Kids, for every horrible AF bad online date, there was that rare gem : a hot, smart, funny, geeky and easy-to-talk-to guy who made butterflies flutter in my tummy and turned me into a giggling idiot…
Such was the case with GreyBae, a good looking bachelor from Sea Point ,whom I started chatting to in the Autumn of 2017.
From the get go,we clicked – laughing at his silly profile moniker; chatting about our travels and discussing the importance of sibling relationships.
He took an active interest in what I did for a living and fun and shared stories about his cat. We seemed to like the same TV series and we were sharing what we were up to every day.
For the first time ever, I also really enjoyed letting the conversation take on a more sensual nature… while watching the animated Beauty and the Beast, GreyBae got me hot and bothered, by playing out an online role play of the two of us as Game of Thrones’s Khal Drogo and Khaleesi.
And just when I let my imagination run away with me, planning on how I was going to introduce him to my friends and family, the dates we’d have and the really, really hot role playing we were going to do in real life ( nudge, nudge, wink, wink!), my perfect online guy… deleted his f***ing account!
I wanted to kick and scream and throw a toddler-sized epic tantrum at the goddamned unfairness of it all. I’d finally “met” someone I could see a short-term future with and he upped and left!
There was no explanation for why he’s hightailed it. Like I said, we’ve ended our last conversation on a, uh, hard and satisfying note so I was fully expecting more of the same the day after.
But my dream guy was gone like the mist before the sun and I was once again left to fend off the crazies and stalkers of the online dating world.
Dearest Godkids, the year was 2017 and believe it or not, your fave uncle Leon had just turned 29 for the third time.
Kids, by the time you read this, you will probably be 30. After navigating the perilous waters of your twenties and going through multiple quarter-life crises you (having not been raised by me) would have come to learn a few hard truths.
As your mom’s year of being dirty thirty had come to an end I thought I would weigh in on what to expect when you wake up after your big 30th with a dry mouth, a sore head and sans underwear to the horrible realization that alcohol poisoning was not one of the gifts you received.
A lot of things happened in my 30th year, but two major life changing events led me to become a better person, or rather, someone who knew where they are going and what they are doing with their lives.
Our 20s were spent stalking, kissing boys (and girls) and generally discovering who we were. So what have I learnt?
Don’t be afraid of change
Sometimes things happen that are out of your control and that’s okay. Put your control freak tendencies aside and accept it. The more you resist the greater your chances of not succeeding. If it seems that bad, identify why you think that and provide solutions not problems.
They say the only constant is change.
Love always don’t come easy but nothing does.
Kiss a lot of frogs and don’t be ashamed about it. Finding that mythical “the one” is a load of hogwash despite what your mom would have you believe. Find that one for now, whether it be 3 months, 3 years or 30 years. Your time will come. And if it doesn’t, then fuck it. Next!
As clichéd as it sounds do your best to do something you love or have a great passion for. Or that pays you a truckload of money.
Waking up every day miserable and becoming physically ill at the thought of going in to work is never a pleasant experience. Don’t be afraid to risk it and just up and quit. Having a back up plan helps but sometimes you go wherever life may lead you.
It may not always be easy but you won’t be able to say you didn’t learn something along the way.
Go on adventures
Lots of adventures. It can be slut night out discovering the city like you haven’t before, a weekend stalking mission pretty much like how your mom first encountered your dad or just deciding to save up and travel the world. Alone. But do not ever be afraid to live your life on your own terms.
Appreciate your friends, loyalty is important
Your mom and I have been friends since forever. Trust and loyalty is key. Pretty boys and girls will come and go but your friends are always the ones to help pick up the pieces. Surround yourself with people who “get” you. Who forgive your flaws and imperfections and celebrate your successes.
Be healthy, take care of yourself.
You can’t have fun if you’re constantly feeling like death warmed up. Start your heavy drinking early so your liver knows how to deal with alcohol. Stay away from substances that require more than just blowing smoke.
Drink water, eat carbs and try to exercise at least once every six months.
Just be you.
You is special, you is smart, you is kind.
Or something like that.
Don’t be afraid. Remember your fucks are finite so don’t go handing them out all willy nilly. You’re my godkids so of course you are awesome. Remember that.
Kids,every so often online news agencies and magazines picked up on my never-ending hilarious tales to you. In February 2017, your aunt Nadia convinced me to share some of my horror dating stories with her.
Kids, unlike that siren of the noughties, Kelis, my milkshake did not, in fact, bring all the boys to the yard …
Nay, in typical Bridget Jonesesque behaviour, I brought all the crazies to your Nan and Cape Town’s nether regions … wait, stop snickering, let me re-phrase that. I tended to bring forth the definitely unhinged to the shores of my home.
In January 2017, I hit the jackpot of crazy online daters: Mr Love Boat!
We swiped right on each other and in the space of a day and half had worked up quite the repartee.
A newly retired cruise barman, Mr Love Boat was a 39-year-old conversationalist who had docked permanently in Franschhoek. So far, so good.
Here was a man who was well-traveled (he spoke of unbelievable vistas in Portugal, regaled me with funny stories of patrons in Spain and seemed to have the travel bug as bad as I did). That he now lived with his parents was questionable but excusable because after working on the high seas for the better part of 15 years, he hadn’t needed a permanent residence before.
When he jokingly ( or so I assumed) told me about the few very drunk guests he had to get physical with on-board his ship, a warning light sounded in my mind but not enough to stop chatting to him.
I really needed to start listening to my inner voice of reason…
By Day Two, Mr Love Boat had a mild bullying tone going on, and refusing to express an interest in asking me any questions about myself, even though we’d spent most of our conversation talking about him.
