Kids, on Valentine’s Day in 2017, I found #LoveAtFirstBite with Dunkin Donuts…
Ok, fine, I fell in love with their quirky heart shaped offerings BUT I also experienced a resurgence of faith in the speed dating industry after attending the Dunkin Donuts ‘#LoveAtFirstBite speed dating event on Monday 13 February, 2017.
I know I said I’d NEVER attend another speed dating event after the disaster in 2015 but you know, hope springs eternal and come on, who can say not to donuts?
Here’s why the #LoveAtFirstBite experience rocked my dating world:
Men, men, me EVERYWHERE:
I “dated” nine men in the space of 40 minutes …the fact that there were so many guys for the first time at a speed dating event was heartening AND they were relatively good looking!
2. Talk to me, baby:
Behold the blessings of a good conversationalist! A few of them, like Ryan, the hot primary school teacher ( awww, he loves kids and giving back to the community!) made the five minutes allocated to getting to know each other fly by with their interesting anecdotes.
3. Keeping things sweet:
Look, I’d be lying if I said the real reason I was there was to potentially meet your father … because let’s be honest, I love sweet things and, donuts, like a lot!
Besides the romantic #LoveAtFirstBite deal Dunkin Donuts was running for Valentine’s Day, they kept us sweet all night with special editions of their famous product and ice coffee. My favourite was the Hazelnut flavour and the choc choc heart!
Did Cupid’s Arrow hit my voluptuous butt at the Dunkin Donuts event? Who knows … the point is, the evening gave me renewed faith in love, sugar and singledom and that, Kids, is all I needed to meet your father.
Kids, coming back from New York in January 2017 was a hard and difficult task but I was determined to live each day of the New Year with brazen boldness and that principle needed to be applied to my dating life too.
Only to meet WarAngel03 on OkCupid, who seemed to check out okay, from his profile. Like books,though, never judge a man by his online profile.
The conversation started out with the usual small talk – where we’re from, what we’re up to etc- when , of course he wanted to move onto WhatsApp.
Now, as I have mentioned before, I wasn’t keen on moving to a more personal platform immediately if the guy in question wasn’t a stimulating conversationalist or was going to bother me at all hours of the day with senseless texts. I had a sixth sense this dude was going to be one of the latter and I was in no mood for it.
But, I had promised myself and my poor, long-suffering mother, I wasn’t going to be mean or offhand with guys in 2017, so I playfully asked WarAngel03 to tell me more about himself and why he was worthy of getting my digits.
Here is what he responded with:
Needy much? I didn’t have time for a repeat of Mr Overeager 2 . Sweet as he seemed, this oversharing did not make for an attractive match. I mean, come on, do I fucking look like Dr Phil to 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!
“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 😉
Kids, at times when the search for your father seemed to come to a complete stand still, it was good to get out of Cape Town and have some fun (and go where there was sure to be hot, single men …we hoped!). Luckily for your god mom Marisa and I, we were invited to the ultra-cool, must-do Darling Summer Beer Festival on Saturday 3 December, 2016.
Co-hosted by the local brewery Darling Brew and Darling Tourism , this fun day out in the gorgeous dorpie (little town) featured stalls by local cider, beer and foodie producers (Riot Brewery, Savage Brewery, Flagship Brewery, Mountain Brewing Company and Everson’s Cider& Decider) and live music from up and coming bands like Red Tape Riot, Jimm Harisson Project & Stone Jets.
I lost my foodie heart to the Flying Pig, who conjured up such a magical Cuban sandwich, I kept dreaming about it for days after the event.
Our eclectic mix of Igers was transported to the Festival in a super rad Nomad Tours truck and let me tell you, it’s a driving experience unlike any other I have ever had.
I’ll readily admit that I wasn’t much of a craft beer drinker before the Festival ( the last time I had chugged down some ale was when I was trying to impress Monroe on a night out …and we all know how well that turned out –NOT!) but I thoroughly enjoyed the Gypsy Mask and the Midnight Hawk brews.
One of the stalls at the market made a mean beer-infused ice cream that was easily my favourite item of the day!
These are some of our tasty memories of the Festival:
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!
Kids, by the spring of 2016, I had been a novice runner for a year and a bit, competing in several racing events ,including the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon and the Gun Run.
I was having tons of fun blogging about my transformation from couch potato to relatively fit runner and to my surprise, running helped me get a new perspective on my love life (or lack thereof).
Here are five things running taught me about dating:
Just do it:
Procrastination might very well be my middle name because I was always putting off going for a run, in the same way I put off going on dates.
Whether I was hurriedly slipping into running trainers or high heeled boots, I always found that once I committed to the act of running or dating and actually did it, I felt much better afterwards.
To quote the most epic of philosophers, Nike:
No one runs and wins a half-marathon on their first go so what made me think I was going to meet The One immediately?
All good things come to those who train and dating was my training. I needed to give myself time and stick to a healthy regime of meeting new people at events I liked going to like Fan Con or Zombie Walk; online dating sites; parties; set-ups or speed dating hang-outs.
Being nervous is ok:
Man, did I get butterflies in my tummy before every run and date! My heart would race a mile a minute, my palms would be sweaty and I would be thinking “Why the f*** am I doing this?!” every five minutes in the lead-up to the big event.
Being nervous was ok, though, and helped me get excited about what lay ahead, both on the road and in love.
When you fall down, get back up:
Getting my heart broken or being stood up hurt every bit as much as falling flat on my ample sized butt on the road but if I could motivate myself to get back up and run again, I could get back out into the dating scene again too.
Sure, every WTF online dating pick-up line or extremely bad date made me want to run for the hills (ha-ha, pun totally intended!) but I managed to shake it off and bounce back stronger than before.
Having support is important:
Your Spirit Mom Leo was the one who set me on the path to running greatness by encouraging me to enter races, running some of them with me (and providing ample motivation in the form of naked Alexander Skarsgard, Matt Bomer and Henry Cavill photos …hee hee!) and providing a platform for me to document my progress with a monthly blog post.
Similarly, she and your Uncle Tendai listened to my crazy dating tales, tried setting me up on blind dates, were my wing people and told me some much needed motivational stories about their own love adventures.
No runner can do it alone and neither can a dater. House of Wyrd, you rock my world!
Running may not have had me quite on Whitney Houston’s path to love:
BUT it did get me out and about and on the road to happiness.
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.