Men and the Art of Communication

It’s quite hard when a man you like, and have a few very nice evenings with, suddenly never calls again. On my last date with X, which I thought had gone well, with loads of laughter and some intensity, he’d kissed me goodbye, passionately, and then said: – ‘I’ll call you tomorrow’.

He never called. It’s been two weeks, and he still hasn’t called. I’ve stopped checking my phone for messages, and I’ve stopped checking the obituaries. I’ve stopped myself from calling him, or texting him, because it was complicated to start off with and I’ve stopped feeling hopeful that it was all just a giant mistake.

But I don’t get it. He’d gone after me, pursued me with some persistence, had swept me off my feet, dumped me, then came back unashamedly saying:- ‘I made a mistake. I do want to see you. I’m sorry. Give me a second chance, please.’

I was the girl who even though I knew I shouldn’t, I let him back into my life, because he was interesting and different and I saw possibility. But he did it again. After another few fabulous dinners, champagne, gifts, compliments, and intimate conversation, he disappeared. Second time round.

I’m trying to get my head around this. Was I played? Was he married? Was he a liar? The stories he told me, the ones that were so revealing, did he make them up?

On our last date, he’d asked me a question. ‘If I could do anything better, what would it be?’ I’d thought for a while before answering.

My answer eventually was ‘Communication’.

If there is one thing I want in life, it is the ability to talk. To say how I feel. To express what I want. To be honest.

He liked my answer. Hugely. He said he would’ve given the same answer. Which made me smile, because I had thought he could communicate. I liked his honesty. But then. He vanished. Again. In a puff of smoke. Gone. Without a word. Definitely not communicative.

And I do not understand it. And it is why I keep putting my head in my hands, thinking ‘What the bejesus was that all about?’ Whatever it was, I do have to think it was not about me. He had the issues. But it was selfish, mean, nasty and most of all, uncommunicative and cowardly. And it’s also over. I shall never mention the dumpling man again.

girlinred

Giving up Sex

This has been the hardest week of my life. In the same way all my friends have given up carbs, I have given up sex. Not just sex itself. I have quit reading about it, thinking about it and dreaming about it.

I’ve met a man who belongs to the Lee Moo Lung Thai Abstinence Sect. Once a year for twenty-one days they swear themselves to celibacy. For the sake of our maybe relationship, I have sworn to do the same thing.

To resist temptation, I have stayed at home.

But nothing is easy.

The simplest of tasks become sexy. Picking strawberries from my garden. Washing them, feeling them and mostly, biting into them. The bright red colour, juice splashing down my chin, the texture – it’s too good, they’re sensual, they make me want to do things.

I’m brave. I stash the strawberries. I give them to my neighbour.

Beautiful warm weather. Cloudless skies. Sun-filled days. It feels so delicious to throw off my jeans and sweater and sit outside, laze on a daybed, have the sun caress me, stroke me. I’m happy. Content. Relaxed.

This is easy. I don’t need sex.

Except – Sun. Skin. T-shirt. Panties. This is possibly the worst thing I could’ve done. It’s impossible not to slip my hand in and touch…

NO!

I go into my bedroom. Cover my skin. Put on sweatpants and socks. Wish I had a onesie.

Boldly, I take all my French underwear and hide it. No silk or satin in sight. Lace bras, tucked away. Blindfolds banished. Handcuffs hidden. All my stockings swept to the back of the drawer.

Tucked between my stockings – what is this I find – oh, yay – I thought I’d lost it, oh thank goodness, yes, yay, finally – I find my vibrator.

I should. I shouldn’t. I know I shouldn’t. But I really want to.

I can’t.

I take out the batteries and give them to my neighbour. I throw in the vibrator for good measure.

Nothing is going to tempt me. Nothing.

I should probably leave the house. Walking my dogs feels safe. A park, families, children, animals.

But there’s a winter heat wave and everybody is cooling down by eating popsicles. I decide to cool down too.

This is getting ridiculous. A popsicle. The shape. The ice. My tongue. That feeling. The craving. The yearning. The aching.

Every single part of me, hurting.

I go to Checkers. The asparagus are leering at me. The paw paw is provocative. The check-out guy is as young as sexy as the ice-cream seller was, and I can’t do this any more, everything, everywhere, it’s all too much.

