Friday, June 24, 2011

Coz it takes all kinds to make this world go around...

So there I was, minding my own business as usual, making my mid-morning cup of coffee in the office’s kitchen. I was waiting for the kettle to boil and merrily dug my spoon into a jar of Nutella when one of my male colleagues walked in to get some water. I sighed contently and thinking aloud with the Nutella jar in my hand, I said If you were a man, I’d marry you.

Said colleague looked at me curiously, and then commented that he thinks it’s gay for men to eat Nutella and that he’d rather not gain weight from twirling a spoon around in a jar. I was quite surprised. It was really the oddest statement because he’s barely 23 years old and I’m quite certain his entire body weighs less than my right thigh, knee-caps included.

I glanced at him sideways, pointed my freshly licked spoon at him and said that right there, is the gayest thing I’ve ever heard. He doesn’t want to eat Nutella because it makes him feel like a woman, yet he’s worried about his weight...

I thought about it later that day and laughed silently to myself. It takes all kinds to make this world go around. I shouldn’t be surprised because in all the years that I’m working, in the various posts and positions I had secured, I’ve always worked with the weirdest lot of people.

I blogged about the all kooky quirky men I worked with at the Plant before... you can read that here.

And then I can recall talking about Leon, the guy that came in the office every morning and went on and on, explaining in elaborate detail, the consistency and texture of his faeces that morning... the most fascinating one was after he ate a packet of Cashew Nuts... something like Peanut Butter apparently.

There was James. I remember talking about wanting to buy a kilo of minced meat, removing all the fat from it, and then taking the fat back to the butcher, demanding a refund in my Girls Behaving Badly post... that’s where I got it from... he actually did that!

And there was Sandy, who was a qualified Dentist, an established professional artist with various exhibitions throughout the world and an aspiring Game Driver, working in Tech Support.

But my favourite from all of them was Dean. He was definitely the most fascinating. No one could make me laugh the way Dean could with his particular brand of sarcastic wit that was unparallel to me at that time. I met Dean about 10 years ago when we both worked in the Private Investigative field. He was already in his mid-forties and spent a good 12 years of his youth as a flight attendant for South African Airways. For a solid 3 years in that time, he spent every single weekend in London, flying out on Friday night and returning Monday morning – a nice weekend getaway paid and sponsored by SAA.

But it was Dean’s antics in his personal life had me in fits most of the time. Once he had ordered a Chicken Schnitzel at a Restaurant that came highly recommended by the waiter and he ended up contracting food poisoning and spent the rest of the week hugging his toilet, either throwing up or crapping his brains out. He returned to work LIVID with the Restaurant. He then complained to them telephonically, and when they said that they couldn’t refund him for the meal and offered him a voucher for another meal instead, he threatened to go over there, pull down his pants and shit at the entrance (and he was serious about it too)...

I overheard the entire conversation and it was so funny, I laughed for MONTHS! Every time I recalled his reaction, it would elicit a fresh batch of uncontrollable hysterics.

He had the worst luck. It was always something with him... someone pissing him off or something driving him insane – most times legitimately so.

There was the time he cancelled a magazine subscription, but they billed him for an additional month anyway, without his knowledge. He never received an account after that, so he remained unaware of the R25 that he owed (that’s EUR€2.50 or GBP£2 or less than USD$3). Then one day, after looking around and agonising over the decision for weeks, he went out to buy a new car only to find that he had been Blacklisted, not only in the country, but all over the world. He ended up in court with an appeal and it was this huge thing... all for R25 that rightfully, he didn’t even owe. And again, he was LIVID... cursing them and wanting to slash tires.

But for all his drama, he was hugely entertaining – and it wasn’t only what he said, but how he said it that would send me rolling on the floor laughing. I would laugh so much that he would end up laughing too while shaking his head in disgust at his predicament.

It’s amazing how much of our work lives we take home with us... all the friendships we foster, all the people we meet (and those we’d like to forget) that make enough of an impression on us to be remembered long after we’ve moved on.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Coz a picture is worth a thousand words...

I like watching people. I could people-watch all day and I often do, especially when I’m waiting for a flight or if I'm sitting in a park or lounging at a street-side café. There’s something cathartic about watching the world pass you by. I’m often a spectator in strangers’ lives and I’ll watch them come and go in their droves.

