As I was lazily scrolling through potentials one cold winter night, I swiped right on a visiting Italian. With the matchmaking gods ever in my favour (not!), he swiped right too and we were a match.
Almost immediately he slid into my DMs and the following exchange occurred:
Him: “Hi, I’m Andrea from Italy and I am looking for a lady to share sensual times”
Me (taken aback by his utter forwardness): ” Hi, I’m Fazielah from Cape Town and I am looking for someone to date and get to know with the possibility of it leading to sensual times”
Him: “I’m only here for few more days. If you are feeling spontaneous, maybe we can meet at the V&A?”
Me (rolling my eyes, because seriously, who the f*** just agrees to a hook-up like this?!): “Sorry, I am out with friends this evening and fully booked until the weekend. So it looks like I’ll miss you.”
Him: “Change your plans. Meet me for sex. You will enjoy it””
Uhm…wait, what the actual mother f***ing f***?!!
This asshole , whom I have never met, wanted me to drop everything I was doing and meet him in a public space to go somewhere else and just give him some, just like that?!
When I did not respond, he quickly unmatched me and that was the end of it.
Gods, Kids, 2018 was the year where romance and chivalry went to die.
Kids, in the winter of 2018, I was facing the very real and harsh reality that meeting a man, one who got my weirdness, wanted me, loved me for me and wanted to make you with me, wasn’t going to happen.
At the time, being part of a family where literally every single one of my female relatives met and married men at the drop of a f***ing hat, when my timelines were filled to the f***ing brim with ultrasound photos and every other couple on the street were seriously overdoing the limit on PDAs, researching sperm donation and IVF and worrying how in the holy f*** I was going to scrape 70K together to make you was how I spent my evenings.
It didn’t help that I couldn’t talk about these thoughts with anyone in my life because I was far too busy being the soundboard and emotional haven for those people (including the person I caught feelings for – he’d popped back into my life a few weeks before and was going through something major. Yes, I am aware of how f***ed up that is but I was young and stupid and had a major heroine complex so sue me!).
When you grow up in a family that accuses you of being a drama queen your entire life, you learn as an adult to keep your mouth f***ing shut about the heartbreaking issues and worries that keep you up at night. It made me so emotionally shut off that I automatically assumed my friends wouldn’t want to hear my fears about being so weird and unlovable that no man in their right minds would ever want to be with me or father my children.
On a morning following a long, long night of crying into my pillow about not being able to change who I was so I could be like my female relatives and friends, I logged onto Twitter where your godfather Leon had liked an epic thread.
The author of the thread had exchanged seats with another woman so she could be with her boyfriend and ended up inadvertedly setting this woman up with her co-passenger:
Last night on a flight home, my boyfriend and I asked a woman to switch seats with me so we could sit together. We made a joke that maybe her new seat partner would be the love of her life and well, now I present you with this thread.
Did this make me believe I was going to meet your father on my next flight or bus ride? No… but it make me feel slightly better and really, that’s all a single girl could ask for. Thanks Leon and Rosey!
Kids,falling in love is a miraculous thing… that butterflies-in-the-tummy feeling,the bounce in your step when you see the object of your affection,the smirk you give when they say or do something silly and sweet,the hours (and I mean hours) of crazy back and forth texting and the way your heart soars when they utter your name…
All of this could lead to you catching feelings like a lovesick puppy or kitten…
Which is exactly what I did at age 32 when I should have f***ing known better!
Nine months- nine goddamn months spent wasted on early morning and late night texting across time zones and continents sometimes. Nine months of continuing face-to-face conversations online across every conceivable social media platform and picking up where we’d left off. Nine months of suddenly charged physical contact,electronic compliments and emotional support in a time of crisis. Nine months of me abruptly interrupting dinners and outings with family and friends so I could excitedly answer this person’s frequent and feverish messages and phone calls.
This was all the more of a wonder because this situationship was with someone I’d known for years and was literally the last freaking person on this planet, in this lifetime,in this goddamn galaxy I’d ever expected to have a connection with.
The person who,for whatever goddamn reason,freaked out when I was finally responding and blossoming due to their attention. The person who ran away so fast and stopped communicating so swiftly,the ensuing silence was deafening.
They’d left me feeling abandoned,raw,weirded out and like it was totally my fault for catching feelings when I shouldn’t have.
I hadn’t felt an inkling of something like this since Monroe… my heart had been emotionally dead since four years before so what this person did to me was beyond cruel. It was cowardice of the lowest, despicable level.
Kids,I’ve found over the long, LONG course of my singlehood that people (i.e. wives and girlfriends) assume that single women are so desperate, they are hitting on guys,especially attached ones, constantly.
Oh hell no!
More often than not, we’re batting these desperate men away with holy water and a cross:
Case in point: my shady AF neighbour, Sean.
