N Mooi man is almal se man. N lelike vrou is almal se vrou.
There are many feelings in my life I never want to feel again. Some of these are unavoidable, like the sting of a loved one dying, or the burning regret of what you assumed was a bladder infection, years later revealing itself to be genital herpes, sent from your dead ex… Like FedEx.
But the emotional turmoil I am specifically digging up for the purpose of this blog instalment is the humiliation that only comes from chising someone so hard that they have a folder of your naked pictures on their phone.
You, however only have an illegitimate baby, a measley dick shot (with the Markhams boxer still on, to emphasize girth) … and one ironic picture of them on the toilet that they sent to you… because they ‘trust you’.
We will get into that later.
Regardless, a lesser known fact is that my deceased ex-boyfriend/baby-daddy/abuser/blog subject died with a memory card filled with images of my vagina.
A memory card I am yet to recover.
I highly doubt he was cremated with his phone. Although, I paid that installment long after the subscriber was unavailable.
Should have bought him a burner phone.
That’s not funny.
Regression: I assume that one day when I finally make my film debut, this phone, and memory card will emerge, cause my imminent divorce, and blast me into superstardom.
I used to be so thin and flexible.
But, I know this isn’t the story you tuned in for today.
You wanna hear what happened with Bradley.
The juicy details of the humiliation faced by another woman is so goddamn refreshing.
It’s a waste of time, but so engaging… like Buzzfeed. (What type of office equipment are you? I am a stapler. Also I am Griffindor, and yes, I agree… the 90s was awesome).
I for one am guilty of partaking in secret belly laughs about how men have hurt women, even women I know.
“OMG he then chised Nadine last night, do she know her burk is single?” Laugh Laugh Laugh at other person’s expense.
Have you ever wondered why we spend half of our lives competing with each other for boys?.. and then the other half relating to each other’s stories of how kak boys made us feel for the first half of our lives?
Maybe we should start wondering.
Not all men are bad.
On Sunday, my husband and children and I attended Water World in Strand, for my nephew’s 7th birthday party. At one point, I turned around and looked towards the mega-slide, just in time to see my 34 year old husband, in a swim shorts, laughing loudly, running past two 8 year old girls, to push them out of the way so that he can go down the slide first.
And that, is all you need to know about men.
Bear in mind that I married one of the good ones.
My sister… make some tea…
The next few paragraphs are mortifying.
But don’t feel guilty for any feelings that may arise.
… because, well …
This story is about you.
When Bradley came to our school in grade 9, I immediately deemed him out of my league.
A spikey haired, troubled youth, he was everything I knew I wanted to hide from my mommy. But he immediately clicked with the cool crowd; the girls with straight bobs, and the boys who played rugby.
But, he noticed me.
Or perhaps he noticed my desperation.
In the afternoons, a group of us used to walk to Tamara’s house and smoke cigarettes. Tamara’s mom was pretty cool with us hanging out and she was allowed boys in her room.
Obviously, Tamara was white.
One day in a game of truth or dare, Bradley leaned in to blow smoke into my mouth. I thought he was gonna kiss me, and I stuck my tongue in his mouth… for the longest five seconds of my life, he didn’t reciprocate…
Then, he quickly licked my mouth… and pushed me away.
I realized what had just happened and pretended I didn’t notice.
I wasn’t deterred though.
Mortified, yes. Deterred.. no.
For the next six months, the more he ignored my advances, the more I asked my friends to talk to him about me.
“Make reg, man?” was like a vocabulary staple.
I know, this is painful to listen to (though, probably not as painful as it is to write it out loud)… but at the time, I was completely oblivious to how he couldn’t be into me… He greeted me, which means I was in his league right?
One Friday midyear we ended up in the same detention room.
I was ecstatic. My vagina felt tingly. I was oddly brave and knew that if I didn’t make my move immediately I would regret it.
He sat down next to me.
The next few minutes aren’t clear in my memory, but I know I ended up handing him a piece of paper:
“Will you go out with me?”
