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Friday, 23 December 2011

Way Overdue Martini Reviews

This weeks Martini Review takes places at a favourite Northern suburbs restaurant of mine. Whenever I need to cross the William Nicol border to meet up with friends I always recommend Kong Roast… a fusion of East meets West done up in a very chic and modern setting. Best of all the selection of Martini’s is delicious! From the classics to the more adventurous!

My 1st tasting was the enticing Vanilla, Wasabi and Litchi Martini. The drink went down very easily and mostly tasted of Litchi… I longed for more of a Wasabi bite but even more than that I longed for the sweet nip of vodka against my palate. The beginner Martini drinker will love this because it makes you feel like a hot villain in a James Bond flick set in Bangkok but for me, eh… 3 olives.   

I then ordered my regular favourite, however I was unable to have it sweet as I usually enjoy and so I had to have it dry. This was on the complete opposite side of the scale and was extremely strong. Had it not been for the good quality Gin used I might not have gone for a second sip. Maybe it was the long drive home deterring me from really indulging, maybe it was Dry vermouth, maybe it was just plain average. I found myself feeling like a high school girl unsatisfied with an easy catch and then complaining of the drama in a more challenging love affair. I give the Classic Martini 3 and a half olives. Half an olive’s grace for my tempestuous state of mind. 

And now for a way overdue Martini review of the very popular Appletini. I found myself at Outer Limits recently for a 21st birthday. Feeling young at heart I chose the only available Martini on the cocktail Menu… The Appletini and did an impromptu review.

This is a very pretty drink and looks good in your hand. It’s easy to sip on and has a very sweet and lighthearted feel about it. I’m not one to take cocktails onto the dance floor for fear of spillage (these days one drop outta the glass is at least R5 you’ve basically thrown on the floor) but this flirty little drink inspires at the very least some toe tapping. 4 Olives.

Well, it's about Time

Sometime last month, before our business closed for the year, Mimi, Jack and I were on one of those laborious drives back from Alberton, where our little costume shop supplier is based. Jack is my third and last business partner, we are a tripod and we work. The three of us man the ship that is our business and we are lucky enough to also be the best of friends. Mimi and I both agree that Jack must have been an Indian Sheik in a past life, being fed grapes by cute boys in loin cloths. He would have been running some flea market in town and keeping company with Nigerians and other swindlers. That’s Jack, he’s a hustler baby, and we smaak him just the way he is. Jack is streetwise, suave, smooth operating and straight talking (maybe the only straight thing about him) but he is also sweet, generous and a great listener. We love Jack.

It is on these long drives that we have the best of conversations and hardly any of it is related to our entertainment business. As we skirted along Louis Botha in Mimi’s A3, the shyest girl in the world turned to me (the unshyest girl in the world) and said “I need to ask you guys something”. Jack and I perked up, our ears excited to hear any form of dirty word fall out of Mimi’s lips. No one starts a sentence with the words “I need to ask you guys something” in that particular tone unless it’s going to be for juicy, sexy, raunchy advice. Just my cuppa tea. 

Mimi:  “When you, um... are with someone ok. And you are, you know together...”
Me: “Doing the nasty”
Jack: “Having sex”
Mimi: “No! I mean when you are...”
Me: “Giving head?”
Mimi: “Yes, that.”
Jack: “What bout it babes?”
Mimi: “Well, how long would be the right amount of time to you know...”
Jack: “Give a Blow Job”
Mimi: “Yes”

It took me about 30 seconds of swimming in my bedroom memory bank to say. “Well, it depends... 20 – 30 minutes”. It was then that Mimi almost drove into the taxi in front of us. “What!! 20 minutes? Do you know how long that is? When we work at an event and we are on our feet for 20 minutes, that’s a long time. Wow, Your Oke is one lucky guy.” I told them that 45 minutes was being very nice but that 20 – 30 minutes was pretty standard. 

Looking at Jack for reassurance he said to me “Babes, that’s very generous of you.”.

