and let it rest on my hip for a second too long. “Okaaayyyyy”, I thought, “ that was weird!” Not unpleasant, mind you, just odd.
As we arrived at the bar, it struck me that something might be going on here, but I chalked it up to my over-active imagination and got stuck into the first of that night’s several Cosmopolitans.
A few minutes later, Rammel comes over to where we’re sitting at the bar to char to the bartender, and, the same as Drew would do later, leans into me whilst doing so.
“Hey ladies, how ya doing?”, he says. We giggle, already slightly tipsy (I’ve told you. States portions are three times the size of SA ones!) before continuing our conversation. Rammel told us to let him know if we needed anything and then vanished.
Was it callous? Probably but like I said, I had no freaking clue back then when men were hitting on me.
Four Cosmos in and only after Drew laid one on me with the same moves, I realised what Rammel had been doing and went looking for him. He’d left by then, of course, and no matter how much I tried to recapture his attention for the rest of the tour, the moment had passed. F*** a f***ing zombie!
Thank the gods, old and new, your Dad got through to me or you wouldn’t be here😉
Too many disastrous online and speed dating episodes had left a bitter taste in my mouth about the whole process and I decided to rock the art of going solo for a while.
By March, I had been on my singleton kick for just over a month and I picked up a few well-deserved lessons along the way:
People will gossip: and sometimes those people are your own family. Mine came up with the ingenious thought that if I wasn’t bringing a man home, I must be a lesbian. Cue awkward “so, where’s your partner or is it your friend?” questions. There is nothing wrong with loving girls, as you well know, but clearly my relatives had not been exposed enough to my Alexander Skarsgard obsession, my stalker war stories or met He Who Shall Not Be Named. Their gossip hurt for a while, especially when all I had been doing was killing myself trying to meet the right guy for so long but then I figured F*** it! People who talk are fans and have nothing better to do with their time.
Meeting new people was more fun: without the added pressure of always wondering whether the hot barista or fellow runner was a potential mate, I could relax and just talk to guys. This time, I wasn’t even worried that I’d end up as always the best friend and not the girlfriend. I could and did just truly enjoy having normal conversations with relatively normal guys.
I was spending more time being me and that was always a good thing!
I developed a super power for spotting time and emotion wasters: He Who Shall Not Be Named decided to poke the bear during this period by asking for special favours and trying to be the centre of my attention at events.
He did not succeed, much to his utter disappointment. Ditto for the ex-boyfriend of a friend who was always trying to be something more to me but only when it suited him. Ain’t nobody got time for that …NEXT!
Being alone did not mean being lonely: and I was perfectly ok with it. It tired me watching family and friends agonize over relationship issues and the fear of being alone. I did not want to be that scared to be alone when I was in a relationship someday so taking some time to figure out who I was and what I wanted was just fine by me.
I owed it to both you and your dad to have my shit together by the time I met him … and man, am I glad I did!
Kids, I have wanted you for as long as I can remember. As young as 12, whilst other girls were dreaming about wedding dresses and signing their crushes’ surnames as their own on notebooks, I was imagining what you would look like…
Sure, your names changed drastically over the years – rising and waning with my religious convictions and the boy I was interested in at the time. You guys went from being called Dilshaad and Bienjamien to Piper and Finn but the one thing that never, ever changed was the fact that I wanted you …so much.
Add to that the fact that every day brought more spotting of grey hairs which would inevitably lead to me having a meltdown that my eggs were going the same way (yes, I know that that is not how it works biologically and I was being a tad over-dramatic as usual) and you can guess how frantic I was about my fading baby dreams.
Nosy family members, friends and strangers’inquiries into the barren state of my womb were not helping and more often that not, I felt like throat punching them Wonder Woman-style.
As I watched college and university friends settle into so-called domestic bliss and having baby number 3 already, it felt like everyone and their mothers were passing me by in the little person making business.
The ache to have you, hold you, raise you and love you ripped through my entire being like a thirst that couldn’t be quenched until …
March 2016 …
After a really, really, ridiculously awesome night out at the movies with your Spirit Mom, Aunts Sammy and Mishy and Uncle Freddy watching Zoolander 2, the highly anticipated sequel to our favourite movie of all time; I lost my wallet in the back of an Uber.
Of course, I didn’t realise this until the next morning when I needed said wallet to pay for my Wonder Woman corset (I love cosplay, you guys know this!) and I freaked out BIG time!
Hyperventilating as I tried to convince the Uber driver that he needed to get his butt back to Vredehoek pronto and bring my wallet to me, it struck me that I had been utterly, unforgivably negligent.
If I couldn’t be trusted to take care of myself and my belongings, how the f*** did I think I was going to take care of a baby?!
I was still way, WAY too irresponsible to be someone’s – your- mother and I had a crap load of growing up to do before I brought you into the world.
My first instinct at age 30 whenever something bad happened to me (but after I did the adult things of calling the police/getting to an emergency room/hailing a cab etc.) was still to call your Nan like I was 3-years-old and she could solve everything. I was nowhere near ready to be a parent if I still needed mothering like that.
And that Kids, put a pin in my insatiable broodiness and silenced the bio clock for a good while. I wanted you and I sure as hell was going to have you BUT I needed to raise myself into a responsible grown-up worthy of being your mom.
The road to having you was bumpy as all hell but looking at you now …man, it was worth it! I love you, my beautiful babies xx
Kids, living in Vredehoek in my 20s and early 30s lent itself to all kinds of interesting encounters, not least those of the nude kind.
While my penchant for wandering about in my birthday suit in my apartment were well documented on Facebook, it’s the buff appearances of my neighbours that raised more than a few eyebrows.
Settle in and let me tell you about the Naked Guy …
A few months into my first co-habiting attempt with a work mate, a fire of biblical proportions tore through Devil’s Peak and the slopes of Table Mountain.
From around midnight, I watched the ever-growing flames from our apartment window with growing alarm before deciding to pack a bag (and grabbing only what was absolutely essential – which at the time was my Charmed DVD collection, but more about my skewed priorities later!); wake my flatmate and hightail it the hell out of Vredehoek.
Once in the stairwell of our complex, though, a sense of neighbourly duty overwhelmed us and we went about knocking on the doors. BIG mistake!
Brian was our nearly 60-year-old quirky fellow resident who had a bit of an Eeyore vibe going on. We usually kept interactions with him to a minimum because you could never be too sure whether he’d invite you into his apartment and that you would never see the light of day afterwards ever again.
At 1am in the morning, those kinds of concerns went out of the window and we had to knock a few times before Brian answered the door …
As in nothing, nada, not a stitch …oh dear gods, my eyes, MY EYES!
Picture a recently de- feathered chicken with a puff of white hair, illuminated in moonlight and you get the idea…
Sure, it was the middle of the night and we’d woken him, but couldn’t he at least have slipped on a dressing gown or something?!
We mumbled out a fire warning as quick as we could while averting our bleeding eyes to everywhere but at Brian and ran out of there like, well, a fire was chasing our butts.
For years afterwards, I avoided Brian every chance I got because he wouldn’t stop mentioning the naked incident!
I’d recently started training for the Old Mutual Two Oceans Fun Run and one of my favourite running routes was along Chelmsford Road towards Devil’s Peak.
With Kings of Leon’s Sex on Fire blaring in my ears, I was just about hitting my runners ‘high when time stopped, the sun shone down on me and there, in the middle of the tiny field at the end of my road, was a tall, dark and handsome stranger posing in the nude…
For a heartbeat of a second, I thanked all of the gods, old and new for finally, FINALLY answering my prayers and delivering an Adonis-looking baby daddy to me.
Only to hear the click of a camera and discover that actually, I’d stumbled upon a student modelling shoot and this day was not my lucky day …bloody hell!
I picked up my jaw and crushed heart from the ground and headed back out onto the road. The time for enjoying a naked guy would come soon enough …and boy, does your dad look well in the nude (oh, quit making those gagging noises, guys!)😉
Kids, on the eve of your Great-Grandmother’s third death anniversary in March 2016, I missed her terribly … it still had not sunk in that the fierce, dynamic and strong Fatiema Williams-Shellar who had raised me wasn’t around and a part of my life anymore.
Being an adult sucked on and off for the better part of my late twenties and early 30s and not being able to call her so she could distract me with family gossip or the latest soapie updates when I was having a particularly bad day really cut me deep.
She was vibrant with a quick mind and even sharper tongue but man, was she a soft cookie under all of that and I missed her more than ever.
These are five of the many, many amazing things Mama taught me:
Sometimes swearing is the only way to express yourself: Yip, every foul word you have ever heard coming from my mouth was this champion curser’s creation😉 Whether she was yelling at Pa or threatening to whip my butt for not putting my school uniform in the laundry, she knew how to drop an F bomb! When I started freely swearing in her presence in my 20s, she’d be all like “Zielah, do you kiss me with that dirty mouth?!” and I’d cheekily respond “Of course, Tiema, I learnt from the best … you!”
When Life hands you lemons, eat a chocolate (or a sweet): My feisty grandma endured her fair share of problems: a dead son, man woes, divorce, unexpected pregnancies, breast cancer scares etc but there was always a stash of chocolate and sweet treats to take the edge off a little … or at least stop her from beating people (usually Pa) with a broom.
Having eye candy is a must: Just because she was married with children, grandchildren AND great-grandchildren didn’t mean Mama had lost her keen eye for a good looking man. Whether it was swooning over Jean Claude van Damme in e.tv’s Friday night movies or admiring how well David Duchovny filled out his X-Files suit, she knew a stud when she saw one and wasn’t shy to say “Hy is nogal sexy, ner?” (He is rather sexy, hey)
Dress up no matter the occasion: A trip to the shopping mall, a family wedding or an outing to the Fugard Theatre required a touch of lipstick, a sprinkling of talc powder and her best scarf because you never knew who you would run into. Man, I wished I’d retained this bit of wisdom when I ran into Orlando Bloom!
If the music sounds good, dance: Mama knew how to get down on the dance floor (or her living room, but whatever!). From Frank Sinatra to UB40 , Cher and everything in between, Tiema could give us youngsters a run for our money and she didn’t care if we laughed at her or not. In fact, at my 21st birthday party, she danced until 3am when all of the guests had left already😉
I wish you could have known her, Kids. I know how much she would have loved you and enjoyed telling you crazy stories of my and my father’s naughty childhood escapades.
Kids, every now and then during the search for your father, I would hit a really bad dating patch. Ones where the guys I was meeting online and then in person just weren’t doing it for me.
This unsatisfactory experience would lead me into a spiral of panic attacks that I wouldn’t have you so I would become desperate and date even worse suitors and so the cycle continued.
In early 2016, after Mr Overeager‘s particular brand of Valentines ‘Day nastiness and the budding romance with Merlin 39 dwindled to non-existent, I just about had it with guys and romance.
Yes, I was six dates shy of the 28 but I figured that that gave me some time to play with and that I could take a breather, a pause if you will, to just be single and be me.
Just being single, though, as it turned out wasn’t all that bad … I got to do amazing things, like training for the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon fun run; having awesome movie dates with your Spirit Mom and aunt Sam; attending concerts and so much more.
Learning the art of being solo was an important lesson and one I would keep repeating for years to come because dating wasn’t the be all and end all of my life.