Kids, every now and again, when the horrors of online dating got too much for me, I’d pack up my bags and hot foot it to another city to clear my head. Johannesburg, or Jozi as it is affectionately known, and a visit with your godfather Leon beckoned in March 2017…
In celebration of Lee’s 29th (again, haha) birthday and so that I could be his personal photographer all weekend long, we sampled all of the city’s ample delights including:
Your Spirit Mom Leo and I have been to the Cape Town branch of Beefcakes so often, we have our designated table so it was only right for me to pay the JHB restaurant a visit too…
And boy, was I delighted with their considerable, uh, assets:
My imaginary love affair with the hot AF theatre legend Jonathan Roxmouth was well documented on social media and so I just couldn’t miss the opportunity to watch him again in the local production of the iconic musical, West Side Story.
To 2017, my favourite Tony has my heart:
@FazielahW much much appreciated Fazielah. Thank you
Kids, generally I took a break from online dating in February each year before I met your father, because the month of love tended to bring out the crazies.
Unfortunately, I didn’t heed my own sage advice in 2017 and so I was confronted with the good, the bad and the downright ugly of online dating:
MusoSuperhero (31) was a comic book lover who enjoyed playing in a band on his off weekends. He was fun, keen to chat to me daily and was always texting me when he had a moment to ensure I didn’t think he was neglecting me.
With his quirky sense of humour and dedication to his family, we seemed to be a good match and I couldn’t wait to meet him. More about him in a future story!
Sigh…. for every good online dater, there are the bad apples. Like FratBoy24 who, after assuring me left, right and centre that he would NOT ask me for nudie pics if I gave him my number, promptly did so.
Boy, don’t make me slap you:
After refusing to send him photos of my lady pillows steadfastly over the course of Valentine’s Day, the asshole started ghosting me.
F*** it! NEXT!
The downright ugly:
In this category we have two horrible contenders. Let’s start with Turkish Delight.
A halting banter, because of his broken English, ensued for the better part of a week and we’d agreed to meet the following week.
In the middle of a standard “how’s your day going” conversation, Turkish Delight hits me with: “How big are your bum and tits?”
Nothing in the conversation leading up to this was sexual in any way so where the hell did that come from?
After berating him for treating me like an online escort, I blocked his ass faster that he could say “Güle güle”
If I thought that was bad, OkStupid dutifully spat out this gem:
I kid you not!
Gods, why was finding someone to date so bloody difficult?!
No, I’m not referring to the delicious American Southern deep fried fish. For those not up to speed with the neologism here’s the Urban Dictionary’s definition:
“A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other Social Media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.”
The term was coined by the critically acclaimed documentary of the same title in 2010.
Now a MTV television series, filmed by Yaniv “Nev” Schulman whose own online love drama was the subject of the original film. He and fellow filmmaker Max Joseph now travel all over the USA to tell stories of these hopeful online romantics who meet in real life for the first time…more often than not some are met with shocking revelations.
In today’s fast-paced digital world where most of us are plugged in, logged on 24/7, time becomes a rare commodity more precious than gold.
Many new millennials are keen entrepreneurs, which leaves very little free time to none at all. This doesn’t bode so well for the love life. So how do singletons in the new millennia find their ‘soulmate’ without wasting time?
The answer may seem surprisingly simple, but gets a little more complicated as we go along.
Thanks to websites such as eharmony.com, match.com, Tinder app and countless others, why waste your time with endless dates to find out if you’re compatible when you can just login and after a few swipes left or right your “dream” match is at your fingertips?….or is he/she?
There have been a few matches made in (online) heaven – hurrah for them! But let’s get real for a minute the majority of people hooking up online do not end in happily ever afters.
It’s human nature to preserve the ego and what better way to make oneself appear to be the ideal mate/lover than from the comfort of behind your own computer screen?
No one knows who you really are in cyberspace right? So if you could be anyone you wanted to be, why not choose to be the perfect mate? Whether it’s a super fit, toned, bronze, tall, perfectly white Chiclettoothed hero or a blonde bombshell with the perfect 363436…No one’s going to know that your gym membership expired a decade ago and the closest you’ve gotten to sports is watching Wimbledon from the comfort of your armchair.
Naturally, it all starts with playful banter and a few witty posts. Likes on every picture you post, flirtatious innuendos soon follow and then the conversation swiftly moves offline to whatsapp or sms.
Depending on the individual’s need for the next fix of attention from their cyber infatuation, these lines of communication can rapidly progress to phone calls.
You rack up the phone bill whilst having endless discussions of the sun, moon, stars and everything in between. This has got to be ‘The One’. You inevitably share your secrets, desires and maybe a nudie pic or two.
If you’re lucky you may get a skype video call here or there, but the true catfish never ever reveal their true identity and will leave you dangling on a wickedly tempting string…always wanting more.
Here’s the catch, after a period of time you decide you want to meet Mr X or Miss Z and attempt to set up an actual real-life, in-the-flesh date.
You thank your lucky stars that at last they agree to meet with you. You set up a date or meeting time, but predictably the person of your dreams at the last minute cannot meet due to family emergency/car broke down/ world falling apart …you take your pick from any of the countless excuses.
All the while knowing that should you actually meet in person, that 1.7m blonde haired blue eyed Nordic prince charming whom you’ve shown your tatas to is none other than your geeky 15 year old teenage neighbour with braces. Who wouldn’t actually even know what to do with your tatas should he be so lucky to even see them in real life!
From my own personal experience I know people aren’t who they always say they are online.
A past flame was really witty and enigmatic on Twitter, in real life he was no player at all but rather an awkward introvert.
Now I know this might sound clichéd to some, but I’m the kind of person who falls in love with the mind and not a person’s physical appearance. If you don’t believe me just take a look at my track record, they were not all lookers but they were perfect in my eyes.
I travelled halfway round the world once to visit a myspace crush only to find he wasn’t exactly as I had imagined. His profile picture was several years old for starters, but he was a perfect gentleman and to this day we remain good friends.
Online romances always seem so much more mysterious and exciting, where you can imagine any number of things about your would be future partner.
