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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Online dating is not for me…

Maybe you do; maybe you don’t, but I suspect some of you have been wondering how the internet dating thing is going.  And maybe, ever the optimist, I have been waiting for an update until I have better news…but alas, that ain’t happening.

No, I have not met a sexy hunk, who managed to turn on the mommy. And I have just about had it now.  So, ready or not, here I go…

Last time I checked, I think I had about three weeks of my subscription left, and that’s it.  Definetely not renewing that one… I have met a few guys, yes.  Most of the ones I actually met, really liked me, but unfortunately the feeling was not quite mutual.  I have not yet felt the flutter of any butterflies in my stomach; in fact those damn butterflies have barely showed any interest!

My analysis-paralysis self thinks the reason for this is that I am generally very interested in people and love talking to people about their lives, where they come from, what they are doing etc.  And most men clearly like this.  I can actually keep a conversation going in most instances…and almost everyone has some interesting side to them.  Like the Harley Davidson biker, who couldn’t spell (motor viets), but lived in Nice for four years.  Or the beer brewer who was interested in dating older women (he was 35 years old).  Or the Latino guy who was an ex-Olympian athlete.  But (mainly due to the lack of chemistry), when they start talking about a second date or worse, tell me that they think I am their life partner, I sort of get cold feet very quickly.

Maybe somewhere in the haystack that is the 1 000 daily matches, I will be able to find the golden needle who is my perfect match, but I just don’t have the energy anymore to try and find out.

A typical session starts like this:

  • Log in, making sure that ‘remember password’ is not checked – wouldn’t want my kids to be able to log into my account!
  • Firstly check for messages and delete the ones from the guy who likens me to a flower or the pesky guy who sneaks in by concealing his marital status by answering the question ‘Ask me later’.  Or a follow up message from someone I ignored before, asking me if I want a longer message, ‘then give a guy an indication’.  Hell no!
  • Check to see if anyone new has added me as their favourite, which makes them a fan in internet dating lingo.  Most of the time there would be a new fan.  Someone like Jors the romantikus, or some guy from Klerksdorp, Secunda or some outlying town (I suspect this is because I listed Afrikaans as my first language).
  • At this stage I often feel like gagging or reaching for the wine.
  • The next step is to look at my new matches (which of course will still include the same old ones that were there yesterday and the day before).  Every now and then there will be a new face (or maybe I am lowering my standards?).
  • I get quite irritated by guys who don’t have pictures.  The only reasons why I think someone would not post a picture is because they really are dog ugly or because they are worried that someone would spot them, like a girlfriend or wife.  (Of course there was the school principal…I guess as a parent you may be a little upset to stumble across the principal online?)
  • If an interesting catch line (or a hottie) catches my eye, I will go into the detailed profile, check out all the requirements, and where I fall short (you know, literally too short or I may get penalised for being curvaceous as opposed to average looking).  One guy listed, as a requirement, all the colour eyes, except blue.  Huh?? What sort of idiot disqualifies a potential match because she has blue eyes?  I was tempted to ask (actually, I did – no response).
  • If I like someone, I can then add them as a favourite or send them a message.
  • And wait and see if I get a reply…

Since I quickly realised that merely adding a favourite is not a very effective way of attracting someone’s attention, I have on occasions sent messages to guys that I really found interesting.  What a disaster.  One guy listed all his requirements in a lot of detail, from the fact that his ideal match must eat with her mouth closed and brush her teeth every day to having a nice tone of laughter and more.  Funny, I thought.  I spent probably 15 minutes plus compiling a reply that ticked off each requirement and that personally I thought was quite quirky and made me sound like fun.  No reply.

Another not-that-good-looking-but-acceptable guy had an interesting profile and I sent him a message asking if he would like to chat.  He replied saying thank you for the message but that he wasn’t sure if I had the look that he usually go for.  Duh?  I was tempted to send a message back saying he certainly didn’t have the look I would normally go for, but that I thought I would give him a shot because he sounded interesting.  Of course, I wouldn’t degrade myself like that.

