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How I Met Your Father: The Work Hottie and why you shouldn’t s*** where you eat

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Kids, most people I know met and fell in love at work and some of them truly did live happily ever after but for every success story, there are also ugly-as-all hell tales of office romances gone awry.

At first glance, it makes sense that you’ll fall for a co-worker – you spend 8 to 10 hours in their company, you have shared interests (aka slagging off the boss from hell) and well, familiarity breeds chemistry, to paraphrase a popular quote.

How do I know this, you ask? Well, my loves, because I wasn’t above falling for my cubicle partner a time or two myself…

September 2007 …

Davis was a slender-framed, green herb smoking, alcohol-loving, sleeping-on-the-job PR writer at the TV station I worked at and for the better of my first two months at the company, I ignored his lazy butt.

The thing, though, is I have a weakness for the sensitive, artsy, sarcastic type and one email about some or other show lead to several others, which lead to some inappropriate flirting both online and in the office kitchen. Before you knew it, I was actually looking forward to going into the office everyday…

Since I was still scarred from my first run-in with Mr Heartbreak Guy, I was too shy to make the first move and so was Davis. It took us ages to start having secret lunches and walks together or to even admit there was something going on between us, much to our older co-worker’s dismay who would randomly shout out to Davis, across our open plan office after one too many longing stares; “Why don’t you just take her on your desk already?!”

Yes, I know, “Eeuwww, Mom!”

Anyway, as I was saying – it took us ages to get anywhere. Eventually, six months later, during one of our “lunches”, I decided to pull on my big girl panties by making my feelings known. Like any guy, though, if you talk feelings, they balk and I didn’t want that happening so I posed a hypothetical question to Davis in the form of “what would you say if I told you I am really, really, REALLY into you?”

After what seemed like the Ice Age had come and gone again, Davis eventually replied with a “Hypothetically speaking, I’d tell you that I really, really, REALLY like you too but I am a recovering addict and I don’t want to hurt you so we can’t happen. You deserve better.”

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Man, for even a hypothetical confession and rejection, that s*** stung for a good while and our secret lunches came to an abrupt end, along with the onset of glacial courtesies (What? I was 22-years-old, maturity wasn’t exactly my strong suit then!) and avoidance whenever possible. Meetings were fraught with tension, people vacated the kitchen as soon as one of us walked in after the other and our mutual work friends quickly learnt not to invite us to Friday day drinks together.

Two months later, Davis dropped the bomb that he was resigning. I was gutted because I still really liked him but also so bloody relieved because I’d since discovered it wasn’t the addiction issues keeping him from dating me – it was the IT bimbo he had been having a flirtation with for a year before I had started working at the company. Jerk!

To make a long story short, I walked Davis out of the building on his last day and of course, a long, sweet goodbye kiss for old times’ sake ensued … I may or may not have even shed some tears.

Which were wasted, because Davis’s new office was right next door, and so run-ins at the local Spar were inevitable.

What pissed me off more than anything was that he thought that now that he worked at different company, and had kissed me, all was forgiven and we would pick up where we’d left off.  Uh, how about hell no?!

More than once I’d run into him with the IT bimbo by his side, and the rejection would hit me all over again. I vowed to never, EVER let Cupid’s Arrow find me at work until …

August 2014…

Seven years later and I still hadn’t learnt my bloody lesson about mixing work with pleasure!

Kevin was the quintessential office jerk – major attitude with all of the ladies, mostly because he had tried and failed to chat them up or those he had succeeded with, had dumped him in less than a New York minute.

Now, and I am sure your dad has told you this,  I am a big flirt. If it helps me get things done faster, freebies, all of the chocolate I can devour etc, I will charm the pants off anything that moves. Your Uncle Tendai and Magical Wyrdo Godmother Leo say everything that comes out of my mouth sounds like a come-on and I am the female equivalent of Friends’ Joey ( I have yet to hear this myself, but I’ll take their word for it!)

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And for several months, in order to get my best work buddies and I access to all of Kevin’s series and movies, I flirted with him like there was no tomorrow.

