Saturday, 21 December 2013

Summer Lovin'

When it comes to Christmas in the mother city, 'tis definitely the season to be jolly especially when you're sexy, single and so ho-ho ready to mingle. Whether you've just come out of a long-term relationship or whether you are just over the suck-fest that has been 2013, the festive season is the most wonderful time of  the year to let go of inhibitions and do something completely out of character. The summer heat, the beach parties that last for days, the frenzy of local and international talent gracing our shores, an actual reason to drink before 12pm. So many brilliant excuses to have a Merry X-mas and what better place to find some summer loving than the ultimate one-stop party central that is C -Town, ZA!

They say you should always strike while the iron's hot which is why the sweltering heatwave of summer provides the perfect opportunity to flirt up a storm without expecting too much from the opposite (or same) sex. Too many times, we forget that the summer fling is a short-term fix designed to make us think less and live more. That's not to say we should become total prostitutes, but we do need to lower our expectations if we wish to have ourselves a merry little Christmas time. But just how low do we go? Should our standards drop as well? And what do we do when we find ourselves becoming obsessed or jealous over our summer lovers? Do all good flings eventually come to an end? What are the rules and regulations for having the perfect summer fling...

"All my single ladies are getting double-strength condoms in their Christmas stockings this year. Contrary to Justine Sacco's idiotic beliefs, Africa is not the only continent where you can catch an STD." Sam, a former clap survivor herself, was back from London for the holiday season and as tongue-in-cheek about sexuality as ever. Having once reigned as the supreme of summer flings and having had more international arrivals on her belt than O.R Tambo, Sam was the official guru when it came to explaining the t's and c's of summer romance.

"Listen sweetie, take it from someone who literally had mistletoe hanging over her vagina every festive season since the early nineties. If you're going to leave your milk and cookies out in the open, Santa Claus is going to come, and probably go before you get the chance to open your eyes." It was no secret that Sam loved sex and encouraged as many summer flings and pre-commitment relationships as possible before settling down with someone you genuinely care about. She was trying to explain this analogy to Carla who had become obsessed with a Spanish tourist she slept with a few weeks ago at a Christmas staff after-party.

"You need to get over it immediately and find another helper to hump. He told you he was here on ho-liday only. What did you expect? A marriage proposal? You've completely missed the point of a summer fling. Shame on him for not being open about it but shame on you for not keeping it short and casual. This fling business is NSA at its best where the conventional rules of dating no longer apply, where two people can have the same passion and romance of a relationship without the expectation of lifelong commitment. It's supposed to have an expiration date."

'Twas the night before Christmas when Sam had met her fiancee, a summer fling that had gone horribly wrong in the summer of 2009. "I would never have met Pete if I did not put myself out there as much as I did and even after we met, I carried on cavorting for another season until we both agreed to make it official. The rules to having a successful summer fling is that there are no rules. You have to have fun! If it works in the long-run great, but if it doesn't don't waste your time pining over someone that has an itinerary and a confirmed departure date."

Once you get past the sudden spike in daytime traffic caused mainly by Gauteng holidaymakers and the tedious frenzy of buying gifts for four when your return on investment is only one - and a shitty one at that - you'll soon realise that being single during the festive season is actually quite fun. If you see a handsome stranger catching your eye, stop thinking with your heart and go with your heat. Smile back and coyly sip upon that Pina Colada as if your sex-life depended on it. He might think you're a total loon or he might just come across and buy you another drink. Either way, you've got his attention.

When it comes to summer loving, why aren't more and more singles having a blast?

Thursday, 12 December 2013

My Father, Madiba

We often underestimate the importance of father figures in our lives and the impact they have on our personal and social development. Long gone are the days where patriarchs were solely seen as providers and protectors, with little to no involvement in their child's emotional and psychological well-being. These days, a father figure has just as much responsibility in nurturing and shaping the lives of their children as mothers do, especially when it comes to building one's values and self-esteem. While each father-child relationship differs from son to daughter, the lessons we learn along the way are exactly the same. It's the paternal legacy we carry that makes us part of who we are and part of what we hope to become. 

As the dark cloud lifts back into the sky, more and more children of Mzanzi are coming to terms with the sudden loss of our nation's most celebrated father. Although Tata Madiba's death wasn't entirely unexpected, news of his passing still came as a shock to many, bringing forth a sense of global mourning that goes beyond South Africa. Tributes. Memorial services. Decorative shrines. When an international parent of peace as significant as Mandela is taken away from us, it's our duty to honour his life in the most respectful way possible; by resonating his teachings in our own lives and future lives of generations to come. Love, forgiveness, tolerance and equality. This is what he stood for. The freedom to be yourself  regardless of your political and cultural background. To end hatred and discrimination against others based on race, gender and religion.

While I have never been one to wax lyrical about anything pious, what Madiba did for this country - and subsequently the world - was most definitely the work of God. Flicking through the river of radio stations broadcasting hour-long specials covering the life that he lived, I came across a DJ who compared Nelson Mandela to Jesus Christ. I can only imagine how this must have offended the Christian minority tuning in at the time, but to be completely honest, I couldn't think of a better contrast. While he may not have been able to walk on water, Madiba pioneered the art of turning the other cheek. He lived his life an example of love and forgiveness, teaching his followers to let go of the hurt from the past and move forward towards the light of a brighter future. Just like Jesus, Madiba sacrificed his life for the greater good of his people when he could have easily resented the system that locked him away for all those years. Was Madiba South Africa's own personal saviour or was he just an angel on earth disguised as a humble human being? 

The first thing I thought about on Friday morning as the Twitterverse spun out of control about Mandela's death was my best friend Shabumi. My soul sister from another mister who was smiles away in a foreign country. I thought about how we probably would not have been able to be friends if Mandela hadn't fought for the change this country so desperately needed. Fortunately I came from a fairly liberal family where the colour of one's skin didn't really matter providing you believed in some kind of God and went to church at least twice a week. Coming from a co-ed mixed race primary school made me ignorant to most things in life including the African struggle for equality which is why I could not understand the reactions of my peers when I decided to integrate Shabumi into my circle of friends.

"We can't sit with her. She's black!" This was actually the reaction they had. Quote unquote. I was so pissed off at their intolerance and racism that I decided to abandon the White Power Bill Gang in exchange for a more progressive duo of awesomeness. What blossomed was a lifetime friendship full of misdemeanours and exciting adventures. A cultural mash up between traditional Zulu and Portuguese flavours. I taught her about Fado's, festa's and espetada while Shab's taught me everything you had to know about umngqusho, Ella Fitzgerald and hair extensions. If it weren't for Shabumi, I'd still believe that the members of Destiny's Child had their own hair.

