Archive for November, 2007

…. no one ever forgets great head!

Posted in Confession, Lyrics - Madonna with tags on November 27, 2007 by moderngatsby


In 1992 three interrelated happenings put me down a path that I have never managed to get off of. A book was published that read more like a whores-who diary of sexcapades across the country between a women named Dita and a guy named John, a CD that was loosely based on the book, and a young impressionable boy who had his first experience with another boy. Almost a lifetime later the boy that became a fuck buddy in boarding school has moved on to a wife, children and a great job at an IT company and I have a great collection of bespoke suits that hang in my cupboard at home.

My name is Dita. I’ll be your mistress tonight. I’d like to put you in a trance.

Since I was overseas when my class had their 10-yrs reunion I didn’t go. I guess I didn’t feel too guilty either since I see many of them at the various old boys’ events through the year: Hilton vs. Michaelhouse rugby, the arts festival, Old Boy’s polo, Christmas mass, fund raisers and of course various school things that I somehow get onto my calendar. But every now and again I see him at a distance in a crowd, or standing in a queue for the boerewors rolls, or even at the club playing tennis on a Saturday morning. About a week ago I sent him a copy of the book, a copy of the CD, and a letter that told him pretty much how I feel whenever I see him although he doesn’t see me.

If I take you from behind, push myself into your mind when you least expect it. Will you try and reject it? If I’m in charge, and treat you like a child will you let yourself go wild? Let my mouth go where it wants to?

While I’m not holding out for a phone call, since his best friend is my ex-Squirrel, I have spent an extraordinary amount of time when alone thinking about what he might be thinking about. Since I started stripping away the layers I’ve come to realise that perhaps he was my first archetypical love and the one that I’ve based my whole sexual choices upon? In the end he was a prefect, first team rugby, swimming, and squash, and not quite the most popular boy but certainly one that many strived to emulate. But at night he wasn’t the asshole that plagued the corridors during the day. Quietly slipping into my room after lights out we would lie after sex for hours. Who was using whom?

Give it up, do as I say. Give it up and let me have my way. I’ll give you love; I’ll hit you like a truck. I’ll give you love, I’ll teach you how to … ahhh

Since our nocturnal nooky started I never seemed to be bothered much by the older kids a few forms a head of me. Not that I was ever bullied but every now and again you got pulled indiscriminately from a line and made to do something humiliating in front of a crowd. It had something to do with breaking you down and rebuilding your character in the shape of the school. And while we were never caught, I don’t think that it was a secret either, and as such I became an extension of him. One night, I remember we had just started kissing and things started getting pretty hot when there was a knock on my locked door. Panic!

Once you put your hand in the flame you can never be the same. There’s a certain satisfaction in a little bit of pain. I can see you understand, I can tell that you’re the same. If you’re afraid, well rise above I only hurt the ones I love.”

It was a friend in the same year as I who was bored and wanted to talk. We often did this sometimes over a packet of biscuits or crisps and wasn’t anything unusual. For 45-minutes he crouched in the cramped hanging space of my cupboard naked until a hamstring muscle cramp gave way to a small whimper and out the closet he tumbled. As my heart stopped for what seemed like a forever we both sat looking at my friend sitting at my study desk as he looked from me to my lover and back again. In the few seconds it took for the truth to dawn on him, and before either of us could say anything, he got up and left us to the night. He never said anything to anyone and always when ever he came back to my room checked the closets first before sitting down.

I don’t think you know what pain is. I don’t think you’ve gone that way. I could bring you so much pleasure. I’ll come to you when you say. I know you want me. I’m not gonna hurt you. I’m not gonna hurt you, just close your eyes.

It’s funny how a song can remind you of something that seems so far back in the distance. How your past and present are not connected but somehow meet at a certain point? And as I realise that my next confession stretches perhaps is over the line of decency but on those hot and humid summer nights deep in the KZN Midlands as the sweat gathered on his naked, hairless chest I learnt something that amazes people to this day. By taking your time during foreplay, learning what stimulates your partner, taking them on a physical journey that torments the pleasure of sex, will always awaken something in them that no one else ever can. It also means that they’ll remember you for a long time.

Only the one that hurts you can make you feel better. Only the one that inflicts pain can take it away.

After all you can forget a bad kisser, but you can never forget the best head of your life.



… 26.11.07 @ 10:00 – Mark Gold Café, Melrose.

