Wednesday, 28 January 2015

New Terrain

If the weather in the mother CT miraculously happens to be windless and anything above 25 degrees, you can bet your bottom Zim dollah that the majority of Capetonians will trawl along to one of our many gloriously notorious sunny beaches. The Cliftons. Sandy Bay. Muizenberg. It's one of the most common past times for individuals of all shapes and sizes. Families. Friends. The Gays. Whether you're cruising, tanning or simply just splashing about in the unknown depths of the salty ocean, this sub-torrential paradise is one of the most popular havens for all sorts of fun in the sun.

For the minority of us, present company included, the beach is an offensive place. Not only is it frightening, noisy and somewhat disturbing (what with the latest male swimwear editions), but it's also far more dangerous than we let on. Heat stroke, stampedes, the occasional case of aquatic asphyxiation. I just don't see the appeal. Whether it has to do with my two near death experiences in the open waters, not being able to drink legally and at will, or whether it's the unwanted sand that always finds a way of creeping deeper and deeper into sink holes that no grain should ever travel, the beach will be always be a hostile and unsettling environment to me. 

My fear of factor fifty and competing against perfectly sculpted twenty-something year old bodies got me thinking about unfamiliar terrain and the difficulties we face when the decisions we make leave us stranded somewhere amidst the unknown. Naturally the safest bet would be to remove ourselves from these uncomfortable situations, sticking to what we know best, but when the heart can't take any more disappointment and when you've given something your all and it still doesn't work out, isn't it time to take the plunge?

While everyone else in my inner circle was either getting married or popping babies, another couple had decided to call their five year tenure a long and painful day. It came as a shock to everyone around them, like that time Christina Aguilera beat Britney Spears at the best newcomer Grammy category. So unexpected and so painfully unfair. Joanne and Bryan, or collectively, Broannie, had made headlines with their sudden decision to call off their engagement and subsequently, their seemingly untainted relationship.

"It's a horrible thing to consider but when you're both filled with a greater sense of relief instead of pain and anger, then you know you're ultimately making the right decision." If only more unhappy couples could be this brave and understanding. Too many times we choose to stay in a place that our heart no longer wants to be in, denying ourselves the chance to be truly happy out of fear of hurting someone else. Despite the anguish that goes along with the permanency of breaking up with someone you'll always love and cherish, to be able to finally admit that things just aren't working out takes courage worthy of even the bravest soldier. Such a fearful and terrifying notion it must be to shake up one's world of creature comforts and familiarity.

"There's only so much one can take. So much one can communicate. So much one can expect before realising that if you were truly meant to be with that one person, you wouldn't have to change them in the first place. There's only so many times that one can hear the words 'I'm sorry' before it loses any kind of merit. It's a unique type of torture that we inflict upon ourselves. Waiting for things to get better when all the while you're only wasting time. Time spent drowning in negative emotions. Time spent breaking each other down to the point of being maliciously cruel. Time spent worrying about whether or not you're going to make it. That's the harsh reality of breaking up a long-term relationship."

Such a sad state of affairs. I can only imagine the complexity of emotions that Joanne and Bryan must have been going through to finally get to this point. Was there really no hope or shred of light that could save their relationship? Had they finally reached the tether and point of no return?

"The period of adjustment is probably the worst. There's definitely a sense of loss that comes with this untimely decision but sometimes you just have to rip the band aid off and let it bleed until it eventually heals by itself. The divvying up of friends and responsibilities. Getting used to that someone not being your shadow anymore. Starting over again. It's daunting but also liberating. Who knows what time will bring. Maybe our paths will meet again and we'll be cool like that Gwen Stefani song. Maybe we'll remain great friends. Maybe we'll realise that this was all a terrible bump in the road and maybe, just maybe, we'll end up saving each other from a life of misery and resentment. The long term results of such difficult decisions is really like your typical Cape Town weather; extreme but always uncertain."