I thank Madiba for my own biological father, who echoed Tata's open mind about my life choices and the people I brought into my life. For accepting me the way I am. For teaching us both to tolerate one another and our indifference towards each other. I thank him for teaching us that good things are totally worth the struggle. To fight for what you believe in without compromising the beliefs of others. To not judge by the cover but instead browse through the pages of diversity before making an informed decision. To live and not exist.

Whether spiritual or biological in nature, the role of any parent is to want what's best for your child whether it's through tough love or lending a helping hand. To protect them against the harshness of the world through wisdom at the same time allowing them the confidence and freedom to explore and make their own mistakes based on the choices that so many youngsters take for granted. His role is to nurture and encourage our interests, to motivate beyond our dreams, to teach us respect for one another as well as respect for ourselves. These are the lessons Mandela taught us along his long, long walk to freedom and the best way to honour such an incredibly inspirational man is to walk with the same grace and dignity that he did through our own personal struggles.

Hamba Kahle, Tata Madiba. You will always be my father and my hero.  

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Devious Maids

Whoever said modern day working girls couldn't have it all clearly hadn't discovered the role and relevance of full-time household professionals - nannies, chars, butlers, garden boys and maids. There are literally dozens of domestic drones available at our service, each one willing to perform the hideous tasks that we are either too busy or too privileged to do ourselves. They cook, they clean, they live in to care for children that aren't even theirs. They literally perpetuate the myth that our shit doesn't stink, and while the main purpose of their existence is to serve and cover up the stains of human indiscretion, just how much filth are these women willing to sweep under the rug of picket-fence living?

It's absurd to think that someone like the help could actually pose a physical threat to our relationship, especially in a country like South Africa where Grace, Beauty and Patience are names rather than actual attributes. Don't get me wrong - African women who find themselves in the cleaning profession are just as beautiful as the next and know how to look good both in and outside a uniform. It's the silent supremacist attitude and white guilt towards the previously disadvantaged that make the likelihood of coveting the help about as slim as shady, and while most South African housemaids fall short of his typical "dirty-maid" fantasy, we cannot overlook the alternative sways of seduction a housemaid might use to enslave the imagination of the misogynist mind.

Being an honourary African and everyone's favorite umlungu had granted me exclusive access into a very special club called "Ndiyaku Xelela", a pride of hard working African women employed by the wealthy, white residents of  upper and lower Constantia. For forty-five minutes every day, Vivienne, Monza, Thandeka and Precious took a much needed lunch break to gossip about their husbands, lokshini living and the dirty secrets of their pambene madams.        

"Hai, chomiwam! What she is doing is wrong and when she gets caught, yoh, yoh, yoh! There is going to be some seriaaas fire!" Today's topic of conversation was Innocentia and her apparent lack thereof. Innocentia was the newest kid on the block, a seemingly vindictive 28-year old Brandy look-a-like who started working for the Smith family in Constantia earlier this year. "These young girls know nothing wena! They come with their braids and their make-up and short skirts but they have no respect for the boss or their jobs, Tikonathi (my affectionate nickname), and that one, she is going to lose her life!"

"Xelela!" I said as Vivienne delved into the juicy details of Innocentia's affair with Oubaas Mr. Smith, an Afro-centric middle-aged man who worked as a CFO at an international export company. He did not come from money like his wife, Mrs. Smith, a snooty heiress who spent her days hosting charities and boozy lunches for the girls at book club; Mitzy, Linda and Trish.

Just like the NX Club, one of their favourite pastimes was discussing servitude and the difficulties of finding good help, a topic that Mrs. Smith revelled in for she had found the perfect Innocentia, a cleaning powerhouse that also happened to be most attractive maid on the block. While her silver was always gleaming and her floors always waxed to perfection, Mrs. Smith was blissfully unaware of the other knobs Innocentia had been polishing, including her husband's.  

"It gives us a bad name Tikonathi! How do you think they look at the rest of us? We all want nice things, but not at the expense of another woman's heartbreak, no matter how much of an injakazi she really is. This is the worst kind of stealing anyone can do. We're all women at the end of the day regardless of our profession and skin colour."

While having an affair with the maid was nowhere near as cliched (or as popular) as diddling the secretary, they certainly shared the same appeal? If you think about it, a woman that services a man in any way, shape or form is the kind of woman you swore you'd never be. Submissive, obedient, attentive. Men who find themselves in a position of power enjoy a woman who knows "her place" in life and who rarely questions a man's decisions. Innocentia is the 50's housewife dream. She cooks her master three meals a day without complaint, makes the house he paid for sparkle like the top of the ABSA building, nurses his spawn who are already bathed, fed and ready for bed so that he can relax and enjoy the whiskey she poured and the foot rub she is so willing to cater for. One has to wonder why this sort of behaviour isn't happening more often?

Affairs, filthy habits, squandering money on useless garden furniture. It's amazing how much the other woman knows about us and yet we know absolutely nothing about them. Their morals, desires, ambitions. Are they stealing money and jewellery or is it something far more valuable? What's behind the apron and the feather duster? Is she really just another hard working, under-appreciated gem who's trying to make a living out of the life she was born into or is she just a stereotypical snake in the Garden of Eve-l?

When it comes to dirty laundry, why is good help so terribly hard to find?

Thursday, 28 November 2013


If you haven't realised by now that most things in life change during the course of their existence, then you're probably in need of a serious bitch-slap.One doesn't have to believe in evolution to see how easily human beings adapt to changing circumstances, whether it's biological or psychological in nature. There's a reason we call it survival of the fittest, for victory can only come to those who are mentally and physically prepared to endure the pressures of every day life, not to mention the hurdles and challenges of long-term relationships. Marriages, civil partnerships, companionship. Happily ever after doesn't just happen and stay that way without work, especially when couples aren't always necessarily on the same page. While the pro's and joys of lover's lane outweigh the cons, I couldn't help but wonder whether consistency came at the cost of compromise...

Anyone familiar with the cycle of marriage will tell you about the radical changes they experience throughout its lifespan. How romantic weekend getaways become lazy nights on the couch watching Game of Thrones marathons or how five times a week at the gym turns into "I'll start again on Monday" because physical fitness is no longer a priority. Social calendars are suddenly booked up months in advance with events hosted by people you don't even like (or worse, the dreaded play-date), and shopping, which you once thoroughly enjoyed, becomes just another mundane task. If you're mapping out your grocery list according to the store's layout, then you know you're officially in a relationship.