I saw him sit and stare at the request for the second longest five seconds of my life.
He started to write his reply…
And immediately, I was filled with regret. There was no way out of this now.
He said yes.
I smiled the whole time.
I found it weird that he didn’t look back and smile at me. He didn’t react, really.. or talk to me for the rest of detention. No matter how much my logical thoughts about his behavior tried to tell me this wasn’t what the moment should be like, I kept giving him the benefit of the doubt.
Boys mos don’t show the same emotions we do. Everybody knows that.
He is obviously shy. I must just take the lead.
I can make him smaak me. Ill just allow him to touch me.
My 13 year old thoughts were embarrassingly common.
When detention ended, he disappeared. I expected him to at least want to wait for me… shouldn’t we vray or something?
Still, I went home ecstatic.
HE said yes.
Now, I didn’t grow up in the time of social media, or chat applications, so not hearing from him wasn’t too strange.
I phoned his house.
A few kids from school were there. He couldn’t really talk. He seemed very distracted.
Monday’s happening didn’t match though.
“Awe Shana”, he said.
That was enough to make me blush.
He approached me while I walked through the quad, on my way to sit on the bleaches, near the cool kids, so they could see me act cool and perhaps change their minds about me.
“Hello Bradley”, I giggled.
“We mos jolling?”, he winked at his friend, who I only now realize was stifling a laugh.
I smiled, but the sentence upset me. Jolling wasn’t as serious as going out. I felt demoted, but was willing to take what I could get. People saw him talking to me.
He made small talk and put his arm around me, winking enough times for me to be completely submissive.
When the bell rang, I expected a kiss on the cheek, or something I could brag about.
Instead, I received a simple; “You always got money ne? You Pelican Heights kinnes are rich…”
I didn’t know how to respond, although I felt a little proud that he saw me as a rich girl.
“ Don’t you wanna buy me a R5 gatsby piece?”.
The rest of the week was similar.
I didn’t see him at school the Friday, but I ended up in detention again.
*Now, what is worse than boys who hurt us for personal gain, is a woman who pretends to be your friend, but really has her loyalty tied up into men, and how they see her. You know the girl I am referring to. She is pretty and has long hair. She usually tells the boys to stop teasing you, but when you aren’t there, she laughs with them, at all the jokes they tell about you.
Sometimes she is a girl who failed, and ended up in your grade. And because she has connections to the older kids, the boys will lam with her… And she believes that she is kwaai. Even though she is academically retarded. She always talks to you with an “ag shame” smile on her face. As if she knows something about life that you don’t.
The point is, she isn’t your friend. But you want to believe she is. You will come across many of her in your life. Spray her with Doom.
Back to scheduled entertainment:
Detention was empty. One of Bradley and I’s mutual girlfriends sat next to me. The conversation didn’t take long to become about him.
“I didn’t see Bradley today”, I told her. She looked smug and proud.
“They actually all bunked at the vlei today. You must hear the stuff that happened”.
She paused “Naai I cant tell you is only for the group to know, you wys?”. She made everything sound so cool and exclusive.
But against my better judgement, I blurted “We going out”.
“Who is going out?” she was truly confused by my admission. And verbatim is the conversation that followed:
“Me and Bradley. Since last week Friday”.
“Don’t talk kak… [laughs]”
“Why you say I am talking kak?”
“He was then getting bymekaar with ****”.
“When did he ask you out?”
“I asked him”.
In her defense, her face went from ridiculing laughter, to actual, sincere pity for me. She hugged me. But like I was an abandoned puppy.
“Shana, he’s a playa man. You not the type of girl brasse go for in highschool. You more for when they settle down”.
I must have blocked out the rest of that conversation.
I called him that night, to his house phone, and he said among other things that “I said yes because I didn’t want you to feel kak”.
Again, I think my mind deliberately threw out the rest of the conversation.
The next week, he invited me over to his house. He wasn’t in school much that week, but said a few school friends would be at his home.