Posted in Self-Truth with tags , on November 27, 2007 by moderngatsby

As we narrowly swung back from the edge of the abyss I seemed to overshoot my mark and head back in the opposite but equal direction. Invigorated by a challenge – in this case losing a multi-million rand order and thus a SBU to boot – I put my foot to the pedal and went into overdrive setting almost impossible targets that were eventually achieved. Concessions were eventually made in the end and in giving a little I stand to gain a lot. But the lessons hopefully will not go unnoticed by the Triumvirate and spur on the change that I have been pushing since returning a few months ago.

But what of it? I realised then how fragile the next few months are going to be. Not just professionally but personally as well. One doesn’t exist separate of the other right now. Over a roasted chicken, grilled veggies and grapefruit sorbet dinner, all from his backyard, dinner with the Bradley Cooper-esq guy seemed awkward. Since we have started to open up about our lives to each other as friends often do, I feel the need to hold back a little. Why? Well I’m not sure. I could imagine a million reasons but in truth I want him to see me differently. Not as I am but who I was and therefore who I can be again*.

(*… this pains me to admit but in sounding shallow I hope to sound sincere.)

But why? I have come to realise that universally you can never be loved. If you are then either you’re not being honest with those around you or you’re an aberration of society. In reaching out to some friends that I thought weren’t true it turns out that really they are. One in particular speaks very highly of me which makes me smile because in all the years we’ve known each other there has been no confirmation of his feelings. But what about all the bridges I’ve burnt, relationships that have ended or people that I’ve discarded perhaps too cavalierly in the past?

Between the bankers, paper perfect lovers and squirrels that have come into your life and left with a piece of your shattered heart you wonder, if anything, what they say about you. Why is it that we only seem to believe the negative things people say about us no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary. A neighbour, a face, an ex-boyfriend can cancel out everything we thought was once true. Odd but when it comes to life and love why do we believe our worst reviews?

A thing that particular irks me is not returning telephone calls, messages or emails. One such friend managed to get caught in the cross hairs of my last relationship with a guy that was more sewer rat that squirrel. As one of my oldest friends our friendship is, to use an overused word, complicated. Since moving away and not seeing so much of each other the unease of how things were left off does give me a moment’s pause. Did those untruthful truths finally get into his consciousness or did his pussy-whipping wife finally win?

But what about the new friends that I make? Jo’burg is such a small city that it’s inevitable that the people they know are the people I know. What then? How do you rehabilitate yourself in the eyes of new friends particularly when the baggage of the past is now packed with you on the journey going forward? I think that in life the review that you give yourself is the one that matters most. After all no one gets to see you evolve through the years like you do. At best they get a snap shot or perhaps even a preview of the person you’re ultimately maturing into. And that has to be worth something right?

Good or bad we all have our off days but the mark of a true friend is someone who takes the time to find out how your day is going, cook you a wonderful dinner that you enjoy watching an amazing sunset and then as the moon rises above into a crystal clear evening sky distract you from your days hardship with a little story about Castor and Pollux.

After all they started out as friends and now live for eternity together side by side …


… sitting in a tree.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on November 23, 2007 by moderngatsby

It seems the impossible has happened and yet no clocks stopped, continents shifted, or even an eyelid flutter at the nearby table as he casually mentioned over lunch this afternoon that he was engaged to be married to his medium term, and long time suffering, girlfriend of 3yrs. After living together for only a few months this momentous event was a long time coming and this weekend past on a romantic break-away to the KZN coast the question was asked to a back-drop of crashing waves, a deserted white beach, and a clear sky with a gorgeous sunset colouring the mood of love.

To say that our friendship is a strange one is an understatement and pretty much is tantamount to comparing the Eiffel Tower to an ordinary steel art installation (which it is). We seem to have nothing in common other than the fact that we are friends. Okay that’s not true … we move in the same social circles, belong to the same clubs, and play tennis twice a month between our lunches. He is a successful corporate attorney for a global petro-chemical conglomerate, devastatingly handsome (blonde hair, ice-blue eyes and the cutest smile) and can be pretty much defined as the holy-grail of straight men.

For months our lunches have taken the conversation back and forth debating whether now is the time or not for him to propose, how he would eventually go about doing it and when. I was always sceptical that he would as he didn’t seem ready to commit. At least not immediately but now I think it’s it true when he says “… does anyone truly know when it’s right?” As I sat there I wondered how do you know? Are there signs? Fireworks? Is it right when it feels comfortable? Or is comfortable a sign that there aren’t any fireworks? Is hesitation a sign that it’s not right? Or is it just a sign that you’re not ready? As the idea filled up my afternoon I had to ask: in matters of love; how do you know when it’s right?

