Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Stolen hearts

When you're living in a country as dangerous as South Africa, you're bound to fall victim to one of our many petty crimes sooner or later. No matter how breathtaking our picture perfect cities may be, we cannot escape the underlying malice that lurks beneath our beautiful nation. Hijackings, rape, daylight robbery and senseless shootings. We're constantly living in fear of being a target, especially when the criminal in question always seems to get away scot-free. What ever happened to "serve and protect"? Is it just another local legend? Had the good cops caught on and moved to Jo'burg? How on earth are we ever supposed to feel safe when the ones who are meant to protect us are also the ones committing the crime?

Having my cellphone stolen from right beneath my nose in the safety of my own work environment had proven to be a righteous pain in the ass. It wasn't the loss of the actual object that annoyed me but all that information - information that could have been retrieved if I had only known about Blackberry Protect. As if the violation of my privacy wasn't bad enough, I was left with the inconvenience of blacklisting, case numbers, insurances and all the other unnecessary admin that goes with being robbed.

As I watched the surveillance cameras play back the actions of my perpetrator, I started thinking about a different kind of crime. It is a fact that every ten minutes, another woman's heart is being stolen or broken into by some kind of smooth criminal. Although most of us are sensible enough to have some kind of security in place, spotting a thief or serial heartbreaker is not as easy as it looks. These cunning masterminds have a way of sneaking into our hearts by tapping into our innermost vulnerabilities and desires, saying all the right things a single girl needs to hear. While you're busy planning a future, he's busy planning his next heist. Before you know it, you're just another sad, angry, embittered casualty.

The story of Justice and her illegal immigrant was a typical case gone cold. After several disappointing relationships including a sandwich guy who was still in love with his ex-wife, Mr. Nyama and her emotionally abusive "ex-naai" of a boyfriend, Justice had finally met a man worth her while. She fell for his European charm over red wine one night when she was singing the blues at a downtown Jazz club. Although he was in a long term relationship with someone else, he was willing to call off his six-year relationship in order to pursue a romance with his newfound Nubian soulmate.

For once in her life, Justice had experienced and deserved the perks of being in a healthy relationship. I had never seen her so happy before. She revelled in the joy and the laughter, the communication and even the cheesy romantic gestures. She'd finally found someone that understood her and loved her for all that she was, not to mention the mind-blowing sex. Apparently, Mr. French had quite the baguette! Was it all too good to be true?

Sadly, yes. Eight months down the line, Justice had come face to face with the woman he left back in gay Paris. It turns out that he had not officially broken things off with her like he said he did and that they were actually engaged to be married. Instead of lashing out at the real attacker, Mademoiselle Billoncourt went head-to-head with Justice, publicly accusing her of being a home-wrecking whore. Justice was mortified and immediately ended things with Mr. French who, surprise surprise, was already hot in pursuit of his next victim. Case closed: It was murder by broken heart.

If breaking a woman's heart was punishable by law, there still wouldn't be a correctional facility big enough to hold all the callous criminals committing these heinous crimes. Deceit, infidelity, the inability to commit to one person. You never really know who you're sleeping with until it's too late. When love presents itself, it's probably best to believe in someone's innocence at least until they're proven guilty. You can take comfort in knowing that no matter how well they cover their tracks, the truth will always find a way of revealing itself and only then are we able to set our hearts free.  

When it comes to crimes of the heart, I couldn't help but wonder...will justice ever be served? 

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Four play

As human beings we are conditioned to understand life according to certain polar opposites. From a very young age, we are programmed to make sense of the world based on a set of limitations and pre-defined ideologies. We are taught the differences between good and bad, right and wrong, black and white and hopefully one day, when we are wiser, the difference between sex and love. Some conventions, like relationships, should be as clear as day but there are some relationships that have progressed beyond the boundaries of conservative thinking.

No matter how open-minded or liberal we think we might be, understanding something as foreign as the open relationship has always been a difficult concept to grasp. The idea of loving more than one person, whether it's emotionally or just physically, threatens the very value on which relationships are built. Is it because it goes against everything we were brought up to believe in? Commitment, trust, fidelity, the "one". Is society perhaps a little too prudent and narrow-minded to fully comprehend the benefits of being in a sexually-liberating relationship or do most of us simply prefer the standards that come with tradition? 

It's extremely rare to come across an open relationship that works, which is why I was pleasantly surprised to find two that did. Samantha, who was notorious for being sexually adventurous, embraced the fact that she would never physically belong to one man only. She had been through them all...three ways, orgies, one night stands, four ways...the woman was practically a sexual intersection. We all knew that her relationship with sex was far too wonderful for anyone to pass up, which is why we were all shocked to meet the man that would one day become her fiance.

William was no stranger to Sam's promiscuity and had often been left hurt in the beginning stages of their relationship. After carefully ironing out the terms and conditions of their arrangement, William eventually succumbed to the idea that Sam would never be a one-man woman. He adapted to the situation which he eventually found mutually beneficial. He'd often take part in her many sexual exploits and learned to free himself from the constraints of traditional relationship dogma. Providing that he knew who and when and providing that it was only physical, William had learned to accept the things he could not change in his partner. They have been together for seven years.
Further downtown in the Gay Quarter, Seth and his boyfriend Ernie had also been involved in a progressive relationship for the past five years. Somehow it was far easier to accept this sort of behaviour from a gay relationship given the stereotypes placed upon them but I soon found out that it was no different from a heterosexual relationship. "Some people just have stronger sexual needs than others so we simply allow each other the freedom to explore that. We love each other to death and we'll always stay committed to one another, so what's the harm in indulging our sexual deviances together? We both love sex and this way neither of us are really cheating on each other? We've lasted longer than most relationships we know." 

Based on my own sex-capades, a three-way can go one of two ways: mutually satisfying or emotionally damaging. Fortunately, I was only ever the supporting role in a sexual performance, so I never really understood what the other two were feeling at the time...apart from me and each other that is. All I know is that that particular relationship ended shortly after and I had somehow earned an enemy for life. Was the key to an open relationship being able to separate one's primal urges from emotional dependency? How does one cut off the emotional strings attached to one's heart? Is it something our society is ready and willing to embrace or is it simply a practice reserved for sexual revolutionaries?       

When it comes to open relationships, I couldn't help but wonder, are we there yet? 