Friends tried to feel him out, to see if he was interested in me too and for a while, things looked promising but then he got back together with his cheating ex and whilst my ego was bruised, I decided to focus on wrapping up my days at the company (I’d resigned and was off to bigger and better things). Gone were the “emergencies” I needed Mr Man to help me with and I stopped making frequent trips to the 12th floor. On my last day, I did slip Kevin my number and told him to call me when he was single again …

Fast forward to a month after I’d left, and Kevin and I found each other together in a club, a matchmaking scheme not-so-subtly arranged by your Uncle T.

There was dancing and drinking aplenty and sparks were flying like an Independence Day fireworks display… things were getting heated, fast. At some point, T disappeared, as did the other couple we were partying with and Kevin and I found ourselves alone.

The old “let’s get out of here” line was flung around and I was all for it, until we hit the sidewalk and I sobered up considerably.

“What are you doing, woman?” I thought to myself, “This man has a girlfriend and you deserve better than being a bed warmer for a former co-worker for one night. Go home now – ALONE!”

So, as much it pained both me and the sexy jackass, I left him standing on the sidewalk and off I went, much to my cab driver’s chagrin: “Really, lady? You’re going to leave your partner standing to attention in all of the intimate places like that?”

Cape Town cabbies really need to mind their own business ….

Who’s the boss?

I thought I was alone in this work romance quandary until a friend of mine told me her horror story. Alyssa worked at a thriving tourism attraction, rocking her creative style on campaigns and content when the MD of her company started paying “special” attention to her.

It started off small with them being mistaken as a couple at an industry event and him liking the sound of it too much, thereafter always referring to her as his “wife” at the office. Then came his overzealous interest in her social media and weekend activities, mentioning these things to her every opportunity he got. At one point, during an event, he called her “babes”… way out of line, dude.

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Alyssa was not responding to his advances because a) he wasn’t her type, b) he was married and c) he was her big boss, for gods ‘sake – it just wasn’t appropriate! The more she resisted him, the more he pursued her until eventually she left the company, thinking that would put an end to things.

Not f***ing likely!  Not only did he show up for her farewell lunch, which he’d never done for anyone else, he also kept up the inappropriate flirting when they’d run into each other at networking functions in the months that followed.

Things settled down when Alyssa made it clear she was involved with someone else and had absolutely no interest in her former MD – getting a rep as a homewrecker and a rising star who only got to the top by sleeping with the boss wasn’t something she wanted.

A lesson I took to heart and steered way clear of.

Besides, as you’ve probably guessed, your father was not my boss or my office hottie … the hunt continues!

How I Met Your Father: Confessions of Cape Town’s Bridget Jones

bridget-jones-644x362Kids, it pains me to tell you this but your mama is something of a class A klutz. Akin to romantic comedy heroine Bridget Jones, I get myself into all kinds of impossible, hilarious-for-other-people situations that I wish weren’t true but unfortunately are.

You’ve no doubt heard some of my more legendary mishaps from your father, your aunt and godparents but let me fill you in on a few of the highlights that make me want crawl under the covers and NEVER come out:

December 2013 …

My closest work friends and I had a ritual of Friday happy hour drinks at the hottest bars in Cape Town. One particular Friday in the heart of summer, on a whim, we headed out to Tjing Tjing in the City Centre.

Now, to set the scene, I was going through one of my “f*** the world, I’ll wear whatever I want cause I’m tired and cranky “ phases, and in forgetting it was Friday, I’d just slipped into my comfortable jeans and a hoody, and put my dirty hair up into a ponytail. SO not hot cocktails-and-meet-the-future-love-of-my-life look… alas!

Off to Tjing Tjing my friends and I went and after ordering our drinks, we realised that there were quite a few SA actors filling up the rooftop bar and the section we were in, was being cordoned off with a  rope and fancy snacks. Mildly surprised but still not suspecting anything, we nattered on about weekend plans, basking in the sunset and each other’s company until …

“Oh My God!” yelled the lovely Claudiskies, “That’s Orlando Bloom!”

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Yes, Kids, we’d unknowingly gate-crashed the cast party for Zulu, the locally filmed movie that the Hollywood hunk had been shooting in Cape Town for three months. F***!

Rapidly firing off a few texts to your godfather L to get his cute behind to the bar pronto, I sunk down into my chair, ridiculously excited that one of my former actor crushes was within spitting distance of me and horribly mortified that I hadn’t bothered to dress up that day.