Alas, they do not always meet your far away expectations and leave you disillusioned and jaded instead.
I have forged firm friendships spanning a decade from the days of Myspace, crossing over to Facebook and now eventually Twitter.
In Cape Town I’ve met several bloggers, Twitter pals and Instagram friends in person and thank goodness they’ve all turned out to be exactly who they said they are…no psycho killers or creepy peeping toms.
As a busy singleton in my 30s it’s very tempting to log on to Tinder and find my “dream” date at the touch of a button. But the inner paranoid cynic inside my head screams loudly to heed the warning signs.
Does that mean I’m going to stop chatting to the charming, older guy with the handsome mug on Facebook (oh Lord I hope that profile picture is real)? Probably not.
It just means I am going to be wary of letting my feelings run away with me until we’ve met for real in a well lit public place. Safety first ladies ;)
Now don’t get me wrong, not all people who go online to seek love are false some of them are just as real as you or I.
I just don’t think I’ll be signing up to Tinder or any match sites anytime soon. I’m not in any hurry to find ‘anyone’, but if they find me…well that’s an entirely different story.
In the end, ladies, whether you’re looking for Mr Right or Mr Right Now, via the online romance route, don’t get catfished and don’t say I didn’t warn you ;)
Kids, on Valentine’s Day in 2017, I found #LoveAtFirstBite with Dunkin Donuts…
Ok, fine, I fell in love with their quirky heart shaped offerings BUT I also experienced a resurgence of faith in the speed dating industry after attending the Dunkin Donuts ‘#LoveAtFirstBite speed dating event on Monday 13 February, 2017.
I know I said I’d NEVER attend another speed dating event after the disaster in 2015 but you know, hope springs eternal and come on, who can say not to donuts?
Here’s why the #LoveAtFirstBite experience rocked my dating world:
Men, men, me EVERYWHERE:
I “dated” nine men in the space of 40 minutes …the fact that there were so many guys for the first time at a speed dating event was heartening AND they were relatively good looking!
2. Talk to me, baby:
Behold the blessings of a good conversationalist! A few of them, like Ryan, the hot primary school teacher ( awww, he loves kids and giving back to the community!) made the five minutes allocated to getting to know each other fly by with their interesting anecdotes.
3. Keeping things sweet:
Look, I’d be lying if I said the real reason I was there was to potentially meet your father … because let’s be honest, I love sweet things and, donuts, like a lot!
Besides the romantic #LoveAtFirstBite deal Dunkin Donuts was running for Valentine’s Day, they kept us sweet all night with special editions of their famous product and ice coffee. My favourite was the Hazelnut flavour and the choc choc heart!
A post shared by Fazielah Williams (@fazielahwilliams) on
Did Cupid’s Arrow hit my voluptuous butt at the Dunkin Donuts event? Who knows … the point is, the evening gave me renewed faith in love, sugar and singledom and that, Kids, is all I needed to meet your father.
It is a universal fact of life that just when you think you have the hang of the adult thing , Life will bitch slap you and prove that just like Jon Snow, you know nothing!
See, in 2017, the month after my return from the Big Apple, adulting hit me hard …so hard in fact , that, I was pretty sure I’d be living off two minute Maggi noodles for the rest of the f***ing year and saying goodbye to my dreams of travelling.
In a week that can only be described as the ninth circle of Dante’s Inferno, I had the most f***ked seven days of bad online dating ( we’ll chat about that next time); home renovations where the builders left more damage than they fixed and the unpleasant news that I needed surgery that would cost me an arm and a leg.
Add to that the fact that I was locked out of my own apartment complex because the building managers changed the f***ing locks without telling anyone and every second person I met asking me to define my ethnicity and marital status and you can understand why all I was craving was a walk through Central Park.
I used to hate it when adults told me not to be so impatient to grow up… I now understood what they meant.
The icing on the proverbial cake, of course, was that this was all happening in the lead up to Valentine’s Day and I was feeling my singleton status all the more keenly.
I knew I was a strong independent woman but when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles and an ever growing mountain of debt, I wished, just for a second, someone else would do the adulting for me and take the load off.
So it’s that time of year again and you find yourself Bridget Jonesing through life, do you stay at home and hide or do you celebrate?
As tempting as it is to stalk your crush’s profile for the umpteenth time…don’t do it for the love of your own sanity. You know that he knows that you’ve been watching. So put down the ice cream and step away from the computer or close the app on your phone. There is only one option for us single gals and that is to throw yourself a Big, Phat Party and celebrate! How? You ask. Here are my Top 10 survival tips for single gals on Valentine’s Day:
1. 50 Shades Darker – oh come on now let’s not be coy you’ve read all 3 books so go grab a group of your nearest and dearest gal pals and go watch the damn movie!
2. How about a good old fashion book club (*wink*wink*)? Discuss the 50 shades book with your girls whilst imbibing copious amounts of bubbly and discussing at great lengths why piercing blue eyed Ian Somerhalder was not cast as Mr Grey.
3. You know those 2 for one happy hour specials? Now you can have BOTH 🙂 Get your Carrie on! Yay you! (please don’t drive if you choose this option)
4. How about a Movie Marathon? Jacob and Edward vs Carrie Bradshaw ? Take your pick…or why not watch both…?
5. You know that ridiculous amount of money you would’ve blown on a romantic weekend away for two? How about that awesome pair of Manolos that you have been eyeing since well before christmas? Go BUY those damn HEELS!
6. Hop on to The Entertainer App and find a great spa deal for you and your BFF…or take the whole gaggle of girls. What could be more fun than being pampered with your friends?
7. Travelstart has some great domestic local flights for only R499 one way, so perhaps you should still take that weekend away for yourself! Enjoy the Dolce far niente….’the sweetness of doing nothing’ on your own weekend Eat, Pray, Love.
