On Monday, my 15 year old daughter solved the question I have been asking over and over in the last few years. Well, in her mind she has solved it, and believe me, when you are 15, that is as close to prophesy as you can get.
She declared that she knows what the reason is why she and her 11 year old sister fight so much. Of course, this is not physical fighting, but as close as fighting with words can get. And I have been posing this same question for ages.
“Why can you two not speak to each other properly?”/”Do you have to argue about something so trivial? Who cares?”
I can carry on with the list of examples forever, but this post is about her answer…
“There is too much oestrogen in this house.”
Matter of factly. We are three women in the house and the live-in domestic worker, Anna, is also female. That makes four females, living in each other’s space. Her solution was simple. “Mom, you need to get yourself a boyfriend.” And then she added, hastely “A nice one.” A stab of guilt about my last choice…
We were driving back from a weekend away. The 16th of June is a public holiday in South Africa, and since the day fell on a Sunday, we got the Monday off as a bonus public holiday. And I have been meaning to get away with the girls. I felt a little guilty that we did not go away at all as a family in the April holidays, as I was climbing my mountain in Peru. So, the timing was perfect and I booked our little self-catering getaway in the northern Drakensberg region, next to the Sterkfontein dam. The unit was a 6 bed unit, and on an impulse, I said they could both take a friend along on the weekend. I know they often get bored with only me as company on holidays, and truth be told, sometimes it is nice to get some time to read a book, instead of having to keep them occupied the whole weekend.
The idea was not a bad one, and I certainly got my fair share of time to catch up on reading, but at the same time, I missed some company myself. I was tempted at times to pull the girls (and their friends) out of their rooms and force them to talk to me. But they were having fun, so instead, I read, drank wine, took the camera on strolls and made sure that the fire in the evening forced us all to sit around in the lounge, playing games, cards and building Jenga towers. The views over the Sterkfontein dam were spectacular, and all-in-all it was a lovely weekend. Lots of rest, lots of food, lots of reading. Exactly what I was looking for. Except, that I felt lonely in the crowd.
And then Bianca blurted this out.
If only it was that easy. I have been thinking recently that my life is actually pretty busy and that there is not a heck of a lot of time for a man in my life anyway. And, who wants someone who is going to be asking the whole time when I am going to be home. Someone who will occupy all my free time. When will I have time to read? When will I have time to write blog posts? Already, as it is, I am struggling to fit in two Pilates classes a week after work in the last few weeks. And, it really is great to cuddle up in front of the television in the evenings with my two girls (or at least one of them) and watch the latest episode of Masterchef, without a guilty conscience about forcing a man to watch it, or worst, to try and fit the episodes into slots of time where I don’t need to pretend to enjoy watching a soccer match or watch another television programme that I am not keen on!
A work colleague has told me straight out that he cannot see me getting into a relationship at this stage, because I am far too independent and sure of myself. But I keep thinking that if I found the right man, it would not matter. Surely?
But that is the problem, really. I have no idea where to fish out this right man, or even this right-now man. I have, without trying to be desperate, tried several avenues to meet men. I have tried the internet dating thing twice for periods of three and two months respectively. The last stint was ended prematurely, prior to the expiry of my subscription, when the zillionth gawky guy sent me a message in broken English, ‘intresting to hear more’. The only guys I had some longer conversations with were a video producer who, after exchanging emails for a few days, realised I was going to be overseas for two weeks (climbing my mountain…) and later that day, abruptly stopped emailing. Or the CEO of a union of some sorts who was travelling to and from Cape Town quite a lot, with whom I actually had a date set up, before he sent me a message to tell me he sprained his ankle and could we take a rain check. And that was it. I scare guys off, even before they get to meet me??
I have also joined a VIP dating club. This is a personalised matchmaking service, and (for a hefty fee), they promise to set you up with some professional people. I guess I should have smelled a rat when she told me that they will only sign me up for six months, at half the fee, because they didn’t have that many matches for me on their books. But (ever the optimist), I signed up, and then it turned out to be a low profiled internet dating site. They load you on their database, you post a picture, have to check in occasionally to see if there are any matches (their budget does not include email notifications). If they have allocated you an approved match, then you can ‘show interest’ in one of them. If the guy shows interest back, you can exchange details and go on a date, else he will vanish off your profile after a couple of weeks anyway. When I complained after a month that I showed interest in one of the four matches (I didn’t want to have to juggle more than one date at a time), but had no response whatsoever (neither positive nor negative) and that when I logged in the next time, all the approved matches were gone, I was told that maybe I need to upload a new picture. WTF? Needless to say, I have not been on a single date
on this dating site through this matchmaking service, and I am just waiting for my six months to expire, so I can ask for my money back (it comes with a three date guarantee).
I have also joined another club last year (not a dating club per se), for which I get invites to at least two events a month, one of which is always on one of the two weekends a month when I have the kids, and the other one is normally in the week. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind going out during the week, but then I don’t want to go out by myself. Luckily, I can take someone with. But, on two occasions, by the time I actually managed to find a friend to go with (one time this was within a 24 hour period!), they were all sold out for the event. Now, honestly, for me to be able to line up one of my equally busy single friends within 24 hours was quite an achievement, and I get a “Sorry, maybe better luck next time”?
So, I give up.
Maybe I am giving off all the ‘wrong vibes’. Maybe Arielle Ford is right, and maybe my life is not ‘ready’ for my soulmate to enter. Maybe I should be making space in my closet for another person, because it would show my readiness to admit someone into my life. Maybe I should be creating a Soulmate Altar, to manifest my soulmate, because “where intention goes, energy flows”. Maybe I should stop watching Masterchef altogether, and start watching rugby and soccer in all earnest.
But then again, this year, I have ticked off at least three items on my bucket list. I went to Peru and took the Inca trail to Machu Picchu (two ticks). I bought myself a really nice camera in January, and I am enjoying playing around with it. I am thinking of booking for a proper camera course and maybe then I can start using all the foreign buttons on my camera. I am planning a trip to fulfil another dream in August (local this time around). And I am going to hike the Otter Trail next year.
Not sure what to do about the overflow of oestrogen in our house, though.
Any suggestions that does not include decorating my house in the style of a local rugby team, or giving up my wine for brandy-and-coke will be welcomed!