As with all of the speed dating events I’d been to before, there was a round-robin of five minute dates with the only eight guys who showed up.
I’d been shy or bored or freaked out at these events before but the 2018 edition wasn’t bad at all.
I met quite a few quality guys who were well-travelled, taught school children, ran motorcycle tourist businesses etc and thank the Gods, there was no repeat of Mr I look Hot but I am incredibly boring.
After the incredibly horrible time I’d been having with online dating the week before, just talking to men face to face was a treat. I wasn’t nervous or making a Bridget Jonesesque fool of myself and the evening was a relative success, by my account.
Unfortunately, as I predicted, I got friend-zoned by the guys I’d picked for romantic interests… story of my goddamn life, right?
Kids, in 2018, I was starting to feel once again like Danny Glover about dating:
See, I’d struck up a conversation with Mathys (31) on Tinder, which moved to Whatsapp and every single one of his texts were filled with abbreviations and sms speak… and you guys know my thoughts on this particular language:
One particularly confusing moment happened like this:
Him: “What r u up 2?”
Me (channelling my inner Carrie Bradshaw/any f***ing writer or hell, a normal adult who uses full godamn words): “I’m off to a movie with friends. It’s an open air cinema and I am excited. What are you up to?”
Kids, I kid you f***ing not – it took me THREE hours to decipher this text.
I felt like Sherlock doing a complicated mind palace:
After much pondering, soul searching and chatting to my ancestors, I realised LOMB meant…
Lying on my bed.
Of course it did:
Gods, Kids, if I couldn’t even successfully have a decipherable conversation with a guy via text, how the f*** was I going to share my life with one?!
This, Guys and Girls , is my first forage in to the world of blogging about my life ’cause this shit is real and somebody has to hear about it…. The voices in my head can only do so much before they start turning on one another.
First and foremost, call me Lilu. It’s short and somewhat cute, just like me. Back in 2017, I’m a 31-year-old woman who has been single on and off for two years now and man, have I seen some M Nightshamalamadingdong crazy out there.
I’m not your typical single woman of what people discern as a “Certain Age”. Yeah, Bitch, it’s called 31 and although I don’t eat this fast food – the slogan fits ‘Mmm, I’m lovin it” cue Justin Timberlake intro…I wish.
And as always, I’ve gone off track. What I was trying to say is I’m not looking for a guy to marry, I’m looking for a partner.
I need a good relationship before I can think of marrying anyone because some of these men out there are like Freys at the Red Wedding…if you did not catch that…Child, you need to watch some Game of Thrones.
What I mean is I’m not desperate or constantly looking at who’s eligible.I don’t go out with the purpose to just meet a man so that I can have this Jerry McGuire-you-complete me-moment.
Don’t get me wrong :I was that for a hot minute. I believed this perfect moment would come and the sparks would fly and we would fly off to our castle on a magic carpet ride…. I dreamed of a Ferrari but got a Uno fire with a very good paint job.
After being in a long-term relationship where I thought I was happy and safe in this bubble of codependency and comfortable silence (in the wrong way I might add), I both revered and feared singledom.
I kind of knew I needed to get out but I was afraid to no longer have the label of girlfriend so I stayed in an unhappy and more importantly unhealthy relationship much longer than I should have. When I finally plucked up the courage and walked away it was the most terrifying thing I had ever done so far in my short life (no pun intended).
I went through every stage of grief you could go through because I lost a part of me that had always been there …well to me,anyway. I lost what I had come to know as home and all I could see was the loss of what was and not the potential of what could be……and oh.what potential turned out to be.
There have been tears, laughs, denials, super idiotic choices to please somebody because I wanted their approval. There have been friendships found and lost, family gained and what was shattered shards of myself put back together again.
Not in the way I was before, in a different kind of way, not better or worse just differently, stronger, better equipped to leave when a situation is bad and more confident to let someone know I like them when I do because ain’t nobody got time for high school yes , no and maybe games.
My stories are many, and the people in them a colorful array of crazy and fun, sometimes more Norman Bates-like crazy than I would like but hey, sometimes you gotta roll with the punches.
As I went through all of this and still go through the surprises that life brings me, there was one I was not ready for.
There is a difference between having life and living it and enjoying life and watching it pass you by. Once you start living it, there’s no going back..
Also…..why is Kale a thing like it’s nice and all but does it have to be everywhere??
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 ;)
“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 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!
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.
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.
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!