Dating – just like The Hunger Games.

Dating Games are a lot like the Hunger Games. Except that the Hunger Games are much simpler. They always end in death.

Which is not to say that dating does not end the same way. It’s just drawn out and much more painful. And it usually ends with one party feeling a lot like ‘argh, fuck this’.

I’ve met men in different ways. Sometimes, it’s through a friend of a friend. Other times, online dating sites.
There’ve been chance encounters in coffee shops and bars, and I’ve even tried Tinder.

Each has its difficulties, but hey, we should be open to them all. Because it’s not so much about how we meet the man, it’s about the man himself.

There are several profiles.

The Serious Dater – not to be confused with the Serial Dater. The Serious Dater is looking for a life partner.
This is a good thing. He wants commitment. The Serious Dater usually falls in love with you on Date Number One. He tells you everything about himself in the first hour and keeps no secrets.

He talks about his divorce, his house, his children, his finances, his fondness for walks in the park, even his shirt size. He is kind, caring and always pays for the first date.

But it’s in his eyes. Those puppy dog eyes. The way he looks at you. The way he wants you to care for him. Swaddle him. Coddle him. Nurse him.

Stay away from the Serious Dater. He’s needy.

The Serial Dater – The signs of a Serial Dater are there from the start. Be vigilant. I dated one of these guys recently, and missed every bloody sign.

The eyes that glazed over when-ever I spoke about myself. The click of his fingers, every time he spoke about himself.

The late night phone calls from other women that were explained as work. What I didn’t miss was when he got disgustingly drunk and told me how many dates he’d sat with at the very same table that I was sitting at. Not surprisingly that offended me.

He was offended that I was offended. We ended up offending each other a lot.

Personally, I wouldn’t go near the Serial Dater. He’s offensive.

The Quick Fix Dater – oh my, he is so exquisitely exciting! He’ll meet you, woo you, bombard you with messages, make you feel fantastic, flirt like crazy, seduce you and get you to do things that you never thought you would do.

‘Don’t wear underwear’. He’ll suggest.‘Wear this kind of underwear’. He’ll smile.‘Wear my underwear’. He’ll insist.
He’ll have a great time with you, then drop you as soon as he’s had his fix. He’s the adrenalin junkie. He’s mad.
He’s fun. He’s edgy. But he’s terrified of anyone really getting to know him. He fears rejection. He’ll make you be fearful every time the wind blows and your panties are on show. Be careful. He’s an easy one to fall in love with, he’s the one who’ll break your heart.

Back away from the Quick Fixer. And his underpants.

There’s The Online Dater – He’s the guy you meet online but never offline. He’s intense. He’s intelligent. And he’s devastatingly handsome.

Of course he’s handsome, he’s been photo-shopped. If you suggest meeting him offline, he makes an excuse. I say, if you have more than three good online conversations without a meeting being set up, avoid him. He has something to hide.

Delete the Online Dater.

The Tinder Dater – I tried this once. Tinder is a phone app which picks out your nearby possible matches. It showed me my neighbour. My neighbour, who was recently arrested for having sex with his dog. I took myself off Tinder. I never went back.

I think there shouldn’t be a Tinder.

My last resort is The Twitter Dater – I’ve met a really lovely guy on Twitter, and we’re going out this weekend. He sounds cool. Genuinely. He sent me flowers before the date.

I loved that, and thought I should send him something too. I sent him this story to read. He really liked the story. And I know, I just know, we’re going to fall in love.

The Twitter Dater – try him. He may be your last resort.

phone

When the sex is just so good.

I slipped on a new black dress and admired myself in the mirror. Nice, but I dropped it to the floor.

Pulled on jeans and buttoned up a crisp white shirt, but no, whipped it all off. I tossed a skirt on to the growing pile of clothing, a lace bustier, a kimono, a hat, went back to the first black dress, then rushed out to the store to buy another one.