Mimi: “So then when he you know, to you...”
Me: “Well, then I expect at least 20 – 30 minutes back. I mean come on.”

While dishing out my pearls of wisdom, I realised that when it comes to bedroom behaviour, there really is no standard requirement. No set times, no recommended daily allowance, no timetable or schedule, no life expectancy. So I turned to the male version of me and asked Ed his opinion on getting ahead in the head department. His response was something to the effect of “Yeah, sure, whatever, bad head is good head and good head is great.” Eddy couldn’t give me the specifics I needed so I went straight to the source.

Later that week as we were pottering around my bedroom I asked My Oke if he agreed with my statement. He looked at me, smiled and said “Baby, you give the best head.” Sigh. There it was again, that goofy smile and lazy sexing eyes response. My research was not going so well. What is it about men? Any mention of oral sex and they turn to a bowl of awkward custard. I want answers damnit, Mimi’s felacio fling was way overdue and I needed to get the facts straight, for her sake!

On another side of the sexual spectrum I was way overdue as well. My Oke and I were buying dinner when he turned to me and said: “Hey, aren’t you on anti-biotics?” I said “Yeah, what’s your point...” and then we both looked at each other in a slight frenzied panic remembering the advice of my doctor. Oral contraception is unreliable when you are on antibiotics. Damn you chest infection. I had to have (for the first time in my life I should just say, because for the record, this little lady is super responsible with her 5th Chakra) that oh so awkward conversation with my pharmacist. I even went out of my way to a different branch so that I wouldn’t feel the burning eyes of judgement at that clinically lit counter. “Hi, I need um, to get thee uh, morning after pill”. I was handed a purple box (isn’t purple the colour of sexual frustration?) with an Italic font reading “Escapelle” (it keeps getting better doesn’t it?). And then we played the waiting game, time can go by really slowly when your waiting to not be pregnant (which thanks to my purple box of Escapelle, I am not).

Isn’t time just one of those inconvenient mysteries that we keep trying to understand when what we really need to understand is that we cannot define it or hold it or measure it up against anyone else’s hourglass. My 15 year old sister Alex and I had a long discussion about time today. If we could keep time in a bottle, or go back in time and do things over or how time didn’t wait for anyone. I thought it would be a good idea to discuss a theory I had read about in a book by Steve Harvey called: “Act like a lady, think like a man.” In this book Steve discusses how sex at the beginning of a relationship should be seen as a “benefit” much like the ones you are forfeited in a 3 month probation period when starting a job.  A person has a set amount of time to prove themselves worthy and capable as a permanent employee before they are able to receive any of the company benefits like medical aid, provident funds etc. So this could (and should) be applied in a relationship, we could (and should) make our partners wait 3 months to prove themselves worthy and capable as our boyfriends before we let them into our brookies. 3 months is a long time and it made me wonder if, had I applied the theory practically in my life and my previous relationships, so many temporary employees would have been promoted to permanent staff. I told Alex that in teenage years, 3 months meant 3 years... she rolled her eyes and we both had a giggle.

So when is the timing right? For sex? For a relationship? For a blow job? I guess that for each person it’s a different clock to watch. It’s hard to trust the natural instinct we all have. The one that wants to run before we can walk, the impatient nag to throw caution to the wind and jump in or maybe for some people its a debilitating hesitation watch the second hand tick by waiting for the right moment to let their hair down. I think some people miss out on a whole lot of fantastic mistakes because they are waiting for an alarm to go off and tell them it’s ok to start living.

