Thursday, 7 March 2013

Empire State of Gauteng

In the silent civil war between Cape Town and Johannesburg, the mother city wins every single time. Despite Jozi's economic prosperity and eclectic wealth of cosmo-centric culture, the Western Province always finds a way of coming out on top. Sun, fun, Camps Bay and Caprice! Was it Cape Town's charm and unparalleled beauty that gave her the unrivaled competitive edge, or was it the fact that you didn't need a GPS to find her? Bad driving, dry weather and corrupt politicians. Did Johannesburg ever really stand a chance?

According to a handful of my single lady friends that hail from the great empire state of Gauteng, it did. While Johannesburg may be renowned for its fast pace and megatropolis landscape, it also seems to be South Africa's best kept secret when it comes to single, straight and apparently, available men. A recent revelation from a very surprising source confirmed this as she firmly pointed out the differences between dating a man from Jo'burg and slumming it with a boy from Cape Town.

"It's no contest. A guy from Joburg knows how to treat you like a lady without being a pushover. I guarantee you that they'll treat you ten times better than any guy from Cape Town. They're career-driven, mature and far less arrogant plus they don't take shit from Cape Town chicks. They would rather be hijacked that let a lady pick up a bill even if she insisted on paying for her half even if you earn more than they do. There's definitely a lot more chivalry and respect for woman over there, hey. Do you know how many more Cape Town guys would get laid if they only practised the simple gesture of opening a door for a lady?"

Perhaps Miranda's outlook on the topic was a bit biased, but she posed a very interesting question; did Joey's boys make better dates than our local lekkers and if so, why? Was it because they had to work much harder to get female attention considering the ratio of men to women in Johannesburg or was it because their masculinity was unaffected by the scorn of feminism? While gender roles have certainly changed since the 1950's,  the men in Cape Town seem way too comfortable going halvies on everything. Could a man still be a man without undermining or demeaning a woman's independence and integrity and if so, can post-feminist women welcome such behaviour without feeling compromised?

Kayla was anything but your typical Stepford Wife although she owned many aprons and several pairs of gardening gloves. She traded the bright lights of Jo'burg city for a lucrative career in finance at one of Cape Town's leading investment firms. She was all about the power hair, handshakes and strict professionalism, a work ethic that classified women like Kayla as "controlling, ball busting bitches". She didn't pay them any mind for at the end of the day, when the suit came off, she was just another successful woman longing for a man to treat her like a queen.

"Of all the things I miss about Jo'burg city, a man worth submitting to is what I miss the most". Abigail Adams is probably rolling in her grave right now but Kayla was adamant that Jo'burg men had the ability to treat you like a lady without being misogynistic assholes. She had made the mistake of agreeing to a blind date that her superior had set up for her in order to "unwind". Clearly her mystery date had already been briefed about what a strong and self-reliant woman she was. It was clear from the get go when her date failed to compliment her on her looks and then when he failed to open the door for her at the car and the restaurant.

"A Joey's boy would never do that." They talked about finance and aspirations as they enjoyed the wine that Kayla had eventually selected. His lack of courtesy continued when he failed to offer her his jacket as the night air brought in a sudden chill and then finally, when the bill came and she whipped out her Mastercard. "The only thing priceless about that evening was the look on his face when I reached out to shake his hand instead of reciprocating his dismal attempt to kiss me goodnight."

Romance, independence, etiquette and gallantry. Dating in general can be just as scary and confusing as braving the streets of Johannesburg for the first time; no matter which direction you take, you always seem to be hit with a number of mixed signals. Perhaps feminism has confused the way men think women like or want to be treated. Equality is great but when it comes to acting like a man, trading in our precious mountain for a Jozi boy seems well worth it.

When it comes to finding the perfect gentleman, why do we still "go West"?

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