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Cost of Kids

Any mother worth her umbilical cord will tell you that having a baby is one of life's most wonderful and fulfilling experiences. To bring another human being into this world and to love them unconditionally for the rest of your life is nature's way of saying "Eve, you did good!" Despite the many life-changing events that follow when exercising one's maternal right, the pros of motherhood always seem to outweigh the cons even though the cons-list is considerably longer. Nausea, stretchmarks, weight gain, a lifetime of worry and concern, not to mention the end of social existence as we know it. It's enough to scare one into sterilisation. Does it take a certain kind of woman to embrace the joys and perils that come with being a mother or are certain sacrifices and penalties to be expected when you're expecting?

My older sister Alli had recently marked the fortieth anniversary of her life and had three beautiful children to show for it. Like most Catholic girls at the tender age of twenty, her first child was an immaculate conception. As glowing as she was, this unexpected arrival had cost her the freedom to experience those reckless self-discovery years that are absolutely vital to one's own personal development. Not wanting to disappoint the patriarchal leaders of our family, she decided to get married and declare baby Mickey a honeymoon blessing that would later be two months premature.

Ten years later, a worn-out Alli welcomed two more additions to our family, a little boy and a little girl. As the years went by, I got to see less and less of my sister who had transformed overnight  into a ball of stress and frustration. Her weeknights were reserved for PTA meetings and extra-curricular school activities while her weekends were spent ironing, cleaning, shopping and tending to sickly children. A day with the girls inevitably turned into a play date at Jimmy's Jungle and everything else had to be planned months in advance. What had happened to my darling sister? Had she sacrificed her own identity for the sake of her children? While I am sure that twenty years of being a mother without a single day off had its rewards, I couldn't help but wonder whether my sister was genuinely happy or in desperate need of some serious "me time"? 

A few weeks ago, I met a fabulous 45 year-old from Zimbabwe. Her name was Carrie and she was a dress-maker, entrepreneur and proud mother of four. Her first pregnancy was an absolute breeze but by the time she had her fourth child, her body had been through some significant changes. She  decided that it was time to have a little nip and tuck, so got on a plane to Cape Town where she met the surgeon of her dreams. His work was flawless. He performed a tummy tuck, some liposuction, a breast reduction, a minor facelift, a couple of fillers and a little bo just to top it all off. R120 000 and eight kilograms later, Carrie was transformed into a brand new woman and she looked great. "As much as I worship the ground my children walk on, the last one really ruined my body for life so I figured it was time to do something about getting my confidence back."    

Kirstin and Rodney were always the life of the party. They were rock stars in every sense and true legends in their own right. Whether they were competing in the nasal Olympics of Colombia or just kicking it back with Johnny, Jose, Jim and Jack, Kirstin and Rodney would always be the last ones standing. I was shocked to hear that Kirstin had managed to fall pregnant and even more shocked to see her maternal side kick in at a recent house party. I watched in utter amazement as Kirstin and Rodney followed their little monkey around everywhere, taking turns to feed him and love him, keep him entertained and more importantly to keep him out of harm's way. And then the unthinkable happened. They left before 7pm.   

Sanity, time, money, identity, lack of social life, sleepless nights and sacrifice, spontaneity, physical and personality lobotomies. These are just a few things to consider when having a child of your own. Don't kid yourself, when that biological clock stops ticking it will change you in every way imaginable. The good news is that it's all apparently worth it. It brings you a different kind of happiness, one that you can only experience when you become a parent yourself. I hear that it happens the moment you hear those tiny little heartbeats beeping back at you from the ultrasound or perhaps it's the first time you get side-kicked by a little ninja-foetus. Whatever the case, the product is always unconditional love combined with an overwhelming sense to protect the mini-you at any cost.  

The cost of child birth: priceless.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Cheaters SA

Somewhere between my first heartbreak and the early noughties, I fell in love with a man named Joey Greco. He was everything you could ask for in a man...straight, sexy, smart but above all, on television. I remember how my eyes would light up every time Bongani Njoli rambunctiously announced the start of his weekly show. His sword was a hand-held camera and his shield, a bunch of burly film crew. I watched in amazement as he gallantly swept in on his moral high horse, publicly humiliating and busting the rat bastard men and women who cheat on their spouses and long-term partners. As scandalous as it may be, it had to be the most satisfying and entertaining reality TV show to anyone suffering from the effects of being in an unfaithful relationship.

Let's face it, long gone are the days where cheating meant skimming the answers off of some unsuspecting brainiac in order to pass a test that we were too lazy to study for. It has a far more sinister meaning when it comes to relationships, one that involves pain, dishonesty, manipulation and exploitation of trust. The game may have changed but the objective is still the same; to achieve a desired goal by some immoral means. And it seems to be a growing trend, one that has become as socially acceptable as Crocs or Justin Bieber with up to 60% of married individuals secretly engaged in extra-martial activities. That doesn't even account for the infidelity that goes on in long-term relationships and same-sex civil partnerships. Is fidelity on the verge of extinction?

It's a question as old as who killed Kennedy, a tragedy that no-one will ever fully comprehend. Why do people cheat when it causes such pain? Are we all sadists or is there some kind of thrill that comes with living a double, sometimes triple life? It's far easier to understand why men do it. They are after all genetically programmed to stick their dicks into anything that gives them the time of day anyway, right? But what about women who cheat? What's their motivation? Can women cheat like men do, for pure physical satisfaction or does there have to be some kind of emotional reason? I couldn't help but wonder...

Miranda and I were catching up over a much needed glass of wine recently when the topic of cheating came up. According to Miranda, the world is made up of two kinds of people: serial cheaters and right wing anti-cheaters. She proceeded to tell me about Nina, a family friend that had recently filed for divorce. Nina had been exposed to infidelity from an early age having witnessed her own mother's affair with a married man that happened to be her father's best friend. The affair eventually led to the subsequent failure of her parents marriage, an event that had left Nina emotionally and psychological shaken for a very long time. To make matters worse, she relived a similar situation a few years later when she came home to find her partner of five years in bed with another woman.

It took ages before Nina could trust anyone again but eventually she did and was now married to the father of her two beautiful children. Her marriage, like any other marriage, was far from perfect but for once she seemed to be in a happy, healthy relationship. It's hard to believe that Nina would one day follow in her mother's footsteps especially after all the psychological damage infidelity had caused her.