We waste time on failing relationships, bank cue’s, bad kissers, traffic (wow I really loath traffic), CD’s with only 1 good song on them, going to the shops to buy milk and forgetting to buy milk, home affairs, any affairs really, trying to make vegan mayonnaise and waiting for someone who’s just not that into you to call you. But every second we spend waiting or wanting or whining is there to prepare us for the next second that could be an adventure or a surprise or a great story. Call me a eclectic but I do believe there is no such thing as good timing. I believe that everything happens exactly as it should and as it was always meant to. Time is the dance floor where our favourite songs are played, where we make fools of ourselves, where we laugh and cry, where we drink cosmo’s and flirt with the DJ.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Tourists and Foreign Affairs

On a recent trip to Zanzibar (Jealous much?) I found myself going through the regular procedures of moving in and out of a country. As much as I would like to call myself a seasoned traveller I will never get used to this Shleporama, and let me tell you O R Thambo is a dream compared to what you are greeted with at Airport ala Zanzibar. I found myself having one of those “Oh my god, I’m in Africa” moments while standing in line in the un air-conditioned mosh pit they like to label “Immigration”. Compliant and trying to somehow not breathe in the overwhelming smell of B.O., I couldn’t help but laugh at the thought of someone not so familiar with this territory, finding themselves on the “dark” continent. Had it already been over a year since the World Cup?

With our streets being filled with the sound of the trumpeting vuvuzela, a myriad of accents and array of colourful people from all around the world; I remember it being kind of hard not to get into the soccer spirit during 2010’s world cup. Especially when you had a mix of spirits with your soccer, my favourite still being gin and vermouth, stirred if you please. Dealing with work in an absolute frenzy centered and themed around the world cup, by the time kick off had arrived, I was in bed with a migraine hating life and wanting to stick those Vuvu’s up everyone’s Woo-Woo’s. My roommate at the time, Eddy who also happens to be my best friend, confident, psychologist, drinking partner, personal chef and self proclaimed soccer Santa did his best to get this soccer Grinch next to him for the opening match but I wanted nothing to do with it. I was adamant to stay indoors, cure my flu and soak in some well-deserved “Me Time”. PVR play list was chockablock with the last weeks Oprah, Greys Anatomy and a few Sex and the City repeats… bliss.  And then half way through my play list, as I lay under my duvet, Mr. Delivery on its way, I heard screaming, laughing and ululating from all around my apartment. It was instinct, I switched to the soccer and Tshabalala had just scored that 1st goal against Mexico. Without any warning and as if from nowhere my soccer spirit fought its way through all the self pity, the migraine, the weeks of eating, sleeping and breathing soccer and leaped right out of me. The next thing I knew I was jumping around my boudoir shouting Ke-Nako and doing a very wonky Sinutab fuelled Waka Waka dance.

Once the sinus fog cleared and I became a human again, I realized that my quiet martini bar was now a carnival of Germans, Mexicans, Americans, Ozzys and Poms! They were everywhere, in restaurants ordering our oxtail, in gas stations asking for beer, in traffic going 60 in a 120 zone and piling into our bars for some cheap and friendly SA hospitality. I thought to myself, this is just fantastic.

Soccer Santa and I found ourselves in one of those great bars that has a 2 for the price of 1 drink special while watching the SA vs. Uruguay match. Between the Jagermeister shooters and Bafana getting their asses handed to them we met 2 American gents who joined our table and ended up spending the night bar hopping with us. It was so refreshing to meet new people from a different world and I was surprised at how easy it was to show off our culture, our people, our beautiful country and our “hood”. The whole week we took them to our favourite SA spots and introduced them to our group of cronies. We wanted them to leave Joburg feeling like they’d had the experience of a lifetime, chuckling over our differences and celebrating our togetherness.

With all of these foreigners infiltrating our everyday lives it got me thinking about Tourists and the people that enter our kinesphere with all sorts of expectations, hopes and agendas. In life, who handles our personal foreign affairs?

We all have a long list of people who for whatever reason, have disappeared out of our lives as quickly as they arrived. Some of them come with baggage, some of them travel light. Some of them stick around for years, some for months, some for hours and some forever. Hindsight is 20/20 and when I look back on my past relationships, my friendships, my affairs and my karmic explosions I like to think that each person has their purpose and that through these chance meet and greets they help put more stamps onto my life passport.