8. How about spending some time with your loved ones? Prepare a nice home cooked meal for your family, crack open that bottle you’ve been saving and share some good laughs.
9. Do something you’ve always wanted to do. That chocolate truffle making course? Abseiling off of Table Mountain (not me) ? Learning how to surf (maybe)… cute instructor included 😉 #Justsaying
10. Last but not least, most importantly, is make time for you. Don’t get so swept up in the day’s activities that you forget the greatest love of all is self love. Take time to nurture that with perhaps a quiet stroll on the beach to gather your thoughts. Or pen your thoughts in a journal. Create a Vision board of your goals, dreams and desires of where you see yourself in the next few years. Don’t be so hung up on not having a romantic partner that you lose sight of the most important person in your life……YOU!
There you have it ladies, whether you’re a Carrie or a Bridget wishing you a fantastic Valentine’s Day filled with Love!
I was absolutely mortified for a split second, thinking that I had now further endorsed Americans ‘views on African citizens being uncouth. Then I realised, well f*** it, at least one other person had seen my fabulous ass in the Big Apple, and that’s ok with me.
Hey Fazie’s kids, it’s your Uncle Tendai here and I’ve got some advice for ya…
There comes a time when you take the leap of faith and you go into a situation head first without thinking. Emotions are the worst! They take over and you find yourself doing things you thought you would never do. Oddly enough, it’s a good thing! So my advice to you – take the leap! Stop over thinking and just do it.
Last time I was here (eons ago) I wrote about how doing the wrong thing is the right thing to do. Yup! That still applies. I did the wrong thing and it was the right thing to do. It’s a weird concept but work with me here. Take the worst/best decision you’ve ever made in a situation of a relationship – building them up, lying, telling them the truth to the point that it hurts, etc. It was the wrong thing to do but at the end of it, it was the right thing to do. Wrong because you’ve wronged the person, but right because it shows how you truly felt. Your true emotions and intentions were shown when you made the selfish decision.
I did the wrong thing (again) but it was the right thing to do. A part of me says there was a better way (which is true) but at that point in time, I didn’t see it that way. So I made the call! I hurt her in ways that are insanely crazy. Hold up! I’m not saying hurting her was wrong and right. Not that at all! I had failed in a lot of things. Failed! And that’s what hurts – I fucked up the vision. And as I write this, I really wish I hadn’t fucked up the vision because it was a fucking bad ass vision.
I digress, I hurt her and I apologized for it. I fucked up the vision and it killed me. Ever since my selfish decision that I wish I could reverse, I have been catching L’s like the 76ers 28 game losing streak. Ya, the L’s keep rolling in. But I’ve been getting a couple of wins. An L turned into a massive win and I’m grateful that it has turned into a W. I feel good, I believe again and I’m feeling better than I was a month ago. I did the wrong thing but it was the right thing to do because I’m sure she’s doing well, if not better. She’s extremely strong and if you need someone to carry your weight, I recommend her. I can go on and on as to how strong she is but I can’t. Not today! It needs a sit down.
Why it was the right thing to do – I broke up with her. There was no need for her to go through another second of the pain I had caused. It was wrong because there was a better way, but it was right. Why do we go back after we break up with you? We thought we could handle a life without you. Not when it’s one of your longest friends. You can live without the relationship but you cannot live without the friendship.
Doing the wrong thing is the right thing to do. I still stand by that. It applies to the good that you do. Don’t dwell too much on the bad. It ain’t like that at all. The wrong thing to do could be focusing on her career and neglecting your own (which was the right thing). The wrong thing to do could be turning your 11 year friendship into a relationship (which was the right thing). The wrong thing to do could be…
Kids, coming back from New York in January 2017 was a hard and difficult task but I was determined to live each day of the New Year with brazen boldness and that principle needed to be applied to my dating life too.
Only to meet WarAngel03 on OkCupid, who seemed to check out okay, from his profile. Like books,though, never judge a man by his online profile.
The conversation started out with the usual small talk – where we’re from, what we’re up to etc- when , of course he wanted to move onto WhatsApp.
Now, as I have mentioned before, I wasn’t keen on moving to a more personal platform immediately if the guy in question wasn’t a stimulating conversationalist or was going to bother me at all hours of the day with senseless texts. I had a sixth sense this dude was going to be one of the latter and I was in no mood for it.
But, I had promised myself and my poor, long-suffering mother, I wasn’t going to be mean or offhand with guys in 2017, so I playfully asked WarAngel03 to tell me more about himself and why he was worthy of getting my digits.
Here is what he responded with:
Needy much? I didn’t have time for a repeat of Mr Overeager 2 . Sweet as he seemed, this oversharing did not make for an attractive match. I mean, come on, do I fucking look like Dr Phil to you??!
“Say you’ll share with me one love,one lifetime /Say the word and I will follow you”
Kids,as my solo trip to New York came to an end in early January 2017, I was no where near ready to say goodbye to the Big Apple.
More importantly, I wasn’t ready to take my leave of the person I was there – a confident, free-spirited traveller who wasn’t afraid to take on new and amazing adventures or experiences.
The girl you see in the picture above is radiant with satisifaction; has a lust for life and most importantly, she is happy …
Happy,guys, honest-to-the-gods happy – the black moods that sometimes dominated my Capetonian nights and days;the insecurities that overwhelmed me at home didn’t exist in New York.
And while I know I was living in a bubble because life isn’t all subway rides and walks in Central Park; I wasn’t in a hurry to get back to the Mother City to be the awkward singleton who doesn’t get invited to her godchildren’s birthday parties because her status makes the other guests uncomfortable.
In New York, I grabbed opportunities to be the centre of attention by the balls (including being the fake VIP guest on an NBC Tour show):
In Cape Town, I was so used to being second or last choice, I didn’t even bother volunteering for shit at all.
