DATING: WITH MY FAMILY

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My younger sister and I have often toyed with the idea of me re-entering the dating scene through South Africa’s leading reality dating show: Date My Family, just for fun. Date my family is a show where a bachelor or bachelorette dates three potential mates’ families before they could date them. We love the show because it is full of real life drama, intrigue and humour from embarrassing family members, possessive parents, awkward questions and lots of laughs. The shows’ successes hinges on the fact that a potential partner is judged solely on the relatives, close family members and or friends they choose to represent them. The bachelor or bachelorette bases his or her decision on how the family members cook, behave and treat him/her not to mention what they say about the potential date in question who watches/monitors the date from a  separate location. It opens the door to South African society, while highlighting the dating habits of men and women in the country which are the foundation of how families are created and what values and principles most South Africans families hold.
I considered sending in a letter to date my family but decided against it. Thinking that if the show had existed 20 years earlier I would have been more willing to throw caution to the wind and ask to participate in this grand experiment especially since I’ve tried everything including online-dating, speed-dating, slow-dating , long-distance dating and no-dating at all to find a partner. None of it has worked.
When I told my mother that I was considering writing in to date-my family to participate she asked why was I  hesitant. Are you afraid of the competition? I had to suppress the urge to take on her challenge and accept that some things are best enjoyed on Television, I don’t have to be in them. Besides, it would make me look desperate and I’m not right? Right.
So I threw the idea in the rubbish bin and continued to watch the show via YouTube whenever I felt like having a bit of a laugh. But seeing as the word was out, even though it was a non-committal one, a moment came when I accidentally went on an untelevised, off camera, unproduced or edited date with my family – literally.  It was organic. I have never laughed so much! It was an unexpected – out of nowhere situation on my last night in Johannesburg. My brother in-law and his friend were having a boy’s night out together at HoggsHead restaurant where my journey began. They later invited my sister and I to join them so we could celebrate together. I liked him the first time I laid eyes on him; he had a wide smile, beautifully sculpted body, easy on the eye, and he literally swept me off my feet. He picked me up and spun me around a few times over an invisible threshold, you know, like they do in the movies after a couple gets married and I thought to myself, wow! I could get used to this. I felt safe and comfortable in his arms. No stranger has ever been this happy to see me!
Then he put me down, showed me his dance moves which left me immobile and breathless against my sister’s car. Bringing to mind a 90’s naughty song we danced to as children in primary school by Another level, called – Freak Me. All this while my sister and brother in-law looked on cheering, jeering, teasing and commenting on our every move. At another establishment we gravitated to each other. Even though he and I both worked the room from separate corners we had eyes on each other. He was surrounded by legions of female fans and I danced courageously with my sister to dodgy white (sic) music. Later as we left the establishment my brother in-law’s friend and I started coding. He told me he was into (prefers) vanilla but he works well with chocolate. I told him I love all the colours of the rainbow. So you’re a politician? He asked, Somewhat, I responded. Can you count? I asked him. What if I told you a story? He asked. As longs as it’s numerical poetry, I responded. That is so nice, so nice I’m in, he said. I smiled.
All four of us took an uber back home. He and I tried not to kiss while my brother in-law sat next to me and my sister conducted running commentary of my dating habits from the front seat of the car: My sister is into full PDA (Public Display of Affection). Then later on she reprimanded me: no! sisi you promised me you’ll never do that to me. I can hear the sound of your kissing, she said. The Uber driver nodded in agreement. I had forgotten they were there. I was only aware of him and my mission to find out if he could actually kiss. Despite the fact that he made me extremely shy. We had to stop. We parted just as things were about to get interesting. Then my sister asked about the kiss: How was it? It had a rocky start, I told her. He tried to shove his tongue into my mouth like a lizard from the get go. No I did not, he protested leaning into me with laughter. In fact you’re the one who initiated the whole thing! he retorted. #toosoon my sister laughed! But the kiss got better after I demonstrated how I wished he could do it, I told her wishing she was not there to chaperone the whole encounter. I wished we could be alone and it was impossible. We discussed the kiss at length until my sister decided to make the statement of the year, in his direction later that evening:
“we (women) are like ovens not microwaves”
That’s a good one, he said smiling. He is such a joy to be with, I thought.
We’re going to the shop,  what can I bring for you? He asked sweetly wrapping his arms around my shoulders. Death by Chocolate, I responded. When he came back he hadn’t bought it. Why? I asked perplexed. I thought it was a metaphor for me! He said laughing, I didn’t think you actually wanted Death by Chocolate. #duh. He laughed, I laughed too, so did my sister and her husband.