Sometimes I wonder what my travel brochure would look like. Would it read something like “Europe on a shoestring” or “Romantic Zanzibar getaway”? Do potential travelers see me more as a “One night in Paris” kinda gal, or “Escape to Escobar, excludes airport taxes”.

When I was at varsity, I had no idea of what my next move would be. I was a young actress, single, clueless, loud and vivacious with oh so many dreams of being a million things when I grew up. I wanted to be on Broadway in New York, I always wanted to write and to see the world (still do), I wanted to open my own high end classy and sassy sex shop, I wanted to design my own swimwear line… the list goes on. I was doing promotion work and helping my dad out at his office to earn extra money so when one of my friends asked if I would be interested in doing some freelance performance work for an events company I was super stoked. The pay was great and all I needed to do was put on a costume and do what I loved - performing.

The events company I was working for had employed a few of us and eventually it was the same handful of starved actors working at each event. One day, the Big Kahuna at the events company called my 2 colleges and I in for a meeting. A meeting? This was not something I was accustomed to. Auditions, rehearsals and production meetings with lots of beer… these things I knew. But a real grown up meeting, this was way up there with paying taxes, responsible drinking and 69’ers… no clue.

As we sat with the Big Kahuna he spoke to the three of us about starting a company together. That we should form a CC and run a business that manages actors and performers for corporate entertainment and events. He gave us artwork to look at, came up with some spiffy names and pitched this crazy idea that he felt was worth a shot. He oozed positivity, creativity, leadership and charisma and encouraged us to take a risk, to jump in, holding his hand for the first tricky bits, and run with it.

Almost 5 years later and here I am running my own successful business with 2 of my best friends. The Big Kahuna saw the brochure and invested his time, creative juices, advice and wisdom in us. He is still my mentor, business advisor and wacky off the cuff friend.

Then there are those travelers who come into our lives purely as visitors. Sometimes they take the best of us and leave with some of it on the way out. Sometimes they give us multiple orgasms before they give us their names and sometimes, they stick around to give us some more. Wouldn’t it be great if we could have some passport control over who was allowed to enter our bedrooms and our hearts? Or even peruse our Facebook page…

Yesterday Mihle and I found ourselves in stitches over an email she had received on her Facebook page. Open brackets, Mihle is my business partner. She is mysterious, wonderful, creative, sassy, bohemian, and passionate and this little Xhosa girl loves her stew. She is also one of my nearest and dearest friends. Close brackets. It seems that Mihle always attracts the strangest of men, some of whom I like to classify as “trolls”. Jannie Grobbler had requested for her to be his friend. Now, because she has a mutual friend with the same unfortunate surname, she accepts… in the hopes to find out how she knows this person without a profile picture. (Mayday, mayday… see any red flags Mimi?).  So it turns out that Jannie is a 55 year old married man, or as he so eloquently put it, MBA (married but available) living in Germiston with his church going wife who no longer wants to have sex with him. Jannie would be fuming right now if he heard me talking this way because he believes that “sex” is something you associate with prostitutes, he would rather I refer to it as making “sweet tender love”. He wants to “make sweet tender love” to my friend Mimi, as he goes on to say in his 5 PAGE EMAIL (seriously I haven’t received a mail that long from anyone on FB, EVER) that he would offer her a discreet interracial relationship (Jannie thinks us white girls are way to full of ourselves and that despite the fact that “most people see black woman as prostitutes” he is very interested in pursuing a woman of colour who he can “wink at, kiss your forehead, spoil you with flowers just because…”).

When the laughing stitches had subsided I asked Mimi what she was going to do. She said to me that she had already removed him as a friend and that she was going to forward the email to our close friends to have a giggle at. At least on FB we have some kind of security as to whom we let over our borders and who we send home packing.

