We’d moved beyond the shy greetings and gentle teasing at the office with plenty of interaction at our recent company staff party. We’d been seen together so often and there were videos of the night’s events where he was caught on camera staring at me, people were constantly asking him if we were a couple.
Which is exactly where our problems began. Jet was apparently SO uncomfortable with all of the goodnatured teasing from our co-workers, he’d start ghosting me (in f***ing person no less!) at the office for a few days each week.
What the actual f***, man?!
If you guys can recall, until roughly seven months prior, I’d barely known Jet existed, let alone that he liked me. Now, when I was finally catching feelings too, Brother Man was getting cold feet and running for the f***ing hills.
He would ignore me during the day but deep like my old Instagram posts at 1am. Are you f***ing kidding me, Boy?!
Listen, to quote my favourite:
Our mutual friends still held out hope for a romantic ending because Jet was always either asking them to help him keep up to date with Game of Thrones so he could talk to me about it, demanding to know what they had done with “his Fazielah” when I was out of the office or pausing on the stairway above my desk until I was forced to look up at him and say Hi.
I, to be quite f***ing honest, was feeling my inner Avengers Ronin on this:
Hope,Kids, would be the death of me…
I deserved far f***ing better than being a 26-year-old’s maybe. I was a “I knew I wanted her from the moment I saw her” kinda girl.
After one of those nasty AF Discovery Wellness days in May, I realised that if I had any hope in hell of giving you guys a healthy mom, it was time to get back on the proverbial fitness horse, no matter how difficult it seemed:
Thus began my long farewell to Netflix and Chill sessions for one with my trusty box of Oreos, chocolate and Amarula and hello Promenade Mondays, Zumba Wednesdays and the occassional fun runs like the 10km Spar Women’s Challenge event:
…to indulging my inner child at adult colouring-in Meet-Ups:
It had taken me more than three decades but I was finally able to just feel myself and be comforable in my own skin:
And everyone, from Jet, my lingering office crush, to my friends and family were feeling my me-ness too. From eagerly wanting to attending comic cons with me to tagging me in every Game of Thrones post ever and sending me sweet treats, celebrating my Wyrdness:
I was loved for me … more importantly, I loved me for me.
Your Dad had no freaking clue how lucky he was about to get by meeting me!
Kids, in the Autumn of 2019 I had promised your Spirit Mom Leo that I would get my beautiful ass off of Tinder and focus on IRL (in real life) dating.
What I didn’t tell her was that I was still on Bumble. I know:
I knew she was going to kick my ass when she read this post . Literally – she was earning all of her belts in karate at this very moment in time, so :
So, it’s entirely likely I wasn’t going to gain any sympathy for what happened next…
Bumble Stumbler the short story:
Sean, an American engineer with a passion for travelling, and I swiped right on each other and he quickly caught me up on what a busy weekend he’d had with a friend’s wedding, going on a safari and hanging out with friends. Not that he bothered to ask me what I’d been up to… men, such selfish creatures!
Ignoring the red flags, I went onto ask him what his must-see Cape Town bucket list items were. He launched into a detailed itinerary of his visit to the Kruger National Park, his week in Hermanus and Greyton and how, almost on his way to Namibia, he decided to rent an AirBnB and stay in Mouille Point.
Me, trying to pretend like I’m totally fascinated by what an amazing traveller and storyteller he is:
Eventually,Sean hit me with the” So,if you were interested in a face to face meet with me halfway between you and I, when and where would that be?”
Me, thinking a casual meet-up couldn’t hurt: “Well, I run along the Promenade quite often and there are pleny of cool places around there. I’m free Saturday afternoon, if you are?”
Now, I don’t know what the fuck it is with guys, but the minute you call them out on their bluff and show interest in them too, they do shit like this:
“i really don’t know if I will be … I am at if you come to a fork in the road, take it status right now.”
I looked at my screen and went:
Correct me if I’m wrong here, but this motherfucker had asked me to meet up, right? Why the fuck was he now giving even poor Yoda a fucking headache with his estoric bullshit?!