There were only a few people that knew the severity of Nina's cheating ways. Rumour has it that she had been cheating on her husband right from the get-go and had recently struck up affair number four with a married co-worker. There were even questions surrounding the paternity of her second child, another surprise her soon-to-be-ex is yet to unravel. She was eventually caught out and had decided it best to end her ten year marriage before matters got worse. Was Nina just another serial cheater destined to cheat over and over again or were there deeper issues from her childhood that had never been dealt with that had fucked up her chances of ever being faithful?

We all have our reasons for cheating on a loved one. Sometimes it's a once-off mistake and sometimes it's an actual habit. Being a one time cheater and multiple cheatee myself, I can personally say that there is no act more cowardly and damaging than cheating on someone that loves you with their entire being. It's a no win situation especially when there are children involved. The guilt, the clap, the karma. It will eventually catch up with you, so unless you are willing to live with that for the rest of your life, it simply isn't worth it.

When it comes to fidelity, has our moral compass gone South?


Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Service Plan

There are a handful of firsts in every girl's life that she will never forget. The first time she gets kissed, the first time she falls in love, the first time she has great sex and the first time she gets behind the wheel. There's no greater sense of freedom than the one that comes with hitting the open road in a brand new car especially if the car in question is officially yours. It's the ultimate accessory, a beacon of  independence and liberation, a gateway to never-ending adventures where speed, loud music and the wind in your hair are all just a key-turn away.

Sadly, the novelty of owning a car can wear off just as quickly as the vehicle's value. Forget what the hunky salesman tells you, no car was built for a lifetime. The cost and energy spent on routine maintenance can be altogether exhausting especially when you don't have a solid warranty plan in place. And even then you're screwed, what with all those limitations that go hand in hand with the manufacturer's manifesto. There's always some kind of catch. I'm sure the late, great Isabel Jones would agree with me when I say that half the warranties these days aren't even worth the paper they're printed on. 

My own frustrations with Carrie the Tata-mobile got me thinking about service plans and warranties and its relation to long-term relationships. The thrill of being in a brand new relationship can be just as exhilarating especially if you've been searching the market for a while. There's no greater feeling than that spark and  chemistry that comes with falling in love, not to mention the new smell and va-va-vroom that goes with the ride. But what happens when a relationship reaches a certain mileage point? What happens when the most crucial parts of a relationship start falling to pieces? Trust, passion, communication. Do long-term relationships need some kind of service plan in order to survive, and if so, where does one begin to find a mechanic skilled enough to take on such an incredible feat?

Nikaela and Giles were just days away from celebrating their three year anniversary. Instead of splashing out on some fabulous weekend away, they had decided to go for couples therapy after a severe break down in their fragile relationship. Right from the very beginning, "Gikaela" had been everybody's favorite couple. They got on well with everyone, had sex for days and their affection for one another was seriously painful to the single eye. One day, Giles had done the unthinkable and cheated on Nikaela. It would have been one thing if it were some unknown slag in a bar but like the story often goes, it was a case of the ex. What's worse is that he had kept this from her for the first ten months of their relationship, a betrayal that Nikaela stupidly chose to live with for the next two years of her life.

Instead of returning this faulty man back to her dealership, Nikaela had decided to forgive him and take matters into her own hands. The anger and resentment had already reached boiling point so Nikaela devised a service plan for their relationship, one that incorporated lots of raw communication under the objective guidance of a couples counsellor. The process was designed to repair the damage that had not been seen to back in 2010. Even though the most rational answer was staring them in the face, neither of them wanted to trade in just yet. Instead, they decided to spend every Friday afternoon in hourly workshops taking apart the pieces of their broken relationship in order to salvage the vehicle of their love.    

You cannot avoid the unexpected breakdowns and electrical malfunctions that come with being in a relationship. As frustrating as it may be, we need to accept that there are certain things in life that don't come with a warranty. Trust is not something you can fix on your own so seeking the help of a professional love mechanic may just be all it takes to get that spark back on track. And then there are times when the damage done is way beyond repair. Either way, you need to be prepared for the worst possible outcome, that a relationship may just be a complete write off.    

When it comes to long-term relationships, do we need to disconnect in order to reconnect?

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Bye bipolar

Why is it that whenever we go through a particularly difficult time in our lives someone automatically thinks we're bi-polar and in need of happy pills? In this Prozac nation full of Pfizer babies, it's much easier to cry depression than it is to man up and deal with the problem at hand. Instead we choose to pump ourselves full of mood stabilizers in hopes of curing some kind of chemical imbalance, a hypothesis that was coincidentally discovered during the same time as the pharmaceutical boom of the 1950's. Has our generation really become that quick to buckle or are some of us just better-equipped to deal with the highs and lows of this rollercoaster called life than others?

As I sat in the doctor's room waiting for my diagnosis to come through, I started thinking about commitment and the mental strength it takes to love someone on a permanent basis. A long-term relationship, and a marriage in particular, is the ultimate indication of love, one that was designed to test our emotional fortitude. It comes with a number of extreme contradictions that become even more intense the longer we stay in a particular relationship. Pain, joy, happiness, resentment. Everything is amplified. We love them the one day and we hate them the next. Was love also bi-polar and if so how do we overcome the negative side effects without any form of medication? Do we simply give up and declare the relationship emotionally unstable or do we fight the symptoms before they become critical?

My dearest English friend Anabelle had lived a very full and independent life before she eventually settled down and got married at the age of 40. It was quite an adjustment going from single international tour operator to working super-wife and mother of two. In eight short years Anabelle had learned how to juggle the various roles in her life, a feat that was not easy to accomplish considering the premature cracks in her marriage. She'd conquered rumors of infidelity, insolvency as well as a number of physical complications that could have ended her husbands life sooner than she had hoped for.

Despite all the drama, Anabelle always seemed to remain calm. At first I thought it was because she was British but I had soon discovered that the key to Anabelle's success was not self-medication but a little relationship tool called diplomacy. She had successfully managed to perfect the art of negotiation between any two opposing thoughts, ideas and feelings to the point where all parties involved were able to reach an amicable and mutual decision. "There were many times that I thought of divorcing Reggie and sometimes I find myself resenting him for things that have happened in the past but at the end of the day, if you still love someone and choose to be with them, you'll  find a way of making things work."

Had Anabelle come up with some kind of "relationship prognosis"? Were conciliation and communication the natural endorphins needed to overcome the emotional imbalance in one's relationship?