As your Nan often said to me when I was growing up: “When something frustrates you, take a break from it and do something else. When you return to it, you’ll be refreshed and ready to do it all over again.”
As it turns out, she was right – taking a break led to meeting your father, and ultimately, having you😉
Kids, I’ve educated you about the scary attributes of a Mr Overeager type before and truly, I thought that by 2016, I had put this type of man behind me…Alas, I had no such luck and not only did I run into his sort again, but I did so in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day!
10 February, 2016 …
Besides Merlin 39, I’d been going through a bit of a dating drought and so while there was an opportunity to attend another speed dating event, I wasn’t particularly into it either. Instead, I was focused on hanging out with your Spirit Mother at a Deadpool screening and feasting on chocolate until my heart and tummy burst.
Unexpectedly, I received a message from Dave, who was a part of the speed dating group. He was 42, looking for someone special and convinced that he’d previously met me at a speed dating event before.
Since I was sure we had in fact “dated”, I readily accepted his coffee date request and counted myself lucky that I had gone from having no Valentine’s Day plans to suddenly having plenty of them.
I gave Dave my number and we started texting back and forth to set a time and place (the Saturday at Red Sofa Café in Vredehoek).
At first, everything was going well – I smirked at his attempts to be flirtatious and had to reassure him several times that the age difference didn’t matter to me because it was just a f***ing coffee date. Soon, though, I wasn’t responding as readily because I was in back to back meetings and apparently Dave didn’t like being ignored.
Maybe I was more naïve than Ana in Fifty Shades but I thought a coffee date meant meeting someone in a coffee shop to have, well, coffee … So, when he offhandedly suggested hooking up after work Wednesday, I quickly shut him down with a “sorry, I have plans for tonight but looking forward to meeting you for a chat and coffee on Saturday!” text.
He got huffy and responded with “Wow…ok, sorry for taking up your time.” I ignored him because a) that wasn’t what I meant and b) I was busy for the f***ing love of the gods!
11 February, 2016 …
Kids, my job back then was talking to hundreds of thousands of people via my company’s social media channels which left me utterly depleted of any conversational skills so I wasn’t much of a texter in my personal life. I was very selective about whom I communicated with.
Which is apparently bad news for budding non-relationships … by the Thursday morning, I was getting slightly neurotic texts from Dave, going “Are we still on??? I didn’t hear from you.”
Dear sweet Mother of Dragons, trust me to find the one man in the entire goddamn Universe who wants to over communicate!
After reassuring him once again that yes, we were still meeting, no, I didn’t think he was too old (again!) and yes, I was looking for a relationship as much as he was, we left the conversation hanging.
In my mind, though, everything was settled – we were meeting on Saturday and we both knew what we wanted out of this so what more did we need to talk about until we saw each other, right?
12 February, 2016 …
F*** a f***ing zombie! Apparently a lot could go wrong because I woke up to the following text from Dave:
“”It’s clear you aren’t interested or that we’re very different. You’ve shown absolutely no interest. No desire to ask anything. You’re young. It’s clear our situations and experiences are very different.”
Now look, it takes a lot for me to get pissed off but this was just totally f***ing uncalled for! And he had sent the text before 8am and my first cup of coffee, for Pete’s sake!
So, taking a few calming breaths, I channelled my inner Khaleesi and let him feel the hot but calm fire of my temper by responding with:
“Good Morning Dave. I hope you are well. I am not much of a texter because I prefer getting to know someone in person. I am extremely busy, hence the silence. As much as you are accusing me of not asking you questions, you haven’t asked me anything either.
You keep mentioning the age thing, and to be quite honest, that’s your hang-up, not mine. If this is the way you treat all potential dates, I can understand why you’re not attached yet.
I am not looking for a neurotic partner who seems to crave attention every second so I think it’s best we part ways. Good luck with the dating!”
The asshole had the audacity to respond with:
“”At least I didn’t waste my time with someone who’s incredibly bitchy.”
Kids, I am not the girl who cries on Valentine’s Day weekend, bemoaning her single status and the fact that no one loves her but f*** it, this one got to me!
Luckily your Spirit Mom came to my rescue with a super awesome Galentine’s Day, cooling off at the Long Street Turkish Baths and marvelling at Ryan Reynolds’s uber hot butt cheeks in spandex as Deadpool.
Yeah, I didn’t have a heartthrob in my life but that didn’t mean I had to put up with the jackasses of this world either. Instead, I was blessed to have super weird and awesome friends and family who loved me anyway… and that is all that really matters.
Kids, you know I’m not a Valentine’s Day Grinch – the fact that you get heart-shaped pancakes, your Aunt Sam’s legendary chocolate cake AND tons of hugs and kisses every hour on the hour on February 14 every year is proof of that.
The fondness for the Day of Love was something I maintained throughout my twenties and usually being single on this date didn’t bother me but … occasionally, I needed to attend a speed dating event or a party of some sort to reassure myself and your grandmother that I wasn’t going to end up as a crazy dog lady ( what? I am allergic to cats!).
14 February 2012 …
A group of friends , which included Bryce ( yes, he of the Indecent Proposal fame) and I got dressed up to the nines to attend local radio station 5fm ‘s Love Sucks speed dating party at an underground club in the City Centre.
While the girls and Bryce were there to partake in the lock and key speed dating set-up, I was just along for the kickass DJs, free chocolate and good drinks – come on, a girl has to have her priorities straight, you know!
Wandering about, checking out the potentials and laughing at the pick-up-lines I was overhearing, I sauntered into the kissing booth section where I had spotted the rather yummy booth holder earlier.
At R10 a smooch, I was determined to have him lay one on me and be able to say that I had least had one kiss on Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately for me, he seemed to be out on a break to give those kissable lips a rest.
Slightly disappointed, I was about to leave and go shake my booty on the dancefloor when a pair of strong arms grabbed me around my waist from behind …
Now, usually I have a “”what the f*** do you think you’re doing?” reaction to this in normal nightclubbing situations but this was a singles ‘only Valentine’s Day party and I didn’t know which hottie might have found me so irresistible they simply had to touch me. This, being my life and all, of course meant Murphy’s Law kicked in and my mysterious Lothario was …
In what was a split second swing around, he had me facing him and kissing him so quickly, I couldn’t get a handle on my bearings!
Initially too stunned to know what was happening, I quickly pushed him away and was on the verge of smacking his presumptuous ass, when he burst out laughing and I realised he was quite drunk.
“Really, Bryce? Me turning you down at the staff party wasn’t bad enough, you now have to steal kisses from me too?” I asked him peevishly.
“What? You were going to be pay that Zac Efron wanna-be to kiss you … I am way more ridiculously good-looking, you should count yourself lucky!”, he answered with a wink.
Remembering how Bryce had actually used me at that long-ago staff party to hide the fact that he’d spent the night with our male co-worker and now seemed to be repeating this behaviour by drunkenly kissing me in front of witnesses seriously pissed me off!
By this time, the kissing booth operator had finally re-appeared so I shoved Bryce’s drunkard ass onto a nearby couch.
I marched over to the booth, handed over my R10 like a boss and kissed that fine specimen of man like the world was ending before heading out to join the hundreds of single, gyrating party goers for a dance fest of note.
The bright side? I got two Valentine’s Day kisses😉
Kids, you’ve heard the expression “always the bridesmaid, never the bride”, right? Well, when I was young and single with plenty of guy friends, I was always the best friend, never the girlfriend.
It started pretty early in life for me, this being “”one of the bros” thing. When I was 2 and a half, I met Imtiaaz, the son of my parents ‘friends and according to our dads, anyway, my future husband.
I want to spin you the story of how that young puppy love turned into something as epic as your grandparents ‘love story BUT, in what would be the story of my life for years to come, there was a slight glitch right from the beginning…
16 November1988 …
According to your Nan, Imtiaaz and I were inseparable because everything that he did, I did too. Through no fault of my own, I had developed into quite the tomboy – a combination of my father’s desire to have a son after two daughters and therefore showering me with toy cars, guns and Lego and my mother’s insatiable love for all clothing in navy blue.
So naturally, on my third birthday, the two of us were chasing cars around the living room, playing up a storm and having fun until my mom called me to get ready for my party.
As I emerged back into the living room in my twirling red and white dress and everyone was making a fuss, Imtiaaz broke out into a full blown tantrum that could have been heard all the way out in deep space.
When asked why he was so upset, my toddler crush silenced the room with this heart-stopping one liner: “Because she’s a girl!”
And thus began my career as wing woman, best friend and sister to the men in my life.
By my sophomore high school year, nothing much had changed. Though I was a hell of lot more girly, the hot boys still treated me like one of the guys.
Admittedly I didn’t help things much because this was around the time I became a hard-core feminist, dismissing marriage as nothing more than a more lenient form of prison ( don’t judge me, I was 16 and angry – remind me to tell you about the Goth phase that preceded this girl power one sometime).
Like all of the other girls in my grade, I had a crush on the hot jock jerk and of course he didn’t know I existed – the tragedy of teenage life!
At the start of our sophomore year, the hottest boy alive, according to my fellow classmates, transferred to our school and specifically my class. I remember distinctly the collective audible gasp that occurred as he stormed into our homeroom and made every girl go weak at the knees – except for me.
Look, I didn’t deny that Fawwaaz was easy on the eye but did he make me see the stars and the moon with his handsome face? In a word – no.
He wasn’t Leonardo Di Caprio handsome and I was far too in love with the rude jock to notice anyone else. Besides, Fawwaaz was so arrogant about girls falling over their feet for him, and it was a complete turn-off.
My indifference to his apparently obvious charms at first grated on his nerves and he would purposefully seek me out or drag me into his over-the-top stories about how cool he was just to get a reaction out of me.
A year later, and we had settled into a big brother, little sister friendship, teasing each other mercilessly and, in moments when he really doubted that people saw his amazing heart beneath the uber hotness and I was convinced I was going to die old and alone, being each other’s confidants.
Fawwaaz never did manage to get my heart to beat wildly for him but for the love of the gods, I’d still have liked to be considered as something more than just his bro in a skirt!
Fast forward 11 years later and you’d think I’d have outgrown the best friend phase…yeah, right!
Monroe was a ridiculously good looking, uber talented writer whose mere prose was enough to reduce me to a quivering mess.
Quirky, with an off-centre sense of humour and the exuberance of a puppy who is always happy to see you, I fell for him quickly and I fell hard.
Skype chatting, emails and hanging out at social events ensured we developed a repartee that was playful, funny, filled with inside jokes and a general onslaught of his incredible sexiness on all of my senses.
Shortly before my US Contiki trip, we’d reached an impasse of flirting and when a would-have been just us “hangout” fell through, I was ready to give up because gods be damned, a girl can only try so hard until …
I got a very sweet text from him just before my flight to say he was wishing me a rocking trip and that he couldn’t wait for me to tell him all about it when I got back.
Yeah, ok, so I kissed that tall, dark stranger in New York in the two weeks I was gone, but I was really eager to get back to Cape Town and kick-start things with Monroe.
Only … I got back and he ignored me in group chats and via email for two weeks. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what the f*** I’d done wrong. Why had he been all up for things before and now totally ignoring me like a stop street?