On the way home I picked up the lobster, bought a few bottles of wine and chose a shiny new lip gloss. All pretty expensive, but hey, it was only money.

A luxurious bubble bath, a splash of my new perfume, sexy stockings, and I was ready when he rang the doorbell. The wine was on the table, tulips in the vase, dinner bubbling away in the pot.

He walked in. Hot. My knees felt weak. My heart nearly exploded. I said hi, took him by the hand and lead him to the kitchen.

Before I had time to pour a glass of wine, he’d pushed me against the wall, kissing me hard. Within seconds my stockings were torn, my French underwear ripped and my dress off and over my head.

He was holding me, kissing me, messing my hair, smudging my lipstick and pushing himself deliciously against me, into me.

The oven timer was beeping as I wrapped my legs around him and he carried me to the dining room table. Crash. The Clementina Van Der Walt dishes, beautifully set up for dinner, shattered on to the floor. Whoosh. The wine bottle went flying.

Smash. The glass candle holders burst into a million pieces, the sofa caught fire and there were flames licking the tips of the curtains.

He went down on me, on that table, glass everywhere. I came. Once. Then twice. It was so good. We were both on fire, and it had nothing to do with the flames all around us.

He cracked open another bottle of wine, poured two glasses, then picked me up again and carried me, gently this time, to the bedroom.

We had sex. Sweaty. Messy. Magnificently. For hours.

Afterwards, we lay on top of the bed, stained sticky sheets, sharing a cigarette and a glass of wine, breathing in the soot of the smouldering sofa.

When I got up to go the bathroom, I could barely walk. He rubbed arnica gently between my bruised thighs. I gave him panado for his headache and removed shards of glass from his feet.

He left in the morning. I swept up the damages, showered, called Davenports to come fix the oven and Fabriports to re-upholster the sofa.

I gathered the sheets, tablecloth and dresses and dropped them off at the Dry Cleaners. And then, because I was going to see him again, and again, and again, chose another new black dress.

And a pair of high heeled black shoes.

I still don’t know how the heels broke on the ones I was wearing.
But I know I need new ones.

And stockings. And underwear. And curtains.

Sex with me – or him – PRICELESS!

Tally:-
Tulips – R 140
Wine – R 400
Lobster – R 600
Dress – R 800
The other dress – R 800
The stained dress – R 800
Stockings – R 200
Underwear – R 600
Dry cleaning – R 300
New crockery – R 900
Medication – R 150
Candle holders – R 1200
Upholstery – it has to wait.
Stove – it has to wait

wall

A very expensive blind date.

I can be impulsive. So a while back when a guy from Canada that I was quite attracted to online said ‘Let’s meet in France’, it took me all of three minutes to say ‘Oui.’   He had loads of money and was delighted to pay. I was delighted to accept.  
I’m a hopeless romantic and always open to new experiences, love, adventure, and possibility.

Online he was perfect.  Witty. Charming.  Mysterious. Bilingual. And of course, sexy. Offline – who knew?  But I was willing to take the chance.  He could be the right guy for me.

And so just a few weeks later I found myself bound for Paris, sipping champagne in business class, popping caviar in my mouth, and being a terrible flyer, waiting for the plane to crash. I probably deserved to die, leaving my children behind and going off on a wild adventure.
 But we didn’t crash, the plane landed safely, and I checked in to the magnificent hotel, the two bedroomed suite that he’d arranged.

I was a little nervous.

 A lot nervous.  We met in the hotel bar. I’d arrived first, and was perched on a bar stool, in my sexy but not too sexy dress, a few scotches under my suspenders to calm my nerves.

He walked in. Oh my. 

Every bit as good looking as his profile pic. Better. Suave. And very ,very stylish.

This was going to be good. We kissed hello, a little awkwardly, and he sat down next to me.