Doofus Deluxe’s explanation:
“I have no plan, and if something comes up, I may do that…Conflicted about going to Namibia or just exploring here, is all I’m saying.”
Of course, because this is my life, and the Universe likes to make sure I know exactly how wrong I can be, in the space of two months I got served up some of the craziest creepiness I’d ever experienced until that point in time.
Behold, the one with the creepy guys:
Avada Kedavra, Creep:
There I was,helping your Spirit Mom Leo putting the finishing touches to the birthday cake of the magical organisation we both love, when a seemingly harmless looking guy comes up to take a photo of us.
Thinking it’s one of the new students’ parents and that I always have to be happy, friendly and approachable, I smile broadly and pose for said photo.
“Great”, he says, lowering his phone, “now I have a photo of you so I can look out for you on Tinder!”
Are you fucking kidding me?! In the one place, other than the comfort of my home, where I can just relax, be myself and feel safe, I was being objectified and harrassed! No, just FUCKING NO!
The interaction immediately made me feel sleazy and like somehow I’d provoked him by being me – I know it wasn’t my fault but in that instant, it felt like it. I spent the rest of the night always in the company of one of my fellow witches and made sure to give He Who Must Not Be Named a very wide berth…
As it turned out, said creep was now also someone I was going to have to work with on a regular basis. I worked around that by opting to only deal with someone else who was doing the same thing. Since casting the killing curse was impossible, at least for now, I had to be extra careful going forward.
The IG DM lurker:
A Sunday morning, at just after 6 fucking am, a direct message request arrives in my Instagram app.
Eye roll from me, because no one who knows me would dare to contact me before the perfectly acceptable time of 9am but hey, there’s always a first.
I hit open and I’m assaulted with this missive:
As I’ve said countless times before, I am not against being complimented but when it’s a virtual fucking stranger sliding into my DMs, Momma’s gonna have a few choice things to say, my loves.
Curious as to who this wanna-be Lothario is, I did some investigating on his profile. Turns out he is a professional photographer of sorts and actually gets fucking paid to take people’s photos and interact with them so why in the name of the Gods was he creeping on me?!
There is no law against telling a woman she is beautiful, for sure, but sending me a private message on a social media app that is NOT for online dating is overstepping boundaries.
I dreamt of giving ol’Mc Creep the Khaleesi treatment …
… but alas I had to do it the mere mortal way of block, report and delete.
Kids, for as long as I can remember, random strangers would walk up to me or sit down next to me and confess their deepest, darkest secrets or their unexpected joy.
In 2019, in the space of a week, three people I didn’t know from a bar of soap , confided in me and it got me wondering: “Was I a priest or a counsellor in my previous life?”
While I listened patiently, I was always silently screaming:
Here are three times people confessed their secrets to me:
The Baby Mama Whispers:
There I was minding my own business in the queue for the Clicks pharmacy when the beautiful, curly-haired woman next to me let out a few audible sighs.
Being quite experienced at this and realising I could no longer turn a deaf ear to the ever-increasing volume of her sighs, I turned to the distressed lady and asked:
“Are you ok?”
Gods, remind me not to do that again…
“Actually, no. I’m just feeling dizzy and here’s why”.
She proceeded to show me her script for folic acid so of course, I got excited because:
Kids, as much as I love babies, this mommy-to-be was WAY too open about how she’d suspected she was pregnant for a while, had her own blood tests done because she didn’t trust her doctor to, was feeling dizzy, wasn’t showing yet at 11 weeks but according to her OBGYN, the fetus was too big for the gestational age and she couldn’t find her boyfriend.
I mean, come on:
The Keyless Runner:
A week after the Baby Mama drama, I was waiting on my Uber to arrive at the Lower Tafelberg Road parking lot when a runner uh, runs, up to me and for several seconds, keeps exclaiming:
“Holy shit, I am one lucky bastard!”
Seeing as he very obviously was not going to go away, despite my very best Meryl Streep impression:
I ventured a cautious: “What happened?”