I’m going mad. I go home. I call my neighbour. I tell him I need help.

He comes. Immediately.

So do I.

temptation

Being dumped.

Flowers, tons of them, in my arms, yellow tulips, roses, daffodils, they cost me a fortune, but I really wanted the house to look pretty.

A new dress. Okay. I lie. Three new dresses, because I wasn’t sure if I should wear the silk one, the grey one, the tight sexy one, or the one that slips off easily.

Stockings, because it’s winter and tights are not so sexy. But black stockings or fishnet stockings, sheer or lacy, thigh high or maybe no stockings at all.

I waxed. Only my legs, because by God I’ve done the Brazilian before and I will never ever ever do that again no matter how much I like the guy.

But I waxed my legs, I had a manicure, a pedicure, and okay, I had a bikini wax too, but I did stop at bikini.

Chanel No 5. I kept thinking of him nuzzling my neck.

And the fridge. I filled it with all the best ingredients, spent a fortune at Woolies, because he said ‘I want to cook with you, ricotta dumplings, artichoke salad, a caramelized orange cake, here’s a list of ingredients, you buy them, I’ll cook…’

Ingredients are very bloody expensive you know.

We’d met by chance and had dinner, we’d had a second dinner, and then a third. It was a whirlwind. He overwhelmed me.

Bombarded me. A wild romance. He mailed me, texted me, bbm’d me, whatsapped me, phoned me to say good morning, phoned me to say good night, and more than anything, he talked to me.

A man who was not only handsome and could cook, but one who could communicate.

He had baggage. Loads of it. I knew that. But I qualified it by saying ‘I have baggage too’. I can deal with baggage.

And so we moved on to Date Number Four. At my home. Which we both knew meant – intimacy.

Perfume dabbed behind my ears and my knees. New lingerie. The bottle of champagne on ice.

I put on lipstick, then wiped it off, brushed my hair, changed my shoes three times, plumped the cushions, lit the candles, splashed on a little more perfume and sipped some wine while waiting.

The dumplings were in their early stages when he texted me.

‘Ive decided I’m not going to come tonight. And I have to stop mailing you and calling you. You know how much I like you. But my past is difficult and it’s going to get complicated, and I am not ready for complications. Forgive me. I did not mean to hurt you’.

Baggage.

And wasted ingredients.

And heartache.

I’m trying to focus on the dumplings instead of the disappointment, but I’m lying on my bed and clutching my heart. It’s agony, and I’m pretty sure it’s not a heart attack.

It could be indigestion. I’ve just drunk a bottle of champagne, eaten six artichokes and fourteen dumplings, and I’m really hurting. Maybe because they were raw.

I wasn’t in love. But there was the possibility of love, and I put myself out there because of a ‘maybe’. A ‘what if’.

I liked him.

Even with his baggage.

I guess in the end he was honest with me.

I just wish he could’ve been honest before I bought the Chanel No 5, the dresses and the artichokes.

I need to remember that dating, love and relationships are never going to be easy. I need to remember not to get carried away.

I need to keep a close watch on this heart of mine.

It’s sore. And I don’t think it’s from the dumplings.

cooking

Food Porn

I blame Tim Noakes for spoiling my life.

Those wonderful days of sitting with girlfriends drinking champagne and stuffing cupcakes into our mouths are over.

Pizza is the new poison. Cake has become the combatant. Hamburgers are now hostile.

And friendships are under threat. When my best friend forever said she had ‘nothing to wear’ I asked her if she’d like to borrow a dress.

‘No thanks, sweets, I’m a Size Zero, no carbs ya know…’

Well fuck me with a fish fork. I’ve never been a Size Zero. Because I still have fun. Because I eat. And because my ex best friend always used to borrow my dresses.

I really don’t care about Tim Noakes.

But no one cares that I don’t care.

‘You should try juicing, ya know…’

Juicing. The word that’s taken over my timelines. It’s taken over my friends. It’s taken over from tacos. And toblerone. It has tested true love.

We used to stand in my kitchen with cocktails in our hands. Now we stand with apples in one, and spinach in the other. Carrots on the counter instead of cocaine. Lettuce instead of LSD. Eggplant instead of ecstasy.