You know – you know immediately if you’re attracted to someone. It’s this thing where your heart beats fast, your inner thighs tingle, you have this euphoric feeling, this ‘oh my god this is amazing feeling’, this ‘I just have to reach over right now and touch him feeling.’

I did not have this feeling.

 Because he was incredibly anxious.  His hands were shaking, his bottom lip trembled, and droplets of perspiration lined his upper lip.

 He ordered a coke. In English.  And drank it in one go.

 And then a cheese burger.  

A cheese burger. In Paris. In the most beautiful bar, filled with olives and oysters and escargot. I went with it, not wanting to question his choices. Or to rush to judgement too quickly.

 But here’s the thing. 
He had not been honest.

All his online stuff about living on the edge, loving to travel, speaking French, being an intrepid explorer. It was a lie. 

Turned out he  was a Canadian who had never left Canada, and the adventure for him was merely leaving Canada and being able to say to his friends – ‘Hey, I’m meeting a strange chick in Paris…’

And I was the strange chick who said yes. The week was a disaster. 

He developed a cough, Heisenberg  status. I knew it was an anxiety cough, but he spent his time in Paris meeting different doctors and instead of sampling French delicacies, he sampled French antibiotics. 

I saw Paris on my own. I didn’t mind too much. I love Paris – smoking Gauloises on a pavement café, and sipping wine, window shopping, popping into galleries and museums. But I felt cheated. Not because there was no romance, but because he hadn’t been honest.

He wasn’t a serial killer. He wasn’t dangerous. I never once felt threatened. He just was not who he portrayed himself to be. We called it a ‘misadventure’. I never confronted him, because he had a fragility about him that I did not want to take on. And I wondered too if perhaps in a way I had misrepresented myself as well.  Perhaps he was enormously disappointed too.

The most difficult thing was coming home. I mean, I loved coming home, because it’s home  and because it’s real, but he kept mailing me as if everything had been totally normal and that we were still  good online friends.

 And I tried to explain that we couldn’t be online friends because we hadn’t managed to be offline friends.
 And he never got it. He still doesn’t get it. ‘Didn’t we have a great time?’ he says, and I guess in a way, we did have an adventure together.  Even if it hadn’t worked out.

I have learned this. 

I am never meeting a stranger in a strange city again. Don’t even think of asking me. It’s too stressful. And things are never quite what they seem. Unless – 

Italy, you say? 

Florence. Cobblestone streets. The statue of David? Maybe!  paris

Ex husbands and new girlfriends.

In a moment of emotional fragility, I signed up at the gym. 

The staff, all super enthusiastic with tight bottoms and huge white smiles, weighed me, rolled their eyes at my body mass index, and then with great joy and jubilation, they recognised my surname.

‘Ah, your husband comes here too, lekker to have you as well’ said Ivo, a huge man, the personal trainer I’d just met.

‘No, no, we’re divorced, I just haven’t changed my name yet, you know….’

‘Eish. Oh kay.  Well then.  We have work to do. I’m going to make you look so frigging good, your ex husband will regret the day he left you.’

I raised my left eyebrow.

‘Actually, I left him.’ I said, in a very even keeled tone.

Dead silence. And then the big guy, the very strong one, the one with all the enthusiasm, left the room.  Never to be seen again.

Clearly, women should not leave men. And clearly now, I did not need to look fabulous.

Anyway, I called my ex to tell him I was joining the same gym and checked he was okay with it.

‘Sure’ he said.  ‘Just don’t come on Saturday mornings between 7 and 10, when I train with my girlfriend’.

We were both very mature about it. 

Until, on Day One, I bumped into him in the sauna. I love the idea of unisex saunas, although I find it ridiculous that we have to stay covered up.  It’s 2014 for God’s sake.

But I digress.

There, in the sauna, sweat dripping into his paunch, was my ex husband. And next to him, his girlfriend.  

Not a single drop of sweat dripping into her paunch.  Because she doesn’t have one. As I sucked in my stomach, I remember thinking ‘Dear sweet Jesus, I should’ve brought my hip flask’.  