And then there's the sex. Sweet, glorious, sensual sex. Wherefor art thou, sex? What used to be a raging libido fit for a horny teenager soon disappears into a barren abandonment. Those record-breaking sex-athons you used to have gradually fade away into nothingness. What starts off as three to four times a week will slowly scale down to weekend sex or bi-monthly events that require banners, bells and whistles. While some situations are far worse than others, short of joining the ALWPH club (Anniversaries, Long Weekends and Public Holidays), some people have just given up on sex altogether. Does sex really become that insignificant the further along you go? Is it something that couples need to schedule into their busy diaries like some kind of bikini wax appointment? Should we keep trying to satisfy each other sexually or are sexless marriages just like Harry Style's homosexuality - inevitable?

"One of the most common misconceptions about being in a marriage or long-term relationship is that you are constantly having sex. Of course the access is there but to be honest, I'd much rather curl up with an erotic novel on my kindle." Kaitlyn, a 42 year old married mother of two, had decided to join me for breakfast one morning to chat about her recent bout of sexlessness. We were sitting across from a painfully happy young couple and their approximately 7-month old baby. "You see that there. It'll all change. They have no idea how draining a child can be and what those little monsters can do to your sex life."     

Her scorn was as bitter as my double espresso, and even though I entertained her twisted taunts at the undeserving couple (who left shortly after we arrived), I found it hard to believe that children were the sole reason behind sexless sex lives of married men and women.

"They say we're supposed to be in our sexual prime now, but sex just isn't as enjoyable as it used to be. For one thing, there's only a certain amount of physical acrobatics my body can handle at this age and after popping out two watermelons, my vagina is ruined. Sex can be quite painful the older you get. And yes, we have tried all sorts of jelly's and erotic creams to ease the situation. The bedroom just isn't as exciting or intimate anymore. Don't get me wrong. I couldn't imagine myself with any one else other than Rodney, except for Alexander Skarsgard, but lately, it all seems to be a hell of a lot of effort for the whole 5 minutes it lasts."

Kaitlyn had been quite happy to adapt into a sexless marriage but could tell that Rodney was beginning to feel inadequate. "He's started to complain that we're not doing it enough. After nearly 15 years of marriage, he says he would like us to get back to three times a week. Sure, if he doesn't mind me just laying there. Sex is the last thing on my mind after a gruelling day at the office and then coming home to manage a household full of boys. Thank God I'm not that woman whose husband made her sign that prenup demanding sex 3 times a week. My lack of interest would be grounds for divorce! Whoever says that sex is not important is telling a big fat lie because the lack of it can seriously hurt your relationship."     

Sex in a long-term relationship is kind of like the Big Bang theory; something that starts off with an incredible amount of heat and energy that gradually expands into a cold, expansion of nothingness. It's up to us to keep the fire burning by making the time to connect with our partners on that sexual level. A dry spell is one thing but when you haven't had sex in over a year and his tadpoles have successfully turned into frogs, then it's time to lay down the law of the bedroom. The frequency of our sex lives will inevitably change, but the intensity and quality is completely up to you. 

When it comes to love and marriage, is sexual intimacy on the verge of extinction?

Sunday, 17 November 2013


We're only two weeks into the month of Movember and the race to see whose boyfriend sprouts the fugliest abomination of facial fuzz is already heavily underway. For one entire month, women from all around the world are forced to face this dia-follicle frenzy as men make the not-so smooth transition into grizzly, unkempt beasts, each one sporting a variety of designer trims more hideous than the next. Landing strips, bootstraps, the horseshoe - yes, they have names. It's prickly business for a girl, one that is bound to hit Gillette sales hard in the nuts, and while the cause from which this travesty stems is truly amazing and profound, I couldn't help but wonder about the general consensus regarding facial hair for the other three-hundred and thirty five days of the year...

The way a woman feels about a man's facial plumage is the same way she feels about Jennifer Lawrence's new pixie cut. You either love it or hate it, and while most of us prefer an alabaster sensation against our sensitive and well moisturised skin, one has to acknowledge the distinguished presence and sex appeal that a well-groomed beard can contribute to a man's appearance. Some say it's that sense of primal aggression and mystery that makes a girls panty drop while others find it unruly and repugnant. What's behind the curtain of facial pubes anyway? Was shabby chic the ultimate measure of manhood and masculinity or was it all just a bunch of fluff?

"Unless you're a poet, a caveman or of Mediterranean descent, there's simply no excuse for looking like a former apartheid police officer." I was making my trademark cameo appearance at a friends birthday party recently when I bumped into an old colleague who had some pretty strong opinions (amongst other things) about a man's furry features. "A light five a clock shadow is one thing and even acceptable if he's able to maintain it, but when you're kissing a guy and it feels like you're being mauled by sandpaper, then it's time for some Sensor Excel etiquette."

"This one time, at Stellies..." Nadia proceeded to tell me about the unfortunate incident from whence her prejudice of facial fuzz had come from. She had once decided to brave the world of facebook dating and found herself hooking up with the only guy that hadn't sent her half-naked selfies or close ups of his genitals. Not that appearances mattered to Nadia, but his profile picture did depict him as clean shaven, slick and smooth just like his online flirting. "He arrived sprouting what looked like a ten-day beard which actually made him look a lot older than he was. It was borderline paedophile which would have usually put me off but I could see how handsome he was underneath the welcome mat. I didn't pay much mind to it and thought it was nothing a decent razor couldn't fix."

The date went really well and even ended up with a two hour make out session and a couple of hickies in the parking lot of Gio's Pizzeria. Nadia went to bed feeling great about herself but when she woke up in the middle of the night by some tingling sensation on the lower half of her face, she let out a shriek of horror that nearly woke up the entire campus. Who was that monster staring back at her in the mirror? When Vitamin E cream failed to sooth the burning inferno, Nadia had realised that she was a victim of first degree facial burn.

"I looked like a cast member of the Walking Dead! Half of my face had been left behind in the parking lot along with my sobriety and dignity. I don't get it. A woman will always find time to preen herself to perfection before a date no matter how hectic her day was, so why can't men offer us the same courtesy by shearing off their facial fuzz?" Nadia showed me some before and after snap-shots and she really did look like beef carpaccio (on a bad day). It looked extremely painful and apparently took nearly three weeks to heal.