My own relationship had recently gone through a state of clinical depression and I was just about ready to raise the white flag on love for good. Instead of confronting the problems in our relationship, Aiden and I decided to avoid each completely. This unhealthy approach went on for days until the suppression finally turned into a full-blown shit storm. Things were thrown and harsh words were spoken. I was furious, he was hurt. It all became a little schizophrenic but by the end of the day, we had reached a mutual understanding and respect for one another, and peace had finally been restored to our three year relationship. They don't call it crazy stupid love for nothing.

There seems to be a quick-fix pill for everything these days, guaranteed to bring eternal sunshine to any spotless mind. I wouldn't be surprised if some lab had already found a way of curing the downsides of being in a relationship. Imagine how well that would go down. Until then, we have to make mental adjustments and put a little effort into making something worthwhile work. Despite all of love's trials and tribulations, you know you've struck gold when you find a relationship able to withstand the most manic of situations. Hold onto the man that will love you for better or worse, for richer and poorer and in mental illness and in health.

When it comes to commitment, I couldn't help but wonder, are we all a little mad?

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Freaky Guyday

Every year, Americans put on their scariest costumes and celebrate a little past time known as Halloween. What was once a pagan ritual had somehow turned into a commercial fiasco thanks to candy companies and pumpkin farmers everywhere. Trick or treating, horror fests, bobbing for's a tradition that South Africans never seemed to get the gist of and even though we try to accommodate the occasional party, it always turns out to be the same non-event every year. Is it because we know that the only trick or treating that takes place in this country happens on the corners of Koeberg and Main Roads or is it because we know that the real freaks don't need a mask to scare the living shit out of us? 

As I contemplated whether or not to celebrate Halloween this year, I got to thinking about All Hallows Eve and its inextricable link to dating. Just like trick or treating we go from door to door wearing elaborate costumes in search of life's ultimate treat...casual, discreet sex. Some of us are far more blatant in our approach while others tend to be more subtle, safeguarding their inner freak behind comfortable conversation and mutual interests. Try as we might, we can never predict the outcome until the very end of a date, when all disguises are off and the contents of our candy pot are sprawled across a strangers bed. Trick or treat?

Margot, who was no stranger to casual sex, had decided to make a cameo appearance at Chez Don'gelle this weekend. After a boozy lunch we decided to re-live the nineties by watching some classic horror movies. It was somewhere between The Craft and I Know What You Did Last Summer that Margot decided to share some real life horror stories of her own. Warning: The following story is based on real life events and is not suitable for sensitive viewers.

It was a dark and stormy night when Margot met a mysterious stranger at a destination known to many as The Shack. There was an instant sexual attraction fueled by copious amounts of Hunter's Dry and double brandy and cokes. The mating ritual had begun and it wasn't long before Margot looked deep into his brooding eyes and asked the age old question: your place or mine? Fortunately for Margot, Mr Tall, Dark and Lovely lived nearby and so they set off into the early hours of the morning to get their freak on.

Nothing could have prepared Margot for the events that followed. He opened the door into his studio apartment and as she stepped in she almost immediately jumped back at the sight before her. Hundreds of beaded little eyes staring back at her from every direction. It turns out that her handsome stranger was actually an avid collector of dolls; freaky motherfucking Chucky-looking dolls! And they were everywhere! On the futon, the shelves, his couch. What's worse is that he also turned out to be a talker and not in a good way. "Oh yeah! You like it when daddy does that, don't you? You're daddy's little dirty girl. You want a little cream in your coffee?" Is this what happens when date night turns into fright night?

Margot continued with her stories providing hours of entertainment not to mention days of laughter. She had somehow managed to survive The Collector, The Sweet Transvestite, The Coprophiliac (a.k.a Number 2 - that shit is just wrong), The Guy Who Stole Her Shoes as well as The Naked Man. Did all men have some kind of sexual deviance, a Pandora's box of creepy neuroses and unsavoury fetishes? Were all men freaks?

"Oh no my friend," Margot added, "There are some freaky bitches out there as well." Margot proceeded to tell me about her friend Stan who had notoriously earned the nickname "one night Stan" for obvious reasons. Stan had just scored a super hot babe, a quiet night for someone with his sexual appetite. Mystique managed to lure a very horny Stan back to her place for some "coffee". She stripped him down before strapping him tightly to her queen-sized bed. Stan had hit the jackpot of kinky, loose women and was ready for sexy time...that is until Mystique did a ninja and took off with his watch, his wallet and his cellphone never to be seen or heard from again. Stan was discovered by the real tenant one day later, naked, hungover and mortified. 

Who the hell needs Halloween when dating can be just as scary? If you want to see a real freak show look no further than the mother city. The streets are full of them all cleverly disguised in white collared shirts and neutral cashmere sweaters. You don't even have to wait for October 31st anymore. Perhaps the real horror is being single for the rest of your life. Perhaps that's why we find ourselves in these frightening situations. If we don't open ourselves up to spontaneous experiences from time to time, how on earth are we supposed to find sanity amongst the circus show of freaks?

In dating, I couldn't help but wonder, do we need to suffer through all those nasty tricks before we can enjoy the tasty treats?

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

When we were young

Remember those heavenly care-free days of fun when "stress" was just a word and not a way of life? When SARS was just another outbreak designed to keep us away from the local post office and obligations were few and far between? There was no such thing as tomorrows or responsibilities, hash tags or broken hearts. The sky was as blue as we wanted it to be and fun was the only agenda that mattered. Not a single care or worry in the world...just pure unadulterated child-like bliss. 

At some point in our lives, most of us stop playing and give in to the demands of day-to-day living. The idea of possibility becomes immature and obsolete, gradually exchanged for something more substantial and finite. We cash in our hopes and dreams for rent-controlled apartments and promising life policies; funeral plans and platinum medical aid packages. Instead of letting our hair down, we're too busy pulling it out working ourselves to a slow and painful death over some promotion we didn't want in the first place. We succumb to counting calories and stick to unimaginative regimens that allow no room for spontaneity. The energy that could once light a fire was now reserved for that precious hour on the elliptical - if and when it became available. "I can" becomes "I just can't" and before you know it you barely recognise that grumpy old cow glaring back at you in the mirror. 