And it’s not only my girlfriends. Men used to try feed me strawberries dipped in chocolate and lick champagne out my vagina. But now strawberries have too much sugar and vaginas are high carb.

‘Come chop some bok choi with me, China.’

I don’t know about you, but that’s not really as satisfying as oral sex.

And everyone keeps a food diary. I can’t even keep a work diary, let alone write down how many organic mushrooms I ate on Monday. I don’t care about my friend’s food diaries. They want me to ooh and aah over them. I want to ooh and aah over food porn.

Preferably high carb food porn.

I’m going to stand by my gluten. I’m never giving up carbs. I’m going to look you in the eye while I devour my delicious donut.

And I’m going to dare you. Come on. Have a bite. It’s delicious.

food porn

It’s Raining Men

I hear the same thing from my girlfriends all the time. There are not enough men to go around. Where can we meet them, which is the best dating site, and should we try Tinder?

Well, I am here to tell you to go hang out in the small town of Magoebaskloof. That one, up there in Limpopo, five hours out of Johannesburg.

The weather report in Magoebaskloof this weekend? It’s raining.

But it’s raining men.

It’s also five hours out of Johannesburg, off the beaten track, surrounded by the most beautiful mountains and forests, and is especially known for it’s walking and biking trails.

Off I went on this romantic idea – strong, brave Violet – on a journey of self-discovery. I booked myself a small cottage by the lake, took my yoga mat, muesli and fresh orange juice, and planned a retreat. I would rediscover myself, my inner beauty, find my spiritual core, maybe do a bit of writing, try my hand at poetry…

Ha Ha.

I discovered Men.

Men in leather. Men in hiking boots. Men on bicycles. Men who were in good shape. Farming Men. Mining Men. Business Men. Men who were with other Men.

But Men.

And Men in uniform. Firemen and policemen. Strong Men. Handsome Men. Helpful Men.

Next door to my little cottage was a large hotel, and after struggling with the very first line of my would-be poem, I headed to the bar for a whisky.

Whisky is an integral part of the journey of self-discovery.

I sat next to a Fireman. That heavy uniform, big boots, red- hot fire engine outside.

My knees went weak. I dropped my poetry book.

The Policeman sitting nearby picked it up for me. Handcuffs dangling off his leather belt, a truncheon by his side.

I knocked over my whisky.

The bikers nearby ordered me another.

Bikers. Helmets on the floor, in their leathers, mud splashed jeans, drinking beer, very sexy, delicious bikers.

All these men were incredibly polite. And helpful . They helped me with my poetry. They helped me unroll my yoga mat, they helped me light my fire. They helped me find my core, my spiritual well being, and one of them may have even helped me find my g-spot.

I wrote. Reams and reams of poetry. Mostly senseless I think, but hey who cares, I wrote. And when I’d finished writing, I was ready to come home. Inspired.

I stopped at the small coffee shop in the village of Haenatzburg on the way home.

Farmers. In their khaki pants, wearing gumboots, bearing pick-axes.

Mountain climbers. Carrying rope, strong, tanned and muscular.

I had to leave before I got into trouble. I picked up my latte, packed my yoga mat and headed to my car.

Of course it was the policeman who gave me a speeding ticket as I sped off on the windy roads. But he winked as he handed over the R 500 fine. And I winked back.

Magoebaskloof. My new spiritual homeland.

highway patrolman writing ticket

It’s Violet. V – I – O – L – E – T.

My dating profile very clearly says two things.

Please do not contact me if you do not have a photograph.

Please do not contact me if you cannot spell.

The photograph bit is clear. If you don’t have a photograph, it means one of two things:

1. You are an ugly fucker.

2. You have something to hide.

Generally, there is something to hide. Men on dating sites, without photographs, are most often married and looking for a bit of ‘please don’t tell my wife’ sex on the side. I have no time for these men, they are cowards and they should get their cheap thrills elsewhere.

But the bad spelling thing drives me completely nuts. I understand dyslexia and all that, but if you’re online, it means you have a computer. And there is something called spell check. My name is Violet. It’s quite easy to spell.

V.I.O.L.E.T.

Yet I receive mails every day:

Dear Vee

Dear Viola

Dear Violate

And even… Dear Violent!