While a light breeze is always welcomed in the heat of summer, a blustering wind is not, especially when it brings about such sudden and unexpected change. There are no rules or niceties when it comes to breaking up with someone you love and care for, which makes the new ground even more difficult to tread upon. We hope for the best and prepare for the worst, knowing that somewhere in distance and time, things might just go back to the way they once were. And if they don't, well, there's always the beach. 

When you find yourself waking up to unfamiliar territory, I couldn't help but wonder, how do we survive the harsh conditions of breaking someone's heart?

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Les-be-honest: Part 2

Gays. You know them as the fun-loving friends of Dorothy. The fabulous glitter-wielding, feather-wearing forms of comic relief whose complimentary tones of genuine candour could bring laughter to even the darkest of days. Whether they adhere to the typical stereotypes of campy, hip-swishing effeminate queens; muscle-bound, beer-guzzling jocks who unbelievably know what tries and centuries are or even the tattooed and shaven K.D Lang-loving lesbians; the gays will always find a way of brightening up a gal's day. Not only have they become more and more socially accepted in today's metro-modern society, but they have always been good for a girl's self-esteem. Whether it's the sympathetic shoulder to cry on or even the latest fashion advice, why would anyone want to pray the gay away?

But the rainbow, like most things in life, has two sides to the spectrum and sometimes you come across a pack of he-devils and she-wolves that give this peaceful tribe a rotten reputation. If you're living in a city as queer as Cape Town, you're bound to come across at least one of them, the select few of sociopathic sirens whose sole mission in life is to convert and traumatise heterosexual beings into a permanent state of sexual confusion. Ladies and gentlemen; I give you...The Flipping Gays.

It's no wonder why right-wing religious bible-bashers believe them to be soldiers of the antichrist sent to destroy the supposed natural order of the world. The Flipping Gays are devious in their approach and know no boundaries when it comes to sexual pleasure. Why deny it? You know you want to. As pleasing as the act may be, there is still a level of disrespect when it comes to the seduction of someone who is comfortable with their own sexuality. Of course it could've been that one time at band camp, but when it's forced and calculated with malicious intent, it's time to bring out the sexorcist.

Despite their existence, I strongly believe that at some point in everyone's life, even the straightest of straight has at the very least thought about it. That heavily repressed curiosity to have a sexual encounter with someone of the same sex. It's so taboo. So forbidden yet so necessary. It's an itch that the aforementioned bloodhounds would be more than happy to scratch, and while they may aid in bringing these tempting thoughts into action, doesn't it all come down to the choice we make at that particular moment? Could the very thought of it derail everything you found comforting about your sexual preference or could it actually liberate a secret suppression that's been tightly hidden behind one's closet door?

I sought guidance from professionals in this game and while they were known for embellishing the tales of their sexual conquests, you simply won't believe it unless you've actually witnessed it for yourself. For years I would watch them in awe, hunting in clubs and bars for unsuspecting victims, secretly wishing that I too could break that moral code and turn someone into something they weren't if only for the night. Was it their hyper-sense of confidence that made them seem so utterly irresistible or was it their penetrating persistence that permeated through all sexual barriers, no matter how hetero one thinks they are?

Kitty McKitty was a lesbian friend of mine who wasn't in any way what you would call a "conventional lesbian". She epitomised the male fantasy of lesbionics and came in the form of an exotic, petite, voluptuous brunette with honey-kissed skin to boot. She was charming, witty, direct in her approach and had the confidence of a thousand gods. Her sniper-like skills were legendary when it came to turning the ordinary girl's fantasy into a hard core reality. When she had a fresh target in sight, it was almost a guaranteed hit.

"I have a taste for the exotic you see. When you've been eating prime steak for all your life, you develop the occasional craving for veal." Yes. Some people actually do talk like that I'm afraid and what Kitty was saying was nothing short of the truth. I had witnessed her smooth moves for many years and always found it entertaining they way she managed to get it right. Whether it was some freshman debutant trying to make her college boyfriend horny or a yummy mummy cougar fresh out of a divorce, Kitty always gave her conquests a night to remember.   