Kids, I was miserable for those 14 days and no amount of chocolate or True Blood episodes helped (ok, wait, seeing Alexander Skarsgard naked is always UBER helpful but you know what I mean!).
Finally, because a) I can’t stand being ignored and b) I am a sucker for punishment, I Skyped him asking how he’d been and what he’d been up to for the past few weeks. Our usual joking ensued and when I sympathised with him about a black eye he’d sustained during a workout session, he delivered the heart-punching, soul-crushing news: the girl he was seeing felt sorry for him too.
Ah, sweet Mother of Dragons! So that’s what was up – I’d been moved to the friend zone without realising it and there I was trying to chat the idiot up!!!
What followed was my ugly spiral into that “Oh gods, no-one loves me and I am going to die alone!” hell all single, friend-zoned girls drop into and if it wasn’t for your Uncle T dragging me off for cocktails and a work event that night, I don’t know how I would have survived. I don’t think Tendai had ever seen me that out of control and that’s saying something, considering the kinds of mischief we regularly got up to, but I digress!
I backed off Monroe instantly and did not fall into his inappropriate, full body hugs anymore or engage in any witty and suggestive Skype chats with him after that because f***, a girl has to have some pride but man, was it difficult ;(
Fast forward to a year later and running into Monroe at a public event. I wish I could say I’d overcome the rejection and could maturely engage with him but alas, no. I awkwardly hugged him, snapped a pic of him in costume and ran off mutely. Like I said, somewhere inside of me is that three-year-old who disappointed the first boy she ever loved and I had never recovered ….
Luckily for you guys, I am your Dad’s best friend and his girl😉
Kids, doing multiple rounds of speed dating and online dating can get tiring , not to mention a bit boring because let’s face it, who has time to make small talk when you’re trying to find someone to date and in my case, father your children?
So, taking a cue from my rapping homie 50 Cents and his hit single 21 questions, I started asking my potential paramours 20 questions in the hopes of getting to know them and eliminating the unsuitable.
The key to the 20 initial questions was to mix up the serious with the fun ones because I didn’t want to scare my prospective suitors off but I also didn’t want them to think me too shallow.
Also, my usual gimmick of opening with “So, who is your favourite comic book character?” was starting to grow old …
Far from being the Spanish Inquisition, these were my 20 questions to ask The One or The One Right Now:
What’s your favourite movie?
What’s your dream job?
What’s the one song guaranteed to get you on a dance floor?
Where did you go on your last holiday?
What is your favourite breakfast dish?
What is your favourite book?
What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done?
What is your favourite food?
What is the last thing you think of at night?
What’s your nickname?
What is your best childhood memory?
Who is your biggest celebrity crush?
Are you a morning person?
What is your ideal first date?
What did you want be when you were a child?
What are the 5 things you’d want if you were stranded on a deserted island?
Are you a glass half full or half empty kind of guy?
What’s the most embarrassing thing to ever happen to you?
What is your favourite ice cream flavour?
What do you to relax?
More often than not, their answers gave me amazing insights into future dates ‘personalities and I could decide whether the connection was worthwhile pursuing. With each answered set of questions came opportunities to talk about a variety of topics and something to laugh about or inquire about more on the official first date.
Also, I got a kick out of responding with my truthful and weird answers because if they couldn’t deal with my decidedly wacky nature pre-date, then f*** it! Next!
Kids, by January 2016, I had completed 21 of the 28 dates challenge and was about to embark on date 22 with very little expectations. After Impala Fanatic’s stone cold silence, I’d taken a bit of a dating break and was just coasting through life until Merlin39 popped up on my DatingBuzz radar.
At 39, Merlin was a little bit out of my dating age range (I’d settled on 35 as being close enough in life experience that we’d still have plenty to bond over). He was also a divorced father of two teenagers, ran his own financial management business and very close with his mother.
Still, I was intrigued by Merlin’s emails and the way he responded to the 20 questions game I started ( yes, after years of online romances, I’d learnt to quickly ask questions that helped me get a better sense of possible paramours ’personalities) so when he asked me out on a date, I didn’t hesitate.
On a hot-as-all-hell Saturday afternoon, we met for lunch at the Company’s Garden restaurant and my aging Romeo totally bowled me over with his old school romance – not only was he polite, well-dressed and well-mannered, he also presented me with a bouquet of gorgeous roses and a box of Lindt chocolates. Who still did that in 2016?
Total brownie score for being a reminder that wooing the objection of your affection is so hot and a lost art. Modern men seemed to have lost all sense of chivalry and it was a welcome respite to have it lavished on me, even if just for an afternoon.
Over lunch, we chatted about our jobs, our families, our travel experiences and the scary online dating world. Conversation flowed easily and sure, he seemed a little too obsessed with stressing how financially secure he was and how generous he is with giving money to people he cares about ( I have never been particularly money or status conscious so these things do not hold an appeal for me) but I was enjoying this date.
I enjoyed it enough to suggest a second date – which for me was totally unheard of, and incredibly, for the first time in a long while, I was actually looking forward to it!
I had hope, Kids, and hope lead to me being open to new experiences, new people and ultimately you xx
Kids, as you’ll well remember from some of my previous tales, I had quite the reputation for being Cape Town’s Bridget Jones. I was known for getting myself into some hilariously embarrassing situations.
I wish I could tell you that I got better at not doing it over the years but I didn’t. Settle in and let me confess a few more of my embarrassing Bridget Jonesesque tales in Cape Town:
December 2015 …
On a blustering Sunday in the Mother City, your Aunts Sam and Mishy, your godmother Missy and I headed out to the gorgeous Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden for popular singer Jimmy Nevis’s Summer Sunset concert.
Once we were finally settled in a good viewing spot, we got down to the very important business of indulging in all of the yummy picnic goodies we’d brought along. As resident chocoholic, I’d ensured that we had a tub of Nutella and accompanying strawberries and bananas to enjoy.
Chatting away to the girls while I spread chocolate up and down the elongated shape of the huge bananas, I explained how I had first been introduced to the absolute heavenly combination of Nutella and banana by your extremely naughty Aunt Kaanita a few years previously.
Completely oblivious to the stares of near-by fellow concert-goers and picnickers, I was about to put the oh-so-good chocolate-covered banana into my eagerly anticipating mouth when I heard the gentleman next to us exclaim:
“You aren’t really going to eat that, are you?!”
Blushing from head to toe, I just nodded my head in the affirmative before take a big bite out of my sweet banana and received a round of applause and laughter from one of the other groups near-by.
Your Spirit Mother, the freaking awesome Leo, was celebrating her Name Day and, in honour of the fact that we fly our freak flags proudly together and are partners-in-crime for all things naughty, I asked your talented Aunt Sam to whip up a decadent Magic Mike chocolate cake, complete with a stripper pole and doll sans clothing.
Whilst trying to pop the bubbly cork and NOT get arrested by the police officers walking by, it was hard not to notice the double takes of beach goers and runners out on their daily beach visits.
As one woman who sat down on a bench close to us just to have a better look remarked:
“Well, doesn’t he just look quite realistic? That’s some cake, hey!”
Comments from bolder street vendors alluded to us needing a real naked man instead of a doll and yes, I was just as disgusted as you are right now!
Yes, ordinarily this situation would have been embarrassing but who has time to blush when you’re celebrating the life of a beautiful, wyrdly awesome sister freak?😉
Kids, these would not be the end of my “good god, why did I do that?” moments in gorgeous Cape Town – those would last for decades. You already knew that, though, didn’t you? I really am sorry about showing up in my too-tight Wonder Woman costume for your parent-teacher meeting … I love you!
“Actually, I’ve just completed a BDSM course and I have to find a master before I can find a husband.”
That, Kids, became my standard go to answer during the festive season of 2015/2016 whenever some idiotic distant relative, family friend or stranger asked when I’d be bringing someone home for them to meet.
Look, I understood that some of them hadn’t seen me since Bush and Mbeki were presidents but it still didn’t give them the right to so personally invade my space and ask such an intimate question.
As I have said before, if they asked stupid questions, they’d get stupid answers. At the very least, they had no comeback for my answer and I could walk away, leaving them as flustered and embarrassed as they’d made me feel. Mic drop!
Asking me that question outright was still infinitely better than being ignored completely in favour of my attached sister or having to suffer awkward, ill-thought out questions about my job when conversation dried up.
Just because I was single did not make me uninteresting or unworthy of attention, people! I had friends, interests and I was generally quite smart – how sad were my interrogators that the only thing they could talk about was their children’s weddings and how many people had attended their receptions? Now who’s being a dull jackass, huh?
After a few more of these run-ins, I decided to avoid all family events and luncheons for a while again and spent time with your loving Aunt Sam and our friends at fun concerts, shows and beach days because after all, life is for the living and being loved and accepted just as you are …
Next time on How I Met Your Father: Confessions of Cape Town’s Bridget Jones Part 2
Kids, you’ve been listening to all of my crazy stories about dating and the journey that lead to meeting your father and we are going to continue that for sure but way back in 2015, as the year winded down to a close, I was reflective about some of the insane experiences I had.
Here are 10 things I learnt about dating and myself in 2015:
Sometimes, it’s really not me, it’s you…Remember the Prince of Egypt who wanted to take me home to Mom as soon as he’d met me and Lonely Emo, who was crazy in love with me one moment and accusing me of robbing him the next? Yeah, not boyfriend material, let alone up to baby daddy standard.
Rejection is a bitch but totally surmountable…Ah, dear Mr Instinctual Convergence, if it wasn’t for you, I’d never have learnt how to fully embrace the “F*** it! Next!” lifestyle. Life is too short to mope about the guy who doesn’t want to get all up in my awesome Wyrdness.
Sometimes, rejecting others was a necessity…From the stalkers who were dangerously close to getting a restraining order issued to their creepy asses to the indecent proposals and corny one liners, I quickly learnt how to say thanks, but hell no!
Being a bad girl every now and again is good for the soul…Flirting with random strangers and kissing international hotties once in a while did me the world of good. If nothing else, it reminded me that I was young, attractive and perfectly capable of finding The One or The One Right Now when necessary.
Having friends who believe in you and your cause is important…I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to give up on the whole dating thing ,especially after yet another creepy speed date event or oversharing cyber mate but your Spirit Mother and Uncle T were always right there to talk some sense into my defeatist head with their inspirational stories and loving support.
Being alone doesn’t mean being lonely …One of the key lessons I’d learnt in 2015 was that being alone and being comfortable with it was ok. Having quality me-time was an important part of figuring out who I was and what I wanted in a future partner. I’m so glad I figured that out …FINALLY!
I can ignore idiotic jibes about my singleton status …Those relatives and strangers who think they have the right to comment on my singledom with their cruel remarks? F**k them, they’re not the boss of me! They’re just jealous of my awesomeness anyway!
Turning 30 wasn’t the end of the world …I’d freaked out a lot in the lead up to my 30th, convinced that I would never get over a broken heart, meet your father and have you. The fact that you’re here, listening to my wacky tales means I managed to chill the f*** out and go with the flow. Dating in my 30s turned out to be a lot less stressful and tons of fun.
Kids, I was so close to meeting your dad and finally having you, I could almost taste it but I was no longer super stressed about it. I somehow knew that 2016 would be a good, amazing year of destined meetings just waiting to happen.
