Archive for April, 2009

Riding in cars with boys


I spend a lot of time around men. Sometimes it’s to my detriment (really, I know too much) but every now and then I find myself in a situation that leaves me gob-smacked. In fact, at times, my male friends are so unaware of my presence that they often let spill without a second thought that me, a female, might be absorbing every second of what is unfolding before my very eyes.

Not so long ago, I found myself sitting on a couch reading a magazine while throwing the occasional glace at the TV screen. Two of my guy friends were playing Wii tennis while the other one cheered from the single-seater. I was about two paragraphs into a very absorbing read when all of a sudden my ears pricked… Did I just hear correctly!? M1 & M2 & J (let me just say, these guys are all 24-years-old) were discussing how they’re stressing about the fact that they haven’t met ‘the one’ yet. Yes. You read that correctly. About five minutes before that they were discussing some blonde they partied with at a triathlon meeting the weekend before (M1 got her number).

Lesson one: Yes, guys love going out and getting drunk and hooking up. But one of the reasons they’re doing that is because they’re hoping that one day, they’ll score the right one. Because they don’t want to be sad and lonely by the time they’re 30. And they want to seriously date the girl for roughly three years before they get married and settle down. That means they need to at least meet that person at like 25/26 years old. That means that at 24, the clock is ticking… Loudly. No. I’m not shitting you. This conversation really happened.

Not too long ago I was driving in a car with two guys. The one got out and headed into the shops and the other stayed behind and proceeded to tell me about a girl who’s left him heartbroken. What happened? He freaked her out by falling too fast.

Lesson two: Guys make the fatal mistake of getting too serious too soon. I know females around the world right now are rolling their eyes thinking, ‘Shut up already.’ But it’s true. Guys also have fantasies of meeting the right one and start dreaming of a life with that person before they’ve even had the chance to say, ‘I love you.’ Or, they said those three little words and before you can say ‘gummy berry juice’ the chick’s bolted for the door.

Lesson three: Men hurt. Really badly. In fact I sometimes think it’s worse for them because they don’t particularly like to talk about it. So they keep it bottled up and instead settle for random outbursts just so that they don’t explode from the confusion. That leads me to the second part of lesson three, men get confused too. They’re not as two dimensional as they make us believe. My really good friend once dated this girl who cheated on him and then fell pregnant with the other guy’s kid. He stayed with her, but as you can imagine, things between them eventually ended. That was nearly six years ago. He still hurts when he talks about it. Not as much, but you can tell how the words leave this sour bitterness in the back of his throat. He tells me he’s such a bastard now (he’s not, but he goes through periods of intense self-loathing), because “she used up all the nice coupons.” Another one of my guy friends has just climbed off the most exhausting round-about of a relationship you can ever imagine. This girl messed him around so much that right now he’s sulky and pissed and hurt and confused. He really liked her. A lot. And no, he wasn’t just after her for sex. In fact, they’ve never even slept together. He thought he had a connection with her because they’re both so intensely in love with guitars and music and bands and lyrics. He couldn’t stop talking about her. He used to ask his best friend for advice on what to say in the text messages before he sent them. He read them out loud so he could get our approval first. But she has issues the size of a planet and it didn’t work. He’s so hurt he’s defriended her on Facebook because he can’t stand it anymore. After ending things with his girlfriend of two years, another friend of mine revealed that up until two months back, he would’ve taken her back, even though he felt really “unappreciated” in the relationship. “Unappreciated” really was the word he used. He really wanted it to work. With his whole heart.

There’s this ‘hit’ new phrase that’s making the rounds through Hollywood studios at the moment – if you need to know what I’m talking about check out ‘I love you, man’ in cinemas. Bromance is the new term being used to analyze and critique friendships that take place between men. I’ve been a fly on the wall for a pretty long time now and I can assure you that bromance is anything but a revelation. In fact I find it pretty insulting that people think that friendships between men are trivial.

Lesson four: Men have deep and real friendships with other men. They lounge around on couches drinking Milo (with marshmallows) covered in blankets with the hoods of their hoodies up over their heads. Yes they’re watching Rambo and they’re ripping each other to death about how the one guy folds the corner of his blanket into a little triangle and then tickles his lip with it. And they come up with the most gross and disgusting one-liners but they get each other. It’s real. They’ve seen each other cry and they’ve seen each other depressed. And they’re also there when the other one conquers a fear like a champion. They stand up for one another and give relationship advice. And listen to their friends reading out SMS’s to a girl they’re crushing over. And they don’t mock him because they’ve been there too.

Lesson five: Guys love chocolate too.

You’re wrong if you think that I’m friends with guys who were bred scientifically in a lab somewhere deep in Arizona. You do know men like this. You perhaps just don’t know them as intimately as I do. An ex-boyfriend once asked me why I’m friends with so many guys? I hadn’t really thought about it before he posed the question to me. I have a few best girlfriends that I would positively die without. We’ve known each other for years and years and years. I’ve known my bestest girl since I was three years old. She’s my twin soul. She knows me and understands me sometimes better than I understand myself. When I’m around her, she just knows stuff. I love her to death and she knows it because I’ve told her so and she’s said it back. But coincidently, I too make up a very small circle of her closest female friends.