As I sank into another one of Kitty's latest shenanigans, I couldn't help but wonder about the women she had bedded. Was she really the culprit praying on unsuspecting victims and their respective vulnerabilities or do some women simply throw themselves willingly at the chance to experience this once in a lifetime sexperience?  

"This last cougar's curiosity literally killed her cat. I had been chatting her up for about a week before I finally got a dinner invitation back to her mansion in Houghton. After some fine wining and dining, she wanted me to come up and see her bedroom. I told her that I was comfortable sleeping in the spare room but I could see that she wanted a bit more than friendly companionship. She took me upstairs and clothes began flying. I removed my boots and threw them vigorously to the ground. It was at this moment that I heard a thump. I thought nothing of it and continued to give her the dessert that she desired."

"She had fallen asleep in my arms after a night of intense pleasure, another conquest for my journal. At around 3am I got up to empty the alcohol we had consumed over dinner. I noticed my boot resting on something furry, a stuffed animal perhaps, but upon closer inspection, I noticed that it had actually been Mr. Whiskers, her 17-year old cat that had somehow been K.O'd in the crossfire of hot lady-loving passion. I panicked so I quickly moved the body into the room next door hoping that Lydia would wake up and believe it had died of natural causes. The only thing that died was her hard on. Bye-bye Kitty. Hello remorse. I'm not sure whether it was the guilt of last night's scissor action or the fact that she suspected foul play, but she kicked my ass out on the street without a ride and without half of my clothes." Is that what you call hitting two pussies with one stone? 

We all have deep-seated sexual desires that most of us are too afraid to ever act upon. We've been conditioned to believe that anything slightly askew from missionary, hetero sex is shameful and forbidden. It's this taboo that makes it so appealing, so when the opportunity arises to act out our filthy fantasies in the dark, we're going to take it, secretly hoping that it will never reveal itself in the light of day. While the snake may have lured Eve into the garden of Eden to taste the forbidden fruit, at the end of the day, wasn't it Eve who made the decision to take a bite?

When it comes to the deviant nature of homo-erotic fantasies, les-be-honest, who's really hunting who?

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Page 6

If there is one thing that no girl can live without, it's her daily scoop of salacious gossip. Whether it's Hollywood's latest morsel on Kim K and Miley Cyrus's senseless yet profitable shenanigans, or something more personal and closer to home, we're all guilty of indulging in the juicy whisperings of somebody else's scandal.

For some us, it's purely innocent; another way of passing the time. Mindless banter designed to make conversation with our peers and colleagues all the more interesting and sometimes, tolerable. But for the few big baby bitches who run the relay of rumours as if their life depended on it, it's a completely different language. We call them the instigators of crap whose sole purpose in life is to make themselves feel better by undermining somebody else's misery and shortcomings. A smidgen of chatter under one's breath is certainly not a crime, but when the outcome starts to cause deliberate pain and humiliation, one has to ask: where do we draw the line? 

If you find yourself working a typical nine-to-five job, ten-to-one you'll probably find yourself positioned in some kind of open-plan office structure, or as I like to call it, the death of productivity. And just like any beehive, you're bound to have a queen or two that sits on her ass all day doing nothing but bark orders and laying eggs. They usually come with a swarm of busybodies waiting to serve her every need, as if she were God herself. Slowly but surely, the culture begins to spread, working its way down from one worker bee to the next, and no matter how much you try to avoid it, you're bound to entertain the latest buzz in some way or another. Is it only a matter of time before you become the victim to her repetitive sting or does the need to rule with hate simply come from some sad form of insecurity?

When Charlotte started her new job as a sales rep for one of the biggest pharmaceutical conglomerates in the country, she had no idea what kind of a hunting ground she was about to tread on. Not only was she the CEO's niece, a disadvantage that clearly caused rumours of nepotism, but she was also young, pretty and smart. The ideal candidate for the firm's clan of clacking cows that had nothing better to do than gab about anybody and everybody to anybody that would give them the time of day.