“Oh My God! I thought I’d lost my car keys and couldn’t find them. Which is horrible because I just ran around the mountain. I was completely freaking out and then ran back to the roadside tap I’d drunk water at three hours ago and my keys were STILL there! Amazing, right?!”, the excited runner exclaimed.
Since I could see he needed the validation, I gave him an enthusiastic “Well done, you!”
The Chatty Uber driver:
I’d had my fair share of run-ins with Uber drivers before. Some of them were actually quite inspiring and others were downright fucking insulting so I was not exactly overthrilled when Sean Paul started our ride with :“I can see with my third eye that you are like a dormant volcano – still on the surface but burning with passion beneath that exterior”.
For the next ten minutes before we collected your Uncle Tendai from his hotel, Sean Paul regaled me with tales of his traumatic childhood, how angry he was as a teenager and adult until he found Rastafarianism; how his third eye had grown due to his beliefs and how he’d recently played the white knight in shining armour for a female passenger when she was in trouble.
As the ride dragged on, I realised that Sean Paul was trying to hit on me . Did priests or counsellors ever encounter this problem, I wondered?
Thanks the gods that the minute your godfather joined us, my chatty would-be suitor and confessor stopped spewing his guts and life could go on.
Fuck it, Capetonians… please get yourselves some paid therapy and leave me alone!
Kids, Valentine’s Day tends to bring out the downright nasty in Tinder daters. As the great Dothraki would say:
In 2019, things were no different.
David and I had swiped right on each other, prompting what I assumed would be a mutually respectful exchange.
I was wrong. SO wrong.
My granderfather passed notes to my grandmother via the factory secretary at the company they worked at in the 60s to let her know he was interested. My Dad wrote my mom “we’re going to have beautiful babies” messages in cute cards in the 80s.
What did my wanna-be suitor write to me as his first message? This:
Kids, I was feeling Jet hard… and although I tried to believe Jennifer Paige when she said it was just a little :
… it didn’t help that he was obviously feeling the same way.
I mean the guy was calling me his girlfriend to coworkers; eagerly greeting me morning, noon and night; playing the perfect gentleman and attentive date by pulling out my chair, getting me drinks and engaging me in conversation at work functions; telling people he was bringing me as his date to after hours events; taking every chance he could to hang out at my desk and just generally being all up in my business.
How was I reacting to all of this wanton lusting and office flirtation, you ask?
Oh, Sweet Child of Mine…
Your momma once again invoked the spirit of literary and cinematic singleton Bridget Jones, because really, why even try being cool about a real life flesh and blood man ( and a younger one, at that!) being into me?
One afternoon, Jet was bounding down the staircase, as he was wont to do, off to save some IT crisis or other, and I, as I was wont to do, was watching him … drinking in the sight of him, feasting my eyes and all but drooling.
So much so, that I … spilt my tea all over my desk and my pants.
It was a cold November night and I was wandering through Times Square, having just sobbed my eyes out at a spectacular performance of the hit Broadway show Dear Evan Hansen…
I stopped, twirled around in a circle and took in my surroundings. Still feeling emotional after my sobfest and raw in a way I hadn’t been for years , I had a profound realization.
I was home. Home once again and I was impossibly, utterly, deeply in love with New York City.
For the third time.
This trip, my first one to New York shared with someone I loved, your godmom Leonie, was hands down my best. I loved solo travel, and I would soon venture off on another trip by myself, but a shared experience brought with it a sense of happiness, comedic moments of getting lost, frustation at losing each other at busy events, transcendent moments at a magical theatre show unlike any other we’d seen, discovering new places and showing each other our favourite spots.
Sharing New York with someone who adored it as much as I do, possibly even more so, made me love it on a deeper level.
Even if I never returned to the Big Apple in my life (Gods, I hope not! I still wanted to live my best upcoming writer and Brooklyn-living mom life there!), I was content to have loved this beautiful city and be a part of it at least thrice in my life.