By this time, if I haven’t yet had a glass of wine, I will give it up for a bad job.  If I have had a glass of wine, I may be tempted to start taking the mickey out or someone.  Like “Sort of loosing interest here, so pardon me for mailing a non-mutual ‘fan’ but what the heck.”  Or “Okay, not everyday I get an almost 100% match on this site that does not look like my cousin from the far old east Transvaal.” Of course I didn’t get responses on either. In hindsight, I probably sounded a bit crazy (or tipsy)….

After my blog post about changing my profile, I made some amendments to my profile.  Which got me in the hot water with the Big Brother of dating websites.  (You may not know this, but they actually scrutinise all edits and posts.  If you dare share any contact details with someone who has not at least replied to you or contacted you first, they will remove the contact details).  I had the audacity to mention that my subscription is expiring soon, so I am giving it a last shot, and got a really nasty mail (after they [removed] the sentence).

The message said: “Subscription status in profile. Unfortunately this is your final warning. We will therefore need to delete your profile if this happens again.”

I may have neglected to tell you that I got two prior warnings.  When I joined the site, I (ignorant as I clearly was, and without reading the fine print), used my real name in my profile name.  Something like ‘Gerdajv’. Which was apparently against the rules.  So when they set up my profile, they changed it to ‘Regdajv’.  Really??  Of course, I thought they made a mistake, and before I read my messages, I changed it back.  And then this pop-up appeared notifying me that I had two new messages.  I almost got excited there for a moment about getting two messages in the first hour (miss popularity?), but both were messages from Big Brother, the first to warn me that I am not allowed to use my real name and they have therefore changed it, and the second was a firm reprimand: “Real / full name in profile. Please don’t do it again.

So, officially I am on my final written warning. On a dating website.  That’s hilarious.  Maybe I will have a glass of champagne on that…:-). I am even tempted to do something really bad, like putting a fake email address in my write up and see if they will really delete my profile. But one never knows what happens and maybe one day in the future (maybe when I am tired of playing with the speed settings on my wheelchair in the old age home?), I may want to have some fun and wouldn’t give a hoot what the person looks like anymore. Never burn your bridges!

Anyway, I also came to the conclusion that I am really too busy for this whole thing. I have been texting (whatsapp not whatsup…duh!) this guy in Pretoria and a couple of weeks ago, he suggested that we meet up. Which is when I realised I didn’t have a single free Saturday night until end November and only one free Friday night.  And I am starting weekday Salsa classes with a friend this week (Wicount vouchers!).  And frankly, it is quite a depressing pastime.  Like setting yourself up for failure. I have been told by one guy that most girls are unrecognisable from their pictures (I think a lot of guys are too…especially that one that looks like Sylvester Stallone).  And I am way past the point of trying to pretend to be someone I am not.

I have a new found respect for those people who have found love online.  They clearly have a lot more perseverance than I do.  But for me, it’s ‘Roger over-and-out’.

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Posted by on October 25, 2012 in Single life

 

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To baby or not to baby

Do you want to know what some of my girlfriends are discussing on a Friday night at the Baron? Yup, over beers and wine we are chatting about the decision several late thirty-year old, single women are faced with. To have a baby by themselves, or potentially never have children.

I have quite a few single friends, from different spheres of my life. Single friends with kids. And single friends with no kids, some of them in their early thirties, ranging to late thirties and forties. These girlfriends are all professional, good looking women. They are all looking for someone special to share their lives with and would love to have a family of their own. The million dollar question is:

What if you don’t meet someone? Would you have a child all by yourself?

Biologically, women’s reproductive systems have an expiry date. And, statistically it becomes much more difficult to fall pregnant when you’re in your forties. And more risky. So, if you really, really want kids (with or without the package), then waiting for Mr Right has far reaching implications. Tick, tock, tick, tock.

For me, this is an interesting debate. Most of us want to be happily married and most of us (not everyone, by the way…) dream of one day being in a family unit. Having kids. But you never ask the question of how much you want kids until you get to that point. You don’t envisage raising kids by yourself. It is a tough thing to do. That I do know, because I am doing it. But for me it was not a decision I made up front. It sort of happened by default. That is very different.

And I am thanking my lucky stars for that. I am lucky that I didn’t have to make that decision up front. Because I am pretty sure I would have chickened out. Too much responsibility. The cost. The time. How do you do it without a partner?