For most of my life the word most often used to describe me is ambitious. Constantly moving forward, I propel myself towards the sometimes amorphous goal that comes from dreams, desires, and an inner need to create a legacy for those in my life who cannot. Sure I’ve tripped, stumbled, and fallen on a rocky professional path as I find a place to call home but at the end of the dark days I still have the constant belief that things will work out in the end. No matter what. But now that I am creating that future for myself things tend to get a little bumpy and there is no safety belt to hold you firm.

But when it comes to matters of the heart my last few relationships, barring the Squirrel, were all unexpectedly driven by a want to be in a relationship with someone. And when anyone will do it’s not surprising when things fall apart in the forced circumstances and I am left with the angst of growing old alone. From paper perfect persons who failed to translate to lover, fallen public heroes adored by few, and the many other’s that have passed like a merry go round through and out my door I guess that they weren’t the one that would be for all my time. And I’m comfortable with that.

Knowing that there is someone like you looking for someone like me to hold hands in the park, take walks on the beach, and maybe someday make the commitment that equals an engagement ring as we both look into the sunset with crashing waves a symphony to our eternal love is enough to get me through the holidays. A time of togetherness. But we’re never alone are we? For now I have my family, some great friends albeit far, far away and a certain Bradley Cooper-esq guy to have fun with over the weekends. Everything else is one someone else’s timetable.

… Bond is being snooty while ordering a watered down drink.

Posted in Passion, Uncategorized with tags on November 20, 2007 by moderngatsby

He was a Commander in the Royal Navy” I grumbled from the corner of my mouth to the dinner guest to my left, “Not a bloody Captain from some Banana Republic!” It was said in jest, of course, as one of the party goers walked past our table heading outside for a cigarette but to me spoilt the theme of the evening a little. Yes he had made an effort but that much polyester could be labelled ‘fire hazard’ rather than ‘black-tie’ as the invitation had requested.

She almost choked on her mozzarella salad as she chuckled and just like that all the others became fair game as we hunted our way through the party list. Here to celebrate a mutual friend’s 30th birthday party at a seen-but-not-seen restaurant in Illovo that had been resplendently restyled for the evening everyone knew everyone but few were friends. When the party-circuit in Jo’burg is as small as ours you are bound to bump into one another over and over again and it’s easier to nod than it is to be knobbed.

Earlier I had tried my hand at the cards table and while the game of the evening was not Black-Jack but Texas-Hold ‘Em I bluffed my way through the game as if I knew what was going on. As we struggled to catch up with the other tables which had been served first I was about to start my plate of food when my presence was requested back at the table once again. It seems that while I wasn’t at the head table I was at the heart of their circle and hurried off without having finished my fillet, grilled veggies or creamed mash potato.

Of course by this time many of the men around the table had removed their clipped on bow ties, unbuttoned their shirts a little and rolled up their sleeves to a serious game of cards. Back and forth the little discs representing money flowed between the players. Higher and higher the buy-in became eventually separating the wheat from the chaff as the players tried to show-off their gambling prowess. One by one they flew too high in the betting stakes and with weaker hands fell to earth as Ickerous.

As the numbers counted down from 7, 6, and 5 and finally down to 4 I was the next one out of the top 3. Which was a good thing since dessert was now being served and I had been looking forward to my Crème Brûlé and double espresso. With many of the guests equally split between the dance-floor and the card tables I walked among the groups outside and briefly stopped if I knew someone to catch up. Although I had recently moved to a smaller town the conversation made me feel like I had moved to another universe.

As I stood there watching all the people as they sat around the various tables playing cards from a distance, or even catalogue couples reunited through drinks orders or desserts being passed around on silver trays, I got to thinking about the gamble we take when we date. In life People go to casinos for the same reason they go on blind dates: hoping to hit the jackpot. But mostly you just wind up broke or alone in a bar. As I sat looking at my bête noir winning I had to ask: if we know the house always wins, why gamble?