I asked my mom if I could sleep at my cousin’s house in Strandfontein. The Saturday morning, Myself and my cousin walked to Bradley’s home, and were greeted by him, and two of his guy friends.
Neither of them were from school.
We had a nice day of smoking dagga and drinking beers. I always pretended to drink more than I actually was. But Bradley seemed to be a pro at staying up-right while intoxicated. And I am not talking about his spine.
When things quietened down, after everyone’s dop was trekking, he asked me to sit with him in his room.
He kissed me, which I expected, but when I noticed that two of his friends were watching us through the glass panel above his door, he pushed me down, and shoved three fingers into my vagina.
The friends stormed in.
But not to help me.
They all smelled his fingers.
I didn’t want to make a scene. He put his arm around me, assured me he was just joking and accompanied me to my cousin. The state I found her in isn’t my story to tell.
He reminded me in front of everyone that I was wet. So how could he have forced me?
He walked us halfway to her house.
He kissed me goodbye.
I went to bed that night with butterflies.
And a lot of confusion.
All I remember is that when Monday arrived, Bradley had been expelled. The ‘group’ he was always with had done drugs at the previous trip to the vlei, and a resident had called the school.
I missed him.
Later that year, during the school holidays, there was a knock at my door.
My mom is a teacher and was in a holiday workshop, and my dad wasn’t retired at this point, so I was alone at home most days.
Bradley had walked from Strandfontein village, to come and see me.
Bradley, and about eight of his friends.
Now when I say friends, think of all the boys you know, who prefer to be called by their street names.
Ike, Pung, Miagi, Juvi, Koppe, Boere, Miley.
All in BadBoy sweaters, buff platforms and early 2000 spikes. The extra-long kind, that requires glycerin soap.
When I let Bradley in, all of them walked in, and bolted straight for my room. I am not sure how they knew where it was.
He stayed behind at the door, and once they were all inside, he kissed me.
His mouth was so dry.
“We in the area here by a other kin. So I mos remembered, you mos live here. I was here last time with Clynn”.
I was so happy that he remembered.
We lammed and vrayed for a while. I told him I missed him at school. He told me he needed to borrow my phone.
“Why do you need my phone?”.
“I wanna show my mom. This is the one I want for my birthday. Don’t be so. We mos know each other long”.
I was skeptical, but not enough to assert myself.
“Promise you will bring it back?”
“Yes, I will be back in an hour. I will come alone”.
You can’t make this shit up.
“… but don’t let this brasse see you giving it to me. They skelm”.
My mind honestly believed that he was looking out for me, by making me aware.
“We must first go buy tik when we go now. For that kin mos”.
My eyes widened.
“… you also want?”. He asked me.
I didn’t. But I didn’t reply.
“Okay now I wys you what, I’ma take this phone with to the merchant to tell him im gonna sell it for the money. Then when he give the tik, I will bring it back. Ill get money again to pay him man. He is my bra. He must just see I have the phone”.
I knew that absolutely none of that was logical. But I chose to believe that I was the one that didn’t understand how cool people operated.
I was silent, but didn’t want to be the uncool one to say no to drugs.
“Then we lam, just me and you in your room?”.
He left around 2.
I called his phone at 3.
I called his phone at 4.
I called his phone at 5.
I called my phone. It was off.
My parents got home at 6.
“EK phone vir jou al heel dag Shana. Wie was hier?”
The kaare started to swirl around my head.
“A boy from school came to visit. He stole my phone”.
My mother, livid that I had let a boy in the house, put me in the car and drove me to Bradley’s home.
“Jy kry nou daai phone van daai klong af”, she waited in the car.
“Ek ken mos vir Bradey, Clynn se vriend. Ek het vir jou gese jy moet weg bly van sukke mans”.
I walked up to his very guarded home, and rang the bell.
I rang it several times.
I started shouting that if he didn’t come out, I would call the police.