Most people are usually firmly ensconced in their own realities... doing the weekly shopping, or waiting for a loved one, or complaining to a friend, or running late for a meeting, or going to the gym, or returning from holiday... and all of them are utterly oblivious to me and my voyeur self.

I often sit and wonder where they come from and who they’re going home to, and where it is they call home. I wonder who is waiting for them and what they’ll have for Dinner and what they do on Sundays. I wonder about what they value in life and the secrets they harbour from others. I wonder about their fears and hopes and dreams and the problems that burden their souls. I wonder about their current lives and the lives they have led prior to that point in time. It fascinates me.

And every now and then, when someone catches me taking a peak into their personal space, I smile to indicate that there is no malice intended, and I'm usually met with a smile in return.

Sometimes, I even imagine what they’re saying to each other... aware that there are only a finite number of human emotions and that most of them are visible in someone's body language. But when it comes down to the core of it, I do realise that the outside world will never really know what is going on in someone's mind or what is being verbally exchanged between huddled siblings, or a loving couple, or a group of friends, or business partners. Sure, we can try to guess and there is a good chance we'd even be right - but we never really know.

Anyways, our systems were down at work and I had a whole lot of time to play around. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. So here’s my two cents worth: Click on images for larger visuals







Thursday, June 16, 2011

Coz the fat lady sings...

It was a beautiful day... only because it's public holiday here in SA (yes another one) and I got to sleep through most of it. I needed the rest because it's been a hectic week and between the rush of deadlines, my current addiction to toasted tuna sandwiches (on rye) and my recurring bouts of online procrastination, two things caught my eye...

Firstly, I came across something that I thought was a joke but no, it appears that Vogue Curvy is indeed a legitimate link on the Italian Magazine's website. The page is dedicated to fashion for the somewhat larger woman... basically, every woman on earth that's not starving herself.

At first, I didn't know if the magazine should be applauded for their inclusion of every woman that's not a size zero in the fashion industry; or if we should be insulted that they have made what they consider to be beautiful the norm and standard, and have thus relegated every other woman that does not fit into their standard as the exception to that norm i.e. made them the other... people like Miss Amy Lemons.
According to Vogue's personnel, Miss Lemons is a glamorous up-and-coming plus-sized model. Now I don't know about everyone else's opinion, but if she's a plus sized model then I reckon that about 99% of the entire female population must be morbidly obese. I find this offensive and disturbing on many levels. Exactly when have we accepted and allowed such a skewered and deceptive perception of the female form to infiltrate into our consciousness? And furthermore, exactly what or who is the driving force behind it? Could it perhaps be men in general? Is this what men want or expect from their women?
The truth is that the super-skinny image is being endorsed by people everywhere - from those celebs who idolize the designers... to the people who idolize those celebs... to the people on the street buying those magazines and sponsoring that ideal - thereby making it an acceptable norm and an industry standard; because if the general public rejected the ideal outright and said NO we won't accept this, there would be no pay-off and nothing to gain for it's punters. Either way, the concept is being sold to the masses and someone somewhere says that it's not only OK to be stick-thin but it is a general requirement to be accepted in society, and that's what women the world over should be striving for.

Many people believe that the someone responsible could be many someones - alluding to the large number of prominent homosexual designers that dominate the industry that have no respect for, or sense of, the female form.Those people believe that to a bunch of gay men, fashion is art and the objective is the end product. There are no "human" elements in the pieces because it's all about the clothes. The clothes wear the person, not the other way around.

In a grander context, no matter how crude the suggestion, it would make some sense. Now I get that a large part of fashion is the designers artistic expression - I really do. And I have nothing against homosexuals - I neither condemn nor do I condone their lifestyles because that is between them and The Creator (In fact, I had no objections and it was in my best interests to have a gay friend at a time when I was alone in a strange city with a bunch of back-stabbing women I couldn't trust and men who were too predatory for my liking)...

But I have to say that for a community that insists that they are as much a part of society as everyone else and are no different to the rest of the world, there are many that keep on excluding themselves from the very society they claim to be a part of... therefore making themselves the other. Think about it, there's the Gay Pride Parade and Gay Bars and many other exclusive little societies that enable and perpetuate their exclusion from the rest of humanity... not that I have an issue with any of it, I just think that it's one huge contradiction. 