We’ll pick up the How I Met Your Father adventures on Tuesday 5 January, 2016.
Kids, in December 2015, I finally met up with Impala Fanatic (you remember, the set-up man my friend Anthea was so eager to have me meet), on a double date at the V&A Waterfront’s Quay Four.
As I got ready for this date at home, I actually felt a momentary feeling of excitement – the one I’ve seen in countless movies where the girl is looking in the mirror, applying make-up and dancing to music. Finally, it seemed to be happening to me…
After a crazy dash to the restaurant, I frantically looked around for my little group and, as Anthea said, Impala Fanatic saw me and immediately recognised me … aw!
Conversation flowed easily – he was funny, articulate, nice to the waitress, a real gentleman ( save for some off-kilter sexist jokes about how I must know how to cook because he likes to eat – sorry, dude, my oven is used as more of a decorative piece but you go on dreaming there, son) – and I settled into my first post-30 date.
I wasn’t nervous but I wasn’t bored either. I realised that whatever else this may or may not turn out to be, I was having fun, spending the night talking and socialising with like-minded folk. With no pressure placed on me by myself or anyone in the group, this was the most fun I’d had on a date in a while.
As the evening progressed, and he was leaning more and more into my space as well as placing his hand in the lower middle of my back, I was proud of myself for now finally being able to recognise when a guy was into me … yay me!
Fast forward to two weeks later and there hadn’t been a peep out of Impala Fanatic, despite how well the date had gone. Did I fret about it and anxiously check my phone every 2 minutes? No, because you know, whatever… we’re adults and we’re busy and maybe he’s just not that into me, and that’s ok.
The urgency that had seemed to dominate my twenties around dating and finding your father dissipated somewhat after turning 30 … besides, there were plenty more fish in the sea and lucky for you, one of them was your Dad😉
“Oh gods, why is it that the first time I get some boob action in years, it’s gotta hurt like a mother f***er?!”
Kids, hitting 30 was a wake-up call for me that if I was planning on having and raising you guys, I needed to get my shit together and take care of my body, mind and soul … starting with a mammogram to check that my “twins” were in good shape.
Right, let’s pause here for a second while you get over being grossed out …
Anyway, as I was saying, I marched myself off to the doctor’s the Monday after my return from paradise for what turned out to be quite the torture session.
Take your top off and let me squeeze them …
Following a brusque Q&A about why, at such a young age, I thought I was at risk of breast cancer (apparently having a sister who had a breast biopsy at age 16 and my own cancer scare and subsequent drainage at age 20 weren’t reasons enough!), the unsmiling radiology assistant asked me to disrobe and join her at the very inconspicuous x-ray machine.
Sweet mother of dragons, if I had known how f***ing painful the procedure was going to be, I’d have reconsidered doing it. Ms Thing manhandled my pleasure pillows like they were slabs of meat, squishing first one, and then the other between two glass plates that then squeezed down extra hard as the x-ray was taken.
I remember clearly thinking: “Oh gods, why is it that the first time I get some boob action in years, it’s gotta hurt like a mother f***er?!”
When I complained to say that it really, REALLY hurt, my lovely attendant coolly said: “It does? Well, just hang in there, it will be over in a few seconds.”
Longest freaking seconds of my damn life, up until then!
Let’s take a look-see…
Despite not taking me seriously as someone who needed to be checked out when I’d arrived, something in the x-ray must have freaked her out, so my attendant very calmly asked me to join her in the ultrasound room.
As I laid down on the bed, she rubbed some warm gel onto my breasts and massaged them deftly while moving the wand over them to see inside.
At one point, I clearly saw her taking the measurement of a very big cyst and I slowly started to freak out. When she finished her exam (and several measurements more!), she quietly turned to me and said: “There are quite a few cysts in both of your breasts and I’d like to hear from the doctor what he wants to do about them. I’ll be right back.”
Kids, those five minutes seemed to stretch out forever … I started imagining all sorts of horrible things. Like what if I had cancer and therefore could never have you? What if I died? What if, what if, what if!
Bam! Wham! Thank you, mam …
Eventually, she waltzed back into the room and with a blank expression told me that while my breasts were riddled with cysts on both sides, they were benign and I wasn’t dying. The doctor didn’t think an op to remove them was necessary and they did not want to see me until I was 40. Well, gee, thanks for the sensitivity, people! F***!
Really? That’s it? Felt up for 5 minutes, nearly handed a death sentence and then it’s all over in a matter of seconds? What an anti-climax!
I know you’ve probably been as uncomfortable listening to this story as I have been telling it to you but what I want you to take away from it is this: if you’re worried about something, have it checked out. Even if the health professionals treat you like a dummy, you persist and find out as much as you can.
Medical knowledge is power … and, doctor’s rooms make for great guy/girl pick-up joints😉
Kids, as the saying goes, in life only three things are certain: death, change and taxes.
The week after my 30th and return from Mauritius, I had a brush with all three. Since I hate them equally, you can imagine how utterly delighted I was they decided to show up at the same time … not.
These things, I know, were part of being an adult but who the hell decided I was ready to do that, huh?
I won’t bore you with the monotony of taxes … suffice it to say that e-filing, as we old folk called it back then, did NOTHING to simply the goddamn painful process, so let’s move on to the other two.
After switching gears between a highly stressful job and a more relaxed one in 2014, I had committed myself to spending more time with our family, my friends, potential partners and two projects I was involved with.
For a while, I felt like I could expertly manage all of them – and I did. But, as the year progressed, I felt myself becoming increasingly short-tempered and spread too thin between everything, leaving very little time for that precious commodity I was harping on about last week – me time.
I agonised for months about what to let go of and fretted about how it would impact certain relationships. Needless to say there were plenty of sleepless nights and bargaining with the Universe for energy, more time, Channing Tatum showing up to ease my stress the Magic Mike way ( oh, quit the eye rolling, you guys!) etc to help make my decisions easier.
I hate change with a deadly passion and nothing unsettles me more than the not knowing what happens next. The indecisiveness drives me absolutely crazy and I would rather know for certain one way or another that what needs to be done is done than living in the in-between forever.
As it turns out, when the death brush happened, making the change choice was a no-brainer. Nowhere close to easy, of course, but ridiculously simple and a relief.
In the week after turning 30, I was faced with the realization of my own mortality in two successive and painful blows.
Not only did I have a mammogram, which briefly caused alarm but your great-grandfather’s health took a really bad turn for the worst.
I’ll tell you about the boob-squeezing mammogram next time (dudes, appreciate the fact that I did my best to ensure my lady pillows were in tip top shape for your arrival!) but for now, let’s talk about Pa.
He’d been a diabetes-sufferer for all of my life but somehow, after your great-grandma died, it just seriously took over his body. By mid-2015, he could no longer move about without a walking stick and in late November, he’d completely lost the use of his legs. His arms looked set to follow the same route soon.
I’d known he was ill, of course, and rushed off to see him at Groote Schuur hospital the Monday after my island holiday, when the diagnosis of irreversible nerve damage was handed down to him but seeing how frail he was a mere week later really, really got to me.
As your aunt Sam and I massaged oils and lotions into his now stiff legs and ever-thinning body, I could barely contain my tears and I didn’t dare speak because I knew my voice would betray the depth of my grief.
This is the man who raised, fed, clothed, educated, disciplined and loved me for most of my life. A man who had always been the most powerful force in my tiny universe and whom I had spent a lot of time angry at because I didn’t think he loved me enough or as much as he loved my sisters. I know now that wasn’t true – he loved us all differently because we were so different.
The fact that we didn’t share the same blood was never an issue– he’d been my granddad from my first moment and no one could have done more for my siblings and I than he did. He loved us as he had loved our father before us. The greatest lesson I’d ever learnt from him was that family wasn’t always blood.
Pa was the UB40 –loving, Frank Sinatra –singing, Vienna smoortjie (spread) – making goofy grandpa of my childhood; the believer of my teenage studying dreams and my voice of young adult reasoning. The idea of further adulting without him just didn’t bear thinking about.
But I wasn’t ready to let him go and I was seriously pissed off at the Universe. We’d barely gotten over Mama’s loss – what fucking right did the gods have to want to take the only father figure I’d truly known away from me now?!
So, I got mad – Hulk mad – at the sheer bloody audacity of the Fates to do this to my family and I twice in the space of two years and at the unfairness of it all. How the heck were we supposed to be adults and responsible about this when the grown-ups in our lives were dying all the time, huh?
For me, being angry was a hell of a lot easier that being sad. The sadness at seeing my grandfather so very weak and knowing the inevitability thereof, just broke me, kids.
When faced with the loss of someone you love, all of the other things in your life pale in comparison. I knew now what was important – spending as much time as possible with Pa and making good memories with him…. I freaking love you, Percival x
Next week on How I Met Your Father: Getting felt up for all the right reasons in all the wrong ways – a scan by scan mammogram story.
Kids, after spending a week with family and friends on an island for my 30th, I realised something profound about myself – I liked being alone.
As in, I couldn’t get enough of having me time and was especially grumpy if I didn’t get adequate supplies of it. Which, considering I was knee-deep in the search for your father, posed quite the dilemma. How was I ever going to be a part of a couple if I loved being alone?
I was perplexed and frustrated with myself about this for a while until I realised that actually, being comfortable being alone is okay. Too often, I’d see people in relationships who were lonelier being part of a twosome than I was being single and they were miserable! I wanted to meet your dad- desperately, it’s true – but not enough to give up all of my glorious freedom just yet.
Not everyone was as comfortable with being alone as I was…. In fact, I got a microscopic view once into one friend’s life who couldn’t go one day without freaking out about eating alone or checking their social media platforms for validation from their online peers. Watching this person physically ache for company because they couldn’t just be one with themselves tired me and made me appreciate my ability to rock the solo vibe all the more.
Maybe it was the wisdom that comes with turning 30 (more likely all of the Mojitios I was ingesting!) or maybe it took me seven days in the constant company of others to realise that to be a part of a successful pair, you need to be a successful single first.
As I gazed out towards the gorgeous coastline from my hammock, sipping a Pina Colada or three, I made a list of all of the solo activities I loved doing and which I was determined to do more of before (and after) I welcomed you and your dad into my life and which I would gladly encourage others to do too:
Dine alone, whilst gazing out at a beautiful view: it helps me appreciate the silence, the food and the wonders of nature without having to make meaningless conversation with someone else when I don’t feel like it.
Go see a movie whenever I want: Not everyone has similar movie tastes (I ADORE horror movies and anything with Alexander Skarsgard so I usually rock those alone.I also dig really bad movies that everyone else hates and since your Spirit Godmother Leo does too, we do this together occasionally), so if I really, really want to see something, I’ll go see it and hog the popcorn and chocolates to myself!
Read a captivating book: I know I’ve instilled in you the importance of reading – not only does it open new worlds for you, it’s a great way to spend quality time with yourself. And no, you are not being rude when reading in company you’d rather not have. Sooner or later, the person will get the message and bugger off (hopefully).