Sometimes it’s hard to realize that we, ourselves are travelers and tourists too. We visit in peoples lives and maybe we too are guilty of exploiting their hospitality, and maybe not. I’m sure there are a few men who show my passport stamp off to all their buddies with caveman pride and I’m sure there are a few who have conveniently renewed their passports to clean the slate.

Our friends from America went back to the U.S. real chuft of their African experience. We exchanged emails and promised them a visit in Arkansas. Whether this ever happens or not is very debatable as I’m starting to settle on the idea of “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” as a more appropriate travel package to advertise myself with. Bafana along with a bunch of other teams didn’t make it through to the next round of the World Cup and slowly but surely the Ozzy accents and boisterous Pommy cackles dissipated from my everyday life.

I can only hope that the foreigners take back a sweet souvenir of their experience here, a slice of our goetspa, our spirit, and our guts. And I hope the same of anyone who by some spontaneous thrill seeking urge, decides to take a chance and throw the dice in Vegas.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

If The Shoe Fits

In New York, London and Paris ladies adorn the area south of their ankles with Prada, Gucci, Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Dior and Proenza Schouler. I’m talking about pumps, kicks, strappy sandals, platforms, gladiators, kicks and boots. Here in South Africa these little beauties are a rare and very expensive sighting. In my lifetime I have actually come face to peep-toe with 1 pair of Jimmy Choo’s and strolled through Louis Vuitton once (for 5 minutes before the sales people judged the shit out of me and declared me an unworthy customer, pfft!).

What is it about a pair of shoes that makes you feel so fucking fantastic? Well in my experience I’ve never had to go up a shoe size because my boyfriend dumped me and I filled the empty void with jam doughnuts. New shoes make you walk and feel taller (which for me, is not always a good thing as I tend to have that “Attack of the 50 foot Woman” effect). I guess a better word is “elevates”, they elevate our mood, our energy, our femininity. A gorgeous pair of satin kitten heels can take your normal walk to the runway and give any booty you’ve got, sashaying power and swagger. I never met a man who didn’t like the way a woman strutted and flounced in those pieces of art we call shoes.

So what’s not to like? Well there are some betrayals like blisters, barnacles and busted ankles. Ah, the price of beauty. This is why for the last 4 years I have kept to a strict styling regime. Lots of flat pretty pumps, a work heel and a pair of "working it" wedges. Throw in some stylin’ sneakers and the odd pair of impulse bought boots and that pretty much sums up my tootsie tavern at home. Sad isn’t it?

That was until I saw them. It had been a long time since I’d sparked with a pair of shoes, really sparked. They saw me and I saw them. I smiled, coyly of course, trying not to give too much away. These shoes were way too good for a one night stand, no I had to withhold all urges to be slutty and immediately slip them on. We did that all too familiar courtship dance where I pretended to browse the clothing rails and flirted with some of the other shoes on the shelf. I even tried one pair on and modeled it for the sales lady and her commission eyes. I waited patiently for something to happen while playing with that very tired debit card of mine. Nothing. And then I thought to myself, this is 2011 lady. Why shouldn’t I be the one to make the first move?

The minute I picked them up I knew what kind of relationship we’d have. They made me feel bad, in a good way. I looked up and allowed the right corner of my mouth to lift slightly while my tongue slid along my teeth and gave the kind of knowing smile you give when you’ve met your match. The colours woo’d and seduced me, I was no longer playing hard to get.

I placed them on the floor, toes trembling with excitement and anticipation. First the right foot, then the left. Soft leather giving my soles butterfly kisses, whispering sweet nothings along the sides of my foot that sent a warm rush all the way up my legs. I stood in front of the full length mirror, tantalized, titillated and tumultuously in love. Standing there in my jeans and an old T shirt, I felt like a rock star. I swiped and they were mine.

I decided to take my rebellious duo out on the town this Thursday for my sisters 18th.  I was hopeful, I was excited, I was having a threesome with 2 gorgeous and seductive models… waiting on me foot and foot. What could go wrong?