"The worst part was that I really liked him and had to dodge him every time I saw him at campus. I was mortified. There was even a mother of all scabs that formed which eventually just fell off my lip. I seriously thought of donating it to the science labs. I don't care how sexy it looks on a guy, stubble equals trouble. It's impractical, painful not to mention hideous. When it comes to my personal choice, a guy's got to shave it or save it!"

If a man wants to grow a beard or a mo there's nothing we can do to stop him as long as he understands the physical and mental pain he's putting us girls through. Whether you're attracted to the rugged bush or not, there's actually a legitimate reason for fear and loathing in Las Visages. I wonder how well it would go down if women stopped shaving their legs and bikini lines for thirty days? How about armpits or vaginas? Now that's what I call social awareness.
When it comes to facial grooming, I mous-tache you a women like men the same way they like our legs? Silky smooth? 

Monday, 4 November 2013


Remember, remember the 5th of November, the gunpowder treason and plot. There's no good a reason for sex that's displeasing especially with men who are hot...

Guy Fawkes Day. South Africa's very own 4th of July without the independence and added extras of cotton candy and grilled wieners. A firecracker event to the few with a view but for others, a major inconvenience especially for dog owners who are forced to sedate their precious pooches with sausage flavoured rescue remedy or something stronger. While the concerto of elaborate firework displays are no doubt the main attraction of this uneventful celebration, I had to question the logic behind commemorating a man whose attempt to overthrow the government (or anything else for that matter) was anything but explosive.    

I can't think of anything worse than having a bang with no POW, especially when the rocket in his pocket is perfectly capable of making your cherry bomb. It's false advertising and downright laziness in its cruellest form; when a gorgeous potential hunk of a future is clearly into you and has all the right goods but nothing to back it up with. Just like those silly fireworks, we're easily distracted by the charm and grandeur of pretty colours and pyrotechnics, but at the end an amazing exhibit, when the smoke and sparkle have disappeared, what good are aesthetics if the final performance fails to reach a climax?

Some people argue that sex isn't that important, but let's face it, it sure as fuck is, especially when you really like someone who manages to fit every other criterion on your check list. It's actually vital when you think about it, particularly if you're one of those hopefuls who believe in the myth of monogamy. This one person will inevitably be responsible for a lifetime supply of orgasms and sexual pleasure. That's a huge amount of pressure and commitment for one man to handle especially in a world where men generally come first. For the lucky few fortunate enough to score the jackpot on their virgin voyage, it only takes one spark to ignite that rocket ship of fiery passion, but for the rest of us desperately seekings, it takes a couple of duds before we find the one that makes us detonate.

The premature smell of gunpowder and the sound of tiny pops in the distance had me flashing back to the summer of 2'05! Mr. November. Hot, Euro-centric and god-like, but who would expect anything less from an Italian Adonis such as this. His name was Mauritzio, a 36-year old former model turned fashion photographer with a zest for life and a rental villa on Clifton beach for the rest of the season.

We met through a mutual model friend who seemed to be his latest subject and muse. It turns out I was wrong. Mauritzio wasn't one to mix business with pleasure and refused to date models on principle alone. That and the fact that he found his subjects quite dull and uninspiring in comparison to the real beauty of a naturally flawed woman. If that really was the case, then I was his latest masterpiece, a Venus of insecurities and the Mona Lisa of complexities. It was hard not to fall for someone like Mauritzio. He had a certain worldliness about him, a passion that pulled you in and a profound appreciation for simplicity. He was charming, funny, clearly financially stable and possibly the most beautiful man I had ever dated. He was perfect...

Well, almost perfect. While I may have been in the possession of the Ferrari, I still hadn't taken it for a test drive. I was too caught up in the romance and pink haze. Of course, I was nowhere near as jaded back then as I am today and was absolutely certain that my Italian stallion would deliver on the amore front.

POP! That was sound of the bubble that burst when Mauritzio exposed the tom thumb he'd been smuggling in his pants. It was an anti-climax of note, and while it wasn't the smallest I'd seen, it certainly could have sufficed had he only known how to use it properly. How on earth could a man so hot (and I'm talking Fahren-fucking-heit!) be so cold in bed, or in this case sand? And what a waste of a perfect setting? The blankets on the beach, the windless summer air, the bubbly, the Guy Fawkes firework display. Sadly the only explosions happening were the ones in the sky, and even though I went back for seconds and thirds in an attempt to have an orgasm, the magic simply wasn't there.   

While sex is definitely not the be-all end-all of a romantic relationship, it certainly couldn't hurt to have a volatile sexual chemistry with your partner or potential from the get go. Some demonstrations are ultimately deceiving and leave us deflated with disappointment which is all the more reason to keep searching for that perfect sparkler. Of course, the ideal encounter would be dynamite every time, but sometimes even the tiniest bit of smoke has the potential of causing a raging fire.  

When it comes to fireworks, how many pops does it take before we find the perfect bang?

Friday, 1 November 2013

The Casual

In this fast-paced, drive-thru world that we live in, we're all looking for the next best thing in convenience. Whether its online banking, buying or cellphone voting (one can wish), instant gratification is all we really want at the end of the day, especially for the ambitious few who rarely have the time to stop and enjoy a decent meal, let alone indulge in the ceremonials of dating rituals. As most of us already know from first hand experience, getting to know someone better requires a substantial amount of time and investing, which doesn't always suite the agendas and schedules of formidable freelancers looking for something a bit more casual.

For centuries, men have had the upper hand when it comes to recreational sex, but thanks to legendary heroines that spawned out of hit shows such as Sex and the City, more and more women are starting to enjoy the perks of uncomplicated, disposable, no strings attached sex. Fuck buddies, FWB's (Friends With Benefits), one night stands. Who needs the cow when the milk is so willingly available, and even though most girls fall victim to the post hook-up hangover, casual sex is definitely the cure for the non-committal type looking for sexual liberation between bad break ups and their next relationship.

As invigorating as casual sex may be, there are certain administrations that one needs to abide by in order to survive those unwanted feelings of emotional remorse. Biology, unfortunately, makes most of us weak and vulnerable, making it impossible to separate emotion from raw, physical lust - thanks oxytocin. So how do the Samantha Jones' of the world do it? Do they inject themselves with daily shots of testosterone or do they simply regard casual sex as a temporary employment contract; without guarantee or expectation beyond their term of service? If the position is neither fixed nor permanent to begin with, why are we constantly reviewing the prospect of a long-term relationship instead of enjoying the interaction for what it is? Hot sex.