Most people just went along with it for fear of losing their jobs. They were after all senior management and to challenge them meant that you were clearly insubordinate. Day in and day out, Charlotte had to endure their menacing mumblings to the point where it actually began to affect her work. The swell of negativity spread far and wide and Charlotte noticed the impact it had on her peers, who would either engage and join the ranks of queen bee status or simply cower in a heap of insignificance. The latter would often find themselves playing victim to this heinous hierarchy and were often the subjects of their callous conversations, no matter how fabricated and far-fetched the rumours seemed to be. Charlotte couldn't stand for it any longer and began to feel the urge to punch someone repeatedly in the throat.

Instead of going Jerry Springer on her ass, Charlotte politely adopted the assertive approach and took the Queen of Bullshit aside for a private one-on-one, woman to woman. She confronted her about the horrible things she had been saying, warning her that if she did not adjust her conduct, she would have to lodge a formal complaint. "What I really wanted to say was, 'Congratulations on another joyful day of gossip, hypocrisy and judging people who are different than you'". While Charlotte may have borrowed the saying from one of those viral e-cards, her feelings about women who talk shit about each other were fiercely strong.

Judge Judy did not take the confrontation particularly well and stormed out of the boardroom in a huff. The next few days felt like high school where Charlotte had been constantly pressurised to meet her targets better and faster than humanly possible. They completely ignored her, snickered behind her back and even started a rumour about Charlotte sleeping with one of the international distributors at the annual end-of-year function. Regardless of whether the rumour had been true or not, what right did this bitch have to stick her nose where it clearly wasn't welcome. Just how insecure can one person be? Was she teased in high school and now making up for all that childhood ridicule or was she just a stone cold natural bitch?

"She's clearly in need of a hug and validation. How people like that get to the top and stay there is beyond me". Just as Charlotte was about to give up, an anonymous colleague decided to fight fire with fire. The CEO had received an email in the form of a voice note containing a conversation between five nameless women about how things would run much smoother if they were in charge. It continued to display gross misconduct that contained traces of racism, homophobia and downright mutiny. Because of her value and relationships with the clients at that company, the boss man decided to let her off with a warning. A skid mark on her seemingly perfect reputation. Charlotte & Co: 1. Gossip Girl: 0.  

When you run your mouth off like a motor on diesel, it's bound to land you in the fire. While some of us do our best not to engage in office politics and self-inflicted drama, sometimes it simply isn't possible. While gossip may form an integral part of the way in which we socialise with one another, we also need to learn the difference between saying something for shits and giggles, and demeaning someone's character. As women, we owe it to ourselves to conquer the gaggle of geese that make our work life so unbearable. While investing in a solid pair of headphones may help from time to time, it simply isn't enough to put an end to senseless and hateful chit chat.   

When it comes to trash-talk in the professional environment, I couldn't help but wonder, can women live on gossip alone?

Wednesday, 7 January 2015


The most difficult type of relationship to maintain throughout one’s life is not necessarily the one you share with your significant other but the one you share with quality life-long friends. Let's be honest, what really came first? The husband or the friend, and just like any romantic endeavour, friendships require a maintenance plan if they are ever to survive the harsh consequences of life-changing events such as marriage, children and international relocation. A pig-tailed pinkie promise is nowhere near as binding as a bond agreement or birth certificate, and sometimes, the path you thought you were destined to travel together suddenly takes a turn for the worst. 

There's nothing like the holiday season to catch up with what Charlotte would call your "lifies". A collection of fabulous friends that have been there for you through thick and thin and will continue to pull through no matter how much life may try to tear you apart. Just like the sweet nuptials we undertake at matrimony, they're the ones who'll most likely stick around for better or worse, through sickness and in health, till death do you part. It's a beautiful rarity to have just one of these precious connections let alone a solid handful, especially in this day and age of hustle and bustle where we can easily forget to make the time and effort for those dear to us. So when a series of events takes place that could possibly derail this lifelong union, isn't it natural for us to freak out at the slightest bit of compromise?

