This might seem very sad (or very sweet) but I cannot seem to remember* ever kissing anyone except Adam on New Year’s Eve. And since the last #BryanAdamsChallenge entry was a soppy tribute to our love, I will ignore the “one you kissed” part of this blog topic and focus more on the “New Year’s Eve” part - sharing some of my most memorable nights (or at least parts thereof). *If you cannot remember it, it didn’t happen.
I spent the day at the SA Wedding Show at the CTICC yesterday. Don’t panic!!! You didn’t miss the “we are engaged” post to Facebook. I attended the show escorted by my engineer-turned-photographer boyfriend in order to collect intelligence on the other wedding photographers.
It felt a bit like an episode of Whose Line is it Anyway? with the two of us improvising our fake engagement as we went along.
“Have you guys set a date yet,” the friendly photographer asked a seemingly straightforward question (which we obviously didn’t bother to prepare).
After a long pause (accompanied by loving stares into each other eyes) Adam blurted out, “7 November this year”.
“Hmmm that’s a Thursday…”
“Yup that’s correct.”
Needless to say our improvisation skills didn’t exactly improve as the day went on. I became aware of the exhibitors trying to steal a glimpse of my ring (non-existent – because we are having it resized, of course) and they seemed strangely suspicious when we kept our story of our engagement painfully short (“she said yes”).
I have never been the kind of girl who dreamt of a fairytale wedding. I love going to weddings. And getting drunk. But mainly I love seeing my friends that happy. Being an idealist for a day and pretending that 50 years from now we will all still be friends, sitting around our over-priced wedding coffee table books, while our grandchildren laugh at us for not having wedding holograms.
Surely that’s what weddings are about. Not about photographers who promise to tell the story of the day – in 6 hours and 200 photos most of which are of the bride posing awkwardly as she and her groom stare into the sunset. And it’s definitely not about seeing how much you can spend on a dress you will never wear again. Or about how much make up and hair you can afford to transform from a beautiful, normal girl to one of those iced Barbie cakes. It is about making a promise – a promise so absurd and so wonderful.
I never really imagined I would be the kind of girl who would fall in love. And yet I am and I did. As much as the SA Wedding Show reinforced my conviction that I want to elope on some tropical island, wearing a white beach dress and no shoes, with an ocean breeze blowing through my hair and the salty residue of the ocean as make up, it also reinforced my conviction that Adam is the boy I swear I will never leave.
Staring into his eyes at the SA Wedding Show waiting for him to conjure up some crazy answer to the exhibitors questions and knowing that, whatever he says, I will go along with it, I just realised that there isn’t anyone in the world I would rather fake an engagement with. He makes me laugh so much and holds me tightly when I cry. He sees the good in me and makes me want to be a better person. He loves the things I hate about myself – like my outstanding cheeks. He makes me believe in the absurd and wonderful.
And that’s what it is all about. It’s not about the ring or the elaborate wedding day. It’s about finding someone you cannot live without and then swearing you will never leave.
This post – although a little bit dark and ambiguous – is dedicated to every girl who has been made to feel unworthy by some asshole.
Dear Mr Asshole
Writing this letter five years after the fact seems a bit strange. Mainly because I dealt with my anger towards you so long ago. And also because I know you will never read this. But fuck it, here goes… [My version of Alanis Morisette's "You Oughta Know"]
When I see happy photos of you and your (average-looking) wife on Facebook I feel like I dodged a bullet. If things played out slightly differently I could have been Mrs Asshole, raising your horrid offspring at home while you were off living out your fantasy of being a corporate fat cat being sucked off by your secretary.
So just in case you have forgotten who you really are – because people like you don’t change (I think you told me that) here is a little reminder of some of your finer moments and why I actually want to thank you for being the world’s biggest asshole:
Thanks for hiding what we had from all your friends. You made me feel like you were embarrassed by being with me – like I was somehow not worthy of being associated with you. It taught me that a real man would shout my name from the rooftops for all the world to know that he was lucky enough to have snatched me.
Thanks for being honest about the kind of asshole you were. You told me that you were bad news, that I should not waste my time with you, that you were incapable of giving or receiving love, that you would grow up to be as big a disappointment as your father was to you. It taught me that a real man deals with his issues and does not hide behind them. We all have aspects of our lives that have been less than perfect – but that is no excuse to treat other people the way you treated me.
Thanks for breaking my heart days after the most traumatic experience of my life. You kissed another girl in front of me days after going through a completely life-changing experience with me. Thanks for leaving me to deal with the fall out all alone. You ignored me for two months. Two months in which I woke up crying every morning and fell asleep crying every night. It taught me that a real man would be there for me through it all and not head for the hills at the first sign of tough times.