Fresh on the stiletto's of another failed relationship with the Casanova milk man from Paris, Mandy had decided to postpone her search for Mr. Right and focus her female erection towards Mr. Right,Your Place or Mine? Mandy, who temped as a receptionist by day and sang the husky stylings of Etta James by night, was a voluptuous African beauty whose confidence and sexual prowess attracted many a foreigner longing to experience the authenticity of Africa.  

After completing her set one Friday night, Mandy was enchanted by this dapper Danish dude who'd been eye-fucking her since her rendition of Proud Mary. He was rolling just like a character out of some film noir movie. Smooth, seductive and sexually alluring. He introduced himself as he casually lit her cigarette out of nowhere. There was a certain air of danger in his eyes as the pale streetlight flooded across his icy-blue eyes. Chemistry boiled through her veins, and no sooner had she ordered a Jack Daniels, had she found herself in the wheelbarrow position back at his apartment for a night of unforgettable sex.

Their fling escalated to once a week, each hook up prompted by some kind of dirty sext message. Apart from the mind-blowing sex, they genuinely seemed to enjoy each others company. Sometimes they would just hang out on the couch smoking sweet Mary Jane and talking shit for hours, watching the sunset like good lovers do.

Although the terms and conditions of their "relationship" was clear from the get go, I could tell that Mandy was beginning to fall for him. It was in her eyes and in the way she spoke about him. It started when she began to fluster over the fact that he had not texted her back about a scheduled hook up and ended with a public outburst after he was spotted chatting up some random girl. The Great Dane was taken by surprise and thought they had a mutual understanding. Were Mandy's feelings of anger and jealousy justified, or was she the one who had breached the terms and conditions of their agreement? Did her reaction substantiate the ludicrous claim that women are incapable of having casual sex without complicating it with emotions, or had she simply gotten in over her head? Realising what she had done, she quickly terminated the contract and jumped onto the next international sexpress. 

Convenient sexing is fun, adventurous, liberating and sexually educational, but if you aren't familiar with the basic rules and regulations, then it's probably best to keep dating until you find someone worth caring for. While most people end up having genuine feelings for their fuck buddy in the long run, it's probably best to keep things as straightforward as possible. Set the boundaries from the beginning and stick to them before you end up hurting someone unintentionally. Keep it light. Keep it physical and by all means, DON'T fall in love.

When it comes to the casualties of meaningless sex, how do we get by without the emotional attachment?

Monday, 28 October 2013


In the age where signs and symbols have become a major part of our everyday lives, it's in our best interest to be visually literate if not at the very least, competent. Red means stop, green means go, danger: smoking can kill you and BOOM, either someone just got shot or it's five hours away from home time. The ability to understand the intricacies of semiotics is a skill on its own and can be traced back to the very beginning of time. While most signals are as clear as Russia's hate policies towards same-sex unions, a lot of them are far more complicated to decipher, especially the signals between two individuals stuck in a dead-end relationship.

We've all been there before, and the excuse for not breaking off a relationship that has long since reached its sell-by date is always the same. What if I regret this decision? How can I hurt someone who cares so much for me? Will I ever be loved like that again? How many times have we ended up sacrificing our own happiness in order to stay in a relationship that clearly isn't viable? Instead of just grabbing the bull by the horns and acknowledging the fact that it's been over for quite some time, we tend to stay a lot longer than we are welcome. Sometimes the routine of daily life provides comfort and the perfect excuse to ignore the danger signs. Avoidance is after all, just another way of delaying the inevitable.

So how do we know when to let go and how do we do it? Are we meant to follow our intuition again; the same intuition that told us this was a good idea in the first place? Do we scout for missing signs in order to justify our decision? Ten to one they’re probably staring us in the face already and have been for quite some time. Should complacency be a sign that we’ve compromised too much of ourselves or is that just the way the relationship package was designed?  It's perfectly normal to experience a slump every now and then, but when the slump turns into a way of life, then perhaps the efforts of salvaging a particular relationship is an utter waste of time.

A sure-fire way of cracking the code is to assess the communication within your relationship. How well do you communicate with your partner both in and out of the bedroom? Are your conversations limited to heated arguments and how one’s day went or do you actually make the time to talk to your partner about feelings and the future? What about intimacy? Are there still traces and glimpses of appreciation, respect and affection or has that ship sailed along with all the other joys that came in the honeymoon phase? And most importantly, how is the sex life? Is it still going strong or is it at a complete standstill? Are you secretly looking up your exes hoping that one of them will take you back? Are you constantly craving independence and looking for excuses to have alone time, even if that means working extra hours at a job you despise?

If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, then it’s probably time to rip the band aid off. The longer you wait the bigger the wound and the longer the scars will take to heal. Break-ups are not easy, especially when you’re the one breaking someone else’s heart. You might feel like the villain at the end of it all but after the smoke and dust settles, I guarantee you, there will be clarity.

When it comes to dead-end relationships, why are we running back into the fire when there is nothing left to save?

Thursday, 24 October 2013

The Coven

There are several attributes that make Cape Town such an exquisite place to live in but despite all her graces and charms, the Mother City is not without her flaws. The blustering South-easterly winds, our superior attitude towards the eighth wonder of the world, the fact that our weekends begin at 2pm on a Friday and the yo-bro "more-is-nog-'n-dag" mentality. It's all part of who we are at the end of the day, and while our tardiness ranges from fashionably late to no-show, there is one aspect about Cape Town culture that doesn't seem to click well, especially to a stranger trying to find her feet on a turf as foreign and laid back as ours.

It's no secret. Capetonians are notoriously cliquey, especially the fairer sex who have earned a bad rep for guarding their inner circles like bulldogs. Female friendships are far more permanent and stronger than the bonds of a band of brothers, so when you finally find a group of friends who aren't trying to sleep with your husband or stab you in the back, you're going to be protective. Like thieves, we are thick and rarely let anything or anyone penetrate the fold without a fight or some rite of passage into our exclusive coven of Cape Town camaraderie. On the one hand, it's perfectly normal to form close associations with people who share similar interests with you, but on the other, limiting our interaction to the same bunch of people can be somewhat socially stunting.

So what is it that makes Capetonians clique? Is it our race or social status? Is it our inability to deviate from our comfort zones, our preference to follow and never lead? What's the point of being a rainbow nation if you can't experience every colour in the spectrum? Are adult interactions like high school hierarchies all over again, only this time dating the teacher and smoking in public is socially acceptable as long as they fit in? Why is it so hard to make friends in a city as vibrant and culturally diverse as Cape Town?  