The stress of life had finally gotten the better of Diana Di Lorentis. She had once dreamed of being a professional dancer and wanted nothing more than to entertain the masses through freedom of movement. She was optimistic and hopeful until one day, some evil blonde bitch in cerulean lycra told her that she simply wasn't good enough. Although Diana had always been praised for her talents by so many others, it took only one comment for her to stop believing in herself. Her dancing went from passion to hobby and she now spends her days working twelve hour shifts as an inbound tour operator for some of the world's most  ungrateful assholes. She gradually transformed into a shell of her former self until one day the light seemed to have disappeared completely.

It was Brenda's 30th birthday weekend and Diana was feeling particularly bitter about her own life. She had had a week from hell which included a serious bout of depression as well as a strain of stress-related skin disease that took weeks to cure. She refused to drink or take part in any of the festivities and seemed almost determined to spoil the party with one of her trademark wheel-spin mood swings. In a matter of sixty seconds, she had gone from the wonderful girl we all knew and loved to the miserable bitch she had allowed herself to become. Was she offended by the lack of maturity in the room or had she simply resented the fact that everyone else was having fun? Either her bun was on too tight or she had simply forgotten how to let go and enjoy herself.

The next morning, Diana decided to bury herself in work in order to take her mind off the things that people were saying about her. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror and suddenly realised what a buzzkill she had been. She'd had enough. She immediately slammed her laptop shut and decided that it was time to join the party. She bought gumboots and splashed around in the mud and even peed in a bush before indulging in a massive plate of delicious carbohydrates. It only took four swigs of Sauvignon Blanc for Diana to let her hair down on the dance floor....literally. Locks of gorgeous curly brown hair whipping back and forth until two in the morning. If you could freeze-frame that moment, you would see Diana's spirit. Not a care in the world...just Dee, the beat and the dance.

They say that growing old is mandatory and that growing up is optional. The way I see it, life has a way of lobotomising even the most precious soul and if we are not careful, we may grow up a little too fast a little too soon. The pace of daily living and the stress that comes with it makes it so easy for us to lose ourselves that we forget to take a moment and appreciate the simple things in life. Play, laugh, dance, love. You only live once so you may as well spend it doing the things that keep you young and happy. 

When it comes to life in general, do we stop playing because we grow too old or do we grow old because we stop playing?

Thursday, 11 October 2012

The Big "C"...

Getting over someone you thought you had a connection with is one of life's greatest challenges. Just when you think you've found that special someone worth committing the rest of your life to, the same careless cunt goes ahead and breaks your heart. No matter what the circumstance, the consequences are usually the same...catastrophic, especially when the asshole in question doesn't even have the courtesy to clarify the confusion he left behind. It can take months and even years to restore the damage caused by heartbreak and while most of us eventually find a way of moving on, it all boils down to one question...can we let go without the comfort of closure? 

Why oh why do we keep asking ourselves the one question that we know we'll never get a straight answer to? Instead we choose to complicate our lives by chasing after some kind of reason as to why things didn't work out. Is it so impossible to just accept things the way they are? Do we secretly enjoy the attention that comes with wallowing in our own self-pity? Far worse can happen to a person so why do we convince ourselves that closure is the only way forward? Is it because our confidence in love from that day on is constantly questioned or is it because we have not successfully managed to get past the hurt, the denial and the anger?    

A long time ago I was obsessed with my ex. He had some kind of power over me that to this day I still cannot explain. Perhaps it was just an infatuation but for nearly seven years I was stuck wondering why things never worked out between us. It hindered many chances of moving onto new relationships. Instead of embracing the many wonderful men in between, I found myself asking questions like why was I not good enough for him and why was he seeing other people? Was there still a chance of winning him back? The amount of noise circling my head was like cancer slowly attacking my body. There were many occasions where I thought I had finally made a full recovery, telling myself that I no longer cared but every time I caught a glimpse of him, I would relapse. Of all the pubs in all the world, he had to go and walk into mine.

The last time I saw BIG was earlier this year at a family function. As I saw him staring at me from across the room I anticipated the flurry of questions that I had grown so accustomed to but this time, nothing. For the first time I was at peace with the situation and saw it for what it extremely compatible guy unwilling to commit to someone as fabulous as me. Amidst the why, the who and the how, I managed to draw my own conclusion without any assistance required. Any question that I had ever had about him or our failed relationship had been silenced all because the "why" no longer seemed relevant.

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These are the five crucial stages that one has to go through in order to overcome the pain of losing a loved one. Why and how did this happen to me; sleepless nights; the sudden urge to punch happy people in the face. It's all part of the process that comes with dealing with an unexpected break up. As soul destroying as the initial steps may be, it is imperative to go through all the motions. What no one tells you is that there is a very bright light at the end of this very dark tunnel, a certain catharsis that can only come when we truly learn to let go of the question "why".

When it comes to matters of the heart, why is why so fucking important?

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

A Hollywood Ending

There's something truly captivating about the reigning queens of romance. Julia, Sandra, Meg and Renee. Not only are they Hollywood's most beautiful, celebrated and highest-paid talents, but their on-screen performances have the uncanny ability to make us believe in fairytale endings and true love. And they do it so convincingly with their trademark "love is eternal" face combined with over-the-top one-liners that probably took seventeen scriptwriters to write. "I'm just a girl standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her"; "I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special;" and my personal favourite "you had me at hello." I don't know how they do it but at the end of the day, these leading ladies always seem to get their guy. 

The leading lady in a romantic comedy was designed to give us hope. We relate to her and the situations that she finds herself in. How many times have you found yourself saying "Oh my gawd! That is like, so totally me right now!!!"  It takes a special kind of actress to successfully convey the emotions and ideals of true love from the silver screen and into our hearts. Together with the help of directors, dialogue and cinematic conventions such as Kenny G montage sequences, Hollywood starlets have managed to perpetuate the idea that knights in shining armour do exist both on and off screen.

"So where the hell is he then?" Sharna, a successful sales executive at a leading hotel chain was fed up with all the relationship drama and none of the cine-magic. She was about to turn thirty-five and was way beyond ready to settle down with that special someone. You know, the guy destined to "complete" her. She resented the romantic comedy for putting these false ideas and unrealistic expectations into our heads. "Have you ever heard a fucking violin play whenever you kiss someone? I mean seriously?" She was convinced that Prince Charming was just another myth created by Hollywood executives in order to keep single women single and make them feel better about their sad and lonely existence. "I'm single and probably always will be! I've resigned to the fact that Mr. Right has either fallen off his horse, gotten lost or found a younger, needier damsel in distress."