The next day as my sister and I made breakfast I breathed an old tune; rolling with my homies while swaying my hands like a  wave. That’s from Clueless right? My sister guessed. Yes, I said. I was happy and at ease, a rare combination for me. Once it was ready he and my brother joined us at the table, my brother was already protective of me. “Who is this guy? Where was he when she was in Senegal?” He questioned my sister. #Silence. We rummaged through the previous evenings events and retold the highlights. I wore the most unattractive outfit I could find to make things easier for myself. Then we were both roasted and teased about liking each other while we blushed together openly trying not to stare into each other’s eyes or talk about the future, follow-ups and if we wanted to have children. I felt like a teenager dressed in a woman’s clothes. “It’s too good to be true” he said to me. We threw pillows, glances and massages at each other, we were both relaxed in an uncomfortable situation.
He couldn’t believe I was flying out in less than an hour. I was happy to go home until I met you, I told him. We all took a sip of our drinks at the same time around the table. My brother, brother in law, his friend, my sister and I. #Deep. We gulped.
We hugged, he said goodbye Homie. I said I can’t believe you have friend zoned me already. My brother in-law said you just met yesterday, my brother said being a homie is a good sign, he’s the most attractive and  likeable guy you’ve ever introduced to me. I was beginning to worry about your taste in men he said laughing, I thought you like die skobo! #phew. My sister said she’s sorry it didn’t work out. I said I wish him well. He really is amazing.
We didn’t exchange numbers or social media contacts. #nothing. The experience was fun, exciting, passionate, embarrassing, it made me blush so much I needed a fan. It was open, honest, direct and refreshing. But I was glad that only my family was able to see me like that; all giddy, happy and vulnerable. What I loved most about him was how well he fit in with me and my family.
I was even happier to learn that my happiness matters to them so much. It was good to see how everyone wanted to see me smile again. I learnt that even when things I  try out or do,  don’t work out. I can still have fun (enjoy)  with the process and my family as a unit is a great wing man, they are my strength.

My New Homie taught me that there are three things which make love last in any relationship:
One: Empathy – The ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Two: The ability to control your own stress and emotions.
Three: Having positive illusions about your partner: i.e. the ability to overlook what you don’t like about them and focus on what you do like…consistently.
This way you’re guaranteed to stay in-love for as long as you (both) want. Hopefully my next date will be for a lifetime. Until then…
I’m booked !

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“Surreal But Nice…”

 

rare moments of genuine laughter - more to come.
rare moments of genuine laughter – caught unaware

Romance Could Happen to YOU too…

These days finding reasons to smile and laugh can be as hard as trying to find a needle in a hay stack. Luckily through my younger  brother, Immie, – bless him – I have a copy of  Nottinghill (1999)the movie starring American actress Julia Roberts and British actor Hugh Grant, and regardless of my mood or how many times I’ve seen it, which has been many times, it still makes me laugh and laugh out loud. The dry British humour never fails and its interplay with its rival Americanese makes me laugh each and every time.

I like romantic comedies. I am coming out.  I won’t hide it anymore. Romantic comedies are a reminder to me one who is always so concerned about matters ever so serious that life is also equally if not  more importantly about play, enjoying life and having fun with laughter being the main essential ingredient.  The happiest people are those who have fun 80 percent of the time.  Fun is possible in Politics, in real love. Romance is just as possible.  I love romance.