"Whoever said that this was one of the friendliest cities in ZA was seriously talking shit!" Meet Zola; a former Gautengalenger who moved to Cape Town less than a year ago to pursue her career as a sports psychologist. At the tender age of 27, this intelligent, opinionated, sometimes louder-than-life, Nubian coo-girl from Bryanston was offered a dream job with one of the biggest local sports brands in Mzanzi. As hard as the decision was to make, she decided to pack her life into her GP convertible and move to a comfortably-sized apartment in Claremont.

I met Zola earlier this year whilst working on a never-ending Sport's documentary that recently caused the resurgence of my ongoing battle with impetigo. At first I was intimidated by her confidence and giraffe-like presence only to find out that she was actually no taller than me and like most fashionable ladies, had a secret affinity for seven inch heels. It didn't take long for me to warm up to Zola who was actually pretty freaking awesome and hilarious. Her dance moves needed some serious work though and coming from a white girl, that's saying something.

I was finding it hard to believe that Zola, who had been here for 10 months already, had struggled to meet a single decent girlfriend. At first I thought it was geographical. I mean she lived in Claremont, where the general female population is segregated into housewives, mothers, trashy students who whore it up at Tiger Tiger or trust fund intellectuals hanging onto their youth at wine bars such as Oblivion. Zola was definitely not vapid enough to be part of the Camps Bay cult so instead, I introduced her to a group of stable 30-something year old's to dispel the myth of Cape Town elitism.

I thought I was going to burn at the stake for bringing this Voodoo priestess into our midst, and even though Sabrina and Wendy (who have both been banished since) had made the effort to get along with her, the rest of my coven had suddenly turned. The high priestess was not impressed by the fact that Zola wasn't your stereotypical African, and felt threatened by her natural allure. She was schooled, without accent, extremely attractive, in no way a princess and could easily pass for a jock with her knowledge on sport.

Although she tried to get on with the girls, Zola spent most of the afternoon hanging round a cauldron of char-grilled chicken and boerewors, chatting to the boys about rugby. Bubble, bubble, bitch and grumble. I could hear my sisters cursing and hexing beneath their breath. I couldn't believe how cold and inhospitable they were being. I felt the urge to beat them with the broomsticks they rode in on for proving me wrong but unfortunately, there it was. The Cape Town clique-ness that we are so well-known for. Are Cape Town girls really that unwelcoming or are they just selective about the people who pledge their sorority? Either way, Zola and I wriggled our noses and click-clacked the hell out of there.

As bewitching as our beautiful city may be, it's not always easy to conjure up quality friendships, especially when you're the new girl in town. If you don't fit into a certain mould, group or stereotype, you're pretty much screwed, unless you are fortunate enough to find a bunch of rogue souls who aren't afraid to embrace diversity and welcome individuality without prejudice or judgement. When you find them, hold on because we are sadly one in a million.

When it comes to making that magical connection with friends, why are some girls such a bitch about it?


Thursday, 17 October 2013

Dirty little fingers

Invading the privacy of one's partner is a classic mistake that so many of us make at some point in our relationship. Whether it's going through his browser in search of pornographic websites or having a quick scan through her cellphone for salacious texts from an unknown number, breaching the silent clause of confidentiality is never a good idea. Even the most secure relationship is guilty of at least thinking it, regardless of cause or reason. Once that seed of suspicion and doubt has been firmly planted into our minds, there's no telling to what lengths we will go to prove ourselves wrong or, in some instances, right. The fixation of satisfying that gut feeling by extreme measures such as hacking into an abandoned gizmo is somewhat alarming and regrettably, far greater than our ability to fess up to the real issue at hand; trust or the lack thereof.

If you have ever had your heart trampled on by some unscrupulous act of deceit and lived to tell the tale, ten to one you're probably as paranoid as I am. The recent popularisation and trending subject of online cheating doesn't really help this new-age paranoia and can often turn a little curiosity into an unhealthy obsession. The wifi generation has created even more avenues for cheating individuals to thrive, making infidelity about as accessible as Honey-Boo Boo's Youtube clips. Facebook, Linked In, AshleyMadison. There are literally thousands of digital forums that encourage you to betray your spouse without them even knowing, each one readily available at the touch of a button. With so many opportunities just a fingertip away, how do we keep our fears at bay without compromising the trust or privacy that we're all entitled to?

Some people find trust to be extremely overrated. Just ask Nancy, a call-centre administrator who keeps her fiance on a very short leash. She had always been a firm believer in full disclosure and that the key to any successful relationship was not to keep secrets from one another. She had been engaged to a well-respected gynaecologist for nearly five years and to this day insists on daily device checks. iPads, iPhones, laptops. Every night before Nancy retires, she conducts a full cavity search on all gadgets, applications and social media networks to make sure that her husband-to-be is not being unfaithful.  

I could suddenly hear Sweet Brown in my head; "ain't nobody got time for that!" The fact that he was totally fine with this mania was even more bizarre. What could have possibly brought on such an insane breach of trust and more importantly, why hadn't Nancy gone to see professional help. "It's not so much him. It's them." It's hard to take someone like Nancy seriously with such dramatic overtures. "My fiancee is an attractive, successful fanny mechanic. Who wouldn't want a piece of that? A few years ago, he had a patient that got a little bit too friendly with him. She stalked him on Facebook and medical forums and somehow got a hold of his cellphone number which is when the sexting and scandalous nudes began pouring in. When I found out, I confronted him immediately, and even though he swore that he never reciprocated, I decided to lay the law down there and then."

As mad as Nancy's methods were, I couldn't help but wonder whether it was actually better to be safe than sorry, even at the expense of our sanity. Can we really depend on blind trust, hoping that our partner is honest enough to tell us everything before the truth surfaces? Nowadays we don't only have to worry about our partner's dirty little fingers, but also the predators that make instant gratification possible. Can there be love without one hundred percent trust or are technical, consensual spot checks necessary to keep one's mind at ease? 

"There was this girl, 26, who fell in love with this guy from the South. Within a month of dating each other, she moved in with him. Of course they were the perfect couple from the outside but like most of these stories go, he had a little dark secret. She was either blissfully ignorant to the signs or he was just a master of bullshit. It started when she found a stack of porn in his wardrobe that he managed to convince belonged to his former housemate. Then there were the seven o'clock phone calls that he took in the back yard. He'd say they were "work related". She even came across facebook posts that seemed suspect but chose to ignore them because she so badly wanted to trust him." 