The night started well enough, I was surprised at how comfortable I was, glancing down every now and then to admire my feet. There’s nothing that can make you feel more like frisky 18 year old than being hit on by frisky 18 year olds. But then there’s nothing that could irritate a girl more or make you feel more like a 25 year old than waiting an hour for your drink in ridiculous bar queues, music without words and crammed health hazard smoking areas. Eddy and I lasted about half an hour before we left the sea of raging hormones behind us and found a quiet 20 something bar where we could shoot flaming Lamborghini’s and laugh about all the stupid things we used to do when we were 18.

Shooters followed more shooters and somehow we found ourselves in a Casino at the blackjack tables. It was not too late after this that I began to do that all too familiar one legged leaning dance, trying to dissipate the pressure on my feet. Because that’s what you do in a relationship, you compromise. You look at the situation and you try, with all your weight, to shift the forces that be, to rearrange your feelings so that it doesn’t hurt anymore. How could this be happening? My feet were aching! And it seemed that my feelings were completely invalidated by my 2 new boyfriends. It seemed that unlike me, they were living a completely worry free existence. That our relationship had become one sided, or one heeled.

So I did what most of us do in a relationship that seems to be on the rocks. I passive aggressively walked on the pebbled corridors with conviction, casually complimenting other shoes, I stubbornly thought that I could walk it out, I could beat the burn. Unfortunately as is usually the case, I only ended up hurting myself more. Blisters were beginning to form on my right foot, my calves were begging me to sit down but on I pressed. Willful, determined, compromising, cunning and manipulative I was.
We were at a crossroads, I was exhausted and like most men I’ve dated… my partners still absolutely oblivious to any wrong doing on their part. I thought to myself, maybe it’s time we sat down and really spoke about our priorities. Maybe we should take a break, think things over, give each other space.

I was walking away, satisfied with my bravery and confrontational skills when I received a tap on the shoulder from a security guard. I was going to be removed from the casino unless I put my shoes back on. I tried to explain my situation; about the complexities of our relationship (This was all done with a very sexy and slight slur which couldn’t have helped my predicament) I tried to justify all the wrongs in our toxic relationship to no avail. I went to my car, swaying and clutching on to Eddy’s shoulder. I pulled out my “back up” flat pumps from the back seat and eased them onto my feet. If there was such a thing as a foot orgasm, I had 7. I glanced back as I walked away, comfortable and 3 inches shorter in stature and in spirit. Why couldn’t I make it work? Why couldn’t we share more steps, stairs and escalators on our journey together? It hurts to let something, or someone you love go… even when you know it’s the right thing to do.

My beautiful heels are in my cupboard and yes, they do come out to play sometimes. We have an understanding now as to what it is that we are able to give each other. They are never going to be pumps and I am never going to be a 5 ft 2, size 5 shoe gal that trots around in heels all day. It’s just not going to happen. I like to think they taught me a valuable lesson, a lesson that reminds me of a Billboard I saw years ago on the side of the M1 highway. The advert read: “If you don’t like that world that you see, change the way that you see the world.” My shoes and I do dinner and movie dates that only require a maximum of 45 – 60 minutes stand and walking time. We’ve both just realized that all of the things we want each other to be, we never will be but that’s ok. We’ve found a new way to see our commitment to each other, an unspoken agreement. 

I think back to the day we first met, how naïve we both were. It’s nice to feel like I still have that hopeless belief in love, no matter how hard the journey may be. The drama, the longing, the compromise. But it’s also good and necessary to know what it is that you want and not to be too disillusioned with love goggles or impulse shopping. When it comes to relationships, if you’re boots are made for walking… well then that’s what you have to do. We flirt with the idea of our sole mate, we fantasize and imaginatize and sensationalize and we want so badly for it to be a perfect fit every time. In reality the shoes don’t always make the woman. So ladies, whether it’s Steve Madden tickling your toes or Guess keeping you guessing just make sure that if the shoe fits, you can wear it. And if you can’t, you better be brave enough to walk away.