Kids, every good writer and singleton looks to their peers for inspiration – others who were in the embattled trenches of dating in the 21st century and understood how hard it was finding love in the difficult hook-up culture we lived in.
In 2017, mine came in the form of the following three incredible dating bloggers:
Not only was your Auntie Yoli my gorgeous and amazing birthday twin, she was also a published author of the incredible We Write What We Like book AND she was sharing her dating woes online on the All4Women site.
A fabulous Capetonian, Yoli was tackling the ups and downs of the single life in sunny Florida and regaling international audiences with her often funny but always true stories.
We traded horror stories via WhatsApps and Twitter quite often but none of them made me spit my tea all over my phone like the one with the dodgy and cheap baseball player.
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Confession time: in 2017, I had a MAJOR online crush on the ridiculously handsome and sweet James .
As I followed his dating advice, fitness adventures and move to Hollywood on Instagram (and no, I was NOT stalking him …that behaviour is reserved for your future daddy Alexander Skarsgard!), I thoroughly enjoyed getting the male perspective on the dating scene.
This hottie (again, did I mention I was crushing hard???) posted fantastic video tips, inspirational quotes and adorable photos of his dog that gave me hope when I was in the dumps about bad online dating experiences.
I’d been addicted to Violet’s quirky musings about sex, love and the single life since seeing a live performance based on her blog and performed by the sexy Lynita Crawford at the Kalk Bay Theatre in 2015.
Reading the “real” Violet’s side-splitting tales online brought me many laughs and comforts on a daily basis.
Laugh out loud with the beautiful Violet Online here.
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.
“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 😉
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.
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.
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.