I grew up in a country where everyone who wasn't White had to fight to become a part of the greater society and to be afforded the same Human Rights... yet we don't have Black Pride Parades or Black / Coloured / Asian Bars. Non-Blacks aren't other-ing themselves constantly, they are co-existing with the society that they fought to be a part of.

Which brings me to my point... it may not have an ounce of truth to it, but there is something in the notion that a dominant homosexual arena would influence the likes of Vogue Curvy - a page which ultimately others and marginalizes perfectly normal women who don't fit into an unrealistic stereotype. And the reason it's so unrealistic is because with the advent of technology, almost every single picture taken is "doctored" in some way or form to make the model look her premium best. In fact, most of these real-life models can never measure up to themselves and their digitally enhanced perfectionism.

The humiliating consequences are that there are hordes of ignorant women who want to compete with a computer generated model. The number of people suffering from eating disorders is unprecedented. And worst of all, the devastating psychological effects in reverse - the irony of ironies - those normal, naturally thin women who will end up obese because they want to be skinny. There was a time when women looked like women. These days, more and more of them are made to look like adolescent boys to fulfill some designer's unbridled fantasy. And as always, the youth suffer... I have an 8 year old sister who's obsessed with her weight because she doesn't believe that people will accept and love her if she has a double chin. 

Personally I'm all for exercise and living a healthy lifestyle; I even derive an immense amount of joy from it. But there are limits, and I'm never going to say no to good food.

~~~~~~

Secondly, I've mentioned my penchant for keeping up to date with the Latin American celebrity scene. This week during one of my notoriously productive procrastination sessions, I found out that the man I love to hate, a one Diego Forlan had broken off his engagement to his girlfriend of three years, Zaira Nara.
The news has come as a shock to the Latin community because they had only gotten engaged three months ago and were due to marry at the end of July. So what prompted the end of a three year relationship? Well, many people have been speculating and there are several stories doing the rounds, and all of them are unsubstantiated. But according to some folk (and this is unsubstantiated too) the main reason behind the split was because Zaira insisted on a pre-nuptial agreement and as such, Diego acquiesced and told her that if their marriage went sour, he'd give her USD$4 million cash and a further USD$4 million in property. 

Zaira then skipped off to her Daddy who told her that it wasn't enough, before she decided to confront Diego on their month-long sojourn in Miami, Florida. Diego flipped (as I'm sure he did) and out of anger told her that she either marries him or she doesn't - but that if she decided to marry him and they did get divorced, she wouldn't see a cent. She then told him that she can't marry him under those conditions and they called the whole thing off.
And so the whole world caught several glimpses of her while she cried on the beach in Miami.

Now I cannot, for the life of me, comprehend why people would fight over the circumstances surrounding their divorce before they even get married! But I'll give, and say that with her being a model and him being a high profile sports star, they have to protect their interests (and assets). 

As a woman, I can tell you that every woman wants a degree of security in her relationship with the man she marries - emotional, financial and physical security. She wants someone she can depend on, even when she's independent. She wants someone who's responsible and can take care of her. Every single woman (no matter what the other's say) want and need this from a potential partner... the degree varying from woman to woman.

That said, if this story is indeed true, then I don't believe that Zaira ever loved Diego because a woman who claims to love a man and is planning a life with him will marry him in a heartbeat, even if he gives her no assurances and no money. Because estrogen is wired that way.

Again if the story is true, then I think Zaira is a silly girl because this is the same man who, as a 12 year old boy, promised his paralysed sister (in her hospital bed) that he would dedicate himself to a career as professional football player so that he could pay their bills and afford the best doctors for her. Now if that's how he treats his family, I can't imagine what he'd do for his wife and future children!  

I think all couples can learn from actors Courtney Cox and David Arquette. They were in couples therapy for an entire year before they got married, to ensure that they got married for the right reasons, and they've been married for 11 years - a milestone by Hollywood's standards. And even with his recent tumble from grace - battling alcoholism, his personal issues with his deceased mother, and their decision to seperate for a while - they've still managed to stay together.

All I have to say is... Forlan, call me. I'll marry you and your abs for 5 cents and a donut. Or better yet, marry me and I'LL pay YOU.
