February 15th, 2008

Once upon a James

I’m trying to figure something out today. I read an article in a Saturday Mag once. It described how women and men see things in a different light, the way us girls like to analyse every word and gesture and nuance, and how a ‘white elephant’ to a guy is a ‘thing’ to a girl.

How he didn’t try to ‘catch’ for three months coz he really liked her, how she thought he was a gentleman for the first three dates of chilling, then started to wonder if he was gay. How he finally asked for the next level. To him the next level was breakfast, in her kitchen. To her it was marriage. Long nasty story.

I’ve had my fair share of ‘lost in translation’ moments so I want to try and debunk a few myths. No offense to any of my IM buddies – ahem*ahem* – I quote in love, not mockery.

The imaginary conversation is between me (being CB), two 21st century girls, and a guy we all adore, in a totally platonic, used-to-have-a-crush-on him-back-in-the-day kind of way. I credit KK for the style – I knicked it off his Vals post. NB : James’ italic statements are not meant to be heard by the rest of us.

CB : So I met this guy today.

Sue : Was he hot?

CB : Duh!!

Tina : Any good vibes?

CB : Plenty

James : oh boy

CB : He reads my blog

Tina : Point. Does he like it?

CB : He says I write delectably.

James : Groan

CB : What. You have a problem with my delectable writing?

James : Normal guys don’t say ‘delectable’. If he likes your blog, he’ll say it’s good, or cool. Or simply that you write well. ‘Delectable’ is a word you use in your CV. Or to score.

CB : Oh yeah? well he said delectable. In context. That means he’s smart.

James : No, that means he reads newspapers and owns a dictionary.

Tina : (sang in the tune of the wedding song) Here comes the jacket…

CB : (blushing) Maybe…probably…

Sue : You are so easy! So did you offer it?

CB : Yep

Tina : And he said…?

CB : That he has the uneasy feeling it would be a perfect fit.

Sue : Ooooooh that’s sooo romantic! Did he try it on?

James : I bet he changed the subject.

CB : Actually, he did change the subject…how did you know?

James : Coz he didn’t mean it.

CB : And how would you know that?

James : Coz if he meant it, he wouldn’t talk about it, he’d just wear it. If a guy likes you, he’ll say so. He won’t leave you guessing.

CB : But he did say it. He said my jacket would be a perfect fit. That means he wants to wear it.

James : CB, if a man wants to wear your love jacket, he will simply take it, wear it, and swap with his, so that you don’t feel cold.

Silence as the girls discover James has depth.

James : What.

CB : Nothing. But you’re wrong. I know he likes me. He kept saying all these beautiful things to me…

James : That’s called flirting.

CB : But he wasn’t! I told him not to flirt with me. I told him I always take flirts more seriously than they meant to be taken.

Tina : What did he say to that?

CB : He said he would double the dosage in future.

James giggles. [do guys giggle?]


James : Kwani what do you think he meant?

CB : Obvious! If I take flirts seriously, and he wants to double the dose, then it means he wants me to take him seriously.

James attempts suicide, in more ways than one, by laughing his head off. CB ignores him.

CB : It was in his voice. The way he said it. His voice was reaaaal soft, you know, almost whispering. It sounded sooo tender. And he was looking right into my eyes…sigh

James : booty call

CB : What was that?

James : Any dude who reads your blog knows how to push your buttons, you don’t exactly hide them.

Tina : He makes a good point.

CB : Shidwe. The lot of you. Sue, surely you can recognise the look. Besides, he gazes at me, then he smiles, this secret smile. You know the secret smile.

Sue : True, if a man looks at you like that and smiles, it means he likes you.

James : Or it means your dress is funny, or you have spinach in your teeth, or he’s thinking about the girl at the strip club last night…

Luckily for James, all the missiles in the room are stuffed with faux cotton, and they all head his way.

Sue : Did you ask him what he was thinking?

CB : Duh

James : (smothered by cushions) And he said?

CB : That he was thinking I’m beautiful.

James : smart man

Sue : He totally digs you.

James : Ladies, guys are not as complicated as you are. If a man likes you, he’ll tell you, and ask you out. If he doesn’t, he won’t. Sometimes a guy just flirts to flirt. It doesn’t have to lead anywhere, that’s why when you step up the flirts to more, he runs.

That silence again.

CB : Why would a guy do that?

James : I dunno. Coz he’s a guy. It’s an ego boost to flirt well. And it’s good target practice.