Anyway  Julia Roberts pretty much plays herself in the character of a Hollywood A list Actress Anna Scott, who walks into  Hugh Grant’s  unassuming  character William Thacker ‘s travel book shop and purchases a book while Thacker deals with a petty  shoplifter who hides a book down his trousers: “ excuse me bad news… there are cameras in this bit of the shop”   is just one very polite line with which he persuades the shoplifter to return the book without him ever having to admit that he had in fact stolen it . As destiny would have it the two later bump into each other on the street – literally. Thacker spills orange juice all over Scotts’  white t-shirt and persuades her to go to his house to clean it off  saying ‘ I’m confident that in five minutes we can have you spik and span , in a none prostitute way obviously“;  referring to Julia’s role as a prostitute in the movie Pretty Woman. For a wanna be actress – the movie keeps me glued, in stiches; it’s well written and superbly performed by each actor, Spike, Thacker’s lodger being my most favourite character by far.

These are just a few of my favourite lines:

Spike to Thacker: ‘There’s something wrong with this yoghurt”

Thacker:” It’s not yoghurt it’s mayonnaise”

Spike continues eating “oh alright then”

Anna to Thacker after she kisses him “: Probably best not to tell anyone about this”

Thacker: “Right, right no-one, I mean I’ll tell myself about it sometimes but don’t worry I won’t believe it”

Thacker to Anna: “It was nice to meet you, surreal but nice” then after he closes the door berates himself wincing “surreal but nice, what was I thinking???”

My favourite part of the movie has to be the part where Thacker is invited to see Anna at the Ritz Hotel where she’s staying.  What Thacker does not realize when he gets there is that he’ll have to fall in line with a group journalists waiting to interview Anna Scott on her latest movie, which he’s never seen. He thinks he’s been invited to a private date with the star. Asked about which publication he’s from, he blurts out “Horse and Hound” the name of a magazine within eye shot. He brings her flowers, and walks into the interview room full of large and expensive bouquets of roses, embarrassed he launches into an excruciating mock interview in the presence of Scott’s publicists who huffs and puffs in displeasure – it’s hilarious.  He’s later roped into doing more interviews with other cast members without having seen the film which has a few gems such as…

Actor to Thacker: Did you enjoy the film?

Thacker: Yes Enormously

Actor: fire away then…

Thacker; “right did you enjoy making the film?

Actor: Yes, I did

Thacker:  “Good any bit in particular?”

Actor:  “You tell me which bit you enjoyed the most and I’ll tell you if I enjoyed making that bit”

This scene reminds me of a similar interview I did with Bollywood mega star Amitabh Bachchan in the early years of my career as a journalist, needless to say I knew nothing of Bollywood other than the dancing, let alone Amitabh! I mean the entire movie is full of great lines.  Anna later offers to accompany Thacker to his sister, Honey’s birthday dinner party as his date. Honey on meeting Anna gives the most droopingly impassioned fan monologue. .. Which is -just Classic!

Honey to Anna: “OH holy Fuck! Oh god this is one of those key moments in life when it’s possible you can be really genuinely cool and I… I’m going to fail just a hundred percent. I… I absolutely, totally and utterly adore you, and I just think you are the most beautiful woman in the world! And more importantly, I genuinely believed, and I have believed this for some time now that we could genuinely be best friends! What do you think?” then later adds “Oh marry Will, he’s a genuinely nice guy and then we could be sisters!”

On a morbid note, just to illustrate my point – and not to spoil the fun, during an interview with SABC’s veteran journalist Sophie Mokoena, notorious–serial killer Joe Mamasela said he coped with the trauma of killing and torturing people, through humour.  “Humour helped me deal with it” he said.

This basically means, no matter what you’re going through ( Mamasela’s example aside) – if you can laugh about it, you can get through just about anything!

If you love literature and movies, go watch the movie!  Again. Doctor’s orders.

Notting Hill is one of my most favourite Romcoms by far!