This question hit home as a friend of mine told me he was in the middle of ending a 14-yrs relationship because of a boy that he met while in Europe a few months ago. His leap of faith towards the unknown leaves me in awe because at 55-yrs old he wants something more than a comprise that he’s settled for. But it’s not just him. Lately everyone I seem to talk to all seem to be falling into love whether it’s Cooper in London, Ethan in New York, Peter in Zurich or even more locally Mike in Cape Town. They all seem to be over the moon but some cynical part of me remembers the courting stage.

That magical time in the first few weeks or months of the relationship when everything just floats past you, as you sit there disconnected from the world holding hands, or kissing in a park, and talking through dinners that last late into the night. Frenetic love-making under the stars and lazy Sundays in bed with nothing but the papers, crumbs from that croissant you fought over and the smell of coffee mixed with sex. Hours apart seem like days that will never end and weeks separated seem an eternity.

But then slowly it falls apart as brick by brick you heart slowly starts to build that wall around to protect you from the car crash that will become your life shortly. When you get that call when a frustrated voice says ‘… we have to talk’ or a SMS that once excited your heart now breaks it. It’s over. These are memories that I try and avoid every time I go out on a date set-up by a well meaning friend or couple. And after that great first date all the euphoria comes back as your body remembers the tingle of being in love again.

And that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? The frantic scramble to find someone to start a family and to grow old with. But the older you get the less frantic the search becomes as you become comfortable with quite Friday or Saturday nights in your own company and knowing that you can do whatever you like without having to check with someone else first. And then from across the table in your own secret garden you look up and smile at the crumbs of toast that are caught in his stubble. Affectionately you brush them away. He’s comfortable enough to let you do that without it meaning more.

After all the Bradley Cooper-esq guy might tease you like a friend, help fix a damaged wheel spoke like a friend or even butter your toast like a friend but sometimes even friends fall in love right? Not that that’s my angle but I wouldn’t say no on Christmas morning. Because let’s face it: it’s easy to wish for the perfect job, townhouse or boyfriend to come along but sometimes in life you just have to play the hand of cards you’ve been dealt. Who knows that King of Hearts might be the card you need for a Casino Royale Flush.

… row, row, row the boat gently down the stream.

Posted in Passion with tags on November 14, 2007 by moderngatsby

After being totally eye-fucked early Friday evening by the Bradley Cooper-esq looking guy behind the returns counter at the video store I realised that I am living every gay-boys dream. After almost a decade in Jo’burg it had gotten to a point where you couldn’t whip off your Gucci belt and swing it around a restaurant, nightclub or popular Saturday morning café without hitting someone you’d either dated, wanted to date, or just had a one-night stand with. Not only was I in a new postal code but a new meat market as well.

So for the last three weekends since moving out here I have tried to orient myself with all the little out of the way stores that can fulfil my every (budgeted) bespoke craving. I must admit that I have been surprised on more than one occasion by the incredible finds. Kinda like an American who visits a European country and is amazed to discover they speak English too! But for me the language of common understanding is quality, at reasonable prices, and can be customised to my immediate requirements.

Take for example the tea garden-slash-organic food market-slash-gallery just down the road from me. I know the produce on the shelves is fresh because often on my early morning mountain bike rides I see people in the fields picking and ploughing the fields. And until my own organically reared hens start laying eggs I know I can easily fill up a tray on any morning of the week at their farm stall. We’re going to have a run-in someday about the coffee they serve (first mistaken for bitumen) but that is a footpath bridge to cross another day.

Fast forward to Saturday lunchtime I managed to pluck up the courage to ask the Bradley Cooper-esq clerk out for some coffee. Where I come from when a guy asks you out for some coffee it is code for ‘fuck the coffee and just fuck me’ but out here he really thought it meant ‘let’s have some coffee’ and so we did at the quant little Victorian village on the High Street after church on Sunday. Coffee turned into perfectly folded eggs, lightly sautéed mushrooms, grilled Karoo lamb sausages and toasted home-made bread. What followed was pretty text book.

He is 33yrs old, a former stock-broker now small-holding owner sometimes video rental assistant when the owner (brother) is away. A wide circle of friends, he is interested in off-road motor biking, canoeing, and squash and he avoids the gym. He prefers rather to keep his perfectly formed Pecs in perfect shape by doing pull-ups/ push-ups ever morning at the crack of dawn. He finds solace in his own thoughts, in growing his vegetables, and in discovering new ways to challenge himself.