And now I am doing exactly that, and coping (mostly, anyway). Yes, I am a single mom. And I am raising my kids by myself. And I can state without a shadow of a doubt that having kids was the best thing I did in my life (ever). Having a child saved my life. I know that sounds cheesy and like a cliché, but it is true. I was on the brink of a major depression when I fell pregnant. Hindsight is a perfect science, and I have to admit that the boat, that was my marriage, was rocking all too dangerously. We were young, we had lots of financial and relationship problems and we didn’t know how to deal with it. I was immature and insecure. He was chasing his dreams. I lost contact with my friends when I got married, moved towns and I felt that I had no purpose in life.

I kept asking myself ‘Is this it? Is this as good as it gets?’. I was only 26 years old and the pregnancy wasn’t planned. But I was ecstatic. Scared (dead scared, actually), but ecstatic. Overnight, I had acquired a purpose in life. The minute cluster of cells growing inside me was my purpose. When my daughter was born, I decided that I was gonna be happy, come hell or high water, because I wanted her to be happy and I truly believe you cannot make a child happy if you are not happy yourself. So I started building friendships again. I focussed on myself. It took time. It took effort. It took years.

But today I look back and realise where I came from. I look back at the young woman (big child?) who submerged her head under the bath water and wondered how long I can keep it there and I know that having my daughter was a lifesaver. My life is not empty anymore. In fact, some days I wish it was a teeny-weeny bit less hectic. I am enveloped by the love of my girls, surrounded by wonderful friends and I think even if the kids had to leave the house (which they will do – in less than 10 years…tick, tock), my life wouldn’t be empty. I have plans. I have dreams. I love my life. I am happy.

But that doesn’t help my single friends. I am pretty sure that if I was in their situation, I would have opted out. And, knowing what I know now, probably missed out big time. I would hate to give advise. It is a very difficult decision. And what if Mr Right then does come along, but doesn’t want the responsibility of someone else’s child? (Yeah, I guess then he probably isn’t Mr Right, but at the very least your fishing pond becomes smaller, I think). And at least I get a couple of weekends a month off! Having a child all by yourself is a huge responsibility. But boy-oh-boy, it can be a source of unlimited joy as well.

So, I am not giving any advise. If someone asks me I will be honest about the pro’s and con’s in my mind. Yes, school fees are mind boggling. Yes, finding good help not that easy. Yes, you probably won’t have much time for yourself in the first few years. And, yes, the white furniture HAS to go…:-)

But nothing can prepare you for the smile on a child’s face that tugs at the corners of your heart. Nobody can explain the stress relieving effects of a child’s hug after a long and busy day at work. And nobody can ever put into words how much love you can feel for your own child. Nobody will ever be able to comprehend the amazement I still feel when I look up (yes…up!) into my daughter’s eyes and know that she belongs to me. That she is part of me. That she is part me.

After all is said, all I can promise is that I will support them in whatever decision they make. And hopefully this turns out to be a debate that they can smile over 20 years from now. Wherever in the world they are.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 13, 2012 in Single life

 

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Let’s do the time warp….

I like time traveling….and I try to do it as often as I can. True’s Bob.  You’re shaking your head…yeah right.  But I am not kidding.  And actually, in my world, it is a lot easier than you can imagine.

For me, it is as easy as turning on an old record or listening to an old song.

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song, you go ahead, let your hair down ~ Corinne Bailey Rae

Play me Spanish Eddie from Laura Branigan and I am immediately transported to my very first garage party in Delmas way back in 1986… Or I just died in your arms tonight from the Cutting Crew. As easy as that. Easier than pie. In an instant in am back on a dance floor that was cleared of the ancient Chevy that very afternoon, prettied up with streamers and tables clothes made out of crinkle paper, that will leave the most God-awful stains tomorrow. Dressed in an oversized shirt rescued from my dad’s closet (a pink shirt that he was never gonna wear), trying to dance ‘lang-arm‘. After I spent the whole afternoon cutting these triangles from the sides of the pink shirt and fixing the seams again. And don’t forget the curlers… I have straight hair and it would take hours in curlers to get a semblance of curls (and lots of firm hold hair spray to make it last all night).  And it was the 80s, so BIG hair was all the rage…