Was Sharna right? Are some of us just natural born spinsters? It's not that hard to believe considering that the odds are never in our favour. We are after all living in a city of where women outnumber men eight to one. Did Hollywood endings only exist on the pages of poorly written scripts and predictable plot-lines of heart tugging fiction?

Just as I was about to give in to this depressing conclusion, I met a wonderful woman by the name of Debbie. Debbie was fifty years young and had been single for most of her adult life. She had never been married and was the proud mother of two beautiful Great Danes. She lived life as if there was no tomorrow, drank wine constantly and ate chocolate every other day. She had only recently started dating the man of her dreams, a Puerto Rican man who had been her neighbour for nearly twenty-five years. After all that time being happily single, love was staring at her right across the fence. No soft lighting, no orchestra. Just two consenting adults learning to love each other for the first time.   

Life is not a movie. It's a continuous blockbuster with a number of twists and turns that usually happen when you least expect it. The girl next door always gets the guy at the end of the movie and sometimes it takes a little longer to find the perfect leading man. Instead of sitting around blaming romantic comedies for our own shortcomings, see them for what they really are. We cannot rely on movies to dictate an idealistic future especially since Ms. Roberts is only an actress standing in front of camera pushing for an Oscar.

When it comes to finding true love, does it take more than fifty first dates to find our very own happy ending?

Thursday, 27 September 2012


Whether you like it or not, we spend a huge part of our lives being controlled by other people. From a very young age, we are introduced to a host of influential characters designed to make a significant contribution to our lives. Teachers, parents, employers and nuns. We never really escape authority and while most of us cannot wait to exert power of our own, some of us derive great satisfaction by being told what to do, when and how to do it. What we don't know at the time is that we are slowly being conditioned into one of two roles...the powerless or the powerful.

As I headed down south for the long weekend, I pulled into the local News Cafe to catch up with Charlotte and Emily. We'd somehow got onto the topic of sex when Emily made a shocking revelation. "I love giving head. I don't know, I think it's a power thing for me." Charlotte nearly gagged at the thought of it and chose to adopt the opposing stance. For Charlotte, a man who takes control in the bedroom is what made her cookie crumble. As I considered both ideas placed in front of me, I couldn't help but wonder, have we been geared for sexual segregation all our lives? Is the world made up of Anastasia Steeles and Christian Greys? Masters and slaves, tops and bottoms, S & M? Can one extreme exist without the submission of the other? 

When the power dynamic is mutually beneficial, sexual satisfaction is a sure win but what happens when the darker side of control becomes too much? Manipulation is a skillful art used as a defense mechanism by narcissists who are either too insecure or too afraid to live in the real world. They spend a lifetime creating a false identity in order to safeguard their innermost vulnerabilities. What may have started out as a positive reinforcement of one's self-esteem turns into a compulsive need to control everything and everyone around them. While most of us refuse to acknowledge our inner control freak, the other half is busy getting off on it...and not in a good way.

If you have a friend like Gee it's best you run the other way and don't look back. She's beautiful, charming, confident and not afraid to let the world know it. She's the kind of girl who never pays for her own drinks at a bar, a legend in her own right with a head the size of an air balloon. She's revels in using her sexual prowess to get what she wants no matter who gets hurt in the process and at the end of the day, nobody's feelings matter but hers. Basically she gives women a bad name.

The one thing that always amazed me about Gee was the way she'd always have some kind of lap dog boyfriend eating out the palm of her hand despite going out of her way to humiliate and disrespect him in public. I remember the time that she physically assaulted some guy in the middle of a dinner party before storming off into the middle of the night. I was mortified for him but like the fool that he was, he went after her. Was this form of hyper-dominance or submission maybe going a little bit too far? Just how damaged was she? Was her vagina made of platinum?

Peter Parker probably said it best; "with great power comes great responsibility". The ability to influence and wield power over someone is a great gift especially when you find someone eager and willing to submit. There is a fine line between sexual empowerment and sexual manipulation and while some men and women make it their personal mission to assert their dominance through sex, money and physical strength, control is essentially yours for the taking. 

When it comes to control, what role do you play?

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The Cost of Loving

No matter how budget savvy you are it's hard to avoid the ever increasing cost of living. Thanks to inflation, we are forced to make certain cutbacks in our month-to-month expenses in order to keep up with the negative side-effects that price hikes have on our bank accounts. From social activities to second guessing luxury items we once couldn't live without, we learn to adapt our living standards to more cost-effective solutions. Unless you are in the fortunate position where money is no object, inflation essentially comes down to one thing...compromise.

As I searched the shelves for the cheapest pack of no-range skinless chicken breasts, I starting thinking about relationships and the cost of loving. Any relationship worth staying in requires time, patience, sacrifice and a shit load of effort. Life happens somewhere in-between and we are often faced with compromising scenarios that are as unfavourable and unpredictable as fluctuating inflation rates. Relationships are far from consistent, so when the value of a long-term relationship increases, so does its demand, and in a city where the supply of decent relationships are at an all-time low, it's necessary to make certain concessions in order to make existing ones work.

Whoever said that love don't cost a thing was seriously deluded. Or JLo! It had been a month since Aiden resigned from work and I was nowhere near getting used to the idea of a one paycheck lifestyle. Even though I had made the conscious decision to support him throughout this difficult time, and despite the efforts made to secure himself a new job, the resentment was starting to build up fast. I found myself bitching and moaning about the smallest things and constantly pushing him to work harder than he already was. For the first time in my life, I was mentally struggling to adapt. So much had changed in such a short period of time from our declining social calendar to clipping coupons at Pick and Save. Was this seriously the price I had to pay for loving someone so unconditionally? 

I was beginning to feel love spent and needed some time to deflate. The thought of leaving Aiden to clean up his own mess had crossed my mind more than I cared to admit and even though my heart was in the right place, my mind seemed to be all over. Thanks to the constant stress of my current situation, my vicious criticisms had turned me into an overnight super-bitch so much so that I had completely discarded the rewards that came with being in an exclusive loyalty programme. Had the cost of loving Aiden finally gone over my head or was I maybe too quick to overlook the benefits of being in a relationship altogether? Support. Companionship. Sexual chemistry. Someone who actually loves you for you. When they say that a good man is hard to find, they ain't kidding. It's so easy to forget the good things that work in a relationship when times are tough and after all, isn't that the true test of being in a committed relationship?