As well as – ‘Who is her personal trainer and how can she look so fucking good in a sauna?’

Anyway. I sat down. Gracefully.  Elegantly. Quickly. After slipping in their sweat, burning myself on the coals and stumbling up the step.

I am never at my most attractive in a sauna. My face goes bright red, my hair stands up on end, and if I wasn’t wearing a full bloody stupid swimming costume, sweat would pool into my paunch too.

 But I am also never at a loss for words, even in a 300 degree hot sauna.

‘Don’t either of you work?’ I said. ‘It isn’t Saturday. You’re not meant to be here. I think you should leave.’

As my ex husband was about to get snippy, something he was always good at doing, there was an intervention.

Ivo. The big trainer, the one with no sense of humour, walked in. He beckoned the girlfriend. ‘Ten minutes up’ he boomed. ‘Time for your lengths.

’

She wasn’t leaving without my ex, who according to Ivo, had another five minutes to go. I wasn’t leaving either, it would’ve seemed petty.

 So we all stayed. Ivo too. And sweated, and sweated. Until we slowly started talking. And it was all pretty good and grown up and groov.

!

We agreed to meet at the gym again, but in the steam room next time. Ivo won’t be there.  He has a new job as a Mediator with divorce attorneys. 

I’ll be there. But wearing a bikini. Because I’m going to the gym every single day, five times a day, until the next time. No sweat is going to pool in my stomach in front of her again!

sauna

Dating at a certain age can be very bloody difficult.

Dating at a certain age is very  difficult.  There are loads of whackos out there and huge amounts of excess baggage being carried around. 

I have my fair share I suppose, but mine is small and interesting and ha ha, who am I kidding. Anyway, when you do eventually meet a man who is not a stalker, mentally insane, broken, bitter, fragile, insecure, shaky or ill, and is also good looking, sexy,  and bright, you want to shout out from the rooftops “Hey, I met this guy, he’s perfect, he’s perfect.”

But because you’re of a certain age, it isn’t so easy to climb up the stairs to reach the rooftop – sore knees, sore back, fear of heights – so instead you giggle with your girlfriends over coffee, send your new beau tons of Whats-Apps, and try very hard to arrange the next knee- knocking date.

It is not that easy.

Children-  I have mine every second week, every third Friday night, on alternate weekends and really whenever they want to be with me.  

The man I’ve started dating has his every third day, alternate Tuesdays, on public holidays, birthdays and really whenever his fourteen kids want to be with him.

Food – I’m easy. I eat everything except chicken.  I often have cake for breakfast, love cheese burgers, hate spinach and most vegetables, and have this romantic idea of lazing in front of a fire with Chinese take outs.

He is not easy.  He’s a god-awful vegetarian, allergic to wheat, dairy and MSG, very precious about his caloric intake and really, a pain in the arse when it comes to food.

Alcohol – I drink whisky.  Single malt. And I’ve been known to down a bottle of champagne.  Good taste. Expensive taste.

He sips wine.  It has to be red.  Sulphur free.  And organic.  

He thinks my drinking habits are extreme.  I think his are odd.

But most importantly, and certainly the biggest negotiation, at this certain age – Sleeping!

I’ve been on my own for a couple of years.  And in those years, have still not ever, not once, never ever, rolled over on to my ex-husbands side.  Apparently this is not unusual; some women never roll over on to that side of the bed.

But, we had a great fourth date, and in the back of my mind I knew I was going to have sex with this guy, so I’d waxed and bathed,  primped and preened, changed the sheets, tidied the bedroom, lit candles, and I was right, we had great sex.

 And then he clearly had that fabulous content, snuggle for a bit then roll over gently and go to sleep feeling. 
Because he went to sleep.

On my side of the bed.

I did not have that same fabulous feel good feeling.  I lay there, wide awake, heart beating wildly, on the wrong side of the bed, staring at the wrong side of the ceiling.  