Or Perfect from Fairground Attraction to take me back to the morning of my matric Biology exam and dancing (and singing loudly) in my best friend’s own pad…a caravan on her parents property. Wow! Reciting the facts of the reproductive cycle and photosynthesis while getting ready for school while crooning about half-hearted love affairs and how it’s got to be-ee-eee perfect and how it’s got to be-ee-eee worth it…:-)

But even going back long before that I can be transported back to long road trips (probably to go visit the Transvaal family) and listening to Queen of Hearts from Juice Newton and the Pussycats. I found an LP online two years ago (yeah, I have a LP player that I actually use….), which I got as a birthday present when I turned 11. It was called Pop Shop Spectacular and it is fantastic. Real cheesy with songs like Man on the Moon and Tequila Sheila but it works like a bomb! I can remember sitting in the lounge of our house-next-to-the-railway-tracks in Bloemfontein and listening to that LP over and over again, sighing about the sad story of the poor young shepherd boy Angelo, who met a young girl and he loved her so. Or cracking myself up about Oh Lord it’s Hard to be humble.

Maybe I will travel back in time to my first school tour (other than Veldskool) to Umdloti. When there was still nothing at Umdloti, other than a hostel type place where they did school tours. Not the Umdloti of today with rows and rows of holiday homes. The song that will do that trick is Footloose. In a flash I am a 13-year old joining in with the rest, pleading with the teachers to allow us to have a dance party, with an ocean view.  We danced until our feet were too sore to walk the next day (an often-to-be-repeated memory). Visiting the Shark institute, some rotating restaurant on the top of a building in Durbs, and of course all the Voortrekker monuments on our way back to Pretoria, like the site of ‘die slag van Bloedrivier’.

Or I will listen to Hot Chocolate singing You sexy thing and I will be back in the scarcely furnished living room of my first house (actually it was a duplex), in Roodepoort, dancing around with my brand new (out-of-the-box-new) tiny little baby in my arms. Crooning to her about how I believe in miracles since she came along. Where did you come from, baby? She was sooooo tiny that she didn’t even fit into 0-3 months’ clothes until she was two months old and I was in love. I could stare at her all day long.  Unfortunately that tiny face was often contorted in a screaming fit(!), but even that was okay, because soon she would be peaceful again. Now she is 14 years old and the baby memory treasured in a song.

Some songs will take me back to moments that were very happy then, but now have a sad association to it, because of the way things turned out. Like A whole new world, which was the ‘walking-in’ song at my wedding reception. But I looked and felt gorgeous and could imagine I was a princess being whisked off by my prince on a magical carpet, and it will still make me smile. Or singing Islands in the Stream in duet on the way from Swakopmund to Windhoek with an ex. I didn’t know all the lyrics so the next week I had a parcel delivered at work with the lyrics typed out, and the song recorded on a CD over and over again.

The beauty of the internet and iPads and all these tools are that now, when I do walk into the local mall and all of the sudden a song plays on the stereo system that has the ability to transport me back to a special place, I can instantly whip out the iPad, look it up and download it. It is like being able to record time travel points in blink of an eye. Take that, Dr Emmett Brown!

(Un)fortunately, this time travelling only works for trips into the past. But I do think that I get a glimpse of the future somedays, with some of the latest music on the market. And at this point in time, I have a lot of hope for humanity with Gangnam Style. The video has been watched over 392 million times on YouTube (per Wikipedia as at 6 Oct 2012). It’s quirky and weird, and the dance is really cheesy, but people are doing it all over the world. And you cannot do this without laughing at yourself. And a nation that can laugh at itself is a nation that I could relate to! So, here’s a new motto to live by…

The mindset of this dance is to dress classy and dance cheesy ~ PSY

To laughter, happiness, off-tune singing and cheesy dancing!! And time travelling!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 6, 2012 in Passions

 

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A tale of a scorpion…

I have an admission to make. I am the ultimate optimist. You would think that is a good thing, but let me tell you, sometimes it’s not. A friend said recently that hope is a very bad thing and I shook my head. How can it be? Hope is a good thing, right? As long as there is hope, you can carry on? It is the thing that fuels perseverance. It is the thing that allows people to get second chances. It is the thing that allows forgiveness.