"Later that year, she accidentally picked up his phone only to discover that she had been the other woman all this time. It was the girlfriend who had relocated to Jo'burg and had been living there for the past year. She soon discovered that she was not the only girl he had cheated on her with. She found a number of emails that linked to an online dating site where he was clearly getting a little side action, the same dating site that they met nearly a year ago. What's even worse is that he had the audacity to create a fake profile to spy on her to make sure she wasn't cheating. Humans are fucked up. This online business makes it way too convenient for people to cheat. Do you understand why I'm so freaking paranoid?"

With so many security settings that we come across on a daily basis, it's ironic to think that the one thing we're all trying to protect is our own insecurities. Breaking through the firewall that is trust is challenging enough, especially to those who have been burnt by love before. While trust is certainly the foundation of love and any healthy relationship, it can easily be broken. The proof is in the profile, and while it can take years to unravel the mysteries and misdemeanours of an unfaithful partner, poking around when you most expect it does not seem like such a heinous crime after all.  

When it comes to privacy, just how much do we really want to know? 

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Les-be-honest: Part 1

Whether you're homosexual, full-on hetero or just cruising through the transit lounge of bisexuality, it's safe to assume that most of us have our sexual preferences figured out by the time we hit our early twenties. Some of us are lucky enough to know immediately (we are, after all, born that way baby) while the rest of us find out through good old-fashioned pre-adolescent sexperimentation. Sometimes the calling only comes much later on in life, when that one time at band camp suddenly brings out a series of suppressed emotions that raises a huge question mark over one's sexual identity. Whether it catches you off-guard or whether it was only a matter of time, crossing over into homosexual territory can be exceptionally puzzling, especially when it challenges everything you thought you were once so certain of.

The road to discovering one’s sexual orientation can be long, confusing and sometimes, horribly delayed. The term "sexual fluidity" is probably the best way to describe these late-bloomers who seem to be hopping off the D-train in search of alternative relationships in the form of same sex unions. Put aside the physical aspects or the stereotype that a lesbian needs to resemble some form of mannish quality in order for a straight woman to find her appealing and what do you have? An intimate, intellectually stimulating, emotionally gratifying connection between two like-minded souls. That's not to say that men are incapable of possessing these qualities, just that a lesbian relationship certainly provides another option to women who claim to be done with men for good.

Interesting, yes, but not as idealistic or easy as it sounds, especially for a true-blooded lesbian who is having to take a risk on dating someone who is still so sexually insecure. She has to wonder whether this is this just an angry, anti-men phase that will pass or an actual shot at a long-term relationship and future. And then of course there's the common complications faced by the virgin lesbian. Entering the fold, coming out when you're not 100% sure, telling family and friends (including the local minister) about your lifestyle change, adversity, judgement. With so many factors to consider, do these relationships actually stand a chance at having a happy ending?

My lesbian oracle had come to my much-needed rescue on the subject. Claire was an attractive, intelligent lesbian with a high profile career that afforded her a house in Constantia and a sleek convertible that could turn even the straightest of women on. We met at a running marathon a couple of years back and instantly connected. Naturally she breezed through the marathon whereas I opted for a light stroll. This sister had it going on and if at any point I were to become a lesbian, Claire would be my kind of woman. She refuses to wear anything checked, finds Angelina Jolie as overrated as I do and hasn't a clue what to do with a power-tool.

I invited her round for a bottle of Pinot and asked whether she had ever been in a relationship with a virgin lesbian before. She proceeded to tell me about her most recent relationship with a "straight" woman called Lexie (36), an equally attractive fitness instructor who was non-lesbionic in the stereotypical sense. They met at a triathlon about a year after she had gotten divorced, and lived in the Southern Suburbs with her four-year old daughter, Tasha.

After spending a significant amount of time getting to know one another, Lexie had started developing romantic feelings for Claire. At first she thought it was just a moment of temporary insanity and tried to keep her distance to see whether her emotions would eventually subside but there was no doubt about it. Lexie was in love. For the first time in her life, she had found a soul mate, someone she felt was her equal in every sense, someone she was not afraid to share her innermost intricacies with. After about a month, she finally gave in to her heart and agreed to go out on their first official date.

The experience of dating a woman awakened something that Lexie had rejected a long time ago, and even though their relationship is on hiatus, Lexie would never look at relationships the same way ever again. Had she been a lesbian all this time or had being in such a mature relationship with another woman opened her mind to new and unconventional possibilities? Had the thought of being judged by society and straying from heterosexual lines prevented this from happening sooner or do all women have the potential of enjoying a same-sex relationship without the pressures of being boxed or labeled?

"You're probably wondering about the sex, aren't you? Well, it was amazing. It was the first time she had ever orgasmed because the intimacy had been so intense. I miss the sex, God do I miss the sex. We're sort of taking a break now because of the kid. Her family is super-religious and they're not too crazy about the two mommy business. I admire the fact that she is putting the child's needs first and sorting out her baggage. She needs this time to think about how serious she wants this relationship to be or whether she's just another lipstick lesbian. Either way. Great gal. Cheers to the queers love."

P!nk, Michelle Rodriguez, Eva Mendes. Les-be-honest: we all have one secret girl crush and while most of us would never dream of acting upon it, we cannot disregard or judge those who suddenly do. Maybe it is just a phase or maybe they'll go back to penis after a while but when a woman finds that special person she loves and adores, that person she connects with and hopes to share the rest of her life with, why should it matter whether they're Arthur or Martha? 

When it comes to the L word, I couldn't help but wonder...does love need to have a particular a-gender? 

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Ex and the City

When you're living in a city as small as Cape Town, the chances of running into your ex are about as high as the people you meet in Purple Turtle, and just like the exterior of Long Street's most infamous building, is met with mixed emotions. Nostalgia, confusion, attraction, disgust. The reaction of bumping into someone that used to be part of your existence differs from one individual to the next and depends entirely on circumstance and the manner in which the relationship ended. The impromptu sighting could welcome a gentle smile that says "I'm happy for you" or even a smouldering eye-fuck that says "do me baby one more time," and while most cases of the ex are usually met with some colorful sledging, I couldn't help but wonder about the possibility of being friends with your ex?