CB : Target practice? Do I look like a dartboard?

James : Yes.

CB : Why you-

James : Si kwa ubaya. Look, a guy has to polish, so that when he finds a girl he likes, he has some back-up. You said it yourself, when a dude finds his Eve he goes ga-ga. The mind goes blank, the palms sweat, the tongue refuses. So it helps if he can call some lines from memory. (Sigh) Sadly when you really need those skills, they fail you.

CB : So assuming you’re right, then if a man flirts with me, he doesn’t want me, but if he doesn’t flirt with me, then he likes me.

Sue : That’s ridiculous. That means half the men on earth want to marry me.

James : That’s another thing. You girls see an interesting dude and you’re on wedding bells mode. A guy dates a girl to date a girl. Period. Marriage comes later. So if you push the ring too soon, he runs.

CB : Thrrr. Back to the point. So he got a call on his cell. And he was asked what he was doing.

James : Was he on speaker phone?

CB : No

James : Then how do you know what he was asked?

CB : Coz he said “I’m sitting at Tacos with this girl.” Then he was asked to describe me.

James : And you know this becauuuseeee…?

CB : Because he looked right at me and said “She’s beautiful”

Sue : Aaaaaaawww, you have all the luck.

James : all the luck of fly in a WC

CB : Well, James, nothing to say about that?

James : You wouldn’t believe me anyway, so why bother?

CB : Okay smart guy, since you have all the answers, he told me there’s this girl he really likes, but he doesn’t have the courage to pursue her. So I’m going to ask him out.

James : WHAT?? Why would you do that?

CB : He was obviously talking about me-

James : Right. He has the guts to say you’re beautiful – and those are REAL guts – but he doesn’t have the guts to ask you out?

CB : Well…but why would a guy be scared to ask a girl out?

James : Coz he’s crazy about her.

Tina laughs out loud.

James : It’s true. If a guy wants to score, it’s a 50-50 thing. Kama mbaya, mbaya. If he gets, good, if not, there’s plenty more fish. But if he really likes her, rejection would crush him, so he’s scared to try. He doesn’t want to get hurt.

CB : So what ** is a girl supposed to do?

James : She waits. If the guy really likes her, he’s got to be willing to risk getting hurt. Once he does that, it means he’s really sunk, and the girl will be treated like the queen she is.

CB : Ah huh. So I just sit and wait for the guy to find his guts. How fun.

James : It’ll save you getting hurt. Coz he won’t risk it until he’s really serious about you.


James : Look at it this way. It’s the cookie jar. A guy likes to chase. So he chases the girl, takes sample, gets bored, moves on. If she won’t give him a taste, he could try till he gets some, or he could move on. If she doesn’t give, she doesn’t get hurt.

CB : So then…how will I know he’s the one? How will I know he won’t get bored after I give?

James : By not giving, duh! See how far he’s willing to push. And for the record, if he genuinely likes you, it’ll take him a while to gather his guts. He won’t ruin it by pushing you into anything you’re not ready for. He’ll take a while to be ‘ready’ too. True love is scary bana.

Another thoughtful silence.

CB : I met him again later. I said hi and he started stammering.

Sue : Stammering? Oh, he likes you for sure. He’s speechless !

James : Or scared you’d seen him chatting up that girl around the corner.

More missiles . Poor James.

Tina : I got a question. There’s this guy who only calls me when he’s high. What’s with that?

CB : Simple. Dutch courage. Booze makes people do stuff they’re too scared to do while sober. Or too sensible. That’s why you can name-call your boss when you’re drunk. You always hate him, but when you’re sober, you know you’ll get fired. So you do it when you’re drunk.

Tina : Maybe…coz whenever he’s sober he avoids me.

James : Probably coz he’s embarassed about calling you at midnight. Doesn’t mean he likes you.

Sue : Aw c’mon. If a man calls me when he’s drunk and says he loves me, it must mean something.

James : Sure. It means he got drunk, picked his phone, called you, and said ‘I love you.’ Kwani?

CB : Fork jembe! It’s obvious that he adores her and is just too scared to say it!!

James : If a man loves you, he will love you when he’s drunk and when he’ sober. And if he really wants to be with you, he’ll take you seriously enough to say it when he’s sober. Several times, just to be sure you got the message.

CB : Sigh. I give up. Women and men will never understand each other.

James : You’re a genius! Applause to the lady.

And the final missile flies.

James : I don’t know why you bother. You know you have lousy aim.