In New York, I rode the subway often and only got lost a few times -in Cape Town, the train was a last-minute,I’m fucked and I need transport resort:
I fit in New York – for the first time,it felt like I fit my surroundings.In Cape Town, I was always a beat or two behind everyone else -people who had their shit together; people who shared the same sense of humour and the same boring plan for life; people who effoetlessly met their spouses/co-parents/lovers/partners and lived the picket white fence lifestyle. I couldn’t catch-up and I was tired of trying.
I wanted to stay in New York where I belonged,Kids …
But all good things must come to an end and,though I had to leave , I made a promise to myself (and one that would set me on the path to meeting your father and finally having you!) : I’d live every day of 2017 as fearlessly and passionately as if I were in New York!
Kids,in December 2016, I travelled alone to New York City and people,who should have known better,kept asking why?
Them : “Why would you do that? And alone too? That’s crazy!”
Me (thinking it internally but I should have said it out loud): “I’m f***ing off to the other side of the world because I am sick to death of your narrow-mindedness; your gossiping about my sexuality; your assumptions that I must hate men and children because I have neither when it couldn’t be further from the f***ing truth and you don’t know how hard I have to work to keep my desire for having a baby under control; because you assholes talk about me maliciously on Facebook where the world AND I can see it and you don’t even think about my feelings,do you?!!”
Like I said, there were many reasons why I travelled solo to the Big Apple but ultimately only one really mattered …my happiness.
In the space of just one week, New York quickly made me feel at home by:
1) Making me feel like a local:
Sure,I got lost so many times but somehow I always ended up where I was intending on going later,like Central Park, so it worked out!
2) Inspiring me on the daily:
There were so many things to see and do in New York that inspiration was seeping into my pores all of the time.I felt re-energised and motivated for the first time in a long time and I wanted to write again.Not just about one attraction as I had been for the past two years but about a variety of topics!
Staring out at the city line from the Top of the Rock, I knew it was time for a career change.
3) Putting me at ease about difficult choices I’d made previously:
When I left a side project as a theater reviewer in 2015 because my family needed me emotionally, physically and financially to help with my dying grandfather; people didn’t understand and so many of them faded away from my life because I was no longer available to be frivolous and fun at a red carpet opening night three times a week.
It felt like a horrible thing at the time but I do not regret spending 2016 taking care of Pa ,our family or dedicating myself to my magic career that year either…both elements thrived because I was focused and I am eternally thankful for it.
As I took in a number of Broadway shows in December, I realised that things had come full circle and this,this opportunity right here, to see award-winning international shows was meant to be all along.I have always been a theatre lover -I didn’t need to be “famous” to prove it.
4) Seeding a sense of wonder for myself :
Thanks to the mind and emotional f***ery of He Who Must Not Be Named; being dumped by my travel buddy; warring family wanting Pa’s estate and all of the malicious gossipers; my sense of self-worth was f***ed royally.
Having my wits and determination to depend on to guide me and keep myself safe in the Big Apple rebirthed my self-belief.
I felt imbued with new-found confidence in the Wonder Woman I know I can be. I worked hard to get to New York again and I could do that and so much more if I just tried.
F*** the haters in my world, I am f***ing AWESOME!!
I loved New York,where I was free to be me SO much, I didn’t want to go home …
Kids, in 2016, New York City was stalking me like my all-time favourite musical character, The Phantom of the Opera…
“In sleep he sang to me In dreams he came That voice which calls to me and speaks my name “
Yes, yes, I know, being in love with a dark, mysterious man and hoping he’ll lure me to his underground lair indicates a seriously weird view of love but I was six when I fell in love with the Phantom, ok? You can’t undo a lifelong passion for Erik ( not coincidentally the name of my other forbidden love Alexander Skarsgard‘s character in True Blood!) …
As I toiled through a seriously f***ked up year with my dying grandfather, losing friends and general adulting f***ery, the Big Apple was appearing in my dreams on a regular basis – showing me visions of hosting my baby shower in a hipster-styled warehouse in downtown Manhattan, with the Backstreet Boys performing as special guests ( don’t ask!) and walking beneath Brooklyn Bridge with that jackass.
I didn’t have to be a shrink or a psychic to figure out that my dreams were wish-fulfillment, fantasies of wanting to escape my current situation and longing to have you but damn, did New York look enticing in my slumber!
In September of 2016, I unexpectedly received an invitation to accompany a friend and her family to the Big Apple for Christmas and I was totally floored – my secret wish to return to the concrete jungle was coming true… OMG!
Three months of planning and making arrangements for my daily life followed and by the first week of December, I was SO excited, I couldn’t wait to jet off to my dream city.
My travelling companion cancelled at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances and it devastated me. I felt like the same rejected kid I had been my entire life – always chosen last by friends, family, colleagues for everything.
It totally threw my life balance out of whack and I turned into this scared Moaning Myrtle who was suddenly too afraid to travel solo …who was this insecure person and what had happened to the fearless adventurer I had been before?!
After a few days of indecision and agonizing, I decided f*** it, I was still travelling to New York City … I was stronger and braver than I knew, I could do this.
Solo travel had always helped me discover myself before and helped me fall back in love with the independent, free-spirit I knew myself to be.
After a year of putting my family’s needs, my clients’projects and my friends’dreams before my own, I needed a time-out to just be me – to break out of the constraints I’d put on myself, to live, to breathe, to be me.
And that, Kids, is how I re-met New York.
Follow my Big Apple adventures on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook from Thursday 22 December, 2016 to Tuesday 3 January, 2017!
“Good Morning, Sleeping Beauty! Was that as good for you as it was for me?” he asked, with a smirk.
Kids, this was the line I woke up to on a plane in Istanbul in November 2010, from the gorgeous guy whose personal space I had totally invaded during the long haul flight from Johannesburg.
To say I was mortified is an understatement!