I was struggling to get my cranky car Mr Winchester to start just outside of my apartment building in Vredehoek when Sean leaned out of his window to yell his “helpful” advice (something about turning the key again… what do I know about cars?!) at me.
I ignored him and eventually got the car started.
There I was minding my own goddamn business on the MyCiTi bus when Sean plonked himself down next to me, interrupting my very serious Crossfire erotica reading to “introduce” himself.
Him, in that way that coloured men think is hot but SO isn’t: “Do you remember me? I helped you with your car last year. I’m Sean”
Me, rolling my eyes because clearly my resting bitch face was not on point and my book didn’t seem to give this idiot a clue that I wanted to be left the f*** alone: “Vaguely… I’m Fazielah”
Awkward silence followed until he disembarked.
The following two years saw more of these awkward exchanges at the bus stop until he befriended me on Facebook.
Sean would see me around the building or out on a random Game shopping trip in the City Centre or spot a photo of me with friends on my timeline and like the crap out of said photo.
I’d talk to him when he talked to me but he was so far from my usual type, with his tracksuit pants, earrings in his ears, his Citi Golf. I mean, you guys know that I am a full on tall, blonde, blue-eyed man fan,right?!
One night, following a classic display of a coloured man showing interest in a woman by revving his car’s engine at me ( Lord Jesus, WHY do they do this?!), Sean slid into my DMs with:
“You really looked beautiful tonight”
I entertained this shit for a while because a) I am beautiful and b) awww until…
He started posting photos of his girlfriend. Are you f***ing kidding me?!
Dude, hitting on another woman when you are dating someone else is SHADY AF!
I ain’t nobody’s sidepiece or late night bootycall.
NO… absolutely NOT!
I had deleted his jerkass from my Facebook friend list and was going about my life as usual when…
The morning run-in happened on my way to a weekend away with your Nan, Aunt Sam and friends.
We said hi and I declined his offer to help me carry my bags to my Uber.
I kid you f***ing not, barely 30 minutes later I received this:
“You looked beautiful by the way”
Look, I am not opposed to receiving compliments from a man but when that man belongs to someone else and still insists on hitting on me, there’s a problem.
It was time to find the block button because ain’t nobody got time for lying, cheating jackasses.
“Can I kiss you?”, he asked, and I nodded yes before he laid one on me…
Kids, it wasn’t the best kiss of my life (that had been Myles a lifetime ago at my TV job) but it was my first since my Harlem hottie in New York three years prior and well, sometimes a girl just has to get her smooch on, you know?
It was my birthday weekend and while I was finally coming into my own as a woman and writer after Argentina, I needed a reminder that I was young, hot, single and free to do what and whomever I damn well pleased.
Your aunts Cynthia and Lee-Anne were the perfect partners-in-crime for my night out on the town, making friends with random strangers, laughing all night and dancing like no one was watching.
It’s ok to let go and be young every now and again. It’s a lesson I’d need to remember often over the year to come…
See, 2017 had been one f***ing hellish year of online dating for me and I was broken,tired and just plain done.
I wanted you more than my own soul but the sheer effort it was taking to meet a mostly decent, straight, emotionally and financially stable, quirky, interesting, well traveled and good man was killing me.
Just reviewing my top horrible online dating experiences of 2017 was nearly, but not quite enough, to put me off men forever:
The Oversharer 2 who not only initially tried and succeeded at putting me off with his neediness but then had the f***ing audacity to bodyshame me six months later. Asshole!
The Bad and the Ugly online daters who were either propositioning me for a three way or repeatedly asking for nudes when I had already said hell to the no!
It’s actually quite intoxicating. So much so, that when it is time to leave their beautiful city, one really does want to say “Don’t cry for me, Argentina!” :
Be in the pursuit of magic always:
I’ve seen jaw-dropping magic shows in Las Vegas and New York so I was quite keen to see one in South America. As my journey came to an end, time constraints were real and it didn’t seem like I was going to find my taste of magic in Buenos Aires.
During a night out at the Tango Porteno, in the middle of a tango extravaganza, female magician Inga Savitskaya appeared and dazzled us with her Invisible Partner act. Lesson learnt: always be in the pursuit of magic!
Embrace your sensuality:
From shamelessly indulging in dulce de leche, the sweet caramel treat Argentina is famous for , to giving into the erotic tension of a tango show, the Argentians are decadent, hungry and sensual beings.
After watching the intensity of dancers on a lunch time wander through La Bocca, a colourful downtown neighbourhood, I wandered down the cobbled streets of Galerías Pacífico .There, the most handsome, well-built men made a point of stopping what they were doing to openly stare and appreciate the sight of me.
Bearing in mind that I was in work travel mode and didn’t do anything fancy to my appearance, other than tie my hair up in a braid, I was equally flustered and flattered at the same time.
Far from being creepy, these men’s visible appreciation of me made me rediscover my sensuality. I made a promise to myself then that from that moment on I was going to embrace my inner sensual self by wearing sexy underwear and make-up and styling my hair everyday. Not for any guy but for myself – to celebrate the strong, independent, creative, free-spirited, beautiful, sensual, world traveller and woman I was.
