Thursday, 26 July 2012

50 Shades of Gay

Unless you've been living underneath a rock for the past couple of months you will have come across a certain series by EL James, a literary trilogy about a girl called Ana and her sexual discovery into the twisted world of BDSM. It came highly recommended by my sister-in-law Meg who blushed all over after only reading the first couple of pages. Miranda said it was like Mills & Boons on steroids, so I went to the book store and got myself a copy. The more I read about sweet, innocent Ana and her submission to Mr. Grey, the more I realized that girlfriend was in desperate need of a gay BFF!!!

"Everyone needs a little gay in their lives. They're the best accessory to have since the LV handbag." While I tried not to think of gay men in such limited terms, I wondered whether Sam was right. Gays are constantly in season...they're hot, they're trendy and look good with pretty much anything. They compliment you when you're at your best, tear you apart when you look your worst but most importantly, empathise with the complex emotions and situations that women find themselves in. From matters of the heart to sexual awakenings, there is a special bond between a certain type of male and his female counterpart, a friendship that no one can really explain unless you're in it. Perhaps it's the struggle to find a decent man in this town that makes this union so unique or perhaps it's the mutual feeling of being different in a patriarchal society. Either way there is something very special about the relationship between gay and gal. 

For Lilian, a high powered legal adviser, one of the major benefits of having a gay bestie is being able to talk to someone about her sexual encounters. Whenever she had been a little naughty, she would summon her gay friend Manfred for an afternoon of high tea. By day Lilian was an absolute lady but her latest nocturnal activity had left her feeling like a dirty skank. She needed some validation without feeling the heavy burden of judgement - something the rest of her WASP nest could not provide. Manfred, who had been her confidante for nearly ten years and who saw right through the good girl act from day one, was the perfect man for the job.

After taking a short sabbatical from the dating scene, Lilian had finally gotten a little action. She had always been into a very specific kind of kink, one that would make Mr. Grey's fetish seem tame in comparison. As always, she did a little coy-coy dance before giving into the sordid details of this fabulous affair she was having with a smoking hot work colleague. Three Mimosa's later Lilian and Manfred were gushing as if they were about to climax. "And then he tied my hands up before fucking me inside the supervisor's office one night when no-one was there. Did I mention he was wearing a cock ring?" Instead of making Lilian feel fifty shades of red, Manfred started giving her a few handy tips bound to enhance the sexual sensation for both him and her. Who'd have thunk? It only makes sense, I mean, who better to give advice about pleasuring a man than a man himself? 

If you do not have a gay BFF by now, then you're probably living somewhere in the styx. Not only are they great for self-esteem, but you can always count on them to encourage your sexual deviancy without feeling guilty or ashamed. Ten to one they've probably tolerated a lot worse. S&M, skunking, poodle-balling, fisting, leather play, three ways...apart from the odd republican homosexual into vanilla or missionary you can bet your life that they've probably seen it, heard it or even experienced it. It's these little words of wisdom that could turn an awkward situation into an erotic celebration, so when you're fortunate to find that special platonic male soulmate, be good to him. You never know when you might need a little laugh, a little cry or just a little free advice.  

When it comes to friendship, who runs this mutha? Gays?

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Excess Baggage

They say you should always pack light when travelling to a foreign destination, a golden rule at least twenty-seven percent of us forget to acknowledge, so when we find ourselves having to re-pack an entire suitcase in front of everyone at the check-in counter, we can't help but wonder why. All that duty free shopping and shoes made by real Italians, trinkets, souvenirs and one-of-a-kind couture; could that be the case? It's almost as if we completely disregard the true purpose of being abroad anyway, and while no shopping spree should ever be done in vain, the heavy penalty fees of excess baggage can easily bring about a serious case of buyer's remorse.

As I sat in the transit lounge waiting for my flight to arrive I thought about the first time I made my departure from the Virgin Islands. I was only sixteen with absolutely everything sweet about me. His name was Gavin, a smooth operator with dangerous baby blues and a wicked smile. Like most good Catholic girls, I had an affinity for bad boys with a dark past and a hot ride. After numerous dates and several flirtatious encounters, I felt as though I was ready to go "all the way". There was something undiscovered and genuine about the way he made me feel, and even though I was petrified of losing my virginity to someone I barely knew, I was convinced that we were on our way to destination relationship.