Repeating to myself over and over again: “Breathe, Faz, he probably won’t even notice you or your lacklustre appearance, Just breathe!” I patiently waited for Leon to arrive.

Of course, because this is my life, Murphy’s Law kicks in …

Not even ten minutes later, while the girls and I are nursing our drinks, the hunk who breathed life into Troy’s Paris and Lord of the Rings’ Legolas, saunters over to our area, manoeuvers himself into the tiny space between my friend Lucy’s chair and the snacks table with a beer in hands, while gazing down at me and smiling that sexy smile.

Bloody hell, World, swallow me whole right now …

Sure, the gorgeous Orlando looked like he could do with a good shower before I’d lay back and think of England for him, but damn, what a moment!

Since that day, I do not go anywhere without slapping on some lip gloss, eye liner and a suitable cute outfit – you never know what may happen.

May 2014 …

It had been one of those rom-com moments come to life when I had spent the night chatting to a seriously cute industry crush at a party in the Winelands.

We’d moved around the spacious venue, feasting and drinking, getting to know each other and laughing a lot until we ended up back at the desserts table. With my attention solely focused on my handsome companion, I didn’t see one of the other party goers sidle up to me from behind.

She interrupts our conversation and says: “Excuse me… you realise, of course, that you’ve been wandering about all night with a name tag sticker stuck in your hair, don’t you?”

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The ensuing silence was so deafening, you could hear a pin drop and my cheeks were on fire with embarrassment. Handsome Dude and I looked at each other for a split second, and I said: “Just pretend you didn’t see that!” He burst out laughing and I couldn’t help but join in.

Needless to say, I’ve avoided sticker name tags like the plague ever since!

February 2015…

Your Nan, aunts Sammy, Mishy, Rushda and I snuck into an exclusive residents ‘only beach on a hot summer’s day, knowing full well we shouldn’t be there but driven to do it anyway … what? Where did you think your rebel streak comes from, huh?

Anyway, after a picnic lunch, the girls and I braved the cold Atlantic water for a dip. By this time, the residing beach goers had joined in on the fun, and there were one or two hot hipsters amongst them.

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There I was, frolicking in the waves, doing my best Baywatch babe impression, when a strong wave tackled me from behind…

As I emerged from the water, I heard shouts of “Lady, cover up!” Wiping the salt water from my eyes, I remember thinking “Shame, someone’s lost their cossie”, only to look down and realise … I was the one sans bathing suit!

Yip, my halter neck one piece had ridden down to my tummy mid-wave and my pleasure pillows were on display for all of the beach folk to see. Gods Almighty!

I was soul-shattering mortified for a split-second and contemplated drowning myself but then remembered I still had to have you guys, so, like the trooper I am, I gaily blushed and apologised profusely before turning around and swimming to the other side of a big boulder.

Laugh and the world laughs with you, right?

Yes, I am a walking disaster magnet but these are the incidents that make for amazing stories and make life all the more colourful. Cést la vie!

Next week on How I Met Your Father: The Work Hottie and why you shouldn’t  s*** where you eat.

How I Met Your Father: The Unavailable Man

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Kids, before I met your Dad, I spent a lot of time chasing or being pursued by the elusive, the unattainable and the unavailable man.

This is the guy who is attached in some or other form to another partner, but for some reason pays ardent attention to you. That attention takes many forms, whether face to face or online, but it always leads to the same thing: disappointment, and in some cases, heartbreak.

I wish I could tell you I was above being drawn into their deceitful webs, but here’s one of my harrowing Mr Unavailable tales:

February 2013 …

I met Scott totally by accident – my manager at the time asked me to take a meeting in her stead, because she had a more pressing matter to attend to. While I grudgingly agreed to it, upon laying eyes on the rugged-looking Scott, I was only too happy I had.

Handsome in that country boy way – all check shirt, rolled-up sleeves, dimples and scruffy beard – Scott was the SA personification of my current TV character crush, George Tucker of Hart of Dixie, at the time. My reaction upon seeing him for the first time was something that had only ever happened to me once before – my knees literally went weak and I had to hold onto the back of a chair to steady myself. I was swooning …HARD!