I've always said that it is Greed, not Money, that is the root of all evil. If one looks carefully at every other sin, the driving force behind it is almost always Greed. In most cases, Greed is the desire to own or utilize more than you've been allocated.... it's a sense of entitlement to that which does not belong to you. The lesson for me being... I don't ever want to own something that doesn't belong to me, and I wouldn't want anything from my future husband that he's not prepared to give me willingly.

I ardently believe that the day the world stops WANTING is the day that we'll know peace.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Coz this is my kind of beautiful...

You’d think I’d have something better to talk about then the weather. Well I do, I always do but that will have to wait.

So in the early hours of Wednesday morning, 3:05am to be exact, I was woken up by the sound of terrible howling winds and thunder. I must be dreaming, I thought to myself. Thunder? In the middle of winter? No freakin way. And being prone to my regal dramatic episodes (regal because I can be a drama queen of note sometimes) I thought that this must be it... End of the World. Day of Judgement. Armageddon.

Sure, thunderstorms are a normal and almost daily occurrence here in Johannesburg during the summer months. Note I said summer. But in all my life, I’ve never ever ever EVER EVER witnessed a thunderstorm in the middle of winter. Add to that, it wasn’t any old thunderstorm. It didn't just rain, but it poured and came down in buckets. And when the sky got tired of pissing rain for hours, it pelted us with hail stones and I got a good beating running from my flat to the car, soaking all the layers of my clothing.

For a brief moment, I associated the hail assault with stones and punishment. I wondered what have I done in the past few days that I shouldn’t have... maybe I shouldn’t have eaten Jo’s jellybeans on Monday without telling her (but wait, I did tell her eventually so that doesn’t count); maybe I should stop pretending to be hard at work whenever someone approaches my desk... ok I thought, I’ll give it a shot.

But alas, it wasn’t something I did to provoke the sky falling in torrents. It’s just El Niño or Global Warming or something of that sort. The repercussions of which was disastrous because it caused severe flooding on numerous roads including the M1 Highway which had to be closed off in various parts – leading to hundreds of vehicles and passengers being stuck on the highway for hours with nowhere to go.

Add to that, there were a number of accidents that wreaked havoc with traffic yesterday, the most catastrophic being a massive truck carrying a fleet of new cars that caught on fire... with some of those cars falling off the truck, it was like a movie. I actually wish I was there to see it for myself, although those that were there weren’t so happy to be in a 4 hour traffic jam. I don’t even want to know about those poor sods that needed to pee. And in a world where every cause has an effect, every other road leading into and out of the city was an utter nightmare because like one tweeter said: Joburg drivers: Instant Idiot, just add water.

The good news was that by the time I got into work, my soaked layers were dry.

The other good news is that today is a beautiful day, although not many people will agree with me. It’s one of those overcast-with-scant-rain days and there might even be snow. Here are a couple of pics of the city taken from the Highway on my way to work this morning:


Now, if only I could go home and snuggle in my bed.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Coz we have failed but live in hope that Gaga isn't lactose intolerant...

There was a mighty ruckus here in South Africa a couple of weeks ago. One of our comedians, a one Riaad Moosa (who happens to be a practicing Muslim), decided to do a skit where he parodied Osama bin Laden on what can be described as our local equivalent of Saturday Night Live. The skit divided Muslims in SA, some finding it terribly offensive basically calling it an attack on Islam; while other's didn't see it as such and fought to defend Riaad and his art. I won't go into details as this blogger already addressed the issue.

Now, we're all entitled to our own opinions on this... but seeing as this is my blog, here's mine: I'm forever in awe of people who veer towards fanatical extremes when it comes to Islam because it is the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of what Islam stands for. That said, I did not find anything wrong with Riaad Moosa's skit, no matter what our local so-called Islamic authorities have to say including *wink-wink-cough* Radio Islam ... because this is the same radio station that fell short of calling the Soccer World Cup Haraam (forbidden), yet most of their staff members allegedly had front row tickets to the grand opening.



People have to keep in mind that Osama bin Laden was not our Prophet (SAW) and He was not Allah SWT. He was in fact a rebel and if he was indeed responsible for all the terrorist attacks as he supposedly claimed, then he was a murderer too. Everything behind his cause had NOTHING to do with Islam. It was purely political and stemmed from his personal gripes, dissatisfaction and disgust with the politics within the Saudi Government. It is just like the Crusades... religion was used or mis-used to further a political agenda. Geez, people learn absolutely nothing from History!