Not only had I acquired a seat mate I had NO recollection of meeting, but apparently I’d been drooling all night on his very hunky shoulder. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he was now staring into my flight seat bed head and wrinkled face… NOOOO!!!!
Definitely zero chance of me joining the mile high club then! Oh, just stop it with your “TMI, MOM!” nonsense!
As I prepared to jet off for my fourth international trip in 2016, I couldn’t help reflecting back on my guy on the plane and giggle. So many embarrassing but fun things happen when you have the courage to travel solo 😉
Kids, at times when the search for your father seemed to come to a complete stand still, it was good to get out of Cape Town and have some fun (and go where there was sure to be hot, single men …we hoped!). Luckily for your god mom Marisa and I, we were invited to the ultra-cool, must-do Darling Summer Beer Festival on Saturday 3 December, 2016.
Co-hosted by the local brewery Darling Brew and Darling Tourism , this fun day out in the gorgeous dorpie (little town) featured stalls by local cider, beer and foodie producers (Riot Brewery, Savage Brewery, Flagship Brewery, Mountain Brewing Company and Everson’s Cider& Decider) and live music from up and coming bands like Red Tape Riot, Jimm Harisson Project & Stone Jets.
I lost my foodie heart to the Flying Pig, who conjured up such a magical Cuban sandwich, I kept dreaming about it for days after the event.
Our eclectic mix of Igers was transported to the Festival in a super rad Nomad Tours truck and let me tell you, it’s a driving experience unlike any other I have ever had.
I’ll readily admit that I wasn’t much of a craft beer drinker before the Festival ( the last time I had chugged down some ale was when I was trying to impress Monroe on a night out …and we all know how well that turned out –NOT!) but I thoroughly enjoyed the Gypsy Mask and the Midnight Hawk brews.
One of the stalls at the market made a mean beer-infused ice cream that was easily my favourite item of the day!
These are some of our tasty memories of the Festival:
Kids, in the Spring of 2016, I felt a lot like Kate Winslet’s Iris in one of my all-time favourite movies, The Holiday …I was once again hurting like someone had tortured me for hours in the pits of Hell because the object of my unrequited love had been a complete and utter f***er!
See, after years of knowing me and after I had sent him a personal, secret birthday message on his special day, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named neglected to wish me on mine.
“Mom, you can’t expect everyone to remember your birthday every year!”, I hear you say, but, my loves, this is the same self-centred jackass who regularly stalked my social media feeds, liked posts and shared them and could quote things I’d said or done which he shouldn’t know about, on a regular basis.
And that was besides the stalking -in-person; standing on corners of streets watching me or sneaking up behind me at events and getting so far up into my personal space, it was indecent;that he did too.
I was hurt AF but still, wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt until…
We ran into each other at an event a few days later where, not only did he brush my birthday and his non-wishes aside, he couldn’t be arsed to congratulate me on a big career achievement properly and was quite mean about it too.
As he stood there, droning on about some unimportant thing, trying to engage me in conversation, I saw him clearly for the first time in a very, very long time.
Underneath the gorgeous face I had devoured with my eyes a million times over the years, aching to run my fingers over his handsome features, lied the true face of a narcissistic, cruel, sadistic jackass who knowingly and willing toyed with my heart and emotions for his own f***ed up pleasure.
My heart broke a little, thinking that it couldn’t be possible that someone I loved and cared for so deeply could be so incredibly cruel…not after I had spent so long, and especially the past year, supporting him, praising him and making him feel good.
In the past, if I so much as said a bad word to him, I couldn’t stand the hurt look on his face and I’d want to fix it immediately. So, how, HOW could he inflict pain on me so carelessly?!
When silence crept up on us this time, it wasn’t because we were lost in the bubble of each other – it’s because I had nothing to say to someone who was only looking for a fan club and was stealing my joy.
For years, I’d been going around thinking and telling friends how amazing he was, how talented, how sweet, how special … but actually, I was all of those things and he was denying me the right to be them.
I could tell that he knew the exact moment I fell out of love with him completely… he could see it in my eyes and the way he wasn’t having an effect on me as he’d had before.
Like Iris in The Holiday, I was miraculously cured:
Heartbreak and surviving it was by no means easy but as your aunt Lutfia often said to me, it takes a certain amount of bravery to fall in and out love with someone who doesn’t reciprocate and realise that you deserve so much more.
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world” – Louis Armstrong
Kids, I really hate the date 23 November. It’s the date in 2015 when we were told your great-grandfather was dying and it’s the date in 1996 when we lost your grandfather, my Dad, to a violent and senseless crime.
That this date is exactly a week after my birthday on 16 November, is something I have been haunted by for decades. It seems like a lifetime ago when one week my family and friends were gathered around one table celebrating my birth and the next, those same people were crying around a body.
It’s why I make a huge fuss about my birthday each year – I need to be surrounded by love and happiness because the next week, I won’t be.
On the 23rd, I withdraw from everything and everyone and I don’t usually talk about my Dad because even after all this time, the loss of him is equally painful and liberating. I know you won’t understand that, because you’ve never met him but Dad and I had a complex relationship. We still do.
It sounds clichéd, having Daddy issues, but my father was a force like no other. Fun-loving, daring, loving, passionate, creative and my all-time hero; Faizel Williams also had a very dark, frightening side I was often exposed to. I loved both parts of him in equal measures but I would be lying if I said it didn’t have an effect on how I engage with people, especially men, as an adult.
Eleven is a really young age to have to deal with grief – hell, your aunt Sam was eight – and a loss like that leaves an undeniable mark on your psyche, your soul and your heart.
Over the years, I’ve become accustomed to not having my Dad around for the big things – matric dances, first crushes, first boyfriends, first job, my graduations, my driver’s licence test, my first international trip, my wedding and your births.
It’s the small things, though, that still trip me up – I want to be able to call him when I am sad or mad or hungry; get a big bear hug when I need it or dance in the middle of a busy road because our favourite song is playing.