A few more missiles. These ones land right on target.

Tina : But we don’t!

Sue : Bull’s eye!!

So, in conclusion, four lessons:

1. Girls, if you want to know what a guy means, don’t ask your girls, ask him. Immediately. Before he forgets what he just said.

2. Guys, if you like a girl, tell her. It will save her hours of agony wondering whether that was a wink, a blink, or a drunk mosquito lost in your eye.

3. Girls, men call spades spades. They can’t tell a soup ladle from a dessert spoon. So take what they say at face value. Save yourself the drama, don’t analyse.

4. Guys, women will analyse everything you say, don’t say, do, or don’t do. We will start with the colour of your shirt and end with the direction you chose to tie your shoe. Don’t try to understand it, just accept it, live with it, and try to help us out by being less cryptic when you flirt.

PS : There’s a bug floating around blogville. The symptoms are lack of mojo and discommentiosis. Fatalities include this one , this one and this one. We have been carrying out experiments with necromancy and the like, and have managed to resurrect this one.

The first fatality is clinically dead, but there is some brain activity, so we may be able to jumpstart his left hand, fingers crossed..

Some slightly less affected victims suffer from this and this. Mutant strains of the virus have caused this and this.

My doctor has prescribed bed rest, and lots of chocolate. So if you don’t see me for a while, i’ll be in my blankets getting a sugarfix. Meanwhile, my temp will drop the occasional memo from google archives. I’m off to hunt for mojo. Adios…and asta la vista **waving**

Permalance affluenza

I was reading some old women’s magazine at the salon, i’m pretty sure it was a 2004 South African edition of True Love with Kerabo and Tau on the cover. It has some article about ‘new words’. It had things like

affluenza – stress induced by wanting other people’s money

emo – guitar based rockish music with melodic emotional tunes, meant for listening rather than dancing

permalance – a permanent employee who is put on a freelance contract to avoid giving them benefits

mouse potato – internet-obssessed cousin of the couch potato

I could safely say I am an emo-fanatic permalance mouse potato with chronic afluenza. Except somebody told me emo is considered cliche, and is only slightly less flaky than admitting that I like teenage rock and bubblegum pop. Also, there’s a chance i may be returning to my pre-teen metabolism, so I think there’s a possibility I’m aging backwards. The upside is I can beat wrinkles that way…

I am making no sense at all.

I’m a big fan of west wing, and I recently got all 7 seasons on DVD. I have spent many late nights watching them amarathon, giggling to myself and having ‘aha’ moments when CJ figures something out or Sam says something deliciously witty.

It’s strange though, each time I smile, I get this craving for a wingmate. A westwingmate I mean. I love the show. The theme song just makes my insides dance. It lifts my spirits somehow and moves me. I don’t know why. Yesterday [season 3] I was trying to figure out which instrument that is. Probably an oboe or clarinet, it’s got this reedy sound – I can’t remember my Music Appre very well.

I’m kind of in a slump right now. Totally unmotivated, still. Can’t do anything, no psyche for jack. Usually when I get like this, I want to rent a lone flight to mars and stare into the sky for a few years. Provided I have some milk, some rock, and a good book, or maybe 500.

But when I watch west wing, it’s the opposite. I get the sudden craving for someone to share it with. Somebody who finds Josh funny and CJ cute and Charlie adorable. Somebody who likes to kiss and cuddle and get high on sugar and nesquik.

Somebody who will not be bothered if I want to sit around in a leso and watch 100 hours straight of ER while he goes out and climbs some mountain or throws himself off a cliff with a string on his leg. Someone who’ll take me sailing and diving and snorkelling and will surf while I go to sleep on the beach, who will teach me not to punch like a girl. Somebody who will love to watch me dance [?!] and have the appetite of a…okay, let’s not voice that particular thought just now.

I’m wondering where this craving comes from, what it has to do with Martin Sheen and Aaron Sorkin. And also why I have this compulsion to find a reason for everything. In my world, every word, every thought, every random event has a purpose, there’s always a why, things don’t just happen. And it annoys me no end when I can’t find and answer to that ‘why’.

I like to be different, to stand out, to be ‘eccentric’. So I like the idea of being anti-marriage, of wanting to live my life on my own, of going against the ‘type’. If only to be different.