Be a couch potato: Sometimes all I wanted to do was switch off my phone, shut my door and have a True Blood or Games of Thrones series marathon without having to speak to another human being or take their fragile feelings into account … and you know what? That was ok. Like they say in the flight attendant instructional video: “Put the oxygen mask on yourself first – THEN you can help others”. Similarly, you have to spend time with yourself before spending time with others.
Have a solo picnic or beach day: Guys, my best parts of these kinds of days is just lazing about, watching the tide come in or listening to children squeal with laughter around me but not needing to physically be a part of it all. It’s a great reminder that we all play a part in a much bigger picture.
Go to an event alone: In October 2015, for various reasons I attended Zombie Walk solo and I still had a shitload of fun.
I ran into other friends I didn’t expect to see and that was great, but the best part was striking up conversations with strangers who shared the same passion as I did. I learnt so much more about people and myself and that there was a whole new set of weirdos for me to get to know.
Going solo to events make you step out of your comfort zone and meet new people – who knows if one of those not-so-handsome undead could have been your dad?😉
What it boils down to is this, kids: I couldn’t wait to meet your dad and have you but until then, I was perfectly happy rocking my solo act like the fabulous and flirty thirty-year-old that I was!
Kids, the week leading up to my 30th birthday, my loved ones were super excited about planning my various parties and our impending island getaway … me, I was having the worst freak-outs I’d had since my teens.
I didn’t talk about it often back then, but I was what you’d call a functioning depressive – I could go about daily activities, be social and interactive during the day and laugh along with everyone else, but when I was alone, I had intense freak-outs, endless insomnia and really, really black moods.
I got why everyone was so excited, and I appreciated their efforts, I truly did. So yes, for the most part I faked it as far as I could, hoping that at some point their excitement would infect me.
I know you’re wondering why, in particular, I was feeling this way and that surely, a milestone birthday is something to celebrate, right? It was, but very simply, I was depressed because my life looked nothing like I thought it would be and here’s why ….
I was 13-years-old and in love for the first time. Zunaid, a year younger than me but way more experienced if all of the school gossip was to be believed, was as in love with me as I was with him and life was beautiful.
In that way that characterises all first puppy loves, I spent a year of bliss indulging in super long landline phone calls (uh, if you want to know what landline phones are, ask your Nan); spending hours getting lost in those chocolate baby brown eyes of his and revelling in the fact that I was dating the hottest guy at school and he was nuts about me.
So nuts, in fact, that he once pulled down his school pants to show off the teddy bear covered satin boxers I’d given him for Valentine’s Day to the entire school body …yes, yes, I know, eeuww Mom!
Young love burns bright and fast and Zunaid and I were no different. Our hours-long conversations always revolved around how we were going to get married and have …wait for it …FIFTEEN kids! How we were ever going to afford that many children with barely high school qualifications to our names was anybody’s guess but hey, the dreams of the young, huh?
Naturally, because I was going through a bit of a bad girl phase and Zunaid, my Chocolate Boy, was the definition of a bad boy (have I mentioned that he stabbed his cousin, my ex-boyfriend, because he’d dared to mention he was thinking about getting me back? Yeah, my honey sure loved me!), all of the adults in my life was against this relationship from the onset.
And I can’t blame them – we did get caught making out while my male best friend set the school field on fire in a jealous rage, because he was in love with me and I was in love with Zunaid. So much drama, so little time.
In an effort to set me back on the straight and narrow, your great-grandparents sent me back to live with my mother and attend a Model C school in the Southern Suburbs. They say distance makes the heart grow fonder and for a while Zunaid and I tried to make a go of it (weekend reunions were oh so bitter sweet!) but six months later, we lost touch and I was heart-broken for the very first time.
So utterly devastated but without the maturity and the words to explain how I was feeling, I had the first of my teenage depression sessions … I won’t lie, suicide came up a time or two. I started seeing my school guidance councillor and we worked on easing my depression through writing, performing as part of the school drama clubs and making captain on my debating team.
But the loss of the future I would now never have, the life and love of a guy who felt the same way about me and the children we’d never create together would haunt me for a while still…
Until I met He Who Shall Not Be Named …
There had been crushes after Zunaid and short lived dalliances with guys in clubs, friends of friends, blind group dates and the like but I hadn’t truly fallen in love again because I thought I’d lost my soul mate.
When into the darkness of my blackest moods came the blonde, blue-eyed He Who Shall Not Be Named. So very different from anyone I had ever known before, it took a few months of him dogging my every step, showing up unexpectedly in places, eager to claim my space and company for his own to the exclusion of anyone else before I let my guard down long enough to let him in.
For a year, I fell hopelessly and utterly in love, down and down in the spiral of headiness you try your best to run away from but can’t. Much like your Uncle T said about the one he love and lost, when you are that in love, every moment lasts a lifetime, every gaze feels as if the world has melted away and there is only the two of you in a bubble.
He Who Shall Not Be Named and I became masters at making other people uncomfortable when they were around us because we’d be talking and then just let sentences taper off while we gazed adoringly at each other, not hearing when others spoke to us or caring.
There is no other way to describe the way I felt about him other than he was my drug of choice. When I was with him, I was high, so very, heart-achingly high with the depth of my feelings for him, it took my breath away. With Zunaid, I knew logically I wanted his children but with He Who Shall Know Be Named, my body physically ached for it just watching him be gentle with other kids.
And the way our bodies were attuned to each other was insane. We could be at opposite ends of a crowded room, not realising the other was there and suddenly, we’d be right next to each other, perfectly aligned. Naïve as I was, I took his irrational possessiveness and stalker-like tendencies to be proof that he felt the same about me.
But Life and the Universe are cruel and bitter hags. There was always a touch of the effeminate about my love and though I rallied against all evidence of it and endured cruel mocking by some of our so-called friends, eventually He not so much as said it outright as started acting it when in my company.
It would take another ten years for me to accept that he was gay and that I would once again have to say goodbye to the future I envisioned for us of marriage and children that looked like him. My emotional wounds would be ripped open over and over again over those ten years because he could never leave me and things well enough alone – always veering between wanting to be my gay best friend and re-staking his claim on me possessively. It was a lot like sitting on the Iron Throne and getting cut every time. Leona Lewis was right …
He Who Shall Not Be Named was still a part of my life for a long time and a constant reminder that I had been so utterly idiotic, it was inconceivable but I often wondered about Zunaid and whether, if I had just stuck it out, I’d have been happy, married and with child every year…. If wishes were horses, right?
What’s my point, I hear you ask, and what exactly has this got to with my freak out? Well, a lot actually. As the countdown to my 30th began, I was single and twice bitterly disappointed by love. I was utterly morose and convinced more than ever, that true love would not be a part of my future and consequently, neither would you …
And I wanted you, my babies, more than anything, more than life … I wanted you.
Kids, in the winter of 2014 I fled the cold of Cape Town for the sunny skies of Northern America and embarked on a Best of the USA Contiki tour, visiting my favourite cities Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and New York.
Having been raised (ok, sneakily watched when it was WAY past my bed time and age restricted) on a steady diet of Sex and the City and always imagining myself to be the next Carrie Bradshaw, the Big Apple was, of course, my ultimate destination.
Unfortunately, due to a combination of travel flu and multiple hangovers, I was way too ill to fully enjoy everything New York had to offer (picture me walking around Times Square late at night in a haze of medicinal drug hallucinations, determined to buy Wicked tickets at that hour!… yeah, I was Defying Gravity for sure).
All was not lost, though, because on my second night in the concrete jungle where dreams are made of, my dream of kissing a tall, dark, American stranger came true …
August 2014 …
Tash, Cheree and I were clinking Cosmopolitan glasses at the Bourbon Street Bar and Grille (naturally, because how could we miss having a SATC moment?!) when a good-looking African American man in a well-cut suit leaned over the bar counter to order a drink.
As he invaded my space while doing so, I realised that this wasn’t just a mere coincidence but an intentional gesture since someone had done it to me earlier in the evening too (more about that in another story about how oblivious I am to men hitting on me!).
This time, I smiled at him and said hi. Shining a megawatt smile down at the girls and I, he introduced himself as Drew from the Bronx who was meeting a friend at the bar but totally had a few minutes to chat to us beautiful ladies… charmer😉
By now, I had had three Cosmos, which in South Africa would make me buzzed but in the US with their triple shot measurements, was more than enough to make me lose my inhibitions.
I’d been a good girl, not hooking up with the tour guys as I had in Italy but gods be damned, I was 28-years-old in one of the best, if not THE best, city in the world and a damn fine man was giving me the “How ya doin?”look. You only live once, right?!
Between the multiple hand resting in the in the nook between my back and butt movements and the numerous compliments, along with the “I totally have to show y’áll the Bronx sometime – like tomorrow” comments, it was pretty obvious that Mr Dark and Handsome had some intentions.
I took a long sip of my fourth Cosmo and decided it was now or never. When Drew leaned in and said “I like the colour of your lipstick”, I flipped my hair over my shoulder and said “Well, I like it better on you” and full on kissed him!
With Cheree and Tash hooting and cheering me on in the background, the sounds of the bar in full festivity and a ridiculously hot guy at my lips, I lost myself in the moment, being carefree, wanton and happy in gorgeous, wonderful, beautiful New York.
As it turns out, Drew wasn’t my Mr Big (because he had a fiancée back in the Bronx!) or your father but he did inspire a return trip to the Big Apple with Leo, your Spirit Mother a couple of years later and boy, the stories that could be told about that trip ….😉
Kids, if there is one commercial holiday I love more than Valentine’s Day, it’s Halloween … you know what a HUGE horror movie fanatic I am, so it should come as no surprise that I love to dress up like a bloody murder victim, spectre, bride of the undead etc. on 31 October.
As a teen, I used to have eight hour horror movie marathons, gorging myself on the gruesome delights of all of the classics: Halloween (all 25 of them!), Scream, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Rosemary’s Baby, Child’s Play, The Exorcist, Scream, The Ring and The Grudge … you name it, I screamed for it in ghastly glee.
Though it may have been more of an American festivity, Cape Town soon picked up on it and in my late twenties, I finally got the chance to go trick or treating at several horrifying Halloween events…
October 2013 …
“Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!”
Nu Metro, the cinema giant was hosting a special anniversary edition of the Michael Keaton classic for Halloween and was giving away free tickets. I quickly gathered a group of friends, including your godfather Leon, to join me at the screening.
Of course, because we’re that fabulous, Leon and I were not going to let an opportunity to FINALLY dress up for the scariest night of the year pass us by so we rocked our freakiest zombie look, complete with demon eyes and classic make-up applied by your aunt Cynthia.
We relished walking the halls of the V&A Waterfront, scaring people to death and ,always ones to enjoy a photo op when it’s presented, we posed for The CapeTowner, who were attending the movie too… frightful fame at long last!
October 2014 …
Not content to just celebrate only one night of the month any longer, I had three different Halloween celebrations that October.
It’s just a jump to the left …
The first was my fourth viewing of the Rocky Horror Show musical at the Fugard Theatre with your Nan, aunts, godmothers and a few of our friends. Naughty maids’ costumes, a plethora of feather boas, fishnet stockings and a flurry of hot pics with the insatiable Dr Frank-n-Furter was, of course, a must for the night.
Time to say goodbye …
I’d resigned from my position as Cape Town’s socialite and needed to end it on a bang so how better than to host a Halloween-themed farewell party at my home from home, Alexander Bar and Café?
