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?