I ache for a missing parent but I count my lucky stars for the one who is still around. Your Nan Soraya, though, Kids, is unbelievably incredible. She’s been there for all of the big moments and every little one in between and she did it all on her own. Sam and I are so incredibly lucky to have such a Supermom!
On 23 November, 2016, Your Nan, Aunt Sam and I remembered your grandfather on his 20th death anniversary with one of his favourite songs:
Kids, I am exceptionally good at flirting with anything that moves when it comes to getting something I really, really want – like chocolate, another helping of dessert and a discount on my travel bookings.
When it comes to chatting up the opposite sex, though, I have no game. As in nada, zero, NOTHING!
It was a hot, gorgeous day at the mountain and I was waiting for my 12pm appointment. I figured it would be a routine tour of my company’s operations and I would be done with it but man, alive, was I in for a nice, good-looking surprise!
The minute I laid eyes on Wes in the reception area my tummy did a funny somersault and I started having all kinds of inappropriate fantasies.
Blonde, blue-eyed with a slight Goth vibe and extremely cute dimples, Wes was my type to a damn T and I hadn’t had that kind of reaction to a guy in a LONG time.
I got so flustered by how hot Wes was, I managed to walk into a door, knock into an open gate, drop my phone and blush so profusely, I looked like a dragon had scorched me – all in the space of 10 minutes.
Earth, swallow me whole!
The fact that he seemed to be bemused by my blunderings did not alleviate my embarrassment. I finally let the poor guy off the hook by leading him to a cable car and agreeing to catch-up on email before our next visit, where I would hopefully be much more composed.
Kids, on the eve of my 31st birthday, I was feeling overstimulated, overwhelmed and over-stressed by social media.
Besides the fact that it was literally my bread and butter, just trying to stay up to date with everything that was happening out in the digital world and my loved ones ‘social lives was incredibly tiring.
Not to mention the soul-crushing depression that comes with knowing exactly which people couldn’t be bothered to acknowledge my special day… I didn’t need that kind of rejection!
I’ve told you about how I became selectively social both online and offline after turning 30, right?
For my 31st birthday, I decided to try a social media experiment: I would go Internet, Wi-Fi, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, email and WhatsApp free for 31 hours.
Friends and family were freaking out about how they were going to contact me:
My response was:
“We’ll do it like people did it in 1985 when I was born … send snail mail or pick up a damn phone and call me!”
Physical interaction in the digital age was going the way of the Dodo and I, as a relic of the glorious 80s, refused to participate in its untimely demise.
Besides, if I wasn’t spending my birthday with my eyes glued to a screen, it freed me up to take in the (hopefully) handsome and available male sights all around me.Who knows if your Dad might have been lurking around somewhere?
Kids, by the spring of 2016, my cosplaying obsession was in full swing and with my all-time favourite holiday of the year, Halloween, coming up, there was just one more character I simply had to inhabit: the Zombie Bride of the Mother City at the Zombie Walk Cape Town 2016 event.
Your Uncle Leon laughs at me for this but my zombie alter ego had been steadily building up to major life milestones for several years – I’d been a cheerleader in 2014, a nurse in 2015 and now it was time for me to tie the undead knot.
Your Nan also really got into the spirit of wedding dress shopping … I know how much she’d been dying for that to happen!
29 October, 2016:
Cosplaying events are always way more fun with friends and so off your Uncle L and I went with Kaanita, Daniel, Ethan and Tania in tow, to join the hordes ( and I mean HORDES) of rotting bodies for Zombie Walk 2016.
These are some of our cool undead memories of the day:
I’d had countless unbelievable experiences ( hotel stays, theatre shows, concerts, restaurants meals and events) through my work as a travel writer and met world-renowned illusionists (with the front page newspaper coverage and national TV broadcasts to reflect my efforts) through my magical PR job so having my crazy dating and running stories recognised by Garmin was an all-new writing career high!
Kids, by the spring of 2016, I had been a novice runner for a year and a bit, competing in several racing events ,including the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon and the Gun Run.
I was having tons of fun blogging about my transformation from couch potato to relatively fit runner and to my surprise, running helped me get a new perspective on my love life (or lack thereof).
Here are five things running taught me about dating:
Just do it:
Procrastination might very well be my middle name because I was always putting off going for a run, in the same way I put off going on dates.
Whether I was hurriedly slipping into running trainers or high heeled boots, I always found that once I committed to the act of running or dating and actually did it, I felt much better afterwards.
To quote the most epic of philosophers, Nike:
No one runs and wins a half-marathon on their first go so what made me think I was going to meet The One immediately?
All good things come to those who train and dating was my training. I needed to give myself time and stick to a healthy regime of meeting new people at events I liked going to like Fan Con or Zombie Walk; online dating sites; parties; set-ups or speed dating hang-outs.
Being nervous is ok:
Man, did I get butterflies in my tummy before every run and date! My heart would race a mile a minute, my palms would be sweaty and I would be thinking “Why the f*** am I doing this?!” every five minutes in the lead-up to the big event.
Being nervous was ok, though, and helped me get excited about what lay ahead, both on the road and in love.
When you fall down, get back up:
Getting my heart broken or being stood up hurt every bit as much as falling flat on my ample sized butt on the road but if I could motivate myself to get back up and run again, I could get back out into the dating scene again too.
Sure, every WTF online dating pick-up line or extremely bad date made me want to run for the hills (ha-ha, pun totally intended!) but I managed to shake it off and bounce back stronger than before.
Having support is important:
Your Spirit Mom Leo was the one who set me on the path to running greatness by encouraging me to enter races, running some of them with me (and providing ample motivation in the form of naked Alexander Skarsgard, Matt Bomer and Henry Cavill photos …hee hee!) and providing a platform for me to document my progress with a monthly blog post.