Perhaps there’s a few of us who were meant to just hang around the guys in order to convince the rest of the female population that they’re not all walking heart donors and that yes, there are plenty amazing guys around. No we don’t drink beer. Yes we love fashion and make-up and dressing up. No we don’t sleep with them. And no, sigh, we don’t have a third nipple or anything else that could be weirdly interesting. We don’t look like supermodels. We really are normal woman.

So what’s the deelio between me and my guy friends? You’re going to have to ask them why they let me hang around.


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The treacherous mountain climb


My quads are so sore that walking down stairs has become the greatest challenge of the day. And, even though it hurts to move, it’s even worse to sit like a statue cause then trying to even sneeze after a period of unmovable stillness is a nightmare.

I went hiking yesterday.

My day started at 5.30am – something that hasn’t happened since I woke up to cram during the last few precious hours before my final Psychology Honours exam in November 2006.  It’s probably also worth mentioning at this point that I faced 9km of pretty crazy mountain climbing with about two hours of sleep on my side. Actually, thinking back on it, that number is greatly exaggerated.

And so it happened that I found myself making tuna, cheese and avo rolls (hiking lunch) for three guys and myself at 6.15 in the morning while hallucinating of what life might be like if I had exercised my right to say ‘No’.
But then Matt pulled out the 1 x awesome hiking food pack which consisted of a bag of salted and roasted mixed nuts (I have an obsession with almonds), Energade jelly sweets (they’re really good), yoghurt snacker bars and mini cheddars. Okay, maybe this day wasn’t going to be so disastrous after all. And besides, I was making the most mouthwatering sandwiches ever created. I could do this.

Willows arrives. He looks pretty tired, which delights me because at least I’m not alone in this. Matt and Geebs are freaks – they’re oddly cheerful and it’s starting to confuse me terribly. But Willows works for the guys that make Red Bull. And right now, that means Willows is my favourite person on planet earth.

And so we’re off. Matt is just about bouncing off the walls like a gummy bear due to a protein shake, peanut cluster chocolate bar (Geebs is my all time fave superhero for buying us these) and a red bull. The clock hasn’t even struck 7.30am yet. The treacherous mountain has nothing on us. We meet the rest of the crowd and everyone is amped. We’re going to kill this lump of rock. Or as Geebs puts it, “We’re going to walk. HARD!”

It’s 2pm and we’ve just hiked 9km. We’ve encountered mud, massive they-can’t-be-from-planet-earth rocks, moss, a river, scary plunge-to-your-death ledges and somehow managed to survive 40 minutes of watching Matt sit on a rock psyching himself up to jump four meters and conquer his vertigo fear. I’m so thirsty I drink a two liter bottle of Valpre and find myself disappointed when I finally drain the last sip. And my shins are killing me. I can literally feel the bruises appearing. I feel great. Dirty but amazing.

The funniest thing about hiking is listening to the conversation that happens while hiking up the mountain. On the way down, everyone is concentrating so hard on not keeling over and dying that there’s very little talking that happens.

Here’s some snippets of what was heard on the way up:
–    “So after listening to the song for like four minutes, you still don’t know who let the dogs out?”
–    “Whatever! Girls don’t fart. I dated Claire for two years and she didn’t fart once.”
–    “You make your own handbags? That’s amazing!”
–    “Note to self don’t change for anyone. Note to self don’t die.”
–    “I have the unedited Wolverine movie with no special effects”. “Dude, why would you want to watch that?”
–    “No, I’m not watching Monsters vs Aliens with you because Ice Age was crap.”

Note to self: Go hiking more often.

Hiking tips:
1.    Always walk with someone who knows where they’re going. I get lost in Spar. If you’re the same, make sure you walk fast enough to keep up with the person who actually knows where they’re going. Either that or find someone kind and patient. Or go Muay-Thai training for a month before and then bull-dozer your way down with someone who has a now-now-now personality. (Note: If you’re this kind of person, please contact me urgently. We’re looking for a hiking companion for Geebs. None of us can keep up with him. Because he’s a freak.)
2.    Wear long pants. They won’t stop the bruises, but they’ll prevent scratches from those irritating scratchy bushes.
3.    Take a long cotton top and a light raincoat.
4.    Get some decent sleep the night before. It makes getting out of bed easier.
5.    Be prepared to be stiff the next day.
6.    Go with lots of guys and make them carry your back pack.
7.    Be in charge of making the sandwiches. That way you know they’ll be good when you reach the top.
8.    Take a camera. Or make someone else take theirs.
9.    Check the weather. I heard hiking in the rain is crap. I believe it.
10.    If possible, hike with hot guys. At least then there’s always something good to look at.