I do not believe in celebrating his death, or mourning it. Instead I believe that we should mourn the millions of people that had to die for the personal agendas of a few power hungry, greedy men. We should instead sit back, reflect and ask ourselves how have we as a society, as a nation, have FAILED in that we have allowed such atrocities to occur. We have to ask ourselves what have we done wrong, that we have unconsciously fed fanatical extremism and bred this monster called Terrorism that is essentially the epitome of ANTI-Islamic practices. (Not just in Islam mind, every religion, culture and nation has it's whack-jobs).

There is no "Islam" in Al-Qaeda. All that they have ever done for the Muslims was make the world a difficult place for us to live in, so now we have to be subjected to discrimination, interrogation, abuse and ludicrous processes and questionnaires just to acquire a Visa: "please provide details of all your trips abroad in the last 10 years". Seriously?!? You want to know every single place I went to in the last 10 years?! Are you fucking kidding me? They have desecrated our religion. They have taken something that is beautiful, pure and perfect and fucked it up royally. All in the name of God. Well my friends, even the Devil can cite scripture for his cause.

Speaking of the Devil. Apparently, Lady Gaga is in the dog box again. It seems that most of the world didn't take too kindly to her references to Jesus and Judas in one of her latest songs, emphatically titled "Judas". Gaga's depictions of Jesus and Judas as well as the events that led up to (and occurred during) The Last Supper in the video didn't go down too well either. I guess most folk found it blasphemous, sacrilegious and offensive and felt that she had gone too far in her attempts at artistic expression.

What most Christians don't realise is that we (Muslims) love Jesus too. He was one of our prophets and we revere him as one of God's messengers. And personally, I don't believe in mocking any religion, God Himself or any of God's prophets. People may have their free reign to ridicule, scorn and jeer at their leisure in every other sector of society, just leave God out of it. That's always been my position.

However, I do understand what Gaga is saying in the song. She's singing about an ex-lover of hers that continually betrays her, but that she can't help but love him... he's her personal Judas. At the same time, she makes a subtle reference to the overwhelming contradictions that exist in society; how people go around and claim to love God, yet they continually betray Him and His command.

She's a clever girl, that Gaga. I've said so before and I believe it. The way she uses her artistic mind to draw symbolic and relevant parallels between different subject matters is unprecedented in the industry. She is a true artist.

But I do believe that she should leave God and any religious references out of that artistic expression. The same goes for every artist... it's called respect. By all means go ahead and make a parody out of just about everything, but leave God alone. He is, after all, the entire reason that all of us are alive and breathing right at this very minute. You don't ever want to bite the hand that feeds you.

Speaking of food. I reckon that Lady Gaga should instead concentrate her efforts on that wonderful gastronomical appetite of hers. Seeing that she has already conquered the meat market with her eye for haute couture carnivorous, I would suggest that she do the responsible nutritional thing and work her way through all her food groups. She could start with dairy... cheese in particular. And she's just in luck since a group of fashion and textile students at Bath Spa University set out to design a "Cheese Couture" collection in her honour. The outfits also come with "Jimmy Cheese" shoes and handbags.
Bring out the crackers I say.

And because I'm feeling so philanthropic, I'd even help her re-write some of those songs:

"I wanna love you, but something's pulling me away from you, Jesus CHEESES is my virtue & Judas GOOUDA is the demon I cling to". 

That's my version and with my potty mouth, I could work under a pseudonym. Sincerely, Lady Kaka.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Coz I've had an apostrophe...

There’s a remarkably fine line between a deduction and an assumption. Deductions typically use existing information in a process of elimination, where the result or end product is the inferred conclusion. Assumptions are the applied projections of people’s own unique thoughts and experiences in a somewhat cultivated hypothesis. Both are variations of postulations and conjecture and could very well be the same thing. However, there is the subtle implication that a deduction employs factual information and is therefore more objective in nature, whereas an assumption is opinion-based and more subjective and biased.