A post shared by Leonie Mollentze (@leoniemollentze) on
Similarly, she and your Uncle Tendai listened to my crazy dating tales, tried setting me up on blind dates, were my wing people and told me some much needed motivational stories about their own love adventures.
No runner can do it alone and neither can a dater. House of Wyrd, you rock my world!
Running may not have had me quite on Whitney Houston’s path to love:
BUT it did get me out and about and on the road to happiness.
Kids, in the spring of 2016, I found myself having to defend being different to loved ones once again.
It had been a battle I constantly had to fight since childhood and even though I thought I was done explaining who and what I was at age 30, I had to re-introduce the concept of diversity to those closest to me.
That I was different from the culture and people I was born into was apparent from a very young age – I came home from my first day of primary school on the Cape Flats perplexed by the fact that this establishment did not have a cafeteria or lockers like I’d expected it to have ( let’s blame this on hours and hours of watching The Wonder Years).
In high school, my penchant for public speaking, poetry writing , black clothing, emo music, being vocal about women’s rights and having dreams that did not immediately include marriage set me apart from my peers and I constantly had to deal with “but why do you always have to be so different from everyone else? Can’t you just be normal?” comments from frenemies and bullies.
I struggled with depression as a teenager because being different was frowned upon and I twisted myself in all kinds of anxiety-ridden pretzels in an attempt to fit in …anywhere with anyone.
Finally, in my late 20s, I learnt to be comfortable with my weirdo self and share who I was with those in my inner circle.
It’s difficult, though, when the qualities I had worked so hard to cultivate in myself – strength, independence, free thinking, honesty, assertiveness, diligence, creativity, emotional vulnerability – were the very things people wouldn’t accept about me.
They used labels like weird, other, different as weapons in attacks on my character but were totally fine with me being that when it suited their needs.
I shed a few tears (ok, a lot of them!) at this renewed rejection but then I remembered something your Spirit Mom Leo shared with me soon after we met:
Being different in a world of sameness and sheep-like mentality is nothing to be ashamed about. I am, I was and I will always be weirdly different and it is more than okay – it is my damn birth right!
It’s yours too, my loves. You are extraordinarily wonderful just as you are and don’t you ever let anyone tell you differently xx
Kids, by 2016, I had had it with everyone from my grandmother to the guy at my local Spar poking their noses into my solo status and forcing their unsolicited opinions onto me about why it was that I was still single.
Here are 5 things I wish those people (smug marrieds, otherwise attached and even fellow singles too) would stop saying to singletons:
You’re too picky:
I’m going to let Madea take care of this one for me:
Let us be clear on one thing: I am NOT picky, I am selective – about who I spend time with and who I choose to be with. I am bloody amazing and I need my future partner to be of an equal standing to build a future with.
I will not settle for mediocre, boring AF men who have no ambition and interests, cannot support themselves or nurture and realise a family, just to make you feel better about me being single!
You’re just looking in all of the wrong places:
Oh, so that’s what I’ve been doing wrong all of this time?! Well, would you mind pointing me in the right direction there, Mr or Ms Know-It-All?
Because I am pretty sure I have looked f***ing EVERYWHERE – bars, bookstores, house parties, events, music concerts, meet-ups, blind dates, group hangouts, Tinder, OkCupid, Datingbuzz, speed dates, on international visits etc.
Every goddamn dating advice site or book tells singles to go to events and places that interest us and we’re bound to meet potential mates with similar interests.
Obviously I am the only comic book- reading, cosplaying, horror movie fanatic, musical-adoring, concert-going, pancake-addict, chocolate-devouring bookworm in the entire world or my soul mate lives on another planet.
Stop hating men so much:
Dear uneducated assholes …if you spent more than just five minutes of your sorry excuse of a life scrutinizing my singledom and how that reflects badly on you, you would see that I not only love men – I lust, crave, adore and want them in my life.
My undying, incurable, overwhelming desire to re-meet, mate with and marry this guy:
My frequent Beefcakes ‘visits, Magic Mike nights out and general flirting with everything that moves.
I may not always know when a guy is hitting on me but I sure as hell know how to put the moves on one when I feel like it. Like Christian Grey, my tastes in the opposite sex are very singular:
And for the love of the Seven, stop telling me that I might be a lesbian. I will admit that I tend to fall in love with a person’s heart and soul rather than their gender, but this blog isn’t called How I Met Your Father for nothing.
You’re still young – there is plenty of time to find The One:
I know it’s irrational but I feel as though I don’t have the time or the luxury of waiting for Mr Wonderful to show up – my eggs are expiring at an exponential rate.
Then again, Janet Jackson is having a baby at 50 so …ok, I’ll let this one slide.
Just stop looking and he will turn up:
Let me explain this in terms you’ll understand: you know that one handbag/car/house/clothing item/piece of jewellery etc you simply cannot live without and that you HAVE to find?
Yeah, that’s how we singles feel about our potential significant other.
Telling me to stop looking, wanting, searching for and dreaming about him, whoever he may be, is bloody torture. The more you tell me to quit looking, the more I am going to pretend to do just that but still secretly sign onto useless dating sites ,wonder if that cute guy at the café was just being nice or was really into me or imagine that my best male friend has been in love with me for forever.
Just stop giving me false hope that someday my Prince Charming is going to show up when I least expect it.
Kids, dating at the best of times is a minefield of awkward moments but online dating takes it to another level of “dear gods, why?!”
Your poor spirit mom Leo and Uncle Tendai were privy to my almost daily assault of just what the actual f*** opening lines or messages from wanna-be suitors, like this one:
Really?! Judging from my sweet profile pic where I am posing with our family fur kid Tigger, this guy thought I was into BDSM?
I didn’t even bother responding because a) he was not the Swedish god I want (Alexander Skarsgard shall forever be my one and only) and b) idiots and perverts aren’t worth my precious time … F*** it, NEXT!
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!).
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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.
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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 😉