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The ONLY way Bafana Bafana are going to win the 2010 World Cup….

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How is it possible that every second Hollywood star is pregnant with twins?! What used to be a very rare birthing event is now as normal as the day is long. And have you noticed how many famous stars have look-a-like siblings… You’ll be forgiven if you haven’t because their significant birthing ‘others’ are well, not significant at all. Scarlett’s twin brother hides away from the spotlight and Giselle’s twin sister – well who knows what she does. One thing’s for sure – I certainly don’t want her self-esteem. Heck, imagine being Giselle’s twin sister. That can’t be fun.

But speaking of babies, birth and pregnancy can you imagine what these little rugrats are going to get up to when they hit 16… Let me do the honours and paint you a picture.

Kickstart to Hollywood 2024. No one knows how to spell ‘Miley Cyrus’ and Zac Efron is living his new life out the closet. Rosy Apple is zenning out with Violet in Central Park while their folks Chris, Gwenyth, Jen and Ben sip on Chai Tea lattes in one of New York’s quaint little cafes nearby. Across state lines, Jennifer’s twins are hanging out with Ashlee’s on the popular block. It’s three ‘o clock on a Thursday afternoon and they’re knocking back vodka shots before moving onto hand grenades in some VIP bar in LA while sniggering at what Angelina’s Shiloh is wearing… Like hello, that look is so 2023. Shame poor girl, she’s probably shopped for it somewhere in Namibia. Things are tough on the top. Katie’s little darling stumbles in clutching her best friend – Nicole’s offspring. They’re both peroxided to the nines and learnt to walk in their stilettos last weekend. Britney’s sons spot this lot and give each other a secret high-five. If only they knew this is what they’re mother looked like 16 years ago. Ai. But they don’t and they’re so high on testosterone that they honestly don’t care.  It’s time to chase some serious skirt. This is going to be too easy. High on booze, scientology and mom’s vicadin, they’re the new tabloid princesses: desperate for attention and looking for father figures. All their daddies ran off because back in the day, marriage meant as much to them as last season’s Marc Jacobs’ line meant to Paris Hilton: squat. Nine months later, Brit becomes a grandma.

So if your geyser burst, your hard drive crashed or your got car towed (if all these things happened to you in one week you have my sympathies – I know exactly what you’re going through!), rest assured that no matter what the week or what the year… You’re one up on Britney.

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I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to blog about Birds Boutique Cafѐ. Even though it’s pretty expensive (We’re talking like R60 for lunch excluding your coffee) it’s quirky, awfully cute and just a tad on the nutty side of things – which is probably why I love it so much.

Birds and I got to know each other through work. We were welcoming the new editor to our ranks and took her and the team out for breakfast so that we could all get to know each other a little better. And besides, us media types love any excuse to get out of the office and breakfast or coffee or lunch somewhere.

And so there we were marveling over creamy scrambled eggs, crispy bacon and golden health bread toast. I was hooked after the first forkful. It was imperative that I went back. And since then I’ve been back and then back again and then back another six, seven or maybe 15 times.

The cool thing about Birds is this: first off it’s tricky to find. This is cool though cause you feel kind of exclusive when you’re sitting in there drinking your seriously strong cup of moerkoffie while negotiating pouring your hot milk into your cup – the milk jugs come without handles. It’s genius.

Second, Birds makes you climb out of your comfortable Cape Town bubble. You have to share here you see. Something local, born and bred Capetonians don’t know too much about. It’s not about you. It’s about many. So you find yourself sitting next to some arty type or media folk trying desperately to overhear the local skinner. Just delicious!

Lastly, there’s the fabulous weirdness of it all. While you’re sitting on crates, with green sponges as a cushion, at a long wooden trestle table you suddenly notice the bird cages. And then you hear the bird calls. And then you think you’ve lost your mind cause the bird cages are actually empty but you’re still hearing the chirping. Ha! You’re not going mad. That’s the bird call CD they’ve got playing quietly in the background.

What will make you feel as if you’re hallucinating is the sweet spread of tarts, pastries and heart-shaped butter biscuits covered in hundreds and thousands. The aromas alone put on a trip second to none.

Moral of the story: If you’ve got cash and a long lazy lunch hour on your side, hit Birds. It’s amazing.

Where is it? In Bree Street right next to the entrance of the Chris Barnard hospital. There’s just about no signage however so keep your eyes open.

What’s good to eat? I can highly recommend their chicken pie, avo and grilled chicken salad (served on rye) and anything from the breakfast menu. If you’re looking to cure a sweet tooth, the almond, cranberry and chocolate scones will blow your back and so too will the cheesecake. And the fig, almond and cranberry strudel.

Coffee? Strong, Afrikaans coffee that leaves you feeling like an alarm clock just went off in your head. It’s fabulous.

Who goes there? The fashionable, the arty and most of CT’s media peeps. The Elle team love Birds!


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