To Botox or not to botox

I sat with a bunch of women at a birthday party in Sandton on Saturday. It was wild. We had six bottles of champagne, two platters of little cucumber sandwiches, sixteen cupcakes and between us all, we had just fourteen wrinkles.

All fourteen belonged to me.

It struck me, shockingly, that every single one of these women uses Botox. And they spoke about their Botox the same way they spoke about their facials and their manicures.

It’s the most normal thing in the world. You fill the fridge, take a daily shower, sleep with your husband, or lover, then get injected. It costs a small fortune, but they do it regularly, and they’ve been doing it for years.

This is what the conversation sounded like.

‘Doctor Solomon in Morningside is just fab, didn’t you know that?’

‘You should try Delilah’s, they’re brilliant.’

‘Yes babe, but Rob in Gallo Manor offers specials, you really have to, you have to go to him. What? You don’t know Rob? Doll. DOLL. Where’ve you been all these years?’

I didn’t know the Doctor or Delilah’s or the fabulous Dermatologist. In fact, I’d never had a needle near my face except for the one time my mother, in a fit of rage, threw her knitting at me.

I realized I’d been living in a Botox vacuum. All these women did look incredibly youthful.

I started having anxiety while looking at their smooth,  doll-like faces. Not one of them looked their age, or even close.

I excused myself graciously, disguising my looming panic attack for needing the loo, and rushed off to the ladies feeling totally inadequate. I just stood there, staring into the mirror.

Oh my god I have wrinkles!

Lines. Everywhere. On my forehead. Around my eyes. Even a few deep ones around my mouth. They seemed to get deeper and deeper as I looked at them. I’d oddly never thought of them as a big deal.

Anyway. I stood in that bathroom and examined myself closely. Yip. I had fourteen frightening, not for the faint hearted, wrinkles.

Women kept walking in. Not to use the bathroom, but to use the mirror. A bit of lipstick, a boob adjustment, a no-wrinkle check.

Mostly they looked fab. But the more I looked, the more I became aware of something – they did not look real.

Eventually the women in my party came to look for me. Apparently an hour is a long time to spend in a bathroom.  They found me, still standing in front of the mirror, but with a strange smile on my face.

I’d smugly decided that I liked my fourteen wrinkles. I’d earned them, and goddamit I was going to display them. And nobody, with their smooth Barbie skin, was going to make me feel inadequate.

I kinda like the natural look.

I still want to look good.  Of course I do. I use day cream, night cream, eye cream, neck cream and anti-cellulite cream. I  manicure, pedicure, colour my hair, wax my legs, thread my eyebrows and sweet jesus it costs me a small fortune.

And it’s true that I might panic when the fourteen wrinkles become forty wrinkles, and then maybe, maybe, I’ll consider doing something drastic. Maybe I’ll Botox.  I don’t want to judge those who do it (even though I just have) especially if it makes them feel good.

But right now I like real. And I really hope to keep it that way.


Hi, I’m Violet and I’m an addict.

I park my car, pay the car guard and nervously walk in. The hall is large and musty. There are twelve chairs in the middle of the room, set out in a semi circle. Odd. I’d expected more.

Up front is a skinny, slightly fidgety woman. She smiles exhaustedly and welcomes me, gestures at me to join the group. Everyone seated around her looks sad.

I help myself to a cup of coffee, greet a few of the other pale faced people, think that the rings under my own eyes are not so bad, and pluck up the courage to introduce myself.

‘Hi.’ I say. ‘My name is Violet and I’m an addict.’

Group: Hi Violet.

They all look up expectantly. I shift nervously, not sure if I should sit or stand. I sit, swinging my legs, my hands under my thighs to keep them from fiddling.

I take a deep breath and continue.

‘I’ve been an addict for about four years. It started slowly, once or twice a day, for fun you know. With my friends, a good way to connect. Then a few more hits. Then all day. Then all night. It’s become really hard to stop.’

Group Leader: Keep going Violet. You’re with friends. People recover from their addictions every day. We understand you, honey. We’re with you. We’re here to help you quit, guide you through the process. This is the first step.

I look even more uncomfortable. My palms are sweaty and my skin feels prickly. I wish I could run, go back to my addiction.

‘I really want to recover’, I say. ‘I’m ruining my life. I know I need to stop. I just don’t know how. It always feels so damn good, so damn good’.

Tears start trickling down my pale cheeks.

Everyone nods in agreement. Sympathetic glances. The guy with the dark rings even gets up and gives me a hug.

Group Leader: You can beat this Violet. When did you first start using? You can live a full life without drugs, you know. Heroin is a disease, it hooks you in, holds you hostage.

There’s a long pause.

‘Heroin? Heroin? I don’t use heroin.’