I’ve had many epiphanies throughout my life. Some of them were borne through arbitrary reflections or careful observations or thought processes indulging in the symbolisms of life... all at the oddest of times. Sometimes these epiphanies would come while my hands were immersed in a raw chicken's backside, scraping out the innards with a spoon before using the butchers knife to slice through the joints... we're all chickens just waiting to be slaughtered I'd reflect.

At other times, my epiphanies would arrive when my hands were immersed in a bucket full of popcorn, cupping a handful of popped kernels whilst engaging in the depths of raw conversations with friends... conversations that carved out pieces of the puzzle, presenting the revelation before my very eyes.

And then there were those times when my epiphanies came to me in a flash of light... as simple as a light bulb going on in my head. Completely random musings that came from no where.

I had one such epiphany a few years ago, on a warm day while I was washing my car out in our yard, using the shammy as well as all the muscles in my upper body to scrub all the grime that's so evident on white paintwork. It really came out of no where. There was nothing to allude to it, nothing that reminded me of it, nothing to suggest that my thought patterns would lead me on that road of self-discovery.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I must have been about 5 or 6 years old at the time and in the first grade (I was always a little forward and started school at an early age). There was a period of time when both of my parents worked and I had to go to my aunt's place after school to have lunch and change out of my school uniform into an Abaya or cloak before going off to afternoon Madressa classes. On one particular day, I had gotten to my aunts home after school to find that she wasn't alone as usual. She had a "friend" over and they were sitting and chatting casually in the kitchen.

They weren't actually her "friends". She used to mentor and counsel high school kids as well as some of her own friends' kids, so while she was in her 40's at the time, they were all in their late teens and early 20's... but she called them her "friends". And this particular friend was in his late teens or early twenties, wearing a black suit with a tie, and he was very very good looking.

From the moment I laid my 5 and a half year old eyes on him, I recoiled and became somewhat paralysed. He called me over to him, telling my aunt that I was so "cute", and I nearly vomited all over him. I remember feeling anxious and a little out of breath and then ran to the other end of the table where I climbed onto a stool and immediately put my head down on the table, shielding myself from his gaze with my little arms covering my head and face. "Come and say hello" my aunt told me and my little arms squeezed tighter around my head while my visual and olfactory senses pondered over the chemical composition of the vinyl tablecloth.

"She's shy" my aunt told him. Smiling and highly amused, he said "Aaww don't be shy. Come here and give me a hug". At this point I was practically licking the vinyl tablecloth, maybe even tasting hints of the previous night's chicken curry and rice. A large part of me wanted to go to him and be his friend, but an even larger part of me was petrified and confused. He moved closer to me and whispered in my ear "Don't be shy, it's ok. Come and talk to us"; and my tiny 5 and a half year old frame went all shades of crimson from the top of my curly head, right down to the tips of my leather school shoes.

My aunt thought it was hilarious and goaded me from where she was sitting, "Don't be nasty, come and give us a hug and then you can go and get ready for Madressa". But I sat there, my arms clinging even tighter around my head, shielding my face... frozen, terrified, excited and confused. He tried to lift one of my arms up gently, but soon found that trying to lift a boulder would've been easier. And then, all went quiet and he disappeared.

I lifted my head slowly, peaking with one eye, making sure the coast was clear and that he wasn't there anymore, and my aunt just laughed. She told me "that man is just trying to be nice silly". I exhaled slowly and sat back more relaxed, feeling somewhat relieved and yet disappointed. And then suddenly, he walked into the kitchen again and like an oyster I clamped up, my arms and head hitting the table in a perfect synchronized motion, hiding from his sight.

He came closer to me again, and whispered in my ear. "Would you like a sweet?", he asked. My arms supported my head and I shook it furiously. I didn't want a sweet. I couldn't even say "hello"! He found me so endearing and began to stroke my curly hair in an attempt to soothe whatever panic and anxiety he elicited from me. I don't remember much in those few minutes, but a part of me must have died there somewhere.

It was soon time for him to leave and as he got up, he grabbed his coat and suitcase, came over to my firmly clamped up face on the vinyl tablecloth, stroked and patted my hair once more and whispered in my ear again "I have to go, be a good girl ok", and with that, he secretly pressed a little pink rose into the palm of one of my hands - a rose that he had picked from the garden when he disappeared a little earlier - then closed my fingers around it and left.
I never saw him again. And until today, I don't know who he is. I never got to ask my aunt about him.