It was a night of many firsts...the first time I had been inside the Vic Junction; the first time I got wasted on a sparkling substance called "champagne", a liquid that I'd later discover to be a knock-off of the original, and the first time I had ever laid my heart on the line for someone else. Although my hormones were raging full speed ahead, my heart was caught somewhere between the sky and a vulnerable state of uncertainty. I remember sitting there wondering if it was too late to turn back, but Gavin was one step ahead of me. Noticing my discomfort he put his best moves on me and said all the things a girl needs to hear on her first time. For a brief moment, his bad boy persona melted away and I finally caught a glimpse of the perfect gentleman that I had always dreamed of. I had no idea that I was about to fuck a professional man-ho.

After he was done, I got up slowly and started getting dressed. I had already been insecure about my body  having lived an overweight existence for most of my childhood but he made me feel so sexy and desirable. As I waited for some kind of tender aftermath to follow, he smiled and reassuringly kissed me on the forehead, "Don't forget to close the curtains on your way out." And that was that. He rolled over, turned the light off and went to bed. Are you fucking serious? How could this be? Was I being punished for being a puta? Was this how I'd remember my first time for the rest of my life? Stunned by his apathy combined with my general lack of experience in this situation, I did as he requested and left. 

Whether or not I lived up to his sex-pectations, nothing can take away the permanent damage that this little encounter had left on my psyche. It was clear to me that this would be the first piece of emotional baggage I would have to carry around for the rest of my life. Was I really a lousy lay or was Gavin just a complete and utter jackass? The thought was too heavy for me to handle at such a young age but I knew at that moment I had just been exposed to the darker side of human nature. Even though I allowed myself to fall in love over and over again out of fear of becoming jaded, I was hesitant to trust anyone again not to mention the looming insecurity of being physically inadequate.

In my mind, Gavin had died a slow and painful death but the memory of that night would haunt me forever, costing me several relationships along the way. When the load becomes too heavy to handle, we should see it as a sign to get help. There is nothing more unattractive than someone who is uncomfortable in their own skin. Fortunately, with the help of a little therapy, I managed to unpack some of the extra weight into practical overhead compartments. The truth is that no-one wants to deal with someone else's emotional baggage and my guess is it's probably because they are too busy trying to deal with their own.

When it comes to relationships, I couldn't help but wonder, is it better to pack light or pay the heavy price for all that unnecessary carry-on?

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Control Ex

Once upon a nine to five, my manager decided it was time to send me on a crash course that covered the essential skills of Photoshop. Thanks to a number of debaucherous photographs that leaked online from a recent Film Festival, I was quickly introduced to the wonderful world of masking and airbrushing, turning those drunken red eyes into pretty much anything I wanted. The power to manipulate, minimize, diminish and even delete were all part of the brilliance that made up this wonderful program. 

As I used my magic wand to improve the visible signs of intoxicated work colleagues, I started thinking about the useful ways in which we could apply these techniques to our own lives, especially to ex-relationships. Imagine what it would be like to erase all those painful memories of sadness and heartbreak and convert them into a more favourable format. Contrary to what new age philosophers want us to believe, we all have regrets; mortifying moments of insanity that we wish we could take back but without a Photoshop Plus for Life, it's not as easy as "edit delete". And what about those tragic instances when a mental image of a great love affair has been left so distorted, pixelated beyond repair? My lecturer would tell me to trash it but if you're anything like me, you'll exhaust every option until you've finally come to the perfect resolution.

BIG was in town which meant one thing...big trouble. It was Charlotte's fathers' 60th soiree so there were plenty of people for me to make meaningless banter with, anything to avoid contact with the dreaded ex. Just as I thought I had successfully dodged the silver bullet, our eyes locked from across the room. Before I could stop myself I could feel the uncomfortable "hello" escaping my lips. Enormous amounts of alcohol was needed in order to continue any kind of conversation. Despite having moved on after five years and being in a relationship with Mr. Incredible himself, I was hell bent at trying to tie up the loose ends of our tumultuous relationship. Why didn't he come back for me? Was I not good enough? Did he ever love me at all? Was it just a young fool's infatuation or was he really playing me all along?

True to form he left me hanging for another season. Drunk with delusion I reached out to Charlotte who has always been the voice of reason. She finally gave me the closure I had been looking for all along. "If he wanted to be with you, he would!" There it was in black and white. The irony of the situation was that in just a few short weeks, Charlotte would find herself in the same situation and I couldn't help but wonder whether she was able to practice what she so willingly preached.