Since I was still incredibly in-love with Alexander Skarsgard after our little “run-in”, my costume of choice for this very special party was, naturally, vampire bride …hee hee!
The best part of it all was having my friends dress up too. From your aunt Leilah’s gorgeous black wings to uncle T’s hilarious Scream impersonation and Mr and Mrs Smurfette’s killer Bill and Sookie look, it was a murderous shindig of note.
Of course, Lady K had to take things to the next level by offering us some very, very strong makes-you-forget-your-name absinthe!
I might or might not have gotten really flirtatious with the bar manager after having that shot- which may explain why he was always all smiles whenever I went back to the bar after…eeecck!
November 2014 …
Give us braaaaaaiiiiiinnnnns!!!
Day two of my Halloween weekend in 2014 and of course, the event of the day had to be Zombie Walk Cape Town.
Now, there were tons of getups I could have gone with but if you going to walk with the undead, why not do it as a hot, morbid cheerleader right?!
Again, our group of friends gathered to rock our best Thriller moves in the Company’s Garden with make-up expertly done by the awesome Lady K. Who knew being dead could look SO good?
I’ve never experienced so many people having so much gory fun before … the creativity of their costumes, their willingness to let their freak flags fly and just the general ghastly spirit were SO amazing!
Strangely enough there were quite a few hot stiff ones … guys, I meant, guys!
Zombie Walk was also the start of a new level of closeness for House Wyrd … Leilah and MJ would eventually move to London but that day was the start of something awesome, hanging out at insane events and rocking our Wyrdness.
As I geared up for Halloween and Zombie Walk 2015 (this time as a bloody hot dead nurse!), I knew that celebrating the night of the undead would become one of the treasured celebrations for our family in the future … and I hope you’ve enjoyed them all!
Kids, in the spring of 2008, I was a fledgling junior publicist for a national TV station and at what I considered at the time, the peak of my career.
Working on some of the big local reality shows and top international sitcoms was a dream come true in many aspects and tons of fun. One of the highlights of working for this particular station was being flown to Johannesburg to attend the annual staff party.
This particular year, the party happened to coincide with my 23rd birthday and to say I was in a celebratory mood is an understatement. This excitement lead to me rocking an all-round glow which alarming so, led to an indecent proposal from one of my colleagues …
Saturday 15 November …
The music was pumping and I was shaking what your Nan gave me like the next day was my birthday (ha ha). High on a heady concoction of cocktails, excitement for my name day and pride at the fact that I’d won the Publicity Employee of the Year award, I didn’t pay much attention to the fact that Bryce, the hot programme scheduler was getting all up in my business.
Bryce, born in Cape Town, had joined our station after years of living in London and was rocking a sexy afro and even sexier British accent, reminiscent of Lenny Kravitz in a total bad ass way. The fact that he’d been a professional model before joining the broadcasting world just made him that more ridiculously good-looking and every girl (and some guys) had a crush on him. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t entertained some lustful thoughts about the dude myself … but I digress.
Back to the party … When I dance, I totally lose myself in the music. It’s actually quite a spiritual experience (you guys know this, of course, having seen me rock out to Fatman Scoop’s Be Faithful in our living room over the years!) so while Bryce was getting closer and closer, I didn’t really notice it until …
3, 2, 1 … Happy Birthday!
The crowd went wild, people were screaming my name and hugging me and I was delirious with happiness. Into all of the craziness steps Bryce, moving at a glacial pace to lean forward, hug me and plant a tender kiss on my forehead.
Of course, because he was so devilishly handsome, I felt a flutter of “oh wow!” but quickly pushed that feeling aside in favour of dancing to Wyclef Jean’s Heartbreaker and didn’t think about it again.
Sunday 16 November at 1am
Kids, you know how in movies they’re always showing what a rock n roll lifestyle movie and TV stars lead? The drugs, the booze, the men and women and just the sheer debauchery?
Well, it’s all true … the after party and my first birthday party was held in one of the presenters ‘hotel rooms and from the minute my little group of celebrators and I stepped into the room, it was one long orgy of insanity.
I’m talking people eating “sandwiches” right out of the window, married couples ( but not married to each other!) chatting and touching on beds, music blaring from the TV and alcohol everywhere you looked …
Did I shy away from it, like the good newly agnostic girl I was? Oh hell no! It was my birthday, guys, and I was far away from home, in the middle of a kickass party – like Jonah Hilll and Channing Tatum finally letting loose in 21 Jump Street, I got down with the best of them!
What followed was a merry-go-round of me jumping on the hotel beds while people sang Happy Birthday to me several times and poured shots down my throat at an alarming rate, offering to roll a sandwich for me to give me an extra buzz ( which I refused) and just general feelings of happiness.
I’d never been the centre of attention quite like that before and I loved it! I also knew that it’s best to leave a party at its height so I said my goodbyes and off I went to the other side of the hotel to my room.
As I got into the elevator, Bryce pried the doors open and said: “Really? You’re leaving already?” to which I replied that I had to get up early for my flight back to Cape Town and my party with my family so yes, I was leaving.
He looked really weird and sad for a second before rushing in to hug me and give me another kiss on the forehead. Weirdo …
I’d barely stripped my dress off when my room phone began ringing insistently. Wondering what the hell Reception wanted at this late or rather early hour, I answered irritably: “Hello?”
“Miss Williams, it’s Reception. I’m so sorry to bother you but I have a young gentleman here who is insisting on speaking with you. Would you please hold for him?”
I felt quite bad about being rude so I said ok and next thing you know, Bryce is on the line.
Him: “Hey, hey birthday girl! What are you up to?”
Me: “Uhm, hey. I’m about to go to bed. Why?”
Him: “Well, are you naked and would you like me to join you?”
Me (totally thinking he’s joking and way too drunk to realise that he’s hot, I’m not and this must be some kind of prank): “Ha ha, no, that’s ok. I will see you in the morning.”
Him: “Why not? Don’t you want me? Don’t you think I’m hot?”
Me (getting slightly pissed off now): “Because I said so! Now, goodnight Bryce, I’ll see you later!”
Him: “Seriously, you’re turning me down? Do you know who I am???”
Me (now positively fuming!): “See, just for that, I don’t even want to speak to you ever again!”
Him (completely changing tact and adopting a pleading tone): “Please? We don’t even have to do anything, we can just cuddle… come on!”
It was funny when I thought he was joking and infuriating when he was being full of himself but this begging was just a total turn-off and I signed off, leaving him to look like a begging loser at the Reception desk.
Later that morning …
My head was pounding as I got onto the airport-bound shuttle and I was avoiding having to speak to anyone so I chose a window seat and put on my sunglasses in an attempt to be incognito. Yeah, right …
Bryce steps onto the shuttle, rocking that fro and good looks like he hadn’t spent the night partying or begging to be let into my room.
“Morning, Fazielah! Thanks so much for last night –that’s going to be one for the books!”, he announces to the entire f***ing shuttle and everyone whips their heads around to look at me, relishing this bit of gossip.
I could have killed him, I really could, but as it was, I was trying desperately not to throw up. I dragged Bryce down beside me in an effort to shut him up but which only served to validate his claims …f***!
Upon returning to the office the next day, the news of our “passionate one night stand” had spread through the office like wildfire, much to my chagrin and my boss’s dismay.
I might have learnt to get over it eventually, if it wasn’t for the fact that the reason he’d announced our supposed tryst was to hide the fact that he’d actually spent the rest of that fateful night in the room and embrace of a gay colleague…. Story of my f***ing life!
Kids, being chatted up is as awkward as being the one doing the chatting up… I know because I’ve done both.
To be fair, though, when I’ve had to do it, it was because I needed to interview and photograph someone for whichever blogging site I was working on at the time and people, none more so than middle-aged men, love being told how ridiculously gorgeous and in awe of them you are so they’re only too happy to have their, uh, egos stroked.
Today’s little trip down memory lane, though, is about the absolute corny one liners levelled at me during the course of my young adult life:
“Bring me the bill and put yourself on it…”
I’d just matriculated and the future mother of my godchildren, Tasmyn, had talked me into getting a summer job waitressing at Spur in Claremont. Don’t ask me what convinced me to do it but what followed was the shortest working stint of my career …six weeks of serving people with a taste for life their favourite burgers, cleaning up after their kids and singing that freaking annoying birthday song at least once every hour.
One particularly busy evening, the restaurant was pumping with the festive season crowd and as was customary, if your tables were satisfied for the moment, you needed to check on your team mate’s tables in the same section, for drinks top-ups etc.
So, I stopped by one of the big 12 seater tables, which was made up of a bunch of road-racing, too-low-to-cover-their-asses jeans-clad guys and asked if there was anything they needed.
“Yes,” piped up the big meat-head who was clearly their moron leader, “bring me the bill and put yourself on it!” That, of course, elicited a round of bawdy laughter from the group.
I was 18-years-old and not nearly as sarcastic or good with comebacks as I am now so while I should have said “Oh honey, you couldn’t possibly afford me so don’t embarrass yourself by trying”, I meekly turned around and got their waitron to bring their bill.
November 2012 …
“You look like my next ex-girlfriend …”
Kids, as you well know, libraries are my sanctuaries – I can spend hours just browsing through books, getting lost in their pages and the magical worlds they create.
On a hot November day, though, I was pressed for time during my lunch hour to get my next literary fix while taking full advantage of the City library’s aircon when a too cool-looking young man appeared out of nowhere.
“Hi,” he says to me, “I couldn’t help noticing that you look like my next ex-girlfriend,” and ended it with a cheesy grin.
Maybe it was heat exhaustion or perhaps I was actually just dumb-founded by his brazenness but I completely lost my cool and told exactly where to shove his stupid pick-up lines.
Needless to say, I stuck to my good ol’faithful Vredehoek library from that day on.
January 2015 …
“You have no idea what the colour green does to me…””
I’d been working at Cape Town’s biggest attraction for two months and I was still getting the hang of the way the business operated which meant I hardly spoke unless spoken to. One of the key components of working for this establishment meant wearing its bright green uniform … think Princess Fiona in Shrek meets The Grinch kind of green
On one of those crazy days where we saw more than 4000 people queuing for their must-have mountain experience, I was waiting beside our ticket office gate for a special media hosting group.
A red bus driver sidles up to me and says: “Girl, you have no idea what the colour green does to me!” followed by a creepy eye wink.
Gods … I know uniforms have a certain amorous appeal (hell, that’s the reason your father has a gladiator costume – sorry, TMI, I know!) but who the heck knew a green outfit could hit the libido too?!
This time I was actually too stunned to respond and let him walk away but you can be sure that I never spent more time than was absolutely necessary in that area ever again.
October 2015 …
“God, woman, where have you been all of my life?!”
It had been a long weekend of working at a mega convention and I was tired. I was also in no mood for being chatted up by anyone, much less the casino security guard.
So when he stepped directly into my personal space as my bag was being passed through the scanning system and said: “God, woman, where have you been all of my life?!” I barely missed a beat and responded with: “Obviously doing something better with mine.”
That, together with a withering look, was enough to shut him up. Williams 1, Security 0.