I shook him gently.  Nothing. 

I tried to push him over to the other side.  Not strong enough.

A gentle kick.  Nope, it hurt my knees. 

I thought about climbing over him, elegantly, but that hurt my back, and it was dark and the one dog was in my way, and the other dog started growling, and so instead I lay there, shifting, tossing and turning, in a state of panic.

I dozed off only when I heard the birds chirping.  And that was when he woke up.

“Morning Violet, what a fantastic night, let’s make tea, herbal, and I really like you and God I haven’t slept so well in years, and come here, snuggle a bit, and oh oh, you’re still not wearing anything, delicious…”

He eventually got up to put the kettle on.

 I’ve never moved so quickly, over to my side of the bed.  Bliss.  I was asleep within seconds.  

And he woke me up, this new lover of mine,  calling me a layabout and a lazybones and I don’t know why I just smiled and I never said a word.

Tonight is our fifth date, and I’m pretty sure he’s going to sleep over again. If I can sort out my children, the dogs, the food and the wine.

And I’m not going to primp or preen or do anything like that this time.

 But I am going to buy a new bed.  King size.  Fresh.  With no memories.  And no baggage.

Dating.  At a certain age. 

 Not just difficult.  Very expensive too.

bed

A Brazilian Wax

I recently had my vagina waxed. A full-on Brazilian. It was a spur of the vagina decision. I went for a simple bikini wax but the therapist started telling me how excessively hairy I was.

“Oh darling you do have a rather wild bush”, she’d said.

So I thought, ‘What the hell, its summer, take it all off’.

Bejesus!  It’s not so much the agony of the Brazilian – it’s the intimacy of the Brazilian. A strange woman’s fingers on your most private and sensitive parts, waxing off or plucking out every last hair. It’s a little undignified…even a little humiliating.

But I let her wax and pluck and pull and I yelled out loud and I yelled at her and I cried a little and she mopped my tears, and then suddenly  – there was my vagina!

A little pink, a little swollen, a little thing that was quite pretty actually.  

I thanked her, handed over a ridiculous sum of money and called my girlfriends to meet me for champagne and cake. I thought I would surprise them with my new-found vagina but before we could start talking about smooth pink lips – a crisis- men.

As my gorgeous, but strictly feminist girlfriends spooned red velvet cupcakes into their small but slightly moustache covered lips, they also started bitching about men.  

Men who wolf -whistled, who opened car doors for women, who automatically signal for the bill and refuse to go dutch. Men who insist on changing tyres, who like women to dress in a sexy fashion and men who love women who don’t wear underwear .

I like men and I quite like all these things that men do. I can laugh at them, appreciate them, make use of them and even get turned on by them.

Apparently I shouldn’t like these things. They are “demeaning to women”. They are done to make women feel inadequate and weak. They turn women into the lesser sex.

 And it seems that waxing your vagina, is the worst thing in the world because it makes women’s vaginas look child-like and it turns all men into paedophiles.

Panic!

I immediately signalled to the waiter to cancel the champagne, and sent him a note that said “Do not tell these women we are celebrating my hair free vagina.” 

I squeezed my legs together to make sure my lovely pink lips couldn’t burst through my undies. 

I never mentioned the bits of wax that were still stuck to my bottom and needed to be pulled off. I never mentioned how good it felt, and how much I knew I was going to love it but I did start feeling a little concerned.

I’d waxed my vagina (pudendum to be accurate) on the spur of the moment because the therapist convinced me to, and I’d thought “summer”.  Easy to wear a bikini. Cool. Sexy. Pretty.

I also wax my legs and underarms, I have facials, enjoy manicures and pedicures and I’ve even been known to have a bit of a collagen filler. 

I do these things because they make me look and feel good. I don’t over-think them. I need them, I do them, I love them and I pay through my very white teeth for them.

