Kids, in the spring of 2008, I was a fledgling junior publicist for a national TV station and at what I considered at the time, the peak of my career.
Working on some of the big local reality shows and top international sitcoms was a dream come true in many aspects and tons of fun. One of the highlights of working for this particular station was being flown to Johannesburg to attend the annual staff party.
This particular year, the party happened to coincide with my 23rd birthday and to say I was in a celebratory mood is an understatement. This excitement lead to me rocking an all-round glow which alarming so, led to an indecent proposal from one of my colleagues …
Saturday 15 November …
The music was pumping and I was shaking what your Nan gave me like the next day was my birthday (ha ha). High on a heady concoction of cocktails, excitement for my name day and pride at the fact that I’d won the Publicity Employee of the Year award, I didn’t pay much attention to the fact that Bryce, the hot programme scheduler was getting all up in my business.
Bryce, born in Cape Town, had joined our station after years of living in London and was rocking a sexy afro and even sexier British accent, reminiscent of Lenny Kravitz in a total bad ass way. The fact that he’d been a professional model before joining the broadcasting world just made him that more ridiculously good-looking and every girl (and some guys) had a crush on him. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t entertained some lustful thoughts about the dude myself … but I digress.
Back to the party … When I dance, I totally lose myself in the music. It’s actually quite a spiritual experience (you guys know this, of course, having seen me rock out to Fatman Scoop’s Be Faithful in our living room over the years!) so while Bryce was getting closer and closer, I didn’t really notice it until …
3, 2, 1 … Happy Birthday!
The crowd went wild, people were screaming my name and hugging me and I was delirious with happiness. Into all of the craziness steps Bryce, moving at a glacial pace to lean forward, hug me and plant a tender kiss on my forehead.
Of course, because he was so devilishly handsome, I felt a flutter of “oh wow!” but quickly pushed that feeling aside in favour of dancing to Wyclef Jean’s Heartbreaker and didn’t think about it again.
Sunday 16 November at 1am
Kids, you know how in movies they’re always showing what a rock n roll lifestyle movie and TV stars lead? The drugs, the booze, the men and women and just the sheer debauchery?
Well, it’s all true … the after party and my first birthday party was held in one of the presenters ‘hotel rooms and from the minute my little group of celebrators and I stepped into the room, it was one long orgy of insanity.
I’m talking people eating “sandwiches” right out of the window, married couples ( but not married to each other!) chatting and touching on beds, music blaring from the TV and alcohol everywhere you looked …
Did I shy away from it, like the good newly agnostic girl I was? Oh hell no! It was my birthday, guys, and I was far away from home, in the middle of a kickass party – like Jonah Hilll and Channing Tatum finally letting loose in 21 Jump Street, I got down with the best of them!
What followed was a merry-go-round of me jumping on the hotel beds while people sang Happy Birthday to me several times and poured shots down my throat at an alarming rate, offering to roll a sandwich for me to give me an extra buzz ( which I refused) and just general feelings of happiness.
I’d never been the centre of attention quite like that before and I loved it! I also knew that it’s best to leave a party at its height so I said my goodbyes and off I went to the other side of the hotel to my room.
As I got into the elevator, Bryce pried the doors open and said: “Really? You’re leaving already?” to which I replied that I had to get up early for my flight back to Cape Town and my party with my family so yes, I was leaving.
He looked really weird and sad for a second before rushing in to hug me and give me another kiss on the forehead. Weirdo …
I’d barely stripped my dress off when my room phone began ringing insistently. Wondering what the hell Reception wanted at this late or rather early hour, I answered irritably: “Hello?”
“Miss Williams, it’s Reception. I’m so sorry to bother you but I have a young gentleman here who is insisting on speaking with you. Would you please hold for him?”
I felt quite bad about being rude so I said ok and next thing you know, Bryce is on the line.
Him: “Hey, hey birthday girl! What are you up to?”
Me: “Uhm, hey. I’m about to go to bed. Why?”
Him: “Well, are you naked and would you like me to join you?”
Me (totally thinking he’s joking and way too drunk to realise that he’s hot, I’m not and this must be some kind of prank): “Ha ha, no, that’s ok. I will see you in the morning.”
Him: “Why not? Don’t you want me? Don’t you think I’m hot?”
Me (getting slightly pissed off now): “Because I said so! Now, goodnight Bryce, I’ll see you later!”
Him: “Seriously, you’re turning me down? Do you know who I am???”
Me (now positively fuming!): “See, just for that, I don’t even want to speak to you ever again!”
Him (completely changing tact and adopting a pleading tone): “Please? We don’t even have to do anything, we can just cuddle… come on!”
It was funny when I thought he was joking and infuriating when he was being full of himself but this begging was just a total turn-off and I signed off, leaving him to look like a begging loser at the Reception desk.
Later that morning …
My head was pounding as I got onto the airport-bound shuttle and I was avoiding having to speak to anyone so I chose a window seat and put on my sunglasses in an attempt to be incognito. Yeah, right …
Bryce steps onto the shuttle, rocking that fro and good looks like he hadn’t spent the night partying or begging to be let into my room.
“Morning, Fazielah! Thanks so much for last night –that’s going to be one for the books!”, he announces to the entire f***ing shuttle and everyone whips their heads around to look at me, relishing this bit of gossip.
I could have killed him, I really could, but as it was, I was trying desperately not to throw up. I dragged Bryce down beside me in an effort to shut him up but which only served to validate his claims …f***!
Upon returning to the office the next day, the news of our “passionate one night stand” had spread through the office like wildfire, much to my chagrin and my boss’s dismay.
I might have learnt to get over it eventually, if it wasn’t for the fact that the reason he’d announced our supposed tryst was to hide the fact that he’d actually spent the rest of that fateful night in the room and embrace of a gay colleague…. Story of my f***ing life!