Your father, though, obviously had more game, kiddos, and aren’t you glad he did😉
Kids, as you well know, I dated a lot and I mean A LOT in the lead-up to meeting your father and while all of them were awkward, none were more so than the first dates.
Whether I’d met them online, at a speed dating event, via friends or randomly, there was just no getting away from those prolonged pauses between questions, the trying-not-to-stare tick and with my often unsuitable suitors.
As I scoured all of my usual platforms for the next potential victim, sorry I meant, date, I pondered the 5 crazy thoughts I’ve had on first dates:
Gods please, don’t be late!
You know how much I despise untimely people, bambinos, and I am always at least 10 minutes early for any appointment but in the dating world, that’s not always a good thing.
It gives me far too much time to wonder if I am doing the right thing, if this person will like me, if I will hate him and question whether it was all worth it in the end … yes, you were worth it, obviously!
Mostly, I was worried that if my date was indeed late, I’d have to put up with other diners ‘pity stares and the waiter potentially removing the second set of cutlery, giving me a sympathetic nod in the process. Mortifying for singles everywhere!
Oh, wow! Really?!
That thought could go one of two ways… either my date (and your would-be future papa) was ridiculously hot or as was so often the bloody case, not my type AT ALL.
When the guy was really hot (like Rodeo Star), I couldn’t stop staring or babbling. When he was ,uh, not, I slipped into bro mode and talked a mile a minute about random crap for an hour ( like Maresh, the IT geek who did nothing but talk about computers, gym and how he missed his mother’s cooking …for the love of a white walker, shut up already!).
What the hell do I order?
I am not the kind of girl who goes for the salad and I really don’t care if my partner thinks I am a glutton for ordering the burger special with every side but I am not prepared to mess all over the cute outfit I picked out for this occasion either so choosing something to eat is somewhat tricky.
Fashion sense usually loses out to extreme hunger, though!
What’s wrong with him?
No, hear me out … the man can be charming, good-looking, polite, relatively ambitious, love his momma (not too much, though!) and kind to the waiter but there is always something amiss.
Like he only wants to get it on (thank you Mr I Didn’t Feel An Instantaneous Convergence!) or he hates kids and the idea of creating them (here’s looking at you, Mr One Hit Speed Date Wonder).
We all have faults, I know, but better pre-warned that sorry is what I always say!
Oh f***, I really, really want to/don’t want to do this again!
Depending on the guy, the conversation, the restaurant and the spark or not, I’m already thinking about whether or not I need to expose myself to this experience again.
Kids, in September 2015, I was a mere eight weeks away from turning the big 30 and to say it was freaking me out was an understatement.
While your Nan, aunt and godmother were super excited about our upcoming birthday celebration trip to Mauritius, I was having bi-weekly full on panic attacks – I’m talking doing the ugly cry in the middle of SPAR because I couldn’t choose which damn chocolate to break my Slim Sure diet with and having a complete meltdown at spotting yet another f***ing pregnancy or engagement announcement (by people I’d babysat as kids, no less!) on my social media newsfeeds.
Anyone who dared to even whisper “So, how excited are you for your 30th?” to me would get a look that would freeze Satan’s balls hurled at them and I was actively avoiding making any major plans for any kind of party.
Now, I wasn’t unfamiliar with the quarter-life crisis that besieged most 20 to 35-year-olds … in fact, by then I had gone through at least three of the gods-awful stages ( finding my identity, finding a home and finding a job) but for the f***ing love of Westeros, nothing prepared me for the utter devastation of turning 30. It was enough to make me drink away my sorrows!
And no one, I mean NO ONE, bloody got why I was so depressed – except my gorgeous fellow 30-year-olds Lutfia, Tiana, Leilah and Jennifer who thankfully had and were still going through it. “Oh, it will pass”, “Your thirties are way more fun than your twenties”, “My life began at 30, so will yours” are all platitudes that were passed around by well-meaning friends and honestly, all I wanted to do what throat punch them … stop f***ing telling me s*** that doesn’t help!
So, in an effort to calm myself down but which only really served to prove that I had squandered my youth, I compiled a list of 30 things I wished I’d done before I was 30… here goes nothing:
Pursued my dream of theatrical acting (and actually put the two drama diplomas I have to f***ing use!).
Moved to Johannesburg when I was offered a publicist job there, despite how much I hate that city (a change of scenery might have led to more dating options and now I will never know).
Told my high school crush I adored him instead of having my frenemy blurt it out, thus turning me into the pariah of the school (at least being a loveless outcast would have been of my own doing).
Kissed my matric ball dance partner (yes, he was a drug addict and it wouldn’t have amounted to anything, but gods, the boy was HOT).
Skinny-dipped more often …
…and stopped worrying about my weight so much. Big girls, you are beautiful!
Tell people when they’d upset me with their hurtful comments and actions during the day so I wouldn’t swear like a sailor in my sleep (or stress eat).
Gone to Comic Con and seduced Alexander Skarsgard, Jared Padalecki, Channing Tatum and Paul Wesley in my skin-tight, too-short Wonder Woman costume.
Speaking of the Wonder Woman suit … I should have worn that thing more! Especially to random Saturdays at Readers Den. Who knows? I might have met your father sooner.
Told He Who Shall Not Be Named the truth and that the real reason we couldn’t be BFFs is because he has never apologised for leading me on and breaking my heart.
Walked up to my Viking on that fateful day and said: “Here I am. What are your other two wishes?” (What? You guys could have been born earlier and spent your winters in Sweden right now if I’d been brave enough, dammit!)
Not shamelessly have thrown myself at a Biggest Loser SA contestant (after his weight loss) for months, only to have him call me and ask me to arrange media for his upcoming wedding.
Gone to bed earlier so I could actually sleep for more than just 5 nights a week …
… And risen early to watch the sunrise with someone special.
Conquered my fear of cockroaches (yes, I know, I still scream like Dementors are dragging me to Hell each time I spot one.)
Spent less time trying to explain to family, friends and strangers who I am and just accept my weird, kooky self sooner. F**k what other people think!
Actually watch Star Wars and Lord of the Rings without falling asleep every goddamn time.
Admitted that while Doctor Who is the love of some of my friends’ lives, it’s not for me ( I mean, sure, I’ll watch it during a bonding marathon but it’s not on my must download list) .
Accepted less invitations for things, events and people I really didn’t want to see and spent more time with the ones I did.
Said yes to a few more drinks invitations from guys – if nothing else, the experience would have come in handy and I would know more of the IT places.
Not been too sick and hung over to visit the Empire State Building during my first New York visit. Who knows if the Tom Hanks to my Meg Ryan was waiting up there for me or not?!
Stuck to my teenage dream of being a radio presenter and club DJ (maybe then those recurring dreams of having thousands of gyrating people screaming my name would stop!)
Spent more time bonding with my dead grandmother instead of running away from my unresolved feelings and issues about her all the time.
Spent a summer in London and Paris or moved to New York for three months.
Accepted than my chronic fear of rollercoasters and theme-park rides won’t go away (might have spared the poor people who got my breakfast flung on them far too often.)
Stuck to my resolution of having uninterrupted Me-Time (the world would be safer for it).
Quit trying so hard to win the favour of others. What they want is irrelevant.
Own a matching dinner service and crockery … serving my legendary beef stew in an ice cream container is not all it’s cracked up be.
Had you …
Of all the things I regret not doing, not having you sooner was the biggest. At age 29 years and 10 months, my greatest fear wasn’t dying – it was dying without having had, met and loved you with all that I am and was.
But I was working on it, kiddos, working really hard ( even if I had to date all of the frogs in the world to do so)…
Kids, it’s a sad and proven fact that for most of my twenties I couldn’t get some kissing (or any physical) action in the lovely Mother City …
And not for lack of trying either – between all of my fabulous gay friends, emotionally confused jerks and unavailable idiots, there just weren’t that many options for getting that foot popping, fireworks-inducing smooch shtick Anne Hathaway was always going on about in the Princess Diaries.
It may be that local men were just immune to my not-so-obvious charms, unlike their international counterparts …
November 2010 …
I was in Bella Italia for my 25th birthday and my first Contiki tour. The night after my birthday, a few of my new found friends and I were checking out one of Rome’s hottest clubs.
Coincidentally (or not), they also had the hottest bar men, who were not too shy with making strong, very strong drinks. Aided by a good dose of vodka courage, and high on celebrating my quarter of a century in one of my dream cities, I went in search of Ryan, the cute Aussie I’d been making eyes at all week.
Ryan, though, had vanished into thin air with a leggy brunette named Suzy and I instead found myself dancing with his roommate Max. He was a sweet guy, who hugged me to wish me Happy Birthday and then … kissed me full on the lips to reiterate his wish.
Now, this may just have been the vodka talking but as the saying goes “if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you with.” So, there, in the middle of a Roman dancefloor, with Shakira and Freshlyground blaring Waka Waka at the top of their voices, I lost myself in an Italian Kiss.
Things got heated, photos and videos were taken of the birthday girl getting her Aussie on and Max suggested we get out of there. Which we did at a great speed to get back to the hotel.
When I got there, though, my head was spinning and I decided that cute as Max was, I wasn’t ready to tangle my spaghetti with his, if you know what I mean ( cue the “”Gross, Mom!”” objections).
So, I kissed him goodnight, long and hard in the cranky elevator and went off to bed, careful not to wake Kiro, my conservative Japanese roomie.
As I drifted off to sleep, I was pretty pleased with myself – an epic Italian birthday AND a foreign kissing experience … look at me getting out of my box – until ….
There was a persistent loud banging on our room door and Kiro leapt up to answer it.
“I need to see her. Just call her and tell her to come out. Please!””
Max, my not-so-cute-anymore Romeo, was declaring his love for me in the hallway, begging me to come out and meet him. Seriously, what part of “Goodnight, lad” did he not understand?!
So, amid death stares from Kiro, off I went to the door, only to find Max a hot mess. He was begging me to come back with him to his room since he’d managed to kick Ryan out for the night so that we could have some privacy.
Only … his begging was not much of a turn-on and I wasn’t moved. I might, though, have softened my resolve just a little ( because who doesn’t want a hot Aussie desperate to have her at 3am in Italy) if he hadn’t followed up my refusal with :
“Oh, come on, please! I am one girl away from winning the tour bet about who can bang the most chicks!”
Oh f*** no! How very, very dare he reduce me to his deciding vote in a stupid, disrespectful wager!
To say I slammed my room door in his face is an understatement…
The next morning, the atmosphere was frosty and soon enough rumours of what had happened spread through our tour group like wildfire.
Max avoided me at every turn which suited me just fine, but that meant Ryan did too … all for the better, as it turns out, because apparently Ryan loved Italian boys as much as I did ( have I mentioned my gay dar was on the fritz?!)
The last night of our tour, one of the girls, Paige finally worked up the courage to ask me exactly what happened and I told her.
She burst out laughing at my sorry tale and then said: “Chick, you know Max is like, only 19, right?! No wonder he was so eager to get laid by an older woman!”
Just call me a hot international cougar kisser, why don’t you….
“How about the day after your funeral or when having mass orgies with multiple strangers stop being fun?”