The message is often followed by “I am convinced your the one for me, the luv of my…”

YOUR? Come on, Dear Dater, you surely mean ‘you’re’. Whatever happened to apostrophes? And LUV? What are we, twelve?

I recently decided to play along with one of the guys who called me Violent. His name was John but I chose to call him James. Violet – Violent. John – James. Same difference.

“Violent”, he typed. “I know your the girl for me. Are you wearing panties?”

Again, the apostrophe thing. And so much for foreplay.

“James honey”, I replied, “I was wearing panties. But what you’ve just said there, oh my, it is SUCH a turn on, I’m slipping them off immediately, I can’t wait, oh oh….”

“Good stuff Violent, I’m sending you a photograph of myself now, look how huge I am…”

I did became Violent.

“For gods sake John-James you schmuck; I’m really wearing flannel pajamas and sitting with a bowl of ice cream in front of the television watching Game of Thrones. What do you think, moron? I am not sitting here waiting for a picture of your dick!”

“Your such a bitch!” he typed.

APOSTROPHE, you idiot, apostrophe. I couldn’t help correcting his grammar before I deleted him. That’s why I changed my dating profile: Dear Dater I couldn’t help but crack my computer in half over my knee and throw it out the window. Please understand why my email responses are slow. Please contact me, but only if you can spell. And please, don’t forget the photo.

`Love, Violet V.I.OL.E.T.

First love

There was this guy that I did a lot of stuff with when I was a teenager. We’d bunk school, cycle to the park, share cigarettes and hang out under the trees listening to Jethro Tull.

He was pimply, rough and gawky. I was shy, clumsy and flat chested. We were the perfect pair, this awkward guy and I. Unusual, ungainly friends.

Until he had to leave town. Just as we were growing up and out of our awkwardness, he and his family went to the US. Sad goodbyes, kisses on pimply cheeks, hugs with budding bosoms getting in the way.

We did a whole blood brother thing, promising that we’d still share our first joint together, and our first beer, maybe even our first kiss. Never ever lose contact.

For a while we were okay. Secret phone calls late at night, lazing on our beds. He would play the guitar in New York while I hugged my pillow in Norwood.

Missing him. Feeling things. Suddenly thinking about love.

But time is time. And he started drifting away, and I tried to hold on, but he drifted and I pulled him back but he drifted more and I pulled and he pushed and I pulled some more and then he drifted completely, and I guess I drifted too.

It was more than ten years before we saw each other again.

When we did, there was nothing awkward. His acne had mostly disappeared and my chest measurements had mostly turned magnificent. The boy had turned into a man, I had turned into a woman, cigarettes had turned to pot and the park had turned into a palace.

I fell in love with him, all over again, because really, I’d always loved him.

He’d changed, growing up in New York. He was elegant, sophisticated, handsome, and worldly.

But still pockmarked!

It was good. Great. Until I found out that he was not only good and great with me. There was also a Violet in Amsterdam, and a Violet in London, one in Toronto and another in Tokyo. Violets everwhere – Harare, Malawi and Abu Dhabi.

He was pockmarked but very bloody popular!

I tried to be cool, I tried to be one of many, and I tried to pretend that it didn’t matter. But it did, because goddamnit there should only be one Violet! So I threw him out my house one night, and that it was it. He went.

No more pimples.

I remember crying myself to sleep for days, weeks, maybe even a year, until I was ready to get up and find myself another man.

I got over him.

Until last week. Another ten years later. I was walking through the park, the same park, listening to music, in my own world, dreamy, when suddenly, I walked smash bang boom into this guy.

‘Hey Bud, watch your step’ he said, and I started shaking uncontrollably because my guy used to call me ‘Bud’.

In. That. Exact. Same. Spot.

It wasn’t him. But that ‘Bud’ together with this guy’s pimples, took me all the way back to us. To what we could have been.

I cried myself to sleep that night. Twenty years later. I still cried.

I have no idea where he is today. There’s a huge part of me that wants to find him.

But ‘What If’s’ are holding me back.

What if it isn’t good? What if he’s married with sixteen children? What if there are still a whole lot of Violets?

What if he’s gone bald and fat and ugly and I don’t really care about that, it’s more what if he doesn’t care.

What if, hey?

I don’t think we ever get over our first loves.

Do you?

first love