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It sounds like a Mills&Boons/ Fifty Shades description but I swear to the gods, old and new, it’s true…

Don’t ask me what was said during that meeting because I spent most of it unapologetically staring at him and fantasising while our colleagues negotiated a trade exchange deal … yes, I know, “TMI, Mom!”

Anyway, fast forward to a few months later, and Scott and I are in regular contact, exchanging content. You know how I’ve told you that people just randomly share personal things with me? It doesn’t just happen in person but electronically too – I got to know Scott pretty well – studies, favourites reading genres, things he likes to do to relax etc.

Conversations bordered on playful teasing and being flirtatious back and forth for a while and it took him several months to reveal he has a girlfriend. Sure, I was a little bummed about that because by then I had started to really like him, but it was a good thing too because it helped to set boundaries … or so I thought.

Over the next 18 months, Scott grew ever more flirtatious in his emails (one particular gem included him telling me he likes being at the top of my to-do list); popping by for coffee in person on the odd occasion he was in town (which is when I realised he wasn’t THAT hot) and actively stalked me on social media platforms. I couldn’t post a single photo or tweet without him liking and favouriting it in within seconds – and not just from his personal account but his business one too, as if I wouldn’t know it was him!

Calling him out on the online stalking proved useless as he just brushed it off as everyone being allowed to have a “creepy day” … dude, it’s more like having a creepy year!

But here’s the rub: once I calmed down about the stalker behaviour and started responding in kind, even going so far as to relax and be comfortable and flirtatious in his company (so sue me, being chased that hard boosted my ego!) when we attended industry events together; Scott suddenly went ice cold on me, and froze me out of his life, preferring to conduct business through his co-worker.

I was hurt, sure, and it made me feel crazy, like I had imagined the entire thing. I berated myself for weeks for flirting with a man who was spoken for and vowed to not have anything to do with him or his ilk ever again.

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April 2015 …

As someone wise once told me: “What you resist, persists”. Scott popped back onto my radar a few months later, asking for help promoting his new venture, back to his old flirtatious ways and you would think that I’d have told him to go jump off a cliff but… I’m human and susceptible to dimples, ok? I indulged his requests and tentatively flirted back for a while until…

Gods, Kids, let me tell you this: there is nothing as cruel and soul-crushing as opening your social media newsfeeds and coming across an engagement/pregnancy announcement … particularly those of people you have a murky romantic history with. As was the case with douchebag Scott – turns out the lovely girlfriend he so often tried to make me forget about, is making an honest man of him.

I was tempted to find the largest pool of Nutella around and drown my sorrows in it but f### it, he just ain’t worth it… NEXT!

somewhere out there

Somewhere out there, beneath the pale moonlight … wait, this is NOT a Disney movie! What I’m trying to say is, your father, a good, trustworthy, loyal and most importantly, available man, was out there, just around the next date, email, meeting or event, making his way to me … all I needed to do was be patient.

Next time on How I Met Your Father: Faz puts Bridget Jones to shame with embarrassing moments …

How I Met Your Father: The Set-Up Man

blind date ctgirlwiththeredscarfKids, in the winter of 2015 I found myself at the center of yet another set-up/ blind date scheme by one of my well-meaning friends. While I admit I was intrigued by the prospect of meeting someone who’d been vetted and vouched for by someone who loves me, it got me to thinking about my previous, somewhat failed set-up attempt …

December 2013 …

Your Aunt E had been raving about Silver Fox Writer for the three weeks since she and the others had issued the 28 Dates challenge, insisting we’d be perfect for each other since we both had such a great love for the written word and travel. She’d given him my number so all I had to do was wait patiently for him to contact me and set up the date.

Which, thankfully, he didn’t dally about doing and so we were all set for a drinks date at Café Mojito in Long Street the following day.

Nervous as all hell, I arrived 10 minutes early, checking out every seemingly single male who walked through the door; anxiously wondering what he looked like ( E had said he’s hot), how old he was ( E pegged him for early 40s,which yes, was considerably older but hey, it was just a f***ing date, right?) and whether he would like me or not ( remember, I hadn’t dated anyone in a while, besides the Prince of Egypt and we all know how well that turned out!).

