To all the guys who leave the toilet seat up, a love letter

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(The following ditty is brought to you by this contest, which I don't stand a chance of winning.)

Before I begin, I have to confess that I'm by NO means an expert on romance.

Sure, I'm a girl. (So to all of you who until now have been led to believe that I'm a fat, bald guy in Ohio: I'm sorry for the let down!) And like most girls, I'll admit to stealing an occasional glance at one of those sappy, made-for-Sunday-night-T.V. Hallmark movies.

If no one else is in the room, I might even allow myself to get sucked into the predictable plot of girl meets boy, they both fall for each other, but of course one thinks the other is not interested; or the conflict comes in the form of an ex-lover, or class difference, or mean parents; and then, just when you think things can't get ANY worse for the poor souls, one of them falls victim to cancer or a near fatal car accident, which in turn leads to tearful deathbed confessions about their feelings before there is a miraculous recovery and a wedding while the final credits roll.

Bah to Hollywood and their into-the-sunset-and-happily-ever-after endings! I say keep the cameras rolling for that first quarrel, or for the expression on the heroine's face when she walks into the bathroom a few months after the wedding and sees the toilet seat up and the dirty socks on the floor directly NEXT to the laundry basket. Zoom in when the gleaming light in her eye (you know the one. All new lovers have them) is slowly snuffed out as she realises that this is what she's let herself in for: dirty drawers 'til death does him in!

I'm just kidding! Let's face it: we love our partners, flaws and all. And honestly, ladies, if an upturned toilet seat is your guy's worst offence, then you are an incredibly lucky girl. Besides, people who lose their loved ones often say it's those same annoyances that used to drive them up the wall that are sorely missed once their partner is gone.

If that is true, and my sweetie outlives me, then he is going to miss me a LOT, because I certainly have my share of ... eh... shall we say, quirky habits.

For one, I'm a hopeless cook - and that is a gross understatement - so my dearest has no prospects of ever coming home to a home cooked candlelight dinner. (Unless of course the professional chef/caterer prepares it in our kitchen.)

I always believed that my lack of 'proper girl skills' put me at a terrible disadvantage in the romance department (after all, I come from a culture where most girls not only know how to cook and entertain, but they are quite proficient at it too), so I felt I had to compensate for my domestic deficiency in some other ways.

For instance, while at journalism school in South Africa, my best girlfriend and I befriended two boys in our class. Conveniently, they were also the boys that we had secret crushes on, but of course we never let on, because we wanted to prove that we could be 'just friends' with members of the opposite sex. So we spent the majority of our Political Science classes silently pining for and swooning over our platonic pals.

As our final year came to a close, and with adulthood and jobs closing in and threatening to separate all of us and scatter us onto different corners of the world, my friend Michelle and I decided that we wanted to do something special for the guys. The objective was for the four of us to spend one last carefree evening together before finals. Money was tight, so our options were very limited. Luckily my best friend is extremely resourceful, so she came up with most of our final, budget friendly plan.

But long before we knew exactly what we were going to do, we made and sent out their invitations with instructions to save the date, to be ready on time and to wear suits and ties.

Despite the dress code (or maybe because of?), the guys were intrigued and very excited and curious. Every day they would pester us for clues. We responded by acting all mysterious (which isn't particularly difficult to do if you yourself don't even have an inkling of the plans). Luckily Michelle's creativity flourishes under pressure, and before long we really did have a secret to keep.

On the November evening (which is late spring in South Africa), the guys were at home and all dressed up per our instructions when their doorbell rang. Thinking that we were finally there to pick them up, they answered the door. Much to their consternation, they discovered two policemen and a warrant for their arrests for "stealing city property." The "stolen property" in question were several unreturned and long overdue library books.

The two shaken guys were promptly cuffed, blindfolded and, like common criminals, unceremoniously thrown into the back of the police van.

As soon as they were blindfolded, the guys began to entertain the possibility that we had a hand in their predicament. They couldn't be completely sure, though, because the idea that real policemen would participate in a hoax just seemed too farfetched.

Little did they know how many coffee and dinner dates were promised to various members of the precinct!

The cops drove in circles for a while before stopping and finally letting their very nervous charges out of the back of the van.

When the blindfolds and cuffs were removed, the guys were stunned to discover that they were at a park not far from their house. The park was one of our favourite places in the city. We had all spent many a morning there while ditching our classes.

It was just after sunset, and the evening was pleasantly cool and fragrant with the sweet perfume of the lilac Jacaranda blossoms.

Michelle went to greet the newly released prisoners and led them back into the park where I was waiting. Hundreds of bottled candles were flickering around our picnic blanket, casting the professional cello player (a girl who had gone to performing arts high school with me) in a soft glow. For the equivalent of $20, she regaled us with a good hour of Bach and Beethoven while we enjoyed our feast.

By a stroke of luck and pure coincidence, we had scheduled the night on a South African holiday, and after dinner, as if on cue, fireworks began exploding and lighting up the night sky.

Needless to say, the guys were floored and deeply touched, and we were instantly forgiven for not getting them better transportation to the event. (If they had only known: they were THIS close to wearing straight jackets in the back of a speeding ambulance. Unfortunately the EMTs were a bit more difficult to charm than the policemen.)

Despite not being romantically involved with the guys, I think we all remember it as one of the most romantic evenings of our lives.

Since that night, I've had the opportunity (miraculously) to go on a few more dates. Some of the suitors whisked me off to events that were as carefully orchestrated as our picnic. Other guys showed up with flowers and bookings to expensive restaurants (which, frankly, always make me so nervous that I choke. Seriously! For a while I was the original one-date wonder because of my punctual first date choking habit. Apparently medical emergencies aren't quite as romantic in real life as they are in Hallmark movies).

And yet, the dates I remember with the most fondness are the ones that were completely spontaneous and unplanned: laughing together over a carafe of cheap wine at a sidewalk café; being taken for a spin on the back of a motorcycle; going for a walk in the rain; coffee and pastries on a winter's day; a Big Mac and fries in the car; a lovely evening at home, made even more perfect when you discover that he has finally remembered to put the toilet seat down...


martha said:

The missus never leaves the toilet seat up. She's wonderful....

but yeah, those impromtu dates are often the best and most romantic.

deeleea said:

mate... if I'd known about the comp ealier I would have extended the Tez entries to 2000 words...

Of course, competing against you would leave me for dead...

Nice going chick... after reading this I definitely think you're the woman for the Springbok/All Black dissertation...

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is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
Or you can stalk her send her some love via e-mail at: redsaid[AT]gmail[DOT]com

The Wish List (Because yes, she really does need more how-to books. Honestly!)


  • deeleea : mate... if I'd known about the comp ealier I would have extended the Tez entries to 2000 words... O... [go]
  • martha : The missus never leaves the toilet seat up. She's wonderful.... but yeah, those impromtu dates are ... [go]
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