It's true what they say...the best things in life are free especially when everything comes at such a heavy price. Love is unfortunately no exception, so the sooner you learn to bargain, the sooner you'll find yourself adjusting to any given situation. It's much easier to give up on something these days than it is to actually take the effort and make it work. Difficult situations can often be a blessing in disguise giving us a chance to test the true strength of a loving relationship.     

When it comes to relationships, how do we know if it's worth the compromise?

Thursday, 13 September 2012

The Comedown

They say that addiction is the continued use of a substance that alters one's mood and behaviour over a long period of time despite the obvious adverse consequences. The more we use, the higher our tolerance, and the higher our tolerance, the greater the dependency becomes. Whether it's alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex, addiction is all about surrendering to some kind of weakness in exchange for an instantaneous high, and while some addicts are fortunate enough to get help before it's too late, the power of withdrawal can sometimes get the better of us.

As I struggled to kick my own filthy habits in the butt, I started thinking about love and its striking resemblance to addiction. Just like any kind of drug, one hit is all it takes to be hooked for life, and in a world full of dealers and pushers, it's hard not to give into the pressure. You can deny it all you want but nothing compares to the feeling of confidence and elated sense of self that comes with falling in love. Racing hearts and butterflies. Everything is amplified from that first kiss to the moment you realise you've just made a significant connection. They don't call it a high for nothing.

But what happens in a situation where your number one dealer decides to leave you high and dry? What happens when he denies you a more potent dose of the good shit that you had become so dependent on? Do we simply move on and find ourselves another fix to fill the void or should we see it as a sign, a chance to admit that we may just have a problem?

"Hi. My name is Sarah and I'm a love-aholic." It took Sarah nearly fifteen years to come clean about her addiction to love. For as long as I've known her, she had been using as often as possible in any way, shape or form. She had recently found herself in one of those frustrating situations where girl meets boy, boy shags girl, girl wants more but boy couldn't care less. What started out as a casual hook up had turned into an ominous dependency, one that had noticeably transformed Sarah into an erratic mess. She had let her emotions get the better of her even though she knew that Mr. X was nothing but a bad habit in a cute disguise.

After carefully observing her own behaviour and the effect that this relationship was having on her heart, Sarah decided to go cold turkey. She had cut off all communication with her latest lover and was on her way to a speedy recovery. After a few short days of sobriety, Sarah started showing severe symptoms of withdrawal. Her sponsor was the first to notice the secret texts and private rendezvous and it wasn't long before Sarah had suffered a massive relapse. Was Sarah merely hooked on hope or was her dependency actually becoming a problem? Was it time for lovers anonymous or was Sarah just in fact a functional addict like the rest of us?   

When it comes to drug of choice, love is the crack of life. It's the ultimate fifty-fifty drug designed to take you up and bring you right back down. We're bound to shoot up eventually and even overdose at times, and even though the comedown from a bad trip can have serious long-term ramifications, there's no greater feeling than the initial rush of meeting a potential soul mate. Whether we're addicts or just recreational users, one thing is certain...when love is good, free and real, there's no greater high in the world.    

When it comes to love, I couldn't help but wonder, are we all addicts?

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Picture perfect

A few weeks ago, I decided to take an intensive five day course in digital photography. As usual my theoretical understanding was picture perfect but for some reason, I seemed to be struggling with the practical side of the assignment. What should have been a simple case of “point and shoot” had somehow become an over-complicated, ambiguous mess. The whole experience reminded me of high school and the way in which our eccentric art teacher would ask us to pick up a paint brush and start painting our feelings. “There is no right and there is no wrong answer when it comes to art for beauty lies within the eye of the beholder.”

This kind of whimsical subjectivity may be the very reason Vincent Van Gogh cut off his ear that starry night. Our insane obsession with getting things right or as close to perfect as possible can be altogether consuming especially when society sets the bar so high. Financial freedom, a high-end career and a happy marriage...are these the only goals that frame success or are they just mainstream perceptions we’re expected to want for ourselves? Are we all ultimately after the same thing or was Ms. Moore right? Can one person’s idea of perfection be someone else’s shortcoming and vice versa? 

Aiden and I were finally on the same page. Things were particularly starting to look up for him at work since he landed the promotion he had been working so hard for. He even got himself an attractive salary bump which was in itself a real shocker considering the low life white-collar criminal that he worked for. I had only ever heard negative things about this man. Apparently he was the type that screwed around on his pregnant wife with his barely legal secretary. I also heard that he had a tendency to dip into the staff pension fund to support a cocaine habit. Whatever the case, the firm that Aiden had worked for sounded like a place where ethics and professionalism came to die. It’s no wonder he decided to resign from such a morally repugnant environment.

The initial shock happened at shutter speed. What should have been interpreted as a glass half full situation was in fact the beginning of the end. Instead of showing any kind of support for his decision, I unleashed my inner she-bitch, a force more potent than a thousand volts of PMS. After all we had been through in 2010, all the lies and set-backs, Aiden decided to put me in one more difficult position. And in such a difficult job market where most positions are AA, EE, I O U? We were supposed to travel next year, see Europe. Conversations of buying a house together and marriage now seemed to filter away in the harsh light of reality. Just when you think you’re on the right track and the bigger picture starts coming into focus, something drastic happens to alter the clarity of your perfect composition.

The status of our relationship had become as blurry as my photographic assignments. We were somewhere stuck in limbo walking a very fine line between making it work and ending it completely. Just like all those assignments, our relationship was being tested and I did not like it. Once again, the theory was clear but applying it into actual practice was the bigger challenge especially when there was no right or wrong answer. Had my need for black and white eliminated any kind of subjectivity on the matter? When did my life become so rigid and calculated? Had I really conformed to the standard perceptions of perfection?  

If beauty really does lie within the eye of the beholder then I’ve been temporarily blinded. No matter how hard I try, I just cannot see the upside to my current situation despite Aiden’s attempts to re-invent himself. As individuals we’re entitled to make changes in our life but not at the expense of your partner’s hopes and dreams and not without discussion first. As I sat in limbo trying to adapt, I realised that “perfection” may just be an impractical state of mind especially when life as we know it could change at any given moment.

When it comes to a relationship's darkest hour, why is it so hard to see the light? 