Silver Fox Writer arrived on time (bonus brownie points) and he was extremely charming. We ordered drinks, chatted about careers, why we’re still single, family life (he had a daughter), cities we loved visiting and more.

Yes, he was handsome, easy to talk to and I began to relax, thinking that dating an older man wasn’t going to be all that difficult until …

Ten minutes into the date, when we’d barely even touched our drinks, Silver Fox Writer leans over, grabs my arm and says: “Look, I really like you … so where is this going?”

Whoa, Cowboy, hold your horses there for a sec! Everyone always says girls go big on the end resulting {forecasting the future of the relationship with images of meeting the friends and family, moving in together , weddings and babies etc) but obviously they haven’t heard of guys, and older ones especially, doing it too.

I responded with a coy “ let’s see how well date number one goes, shall we?” and tried to get the date back on track but then he dropped the bombshell that he was 52 and had a 19-year-old daughter… gods almighty! This man was the same age as your Nan, Kids … not cool!

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Look, I am no ageist – in fact, at that point in time, I was harbouring a serious celebrity crush on 49-year-old Johnny Depp, but I had to be realistic about things. Silver Fox Writer was no Captain Jack Sparrow – I wanted babies, you guys, and this man was not in the baby-making business when he already had a grown daughter. Simply put, I was just not that into him.

As we parted ways with a fumbled goodbye kiss, I realized I wasn’t all that disappointed that things hadn’t worked out on this set-up.

If anything, the experience taught me that while your loved ones have your best interests at heart and are trying to do an amazing thing for you, what they see as a great choice for you and what you want for yourself are two completely different things.

Back in 2015…

Now I find myself in a similar situation and this time, I am going to be smarter about things.

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Impala Fanatic is  a single, older man and seems stable-looking, if his Facebook photos are anything to go by ( yes, I’ve stalked his page, this is what dating in the 21st century looks like – you get to know the basic details from the Internet).

My friend swears we’re made for each other with our similar interests and personalities. I’ll be the judge of that when we have this date but if we aren’t soul mates … well, it’s just a f***ing date, right?!

How I Met Your Father – The Mother City Version Part 1

Kids, in the autumn of 2015, I restarted my 28 Dates mission with renewed vigor, mostly to keep your Nan’s misguided enthusiasm for finding your father in check.

I kid you not – she was SO eager to see you guys being created , if I just happened to be in the vicinity of an eligible bachelor , I’d get a sideways glance, small smirk and “Who were you just chatting to?” from her …even if the guy in question was my recovering alcoholic, balding , single dad neighbour.

So, armed with a resolve to at the very least find you a dad with a great head of hair, I cleaned up my online dating site profile. Change my profile pic from the washed out rock star cosplay pic of 2008 to one of me rocking a little black dress at an awards evening? Check! Answer a few more asinine questions about the meaning of life, my stance on warfare, daily chores and love versus a good time? Check! Set my willingness to meet potential matches to keen? Check! Check! Check!

And so the wait began…

Within a few hours, I’d had not one, but three very promising candidates:

Surfer Small-town Boy was a tall, blonde and athletic type, moving to Cape Town within a week from, well, duh, a small town, keen to meet the lady he’d settle down with in the big city. Was this lady me, and would I be open to meeting him?

Brainy but Bored Guy was a seemingly cocky know-it-all who not only co-owns a renewable energy firm but studies cognitive brain therapy when he isn’t wooing his various international girlfriends with Star Wars short movie clips. Yes, the site had listed us as less than suitable matches but how about we discuss it over drinks?

Mother City Rodeo Star was a Texas immigrant with a passion for theatre, travel and giving back to Africa’s children and wanted to us to meet up and chat about our shared interests, if I was open to it?

Since Surfer Boy would still be unavailable to meet for at least a week, I agreed to see the other two first and set our meeting place at my favourite local bar and theatre, Alexander Upstairs – a place which is feeling more and more like home and so that I’d have the home ground advantage. Besides, they make one of the best Cosmopolitans in town – anything to calm my raging nerves!

As I waited for Rodeo Star to arrive on the Monday evening, I flashbacked to the night this crazy 28 Dates mission began …

November 2013

My birthday dinner at Primi Piatti V&A Waterfront with a group of my closest friends, where the drinks and declarations of love were flowing and we were celebrating the passing of a rather difficult year (I’d lost both your great-grandma and my first love, to a stomach ulcer and other men, respectively).