It's one thing for Curtis to have broken Charlotte's heart the way he did but it was quite another for him to flaunt the new relationship right in front of her face, so when the opportunity presented itself last week at Jade, we slutted Charlotte up for the occasion. It was not long before her alter-ego made a cameo appearance. Charlotte who is usually the reserved one in the group, had a tendency of changing nationalities the minute she came into contact with Tequila, Jagermeister or Caramel Vodka, but tonight, she had to be one hundred percent herself especially if she wanted to get Curtis back. The minute he put his arm around her waist, Charlotte was back in that place and before she knew it, word vomit. All those pent-up feelings culminating from the past seven years were out in the open for all to see. The "wife" who witnessed the confession from a comfortable distance fled the scene of the crime shortly followed by Curtis who was left speechless at Charlotte's admission. Dazed and uncertain of what action to pursue next, I reminded Charlotte of some very valuable advice that a wise friend had once given me.

Love is a motherfucker especially when it brings out erratic acts of desperation fueled by the emotion of being hopelessly in love with unavailable men, and while it's difficult to edit these compromising situations, these experiences are all pieces of what makes us who we are. Although the idea of hitting "control x" to mask the memory of a former lover seems idealistic and we may even dream of photo-shopping the perfect ending to a less than perfect relationship, the truth is we're living in camera raw...flawed, hypersensitive and overexposed.      

When it comes to previous relationships, are we lost without resolution or do we just need a little zoom to see the bigger picture?

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Internet Relations

Thanks to the relentless advancement of modern technology, we live in a world where everything is instant and readily available and in a society that celebrates a simpler, better, faster existence, it's hard not to take things for granted. The rapid pace of information technology means that we've grown accustomed to getting what we want when we want it. Anything your heart desires is just a simple click away: designer labels, timeshares, special holiday packages, even the possibility of finding your true "Soulmate69" can be accessed online in the comfort of your own home. Let's face it, we're all linked in one way or another.

While the rest of South Africa was going Gaga at Computicket for its dismal attempt at an online queuing system, Brenda and I were exploring another kind of virtual reality. For the first time in her life, Brenda was single and willing to venture into all kinds of dating avenues. In a few short months, she had tried everything from speed dating and social networking to the occasional blind hook-up, each one more unsuccessful than the last. As she slowly exhausted her options, she decided to optimize her search towards something a little more unconventional. It was not long before she found herself entering a domain where so many fear to tread. Oh yes, Brenda was about to embrace the vast and expansive world of online dating. 

Sam was no stranger to virtual encounters although her needs were quite different to Brenda's. She had hoped that her words of wisdom would ease some of the stigma associated with online dating. "It's just like online shopping, babe. Just type in what want, hit search, add to basket and check out". Was it really that easy? The answer was yes. It only took one click before Brenda was faced with hundreds and thousands of pop-up profiles, all waiting for a chance to be "Undiscovered" or perhaps "perfect4U". Was the convenience of online dating what made it so appealing? Height, eye colour, photographs, dick size, food preferences, what's he's looking for in a partner, what he's can get them in any size and colour you want thanks to the wealth of information available at your fingertips. And if the basic information is not enough for you, the internet provides expanded profile options for a more detailed look into your subject's physical, financial, psychological and emotional status. Think of all that precious time saved trying to figure someone out when the computer can do it for you? Have service providers finally found a way that caters for our incessant need for easy and instant access? Whether it's sex, long-term relationships, activity partners or even just friends, online dating seems to have a solution for everyone.    

While I was no stranger to internet dating, there was only one boy that made a lasting impression. His name was Ian and I'll always know him as the one that got away. We had been chatting online for weeks before we finally decided to meet outside our virtual co-existence. We met for cosmo's at the Metropole one Friday night and I was almost certain the date had been a complete disaster. Despite the head start of things to talk about on a first date, there was no sign of that instant spark. I felt a glitch coming on. Was the spark not included? Did it cost extra? I was convinced that our union would never last beyond our online connection but somehow we managed to stick it out for a month and a while, perhaps to give the spark some time. As our realities began to merge, I thought it was time for him to meet my friends, a reality that he was not prepared for. My friends in those days were understandably way too much for someone of his maturity - a lesson I learned later in life as I out-grew them myself. This fault in the system caused our relationship to malfunction and fizzle away somewhere deep into cyberspace.   

The benefits of online dating seem to work well with today's socially awkward youth. Some of us are down to our last resort and have no choice in the matter while others find the prospect of pre-ordering compatibility morally repugnant. It's apparent that chance meetings and instant sparks are becoming less and less. Had they become as obsolete as VHS? The more I thought about the virtual influence of online connectivity, the more I wondered whether internet relations would one day completely replace intimate ones. Have the days where actual boy meets girl in bar gone by? A call instead of a ping or status update? Has the new age of information technology finally overshadowed the conventional methods of dating and romance or is it simply a catalyst for surviving the instant nature of the 21st century?   

When it comes to dating, I couldn't help but wonder, should we abandon old school mentality and just get with the times?