Flying solo has it’s advantages. I like that I never need to know where my phone is coz I don’t expect any calls. There’s nothing as demenaning as staring at your silent cell, checking for missed calls and texts and wondering if the battery is down or if the vibrator is broke just coz ‘s/he’ hasn’t called. And I like that my scratch card budget is point-something of what it used to be coz i don’t need to make those ‘just saying hi’ and ‘just wanted to hear your voice’ calls.

There’s euphoric freedom in getting your paycheck and spending it how you want and on what you want without consulting your other half. It’s awesome to be able to make your own plans in your own space and time without alerting or checking with anyone except to see if they have transport and a kiddie menu.

I used to say marriage is overrated. I think it was more fear than anything else. I thought I’d get tired of seeing the same person day after day after day ad infinitum, especially since I get bored of the average person [outside of my super ten] after about five seconds. Also, my extra X isn’t as customized as it should be.

Incidentally, I’m thinking of getting a uniform or badge or something to brand the super ten. Mnajijua. Any preferences? I’m leaning towards a gold heart encased in platinum, a monogrammed diamond, a year’s suply of ice cream and a limitless credit card charged to King Muswati the 3rd…

Back to the point. I did want somebody to love, but I wanted him to be over theeeere to be summoned at my convenience and not crowding my space. I’m big on my space, and I don’t mean FB’s big brother.

Of course it works both ways. I’m easy – and not like that. I just mean I’m easily pleased. Give me an income that covers rent money, Herbie and fees and I’m set. Outside of the super 10, i’m not big on visiting or being visited. Beyond that, all I do is read, write, and sleep. So I’m pretty good about being summoned at convenience.

Unless of course there’s a docki I like, in which case your convenience had better include a comfy sofa, BBC and sat-fed TV.

I like to set my own agenda. I don’t like to be controlled. If I want to get up and go for a walk, or drive to madagascar, or draw the curtains and hibernate for weeks at a time, or keep my house in a chronic mess, or skip a shower, or rewind my jeans, I want to do that without asking, explaining, or bugging anyone.

And yet…as I watch my west wing for the tenth straight hour, I crave for the sound an engine purring itself into silence, of keys in the lock, of soft firm footsteps, of a sensual kiss that holds a promise of more to come, of a reason to press pause and ask how his day was; of intelligent banter on the meaning of life, the state of the economy, and the colour of Tom and Jerry’s eyes, and of curling on the sofa to watch the rest of west wing together.

I long for someone who will not make me go to his sister’s party [or to any party], but will kiss me goodbye, go out with his boys, have a good time, flirt himself silly, keep his hands to himself, and when the night is over, come home to me. Someone who will know me well enough to read my mood on that one night in a [blue?] moon when I want to tag along and shake-shake.

Someone who will not insist I humour his mother, or change my wardrobe. Someone who will love what I am and accept my flaws, somebody who can laugh at British comedies and hold me when I cry. Somebody who will always tell me what he thinks, and what he feels. Somebody who is not gay.

I’m annoyed at myself for sounding so cliche. For wanting what every woman wants, – love, and a man based on a shopping list. For not being different.

But then again, the latest sport among people in their prime is marriage-bashing, so maybe by being unconventionally conventional, I am going against the norm after all. 🙂

The flirting game

The hypothesis

Flirting is an admission of horizontal thought processes. Spherical interest is usually shown by non-geometric conversation.

Where horizontal means nginginary, spherical means 360 degrees with volume, and non-geometric means encompassing everything else.


Geometry – the branch of CBnautics concerned with the properties and relations of points, lines, surfaces, gymnastics and gloves.

Sphere – an object that is completely round, solid, global, holistic. Each point is equidistant from the centre, and the centre reaches out to every point in its being.


There are many levels of interest. You can be interested in someone geometrically, which means you’re thinking of lines – horizontal, vertical, diagonal or curved, depending on flexibility levels.

You can be interested academically [or financially], where you zone into the person’s intellect and are more preoccupied with what their brain [or wallet] can do for you.

You can be interested genealogically, where shared DNA is involved, suspected or desired.

You can be interested spherically, which involves all the above.

The main tool to express geometric interest is flirting. One dictionary defines it as

behaving towards somebody as if you find them sexually attractive, without seriously wanting to have a relationship with them

Another dictionary states it is

behaving in such a way as to demonstrate a playful sexual attraction to someone.

People flirt when they are thinking about getting some. They may not necessarily be trying to get any, but they’re thinking about it, it’s why they’re flirting. When we notice some horizontal potential, we flirt. It’s reflex. It’s an outward reflection of geometric thought patterns.

When