It's a topic that raises many eyebrows and much debate; can one maintain a completely platonic relationship with an ex partner? On the one extreme, abso-freaking-lutely, hell to the no, no, not! An ex is an ex and the past should in no way interfere with one's present or future, especially when they've already moved on to the next relationship. One can easily argue the unwarranted side-effects and complications that such a friendship may have on your current relationship status. Jealousy, resentment, questions around whether or not you're actually over it. Is it fair to your present partner and more importantly, is it fair to you? 

But what about those rare romantic relationships that have managed to salvage the good, whose separation, unlike seventy percent of relationships happened to have an amicable ending? Are they exponentially setting themselves up for failure, another round of pain and disappointment or have they simply progressed beyond the realm of conventional expectations? Are they so secure in their own skins and relationships to be able to afford this kind of optimism or do they need a serious reality check? Are there certain rules and conditions that one should stick to in order to prevent the "inevitable"? When all is forgiven but not completely forgotten, can one still remain friends with a former lover?

Earlier this year, I received an unexpected email (formerly known as a "letter") that was probably about two years overdue. An open apology from an ex-boyfriend who had reached out to me after years of inexplicable silence. Our last encounter was just another one of those typical tragedies only without the Swedish pop quartet. Boy meets girl, girl likes boy, boy says I love you, boy changes his mind and disappears off the face of the planet. It could have been far worse than any of Lindsay Lohan's recent performances but unlike many of my ghosts of ex-mas past, I did not feel anger or resentment. Only immense sadness that lasted four months before dragging myself out of bed and into the arms of another loving man.

I was at a happy place in my life and felt confident enough to respond to him without compromising my feelings towards my current relationship. One phone call later and all those memories came flooding back only this time, uncomplicated by feelings of love, lust and longing. "I'm going to be in town next week and would love to see you." Mmmm...I wondered. On the one hand, this could be a recipe for disaster and on the other, a successful coup d'etat against single-minded mentalities. I saw this as the ideal opportunity to conduct a potentially hazardous social experiment; one that would prove the masses wrong and solidify my love for Aiden. I decided to invite him to spend the week with us in our cosy, one bedroomed studio apartment.    

He came, he stayed but he did not conquer, except for our living room of course which had become "his space" for the duration of his stay. The conversation flowed as quickly as the red wine and for the first time in two years, I got to know my friend again. The most gratifying part about the whole situation was how well he got along with Aiden who at first was hesitant but soon warmed up to the idea.

My ex could see how happy I was and even asked for advice on how to deal with his own baby-mamma drama's. We were even brave enough to bring up the past and had a good laugh at it although it was no laughing matter at the time. We we're both genuinely happy for one another and revelled in each other's company. Had I achieved the impossible? Was the key to just being friends the ability to learn from the pain and grow better instead of growing bitter or was this new-found friendship one in a million?

Break-ups are exhausting and excruciating especially when you're the one getting burnt, and while parting circumstances are not always favourable, sometimes there's room for miracles. We all process break-ups differently, and while some of us have mastered the art of living side by side with our mortal enemy, others would rather take their chances in Chinese torture chambers. It's a risk that requires serious consideration and a higher level of maturity, free from any questionable motives. Does your desire to reconnect with an ex carry some hidden agenda or are your intentions truly honourable? 

When it comes to ex's:  friend or foe?

Thursday, 26 September 2013

The Red Door

At some point in everyone's life, usually around the age of 30, we start asking ourselves the big questions: Am I happy? Is that all there is? and probably the biggest one of all; what have I done with my life? Some call it "taking stock of one's life" while others see it as a delayed existential crisis. Reflection can be a bitch at the best of times and when she comes, she doesn't go away easily, making us wonder whether all we have in life is as good as it's going to get. We're so easily entangled within the confines of comfort that we eventually stop dreaming and start settling for what we have instead of what we could have. Like some big red door, we are closed to the idea of greatness which is actually a lot closer than we think - if only we had the balls to start taking more risks.

No matter how much sunshine or prozac you have running through your veins, the truth is that most of us are pessimists. We're constantly questioning ourselves and our own ability to achieve the impossible, too afraid to take the necessary chances that might actually lead us to success. Instead of seeing the risk as an opportunity, we see it as catastrophic, over-estimating the likelihood of things going South and under-estimating our ability to overcome the challenge. How often do we dwell in self-doubt or fear instead of just believing in our own potential? While the fear the of the unknown and fear of failure are understandably paralyzing, it really can't compare to the greatest fear of all...regret.

As I found myself going through my very long list of regrets, wondering about my own courageous thoughts, I found myself reading an email from a dear friend who had just announced her separation from her fiance. This shocker of a press release was sent to a number of family members and close friends, outlining the seemingly mutual reasons for the relationship's dissolution. There was nothing mean or sordid about the declaration, and even though it read optimistically, I couldn't help but wonder about the consequences of taking such a huge risk at this stage in their relationship.

Surely after nearly sixteen years of being together and knowing each other inside out, people would find a way of making things work. Were they just another example of your typical "times are tough, time to give up" kind of couple or had their relationship become nothing more than a relationship of convenience? Properties, memories, two and fur-legged children. Surely the admin of breaking up with someone after such a long period was enough to frighten them back into conciliation not to mention the rigmarole of dating again which now seemed so foreign to both parties. Was taking a risk the right choice and if it was, what about the guarantee? 

"Choice and risk is like gambling. Sometimes you hit the jackpot and sometimes you lose it all. Either way you have to play your best hand but also know when to quit." Some DMC and a bottle of wine later, we found ourselves talking about the road less travelled and the hardships that come with letting go of the familiar. "There's definitely something in the water at the moment. Everyone seems to be breaking up." While their decision was definitely not the latest trend in relationship couture, I could tell that through her questions and doubts, she had resolved in taking the risk of being happy.

"It's surreal to think that the life you had grown so accustomed to is no longer there, in fact, it's heart wrenching. I'm busy trying to keep my mind motivated by other things and through that process I am slowly but surely getting clarity. I guess when you've exhausted all your options, and you're still not happy nor even remotely content, it's time to see the relationship as another lesson learned. No matter how hard the decision, you need to break through the barriers of the unknown and fear and starting living instead of existing."

It takes a lot of guts and courage to walk away from a comfort zone, whether it's a troubled relationship or a job that causes you mild to severe panic attacks. We can never really know what's best for us until we put ourselves out there and jump into the line of fire. Even then, there's no guarantee that we won't get burnt. Failure is a part of the journey to success, which is why we should face and embrace it instead of cowering beneath it. Look out towards that new open door instead of looking back at the one that should have closed a long time ago.   

When it comes to making tough decisions, is the most critical risk not taking any risk at all?