Since my last boyfriend in a paper-perfect relationship ended when he failed to translate to lover the alarm bells started clanging in my head the moment I heard the words ‘… never been in a serious gay relationship. I’m pretty new to all this stuff. I don’t really think that it’s right, somehow.’ But as I tried to look past all that and at the man in front of me I realised that an ever hopeful part of me really wanted him as something more than the friend he’s most likely going to end up being.

Driving back to the cottage an email from a close friend of mine came back into my mind and her words of disorientation reminded me of her own, similar, situation. The paper perfect guy that she was seeing just couldn’t seem to make up his mind about what he wanted. And so back and forth, up and down she yo-yos waiting for her ever loving heart to be consumed by his forever love. First dates and young love seem to be so draining because we put so much into them only to watch them fall apart again.

Later that afternoon, as I watched the sun setting in the company of a double vodka tonic, I got to thinking about the stock market and dating. Are they really that different? If you have a bad stock you could lose your shirt. If you have a bad date you could lose your will to live and if the date is good the stakes get even higher. After weathering all the ups and downs you could one day find yourself with nothing. So, when it comes to finance and dating, I couldn’t help but wonder: why do we keep investing?

I didn’t have any answers that night, or the next, or the night after that. And then trying to escape the midday heat that left the pebbled sidewalk, not unlike a motivational fire walk, I looked up from my menu and saw him: my emotional equivalent of the 1989 stock market crash. Entertaining what I assumed to be a fellow client of the private bank that he works for, my ex-private banker looked every bit the man that I was so in love with for so long. In the very short conversation we promised to do coffee sometime soon.

There is a type of date that you can’t wait to keep and a date that we both know that we’ll never keep. The ex-stock broker was the former and the ex-private banker was the latter. As I walked out of the restaurant I looked up at Exchange Place and made a prediction. The ALSI might be up or down by close of trade this afternoon, but my friendship with the Bradley Cooper-esq guy can only be on the rise. And who knows someday might even pay out some handsome dividends of its own.

… the crescent and the cross.

Posted in Self-Truth on November 13, 2007 by moderngatsby

It’s just past 09:00 in the morning and the temperature outside is climbing slowly back towards the 30˚C mark. We’re in for another hot day on the African Highveld after an equally warm evening. Sticky and uncomfortable as the moisture is sucked from the hard, brown earth leaving you in a blanket of humidity. It envelopes you like the darkness of a pastoral night that is clear and sharply defines a crescent moon above.

Almost in a moment you can imagine G’d sweeping it in a slow, purposeful arc cutting away all the pain and hurt and suffering from the earth as if he were lancing a boil. And as the draught of the approaching midnight sends a chill down my spine, almost naked except for the thin t-shirt on my back, I walk back inside. Reluctant to fall asleep for the fear of dreams. Dreams filled with faces of people no longer in my life, places that I can never visit again, and the ghosts of relationships past.

I am taunted by the promise of a bright future forged through perseverance. A boy becoming a man! 

An inner strength that you discover when you touch the deepest troughs of personal loss and realise what it means to have ‘heart ache’. But muscles like the heart heal, in time, but the sinewy bridge makes it a little harder and less flexible to whimsical delights of a stolen kiss at Café Florian, drinking a Borolo with that handsome stranger as you lay on a night such as tonight under the expansive sky, or looking into the eyes of your lover over a cup of coffee and realise that this time …

… this time it will be different.

I thought of you last night as I sat looking at the evening star. The evening star will always be a reminder of you as the night that I love so much.

… the love letter.

Posted in Uncategorized on November 12, 2007 by moderngatsby

“… With some friends on Fire Island. It’s cold and the season is over so there is no one here. The fire is burning. Drinking red wine. I put on one of your CDs. Just like that, everyone stops talking. It’s not the first time this has happened. Something about your music. They listen to one song, then another. Transported. Each one to a different place, a different memory. This goes for a while. Then, someone at the table wants to know. Who made you this mixed CD? And so I tell them about a boy I met at a cemetery. Who took me to a beach once and under the moonlight played me a song about two people who together forget the world. And you can tell by the look in their eyes that they are overwhelmed by the story. The romance of it all. It’s a love letter this CD, they say. Then they ask that question. The one I know would make you smile if you were here.” 

Ethan Gray (Shades of Gray) 

Note to reader:These words, as always, take me to another place of passionate introspection. Of things that I want from life. Of myself. When I was down his [Ethans’] emails [to me] took me from the dark place I was in by showing a sublte way that words have the power to heal.