There’s an even longer pause.

Group Leader: Then… why exactly are you here, Violet?

I feel more desperate than ever. For my computer.

‘I told you, I’m an addict. Is this… is this not the Facebook addiction group?

The Group roll their eyes. ‘Ugh, not another one.’ Room 217. Down the hall, on your right.’

I gasp. Grab my bag and dash down the corridor. This room immediately feels more familiar. Everyone has a laptop.

‘Hi. My name is Violet. I’m an addict. A Facebook addict.’

A million eyes look back at me. The hall is full. There’s a great buzz.

And brilliant Internet connection.

Group: Hi Violet.

I feel at home immediately. I’m among friends. I open my laptop. Type in my password.

I’m home.


Online dating guidelines – men only.

Pay attention men.  I’m about to give you an online dating manual.  It’s free.  It’s valuable. It could change your life.

1.Put up a photo. Check it really carefully and make sure that it is actually of you, because apparently it’s easy to make mistakes.

2. Do not describe yourself as a stud. Take the word sensual out of your profile. Carnal and lustful should probably go too.

3. Avoid copy and paste. I know how easy and tempting it is, but it’s a little obvious, barely amusing and extremely boring.

4. Don’t declare your undying love to your perfect match before you even know her name. I’d suggest a conversation first: Something like – “Hi there. You seem interesting. I’m Dave and I live in Sandton. Would you like to chat?”.

5. To the guy who says “I want to splash around with you like two birds in a bath”, just – no.

6. To the guy who says “You’re so sexy. What are you wearing?”, it’s mostly a yawn factor. There are porn sites for that.

7. Avoid using emoticons.

8. Unless you are a poet or a philosopher, don’t call yourself either. Be the carpenter, chemist or chiropractor that you really are. There’s nothing wrong with being a builder, or a baker. We girls like honesty.

9. Reminder: Keep your shirt on, and re-assess that photo.

10. Spell check. This is an easy one. At the top of your page, click tools, spelling and then grammar. It’ll even check your apostrophes for you.

11. Nobody, nobody, wants to see a picture of your dick. Yes, even yours – especially yours.

12. If you’re 60 and looking for a beautiful and athletic young woman (between the ages of 20 and 30), get real. Also, go fuck yourself.

13. This, dear men, is a tricky one. Remember: there is a difference between single and separated.  Single means you are most definitely on your own. Separated means you still have a wife or partner somewhere. There is a difference. While it may not be important to you, it is important to us.

14. And if you’re just looking for a quick lay, kindly refer to point number 6. Porn sites. There are plenty and some are even free. Make sure you hide the evidence from your wife.

There you are. I trust you read attentively and that you’re going to keep it real from now on. I’ll spank you if you don’t.


Phone Sex

Every Friday I have lunch with the same girlfriend. We’re outrageous. We order prawns and lobster, drink champagne, get mildly drunk, talk about everything from lunch boxes to anal sex, and then go home to nap.

We reconnect on the Monday to discuss our dire credit card statements and how we have to stop doing this. Until the following Friday.

Today was no different. We hugged hello, admired one another’s shoes and clothing and sat at our regular table. The special was Crab, and our waiter insisted we had it. ‘Spectacular’, he said.

Yum. He gave us the claw cracker things and tied the bibs around our necks. We were prepared to get fabulously filthy.

Juice spilled down our chins as we cracked our crabs, split open the legs and sucked the claws. Crab was flying everywhere, and we were giggling and laughing, sucking, sipping and moaning in delight,
But then, I noticed that I was the only one moaning about the crab.

Sarah was delirious over something else. With glazed eyes and juicy fingers, she was leaning back in the chair and typing on her phone, fingers at a crazy speed. Reading, texting, reading, texting. It was definitely not about our meal.

Beep: Her whatsapp.

Crack: My crab.

Oh: Her pulse.

Jesus: Me.

I put down the pincers, wiped my hands, picked up my wine, and watched her. She’d dropped her nippers, her breathing had quickened, her face had flushed and there was a thin band of sweat on her brow.

My friend, my best girlfriend, was having phone sex. While I sat on the other side of the table, delicately drinking chardonnay, she was having sex.

And nothing was stopping her!

After a few minutes of this delicious display, she leaped to her feet and disappeared into the ladies. She returned a bit later, looking relieved and relaxed, grinned sheepishly, and got stuck back into the crab. So did I.

Lunch resumed.

But then BEEP and the whole process started again. She must have had 10 orgasms before I finished sucking on the left leg.

I looked around. Wine glasses were crashing. Claws were flying. Everyone was laughing.

I have no idea if any of this was about the crab, but I do think I’m missing out. I decided to order a second one – just in case.

phone sex

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.


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…


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.


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’.


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.