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

A South African Horror Story

At some point in every relationship, a girl will eventually have to succumb to the horror movie genre. It's a guys ultimate form of revenge for inflicting all those Ryan-Gosling-Tatum-Channing-rom-com-chick-flicks that we were simply too busy to catch on girls night, and while most of us are happy to compromise, the rest of us would rather sit through a Brazilian wax ninety times over. As thrilling as they may be, I couldn't help but wonder why scary movies elicit such a negative response. Is it really because of all that gore or is it because they tap into a dark place where all of our hidden, most primal fears come to life?  

For Margot, her biggest fear has always been to live in a world without love and affection which is why she has never been short of a boyfriend. For as long as I’ve known her I have seen her survive one horrific relationship after the next, attracting a smorgasbord of freaks, creeps and blood-sucking monsters. Who could forget Jacques, the possessive, physically abusive psycho that used to lock her up in his apartment because he thought she was cheating on him? Or Herb the 30-something year old teenager who lived by the mantra “bro’s before ho’s”? And then there was Zachary, the much younger artist slash bartender who threatened to kill himself if Margot did not marry him. After so many suicide attempts you’d think he’d be dead by now.

I was starting to think that Margot had been cursed with some kind of bad relationship juju. Just as I was about to call in the priest, she met an amazing yet very simple guy called Wilson. Wilson was everything Margot was not. Quiet, shy, reserved. He was the perfect yin to her self-professed high maintenance yang and even though his intellect was somewhat lacking, he made up for it in ways that made Margot extremely happy. Public displays of affection; small tokens of love and appreciation. Why it seemed as though Margot had finally exorcised her relationship demons once and for all. Or had she?  

About a year into their relationship, things went from sweet dream to hideous nightmare. Both Margot and Wilson were guilty of cheating on each other but had decided to stay together with one of those "forgive and forget" agreements. The betrayal and bitterness of these events grew over the next year causing irrevocable damage to their relationship resulting in constant bickering and public spats that even earned them the title of “bitching couple”. Wilson’s lack of drive and ambition had also become a major problem. It was so exhausting that it was literally sucking the life out of Margot. “All he wants to do is smoke weed. We never talk about our problems. How can I have a relationship with someone who has the emotional depth of a five year old?” Wilson was drowning Margot and she was not about to go under. They were clearly no longer on the same page and even though Margot made every attempt to salvage their fragile relationship, things just didn’t work out.

I guess some relationships really are like horror movies. Predictable, shocking, the final fright. A thrilling sensation at first before the twist that always seems to complicate the storyline, not knowing who the bad guy is until you're being knifed in the back, running up the stairs when you should be running out the front door. The most striking similarity is how these relationships seem to tap into our subconscious, playing on our fears and insecurities until they leave a negative impression about love, life and the possibility of ever having a normal, healthy relationship. I suppose the question at the end of a long and draining relationship is who will survive and what will be left of them?    

When it comes to scary relationships, be afraid. Be very afraid.  

Thursday, 23 August 2012

So you think I should date?

Sometime in the sixties, Andy Warhol once said that "in the future, everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes." While Mr. Warhol was probably laced on hallucinogenic drugs at the time, no-one could have predicted just how accurate he was. If there were ever an episode of MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch, Andy Warhol would be kicking Nostradamus' butt right about now. Idols, The Voice, matter what your poison, reality TV is everyone's favourite guilty pleasure. It's come a long way since Big Brother graced our screens back in 2000 and even though the formats have changed, viewers are still essentially in control. Anyone can be famous these days and while some degree of talent is required for making a winning impression, the most crucial ingredient for success is how we captivate the adoration of the audience. 

A couple of weeks ago, Charlotte and I decided to ditch date night and proceeded north to review a local talent show hosted by a young entrepreneur she had recently met online. His name was Cal, a 28-year old producer and vocal coach who had just started his own music academy. Despite the obvious reason for being there, I was pleasantly surprised to see an abundance of talent hiding behind this so-called boerewors curtain. It's no secret...South Africa definitely has talent and even though Charlotte was smitten by Cal and Cal's biceps, she seemed to be waiting for some kind of validation from me, a thumbs up or tally of votes that would push him through to the next round of So You Think I Should Date? One thing's for sure, he had the sex-factor. 

A few weeks later I found myself on the set of another reality show a.k.a Master Chef - Maynard Manor. It was Liane's turn to cook for her housemates so she decided to stage a rehearsal dinner for her nearest and dearest, a sisterhood organisation referred to as "The Nod". While the main purpose of this exercise was to get feedback on Liane's culinary skills, a hidden agenda was brewing beneath the steaming pots of bunny-chow breyani. Liane, who had secretly been seeing an Afrikaans boy for the past month needed some approval from Paula, Simon and the rest of the peanut gallery in order to determine whether she liked him or not. Why is beyond me but still we reviewed him as we would any other contestant. Contenders, are you ready? Unfortunately,
the judges were not that impressed with his performance. He was extremely dull, uncommunicative and unable to keep up with our shenanigans. One comment about his accent and that was that. Goodbye, you are the weakest link.

It's shocking to think that someone's opinion can ultimately influence someone else's decision. Yes, there are times when a second opinion is necessary and welcome even but have we maybe grown a little too dependent on each other? Why do we always need some kind of approval? Are we that timid to accept the consequences of our own decisions out of fear at being judged? 

As I flipped the station over to my own relationship, I realized that The Aiden and Manni Show had taken a serious dip in ratings. After being thrown a particularly stressful storyline which included all the right trimmings for great TV drama, we were on the verge of being cancelled for good. Tears, conflicts, bickering. The final straw. I found myself at a relationship crossroad. Was I about to give up on three successful seasons in the hopes of getting my own cheap spin-off show or should I just man up and adapt to a less than perfect situation? I decided to call a friend. Having been through the same thing herself, she told me that no rational decision can ever be made based on emotions. She suggested I take some time out to figure this one out on my own.   

If we observe closely, there is more than enough drama in our own lives than any reality TV has to offer. Sometimes a second opinion is all it takes to get a clear perspective on any given situation and while fifteen minutes is plenty to make a lasting impression, the decision rests entirely in our own hands, not in those of the judges. We all know that Adam Lambert should have won season eight of American Idol which just goes to prove that audiences don't always have the right answers. There's a vast difference between getting a second opinion and allowing someone to dictate what could be right for you. Sometimes we just need a little time to figure out what's best for us without the help of voting lines. 

In matters of the heart, when there's a 50/50 chance of making the right or wrong decision, I couldn't help but asking the audience really the safest bet?