But sometimes, it really isn’t a good thing. There is such a thing as being overly optimistic. And it can cause a lot of pain, because it allows people to disappoint and hurt you time and again. Why is it that they say a donkey only bumps his head once, but as humans we can do it over and over again? Because we hope that the next time we won’t bump our head. Because we hope that the next time, miraculously, the obstacle will vanish and the road will be cleared. Reminds me a bit of the definition of insanity…you know, doing the same thing, but expecting a different result.

I started drafting a blog a week ago. It was a letter. I wasn’t sure whether I would publish it, but I wanted to be honest with myself. I wanted to put my feelings down on paper. It was an open letter to the one person who managed to hurt me more than anybody has ever done before. It was a letter to the obstacle that I bumped my head against over and over again these last, almost four years. A man. A compulsive liar. A cheater. A manipulator. But one that I loved. And one that managed to convince me over and again that next time I won’t bump my head again. Next time the road will be cleared. Until I finally kicked him out last year. Not a moment too soon…I found this quote last year which explained the madness a bit…

We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are ~ Anais Nin

I am an optimist and I believe in the best in people. I believe that most people are inherently good. And that most people will inherently aim to do the right thing. That circumstances, things that happen that we have no control over, cause us to deviate and make the wrong choices. And that we will be conflicted because we didn’t do the right thing. Because that’s how I am. That’s what I am like. Sure, I have done lots of wrong things in my life. But like waking up with a hangover and knowing that was stupid, I am able to reflect on my mistakes and aim to do it right next time (still looking for the hangover cure). I feel bad about my mistakes. But I realise that some people just don’t. Maybe it is a gene. I will dub it the guilty gene.

You see, I just don’t get the scorpion and the frog story. I don’t get it that some people by nature are just bad, even to their own self-destruction. That they will try to do well, but will end up stinging the poor frog, time and again, because ‘it is their nature’.

The scorpion in my tale owes me money. Quite a bit. A little while ago, I realised that he was owed a huge tax refund…more than he owes me, so I offered to do his tax return, if he will pay me from the money. He promised, because he wasn’t ‘bargaining on the refund anyway’. Of course I knew there was a risk that he won’t pay me once he got the money. But, surely he will do the right thing and pay me back. Even if it is only to get me off his case? Ta-da!! The scorpion stings again. And when I started ranting and raving about it, he had the audacity to tell me to keep my panties on (in little less polite words). He will pay me. Yeah right. He didn’t say when.

I was livid. I was fuming. Do you know what I was blogging about a week earlier? You ready for this? About how I was comparing every man I meet to him. Looking for the qualities I loved and avoiding the ones I despised. This is what I wrote:

I even have my moments where I wish I could repackage you. Prune away at the lying, cheating bits and voila! The reality is that it would be more like cutting away at a rotten apple and the more you cut off, the less there would be left over, and in the end you will just have to toss the remainder in the bin.

Unbelievable. You could say I am an ass. But that would be an insult to the poor donkey. The same boyfriend once gave me Candide from Voltaire to read (I really should have seen that as a sign…). In short, it is about the illegitimate son of a Baron who gets banished when he falls in love with the Baron’s daughter. But being ever optimistic, he keeps believing that “all is for the best”. In a satirical tale, that takes him to the end of the world and back, onto riches more than you could ever dream about, but in the end he is left with nothing, even a dog-ugly wife, and finally realises that life does not always turn out for the better.

So I am tossing the whole damn rotten apple in the bin. And then I am throwing out the bin too. I am done with trying to justify myself to someone who only sees one point of view, his own. I am done with working myself up and begging someone who does not have the guilty gene. I can threaten to hang out his dirty laundry (of course he has lots of that), but it won’t make me feel any better about myself. So I am walking away. If somewhere down there he does have some sense of righteousness, he will pay me back, whether I rant and rave or not. An expensive learning experience, I know, but you can’t buy peace of mind.

And to celebrate, I will open the bottle of Dom Pérignon that was a gift from him. I will finally get off the rollercoaster, feel the firm ground beneath my feet and make a toast to life, the future and happiness!

Cheers!!

 
3 Comments

Posted by on October 3, 2012 in Stupidity

 

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