So much change in such a short period of time. The world as I knew it had suddenly changed only three years ago when one of my longest and dearest friends told me that she was expecting her first child. It wasn't hard to convince the masses that the sudden spurt of tears trickling down my cheeks were tears of joy and not tears of mourning. Was this the last time I would see of my care-free, spontaneous friend as I knew her? Would she change beyond recognition? Although I had only seen her a handful of times that previous year, our friendship was always solid and based on quality, not quantity. She was the ray of sunshine that always offered the most brutal honesty with a balance of positive reinforcement. Was I about to lose her forever to a world of wet wipes and baby-proofing, a world that I had absolutely no understanding or desire to be part of (for now at least)?

Exactly one year later to the day, Gem had floated in on cloud nine and announced that her boyfriend of two years had popped the question. "It's going to be an Autumn wedding in 2015! We're so excited!" Again, tears began to fill my eyes as I felt the only words that one can say in such an instance escape my mouth..."Congratulations! I'm so happy for you!". Lies! In the back of my mind I thought a big bad wolf was about to steal my precious red away from me forever. She was my person, my Red, my Meredith. My dark and twisty relationship based on the commonality of being deviant Catholics. No one could understand the bonds of guilt and repression the way she did and it was this essence that kept us so closely knit. "Nothing's going to change! I promise." #sadface 

A few days later, my raven-haired soul sister from another mister had said "Yes" to her perfect other. While the man in question was definitely a grower, the light he had brought back into her life was priceless. It wasn't long before those fucking tears come pouring down again like clockwork. I realised that this would probably happen at every life-altering event that I found myself part of and let's face it, this was just the beginning. It's not that I wasn't genuinely happy for them, because I was, but the irrational fear of losing my precious ones to a life of domestic complacency was something I hadn't given much thought to. I felt them dropping like flies and the only thought going through my head at the time was Freddy Mercury's toe-tapping-finger pointing hook..."dun! dun! dun! Another one bites the dust!" 

Every single one of my thirty-young life partners were getting married or starting families or at the very least thinking about it. Why hadn't I? Was I defective in this department? Had I missed a step in the natural chain of evolution or was I maybe just jumping to the extreme that everyone changes for the worst once they settle down? Did it conflict with what I wanted out of life? Just when I thought I had reached a state of balance, I found myself caught between the present and the past, not knowing which way to turn. Was I subconsciously yearning for that type of stability and commitment myself in hopes of rejoining the rat-race of pre-nups and procreation or was I starting to doubt the comfort of remaining constant?

A recent rendezvous with three ghosts of Christmas past had offered a much needed break from all the showers and ceremonials that had recently taken place in my life. It had been nearly ten years since the original vipers of the Sea Point snake-pit had reunited underneath a full moon and apart from some obvious physical changes, they were all still very much the same. Vivaciously living the dream of commitment-free lives, they certainly put the "art" in party. As I had become somewhat of a prude amongst a bunch of rambunctious raconteurs, I asked the waitress to seat us as far away as possible from regular civilians as I am sure the details of our sordid shenanigans (which came out in full force) would most certainly offend even the most open-minded patron. 

On the one hand it had been refreshing to see that nothing much had changed. No matter how ludicrous and salacious (and sometimes completely embellished and fabricated) their wild stories were, I would always see past the smoke and mirrors into the depths of their contorted souls. While it would have been counter- productive to regress into my past ways, I found solace in an unlikely source and was beginning to feel slightly less anxious about the fact that I was neither married nor parented. By offering a completely alternative insight and providing a contrast to the life choices that so many of my current friends were beginning to adopt, I felt more at ease with myself knowing that I was somewhere, consciously swaying in the middle.  

Friendships, like relationships, are very much a two-way street and requires effort from both sides. The things that we believe in are essentially the things worth keeping, and sometimes this means losing a precious one along the way. While personal evolution is different and necessary for each and every one us, it can sometimes leave us strained and disconnected. Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do about it other than adapt and gain a greater sense of understanding for each others respective life choices. We're not always going to be on the same page and we won't always want the same things out of life, but if you remember the things that made you soul mates in the beginning, you might just have a shot in the dark. 

When it comes to besties and lifies, how do we stay close without compromising too much of our current selves?