Then, when he opened the door, he slowly walked up to the burglar bars and said please don’t shout. “The phone is gone Shana. We tikd it out. Please don’t shout, you gonna wake my mommy.”
“Bradley you stole my Phone”.
“Jus, You gave it to me”.
Years passed, and I met my fair share of good and bad men. I graduated, went to university. Met Lyle.
When Lyle cheated on me, I remember one day logging on to Facebook, and receiving a request from Bradley.
Almost a decade had gone by, and I accepted.
Immediately a “Hello Shana. Looking good ne?”, came through in my inbox.
We talked for a while, he called me. We reminisced.
Then, he asked me if I could see him. He wanted to talk about something.
When the day came, I made my way out of the office building, and into Long Street. We spotted each other from across the road.
“Hi Shana”, he smiled.
To be continued.
He doesn’t want me… to continue (Part 3)
High profile men called out for misbehaving. I use the word ‘misbehaving’, because that is how lightly the world still takes sexual misconduct.
My seven year old son knows that he isn’t allowed to touch anyone’s body.
My three year old daughter knows that her vagina is her property.
Yes, vaginas are likened to property. Please don’t act surprised.
You’re born, men touch your vagina, then your husband owns your vagina… then you die.
None of this is the point I am trying to get at.
On Monday, while at my father’s hospital bedside, Bradley, from part one and two, in-boxed me on Facebook, to ask/warn me to stop writing about him, because he is being recognized.
He doesn’t want his wife to know about his past, because he has changed his life.
He also said that he would take legal action against me, because “not everything is true”, and I am seeking attention.
I stared at my father, one of the few men I know who hasn’t touched my vagina. This fact apparently makes me one of a privileged few women.
I looked at my dad, as he laid there, unaware of just what a good man he is.
I looked at him, not knowing if he would ever open his eyes again.
…and I again felt like an angry coloured woman, being asked to shut up… so a man, not even a fraction of my father – can live, consequence free.
With his kids.
And his wife.
And his clear conscience.
I replied to Bradley, who revealed several very interesting things:
1. A mutual friend of ours, a woman, sent him a heads up about my blog, because she ís “protective over him”. As most people are with perpetrators.
I really dislike ‘Nadines’.
2. Telling my story means that I am an attention seeker, even though A) My blog existed before I told this story and B) It is MY story.
And my favourite part of all
3. Not everything I said is the truth.
I of course responded by saying that everything I said was true. The day with my cousin. The day he stole my phone.
He agreed, except felt the need to say two things.
a) “Did you tell about the part where I helped you escape from your abusive boyfriend?” I mentioned that that would be in part 3… sort of.
and b). “I never had a doorbell”.
And these are the type of people I let into my vagina.
I should take legal action against myself.
However, I feel it fair to state that I did not use this man’s real name.
I did not reveal his age, location or place of employment.
I did not write anything, in order to destroy his life.
However, it is only defamation of character, if it is a lie.
This, is revelation of character.
Mostly, my own character.
So now, like many women, I have to consider whether I am willing to continue my story, or protect my family (I am no longer a single entity) from possible financial and emotional consequences’. Because, the truth is that we live in a world that victim shames.
It is still his word against mine.
It is his world, against me.
It is still on me, if I expose someone for who they really are.
I think this, is a lesson in itself about exactly how far we still have to go as a gender, as a country, as a world and as a UNIVERSAL mindset.
So for the women who followed my trilogy and related, and to those who unfortunately find themselves in the same position in future, let me offer you the moral of the trilogy, without having to tell the rest of the story.
1. When a man shows you who he is: Believe him. More than often, we lie to ourselves, so that we can keep people in our lives.
2. If it doesn’t feel good, it isn’t from God. A break up is easier than a life of compromising yourself, your beliefs and your happiness.
3. Abuse isn’t physical. If you are constantly altering behavior so that someone can want you, you need to evaluate exactly who you are, and who that person is.
4. Alone isn’t always lonely.
I Love You.
God loves you.
You can love you.