I was bemoaning the fact that that I hadn’t had any real love interests that year, as I had for so many before them when my friends, which included two of your godparents, decided enough was enough – something drastic had to be done! I would not go another year without being kissed (and other stuff not suitable for your young ears), if they had anything to do with it.

And so my 28 Dates mission was born – I was challenged to have 28 dates before my next birthday or until I’d completed all of them, whether by online dating, blind dates set up by the group, speed dating or meet-cutes (meeting guys the usual way). I could date the same person more than once, and it would be counted as one of the 28, but I wasn’t allowed to bail on any of them. Nothing to wear? Someone would come over with suitable sexy date outfits. Feeling fluish or tired? Someone would bring me a Med-Lemon or Red Bull. I would not and could not be allowed to find any excuse to fall back into my dateless rut.

Back to 2015:

Rodeo Star arrived at the bar, looking all ruggedly Southern boy sexy, with beguiling blue eyes, a beard that did not scream hipster and a big bear hug for me. Hello there, Cowboy!

Over the course of the evening, we chatted amicably about theatre, travels, family, work and I thought things were going well. Sure, we didn’t like the same movies or series, but couples don’t have to like all of the same things, right? Opposites attract and all that.

Ok, so there might have been a drawn out silence here and there, but gods, he was beautiful to look at and maybe he was quiet because he was as nervous as I was, right?

The sticky part of the evening came when he just couldn’t understand why I needed to leave to go to a mass Games of Thrones viewing and how he hates the show. Now, Kids, this wasn’t a deal breaker, but you know how much I love cosplay, and for this series in particular – you’ve seen the photos of your other godmother and I dressed as Khaleesi and Arya. I didn’t just love the show, I freaking lived it!

As we got the check (which we split, by the way – he may be Southern but apparently likes to go Dutch), I asked Rodeo Star what he was thinking of since he was especially quiet and after a while, he responded with: “I’m thinking about how much I hate Game of Thrones, actually. It’s such a silly show.” Cue the alarm bells going off in my head, thinking I’d finally messed things up for good.

Two days passed in which I fretted about why he wasn’t calling me but also hopeful that he would. After all, things had gone well until the unfortunate GOT comment. So why wasn’t he calling?!

The Wednesday morning, while I was finalizing the date with Brainy but Bored, I finally received a message from Rodeo Star and the cruelest thing about this dating mission happened – I began to have hope.

See, the thing is, when a date goes bad, you already know it won’t work out and you can move on from there. But having the guy you like finally email you after two days ignites the spark of hopefulness you try to ignore – your heart becomes buoyant, you can’t control the huge smile that streaks across your face at seeing his name in your mailbox or your imagination that runs away with images of second, third and fourth dates, introductions to the friends and family etc.

Too scared to open the email but too excited not to, I left it unopened for an hour, swinging on the pendulum between wishing he was asking me on a second date to despairing that he wouldn’t.

Finally, I pulled on my big girl panties and read the damn email – much to my regret:

“Thanks again for the evening on Monday – I hope you managed Game of Thrones, in spite of the power cut. Without putting much thought in it, as much as I enjoyed the conversation, I didn’t experience much chemistry. I’m looking for something with a little more of an instinctual convergence. I suspect we will run into each other often,seeing as we’re both into the theatre scene, and it will be nice to see you. Best, Rodeo Star”

What the f***?! What the heck does “instinctual convergence” even mean? And who the heck even says things like that?!!!

Guys who believe in love at first sight still exist? Are you kidding me?! Well now, colour me surprised!

I won’t lie, Kids, my ego was bruised and my heart ever so slightly crushed. My friends encouraged me to try to talk Rodeo Star into giving me a second chance with a second date… but surely that seemed a bit desperate,right?

I deliberated all through lunch and a Aero chocolate bar or three before deciding that screw it, if he didn’t want to get all up in my weirdly, awesome, GOT-loving business, I wasn’t going to beg him to and let him off the hook in my response. Life is too short to wonder why people don’t like you.

And as your godfather always says: “F** it… NEXT!”

To be continued …