Honestly – I don’t only do them for me. I do them for men too. And for women. I want to look attractive when people look at me. Of course I do. We all do. 

I don’t go for that whole mumbo jumbo thing of men and women being equal. I think we are equal but different, and I love embracing the differences. It’s what makes being a woman so much fun.

So why, as per my girlfriends, is waxing a vagina such a terrible thing?   

Is it because all men fantasize about having sex with pre-pubescent girls? Is it because when they take Violet out for a night on the town, they don’t really want to be out with a fifty year old woman, but with a 15-year-old girl?

I don’t know. It’s a fine hair free line and one that needs thinking about. 

I’d love to carry on thinking about it, but I just found one rogue hair and I have a date tonight and I better get rid of it really quickly.

brazilian wax

Nothing to wear.

You look like a whore” said Cecilia, as I was dressing to go out on a date. With an old boyfriend. A gorgeous old boyfriend. One that I hadn’t seen for a long time.

I looked in the mirror. “Elegant” I thought, admiring my tight fitting black dress, fish-net stockings, high heeled shoes and thick red lipstick. She’d muttered something in Tswana under her breath, and pulled out a few dresses from the cupboard for me.

“Try this” she said, handing me the plain brown sack.

“Not my style”, I said.

“So why did you buy it?” she asked snarkily.

I had no ready answer for this, and tried it on anyway. I hated it. She made me try on a few other outfits. I went back to the tight black.

“Whore”, she muttered again.

“Shouldn’t you be cleaning the cupboards?” I’d sniped back, smoothing down the fishnets.

Cecilia and I had that kind of relationship. When she wasn’t yelling at me, she was giving me her opinion. I added a bit more lipstick and went on my way.

 I met Theo. We hugged, kissed and looked each other up and down. He didn’t mention my appearance. He didn’t comment on how elegant and sexy I looked. I thought he must be gay.

 He didn’t want to talk about my divorce, my children or my very difficult single life.

Selfish, I thought.

Two of his friends walked past our table. He leaped up to greet them. Kiss Kiss.

“Nice whore dress” they’d said in unison. I ignored them, said bye to the old definitely gay boyfriend who looked a little relieved the date was over, and headed to my car.

“Your car is still safe, Madam”, said the car guard, “I been watching it for you”.

I tipped him five rand. He looked me up and down. “Nice dress.”

He pulled out a fifty rand note from his pocket, proffered it my way, and said. “What do I get for this?”

I arrived home with a grudging new found respect for Cecilia and her dress sense. 

A few days later I was invited to a party.  I swallowed my pride and asked Cecilia to dress me. She chose the stylish blue conservative dress that I like but have never been a hundred percent convinced by. But, she obviously knew what she was doing, so I put it on.

I headed off, filled with elegant confidence.

The first person I bumped into was the old gay boyfriend.

“You look like a domestic worker” he said, eyeing me with pity.

“And you look a cunt!” I said, grabbing my keys and speeding home.

The next day I went shopping. And walked straight into Wizards and Witches. The most beautiful store in the world. No one can afford to shop there. Especially me.

 But – out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of them – irresistible, knee high, lace up boots. Sexy. I saw myself in them. I saw myself seductively unzipping them, my thigh high stockings underneath.

And so I walked in. 

The salesmen saw me coming. I think they recognized the look of a woman with only one thought on her mind. Men.
 They preened at the entrance, smiled invitingly, glided around, and showed me the most gorgeous dress to try on with the boots.

 The R 8 200 boots.

The R 3 000 dress.

The salesmen told me how perfect I looked. And I believed them. They showed me accessories. Camisoles, lacy bras, stockings, panties. I bought everything. 

I forgot that I had children and an empty fridge and a mortgage. 

I forgot that I had left my husband. 

I forgot that I had no money.

 I forgot everything.

Shopping can do that to you.  It makes you feel better.  Even if only for a little bit.

lboots