Thanks for reconnecting with me only to break my heart again. You spent an amazing day with me and undid all the progress I had made in two months by proving what an asshole you were and taking advantage of me again. Seeing the bunny ears of a bridesmaid sticking out from behind your head as you were kissing her that same night was almost surreal. It taught me that a real man could never be that cruel.
Thanks for being right all along – I deserved so much better.
Thanks for disappearing out of my life.
The first time I walked into The Fez Club in Cape Town in 2004 I was left wondering if I missed the secret door leading to a bigger club (which is not completely absurd given Cape Town’s obsession with VIP guest lists and VIP areas). But soon this small club – littered with anorexic models, teeming with dirty old men and sprinkled with an adequate amount of cocaine – became one of my favourite hangouts.
I was often swept out of the club at 4am, tip-toeing across Green Market Square’s cobblestones en route to Mohammed’s – so it seems appropriate that at least part of the longest night I ever spent would take place there. What started as a chilled margarita at Cantina Tequila at 6pm on a Thursday night escalated to a house party followed by the Fez and then (in line with tradition) the ritual 4am sweep out.
Someone once told me that nothing good ever happens in clubs after 2am. I guess if I had listened to their advice I would not have found myself back in my sparsely furnished Sea Point apartment with what I can best describe as a weasel, a random and a coke addict. There is something quite exhilarating and yet terribly frightening about leaving your flat at 7am with a car full of people you barely know to go and buy another gram while “normal” people are busy getting ready to go to work.
But drug binges – like all good (and not so good) things must come to an end – usually when you run out of cash. You find yourself driving along the M3 going to drop the random off, cooked out of your mind, squinting in the harshness of daylight, wondering why it is your duty to drop the random off in the state you are in, then remembering that you just spent the night talking shit with a weasel, a random and a coke addict (none of whom have their own fucking cars) and then realising you do not even know the random’s name, blindly changing lanes upon the random’s instruction and almost driving into another car and then fighting the paranoia as you drive yourself back home.
The coke comedown is a mean mistress. Especially if like me, you were a non-regular user and then indulged in a heavy dose. It was now 10pm on Friday night and the restlessness, paranoia and depression were setting in. You are tired beyond belief but somehow quite alert. You close your eyes – hoping that when you open them again this will all be over. You feel yourself dosing off – floating away. But then a little voice tells you that your heart is beating too slowly and that you aren’t breathing. Frightened you sit back up. You make your way to the couch, switch on e.tv (inevitably some soft porn is on) and lie there waiting for rest. The self-loathing creeps in and you wonder what your dad would say if he found out. You have now convinced yourself you are going to die if you fall asleep – what with your slow-beating heart and shallow breathing. But eventually you surrender.
Needless to say, I have never touched coke again. Not because of one bad comedown but because of the darkness it exposes within you. Because the heady cocktail of norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine floating around in your brain make you feel invincible and powerful and attractive and successful, right before it smashes you back down and, like a post-midnight Cinderella your world turns back into a pumpkin and a bunch of rats, and you realise you have lost your fucking shoes.
One day, baby, we’ll be old.
Oh baby, we’ll be old.
Think of all the stories
That we could have told.
I love this classical minimal techno remix of the beautiful song by Israeli singer-songwriter, Asaf Avidan, so much. To me it is a call to action. It transports you right to the end of your life and, like the Ghost of Christmas Future (dressed in full body PVC I would imagine), creates this sense of urgency to start living your life, to follow your dreams, to make stories worth telling one day.
Of course this is once again interpreted by the #YOLO generation* to mean that we should all aspire to emulate the Euro-trash thirty-somethings of the music video. That somehow the only stories worth telling when you’re old are ones of unadulterated hedonism.
But like the #YOLO generation I can understand this ever-present FOMO. My deepest fear about growing old is that I find myself sitting on a super yacht one day (obviously) dressed in full body PVC (I would imagine) telling stories of “I should have”, “I could have”, “I would have”.
Like a child at a theme park I want to go on every ride at least once and go on the ones I really like so many times that I feel sick. I want to start new hobbies on a whim instead of having interests neatly organised on a list of new year’s resolutions recycled year after year. I want to see and smell and taste and hear and feel all this world has to offer. But my deepest fear is that I will not have enough time.
I guess all we can do is follow the advice given by Alex Garland in The Beach:
“Trust me, it’s paradise. This is where the hungry come to feed. For mine is a generation that circles the globe and searches for something we haven’t tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never out stay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience. And if it hurts, you know what? It’s probably worth it.”
Keep it tight. Keep it real.
The B Boss
* Coming soon: My rant about the #YOLO generation