I grew up quite conservatively, in a world where there wasn't a boyfriend / girlfriend culture, especially at such a young age. In fact, boys were considered utterly gross, and I didn't even look at or become aware of them until I was in my mid-teens. So between those ages of 5 and 6, I had absolutely no concept of relationships between men and women, or what it meant to be attracted to someone, or what it meant to like or love a boy.

At that age, in my mind, only mummy's and daddy's loved each other and they were born married. I didn't ask any further questions and I wasn't curious either... I was quite happy to live in my own little oblivious world and fortunately, the people I grew up around felt the same. Any other concepts were completely foreign to me, only revealing themselves much later when I went to junior high school.

And so, I must say that I find it both weird and amazing that I had such a strong reaction to a member of the opposite sex at such a young age without any knowledge of what it meant to like someone. I didn’t know it back then because I didn’t recognize or comprehend what I felt, it was all new and strange to me. I didn’t have the vocabulary or understanding. I didn’t have a clue!

But I know today… I know that I liked that man or that I became aware of him in a capacity that I was not familiar with because he wasn’t my father, or brother or cousin or uncle. I must have fancied him to bits without even knowing what it is to fancy someone and what that meant. Maybe that would explain why my arms were like lead around my head.

In fact, my biological reaction was so intense that I can remember EXACTLY how I felt when he was around to this very day. And the impact of my somewhat limited interaction with him has reverberated throughout my life. In many ways, it was my first introduction to a "boy" as such – not a boy that was gross and disgusting – but a boy that I could marry one day (Gosh I had high hopes, even back then). And the remarkable result of my time in this man’s company is that for the next two decades I found myself looking for him in every man that I was ever attracted to.

And this was my epiphany. That man had such a profound impact on my consciousness that for more than two decades, I kept on looking for him in every single man that approached me and every single man that I was attracted to. And when I didn’t find him – if the man in question didn’t possess the same qualities he did; or if he didn’t treat me in the same kind, caring and gentle manner; or if he didn’t elicit a similar emotional response from me – I’d move along to the next guy… still looking for him.

It makes me wonder about all the other experiences that we have as children that end up dictating the kind of lives we choose to live. In one moment, everything can change in a child’s life. I didn’t know it at the time, but in that one hour on that fateful day, I had established my criteria for a suitable mate. And before this epiphany, I couldn’t understand why I was attracted to a man in a suit. To me, a man in a good suit is what a lifetime supply of Dunkin’ Donuts is to Homer Simpson.

I can still remember almost every single aspect of that day… his suit, his hair, the way he smelled, his hand on my hair, even the texture of the rose as he pressed it into the palm of my hand… everything except the details of his face. His face is a blur.

I am sure he had no idea at the time, but his kindness and compassion towards me in those moments had enabled me to formulate a distinct idea of the kind of man that I wanted to spend eternity with – and has subsequently raised the bar for every single man that has ever come into my life since. I’m sure he’s out there somewhere, probably married with kids that are the same age that he was back then.

I have since seen similar behavior elsewhere. I'd like you to meet my boyfriend. He's absolutely adorable MashaAllah. (I'm invoking the MashaAllah's because I want to stave off the evil eye... no harm can come to my little guy... so say MashaAllah and those who knowingly or unknowingly possess the evil eye, keep it to yourselves or don't mind me digging them out with my fork).
His name is Zaheer (his friends call him Iron Man) and he’s my second cousin’s son. At the moment, he’s barely 5 years old (although he's much younger in this pic) and he loves me to bits. He hasn’t exactly said it to my face, but everyone including his mother says so. He often stares at me with these cute adoring little eyes (MashaAllah), but every time I look in his direction, he gets the shock of his life and runs away.

He’s different then I was in that he’s more engaging and playful. So he will often seek me out… he comes looking for me and peeks through the doorways thinking that I can’t see him. Sometimes I surprise him by catching him and tickling him until it seems he’s about to drown in a fit of giggles. Then I kiss him on his cheek and he blushes furiously. I love seeing the awe and infatuation on his tiny face. And he loves the attention. I hope that whatever impression I leave on him, that it’s a good healthy one that will make him a fine young man one day.

Smee: I’ve just had an apostrophe.
Captain James Hook: I think you mean an epiphany.
Smee: Lighting has just struck my brain.
Captain James Hook: Well, that must hurt.