To paraphrase your uncle Herman, I was in the prime of my life and I should be out in the world, swinging from the chandeliers ( or at least taking life by the horns!).
Kids, today’s abject lesson in why people should mind their own gods-be-damned business comes in the form of a public service announcement I wrote in September 2017.
Have a gander at this:
Dear Smug Marrieds and Otherwise Attached People (including my f***tard of an Uber driver the other night),
This evening I had to listen to one of your ring-wearing,boring AF breathen tell me that, and I quote, “You’re 31 and still not married? Being married is then so nice! What’s wrong with you?”
The answer, in short, is NOTHING!
Why the f*** do you assume that because I do not have a ring on my finger and I am not attached to a man/woman, that there is something wrong with me?
Newflash, you idiots, singledom is not a f***ing disease!
Just because you cannot live without someone to check in with and share your every goddamn move all day everyday, someone to cook,clean and care for and vice versa, someone to share a bank account with, someone to moan to your friends and mother about when they inevitably do not live up to your expectations, does not mean that I have to do the same.
Please, for the love of the gods, leave me be. I am a successful, independent, beautiful and happy young woman with a searing passion for love, life, travel, magic, family, friends, Alexander Skarsgard and Game of Thrones.
The next time you feel the impulse to bless me with your unsolicited comments about my singleton status in person or online ( I swear to the gods if I get one more “I’m so glad that I no longer have to deal with online dating woes” from a newly coupled blogger, I will burn their sites down, Wight Viserion-style!), don’t!
And don’t, I am begging you with tears in my big, beautiful, brown eyes, say shit to me like “When you are in a relationship, you’ll understand” when I wonder out loud why the f*** you gave up all of your individuality for a partner who doesn’t appreciate you.
If that is what passes for love and committment these days, you sir/madam, can keep that shit to yourself.
I am only going to say this once, so listen carefully:
I am not:
Too full of myself ( I am f***ing beautiful, intelligent and amazing. I deserve the best!)
Inferior to you ( treat me with the same respect I do you)
Too old to wait (some people only find their equals later in life)
Too difficult (I know what I want and who I am. If a man can’t deal with that, that is his f***ing problem!)
A man hater ( trust me, if you had to see my browser history or my past loves, you’d know I love men)
Child-adverse ( children are drawn to me like magnets and my ova are screaming out to be fertilised)
Too independent ( utter this shit to me and I will bitch slap you!)
Yes, I am a Destiny’s Child poster girl and I am f***ing proud of it!
I’m not sorry my singledom makes you squirm because you’re secretly jealous of my freedom.
“You seem like a sweet and amazing person and I just had to speak to you…”, he said, his light blue eyes twinkling in the afternoon sunlight.
I blushed prettily and thanked this kind and soft-spoken cute guy on the bus for his compliment:
“You’re too kind, sir.Thank you for being brave enough to talk to me. I won’t forget this unexpected encounter”
He disembarked soon after, leaving me to marvel at the wonder of life and surprising moments…
Sounds like the makings of an incredible meet-cute, right?
Well, my sweet and cute guy was an 80-year-old Greek man who felt moved by the Seven to talk to me on a winter’s day in 2017.
Usually, my resting bitch face was enough to stop anyone, except my loved ones, from even attempting to talk to me on a MyCiTi bus ride to or from home.
As you may have noticed from years of living with me, I am NOT a morning person… I am not much of an afternoon person either, depending on the type of day I’ve had.
And on this particular Friday, after dealing with an egotistical radio personality at the summit of Table Mountain, I definitely was not in the mood for any kind of chatting up by anyone.
Santos,proving that they just don’t make gentlemen like they used to, didn’t let my scowling demeanor deter him, though.
“Can I offer you some advice from an old man? No matter where you go in the world – Russia, Greece, Spain, America, there is no place better than Cape Town. You will do well to come back here again – where are you from? You’re not from here, right? You don’t look South African. Come back here and settle in this beautiful city.”
I smiled, temporarily shaken out of my bad mood, and pleasantly surprised by Santos’s confidence:
“I am from here, born and raised in Cape Town. You are right, though, there is no place like the Mother City”
In the space of 5 minutes from the Gardens Centre stop to his Highlands Avenue one, Santos reaffirmed my belief in men, people, love, family ( he had his first child at 32 – “There is time,my dear, there is time. You will be a mother when it is meant to happen”) and that making your destiny happen is up to you.
“My darling girl, God/Allah/Buddha moved me to speak to you today so before I go, remember this: Where there is a battle between will and imagination, imagination always wins. You can do, be and have anything. Keep smiling that beautiful smile. Until we meet again…”
It was enough to make a grumpy girl swoon:
You were way out of my age category, Santos, but yes, until we meet again …