That should have been my response when yet another obnoxious relative deemed it fit to ask me the singular most hated question all singletons dread for the umpteenth time: ”So, when are you going to get married? “
Instead, I did what I always do – gazed away awkwardly and apologized profusely for being a colossal failure at snagging a man – and said sadly: “I don’t know…I’m so sorry”. What the actual f***?!
Kids, by 2015, I had had it with that freaking question and everyone, from the multi-divorced aunt to the won’t-croak-soon-enough neighbour and overtly friendly office queen asking it as if they were the first people in the history of the world to do so.
The worst part is the perverse pleasure they seemed to take in my discomfort at their question – didn’t they realize that I spent many a night beating myself up, my mind going round and round, pondering that same futile question, scared shitless that I was going to end up and die alone?
And the occasions they chose to pose this question, begged for consideration too – a cousin’s baptism, a divorce celebration (yes, welcome to our screwed-up family, kiddos – with most of them changing spouses like they changed their underwear, there were quite a few end of coupledom piss-ups!), prayer meetings and office parties, no event was off limits in cross-examining me about my lack of marriage prospects.
Eventually, I stopped going to family events because f*** it, life is too short to feel like you are the Medusa in a clan of man-attracting goddesses ( despite the fact that these male companions were more often than not, not quality material but hey, who cares about taste and standards, right?) until my great-uncle’s funeral one winter’s day.
Your Nan’s cousin happened to pass me by mid-interrogation by one of the other cousins, flanked by my mother and her sisters and obviously saw my embarrassed expression. Cousin Belinda saunters over, places her hand on my shoulder and says to me in front of the mob:
“You know what, my child? I can see that you have seen a lot of failed relationships in your time and that you are biding your time until you find the right one. As you should, because the Creator is on your side and preparing your mate for you. Don’t ever feel like you have to justify that. You just be patient and He will make it happen.”
I’m not much of a religious fanatic as you can tell from the way you’ve been raised, my loves, but I could have kissed her right there and then, if only because the awkwardness emanating from the mob was so worth it!
Your great-grandmother, though, was much more understanding of my disposition than her children and kin. For years, we’d clashed over my independent ways and lack of patience for age-old customs until she eventually accepted that of all her grandchildren, I was the most likely to do my own thing and succeed in the face of disapproval.
Mother’s Day 2014 …
We’d gathered at one of the aunts’ homes for afternoon tea and your Great-Grams was gazing down lovingly at my cousin’s two-month-old babe when suddenly she looked over at me:
“You know, Fazielah, I had a cousin once who got involved with a man, shacked up with him for a few months, got pregnant and kicked him to the curb shortly afterwards. So, if that is something you felt like doing, I’d be ok with it…”
Kids, for a minute there was absolute silence because a) this was the more religious of my grandparents –she’d freaked out when she discovered a copy of the Bible next to a pack of condoms on my dressing table during my teens (a school project on abstinence I was working on but she was convinced I was converting and giving the choir boys special treats every Sunday!) and b) was she saying this because she thought I was a good-time girl or because she was tired of waiting for it to happen and wanted me to be happy ( and if she got to continue her bloodline at the same time, so much the better, right?)
Taking a brief moment to absorb what she’d just said, I shakenly replied: “”Wait, what? Did you just give me permission to have a love child? Can we postdate this conversation for two years and can I have this in writing?!””
By the spring of 2015, I was nowhere near meeting and bedding a suitable baby daddy despite 22 months of dating everything that moved but the fact that at least I had my grandma’s support, made those awkward moments with prying kin and strangers easier to bear.
As for the next time someone asks that asinine question… well, how does “As soon as Satan has the throne room converted into a wedding chapel and puts your name on the guest list” sound?
“So, you like the theatre, huh? Tell me, have you been to the Labia Theatre?” he said with a sleazy smile and raised eyebrow and my skin literally crawled…
Kids, in the winter of 2015, I found myself at my first speed dating event in six months and wishing for the love of the gods, I wasn’t.
Between Mr Bald-Headed, a heavily tattooed mechanic whose only knowledge of the arts extended to a naughtily named cinema and the clearly closeted gentleman to whom the very idea of conceiving children was “a needless, messy business”, I was stuck between a rock and a very hard place, wondering why I’d once again exposed myself to this humiliating experience.
The last guy seemed like he might be more interesting – clad in a leather jacket, longish hair and a warm, welcoming smile as I sat down – I was sure that maybe my luck for the evening had finally changed.
Boy, was I wrong!
I made the colossal mistake of asking what he does for a living. Turns out Mr Bad Boy is a stock broker and spent all of the short, precious five minutes we had together explaining the finer details of his job… It took all I had not to fall asleep or keeping firing off “save me!” looks to my friend Benni, who had bravely attended the event with me ( her first ever speed dating event!).
Thank the gods the bell rung soon thereafter, signalling the end of our torturous “date” and the end of the event, freeing Benni and I up to chat to some of the other ladies , who were as disappointed as we were at the lack of quality male folk.
As we chatted over drinks, sharing online dating and set-up horror stories, we struck up a quick friendship and started making plans for group outings/dates to explore the Mother City and the greater Western Cape. More than anything, bonding with a group of women who were having the same dating woes as I was gave me hope – I wasn’t alone on this crazy adventure, and I had back-up. Everything was going to be ok…
Whoever said we didn’t get lucky that night, huh?😉
Next time on How I Met Your Father: Silence of the Interfering Lambs – how to get meddling family members and neighbours to shut up.
Hey Kids, it’s “the drunk one” again. Due to the vision of movie rights, book sales and TV scripts (not to forget, pressure from your mother and your cool and wise aunt Leo) I have decided to share my experiences again.
You won’t believe this (neither do I) but there is a show on MTV called Friendzone. Ya, a show about people that are in the friend zone and want to get out, so that they can be in relationships. Oh, friend zone is when a male and a female are really good friends (most cases best friends) and they would NOT have sexual relations of any kind together. Everything else they do, for instance, share deep and dark stories, goofy moments, watch the same shows together, be a wing man/wing woman, etc.
I watched about two hours of Friendzone (I woke up drunk and could not get back to sleep) and I realised a couple of things. Americans are crazy, MTV has a bias for attractive women (not that I’m complaining) and this show was setup for failure. Basically the message was “what the heart wants….”, “if it feels right you should go for it”, “let the other person know how you feel”, “emotions are a bitch”, “friends can become/have more”, and “being in the friend zone sucks”.
What’s about to happen is going to be strange but work with me here. I’m not going to talk about being in the friend zone and wanting out, that’s a story for another time. Probably more of a rant as opposed to a story. Anyway, the notion of “if it feels right you should go for it” stuck out to me. As Captain Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest) eloquently said, “I love those moments. I like to wave at them as they pass by.”
I had a crush on this girl for the longest time. Probably still have a crush but the craziest thing is, I should have said/done something from Day 1. Hypothetical situation – things would have worked out and I should be proposing very soon. I swear! She’s perfect in every possible way. Beautiful, smart, hardworking, takes no bullshit, knows what she wants, she ticks all the boxes and boxes that don’t exist. If I could marry her today, I would. I would even put down the bottle for her, climb a mountain and dig up a spring. I would start World War III for her.
I could only see her in a crowded room and we always smiled. Why I smiled? I don’t know, I guess that’s the effect she had on me. The world didn’t exist when I was with her, it was just a blur that surrounded God’s gift to me. The most beautiful woman I have ever seen (I had to tell her…. Once! Over social media and after a couple of beers. Ya, I’m that useless).
But here’s my story. I couldn’t do the right thing because I enjoyed doing the wrong thing. Doing the wrong thing became doing the right thing and doing the right thing was actually doing the wrong thing. It’s crazy! Every year I would say “maybe I should try telling her how I feel”, but then one night with the boys and a short skirt later, I would reconsider that thought. It’s not like there was anything wrong with her. There was nothing wrong with her. I just loved the streets too much and I wasn’t about to put the bottle down, stop chasing short skirts or ignoring the late night WhatsApps that say “are you awake?” I couldn’t do it. I tried! I tried leaving the streets but each time I came close, another short skirt would walk past me and smile. It was only polite for me to ask where she was going.
I tried putting in an extra bit of effort a while back. I figured it was time to put down the bottle, stop chasing short skirts and to get this woman lying next to me out of my bed. She had over stayed her welcome and I needed to be serious. Well, at least try to be serious. I chatted to my overly extended crush, helped her out here and there (which meant I got to see her more). I was making very slow progress, which was cool. I was patient enough. The streets didn’t like that. Not one bit! There was something in the air that weekend. And the weekend after that. And the weekend after that. Three absolutely crazy weekends in a row which consisted of the boys, booze, blunt and booty. The streets were good to me. I couldn’t leave. Not just yet, I hadn’t finished roaming the streets, drinking like it was the World War or chasing the skirts. Not just yet. I was doing the wrong thing but also doing the right thing. See how crazy it is?
I think she liked me as well. She was always smiling when she saw me. I guess she was always happy to see this drunk. I was dating someone at the time (stop laughing) and I bumped into her whilst I was with my girlfriend in the streets. We all talked for a bit and I imagined myself on the other side of the conversation, holding my crush’s hand. Dick move, I know. As the goodbyes were being said, I expertly snuck in a joke that meant as we went our separate ways I could maintain eye contact with her and have a moment. It worked (Obviously. You think I don’t know how to create a moment in the streets? It’s my turf!) and we had a moment. The world was a blur, people didn’t exist, the engine of the cars were mute and it was just her and I. The way it should have been.
It was a chilly winter’s night and it was time to say goodbye. Her goodbye was for the moment, my goodbye was for a very long time. I was leaving Cape Town but I didn’t tell her. I couldn’t, I guess I was being hopeful that I’m leaving for a short time but the reality was, I’m leaving for a very long time. She waved at me through the window of her car with that smile that could start a World War. I waved back with a smile of sadness. She drove off and for the first time in my life, I actually watched a female leave. I’m used to saying bye, tapping her ass and smiling as if to say “you’ll be back.” As she drove closer to the T-junction, my smile faded. She indicated right, wanting to make the turn that would lead her home. She stopped at the junction and waited for her right of way.
If this was a movie I would have run up to the car, the rain would have just come out of nowhere to set the mood right, and 50 metres would be made to look like 500 metres. But no, this was reality. The brake lights were well lit – this is how it ends, the right indicator was flashing periodically – maybe you should run and Cape Town will provide the rain. I took a deep breath as I watched her turn out of my life for the final time.
There are good guys out there in Cape Town. Depending on the female in question, I was a good guy. If you really break down that statement it will actually show I was NOT a good guy, but that’s a technicality. I have no regrets about the above situation. I was doing the right thing every single time. It can be argued “I wasn’t man enough” or “I wasn’t ready for a relationship” or “I’m a f***g idiot”. All valid points, but doing the wrong thing was in fact, doing the right thing. And I feel this happens to a lot of people on a daily basis, including on Friendzone. Sometimes you got to do the wrong thing for example, (this actually happened on Friendzone) John told Jane, his best friend, he likes her. Jane is Jake’s ex and Jake is John’s best friend. It gets crazier, all three of them live in the SAME APARTMENT (see why I say Americans are crazy?). John did the wrong thing which turned out to be the right thing because after 5 weeks, they’re still dating AND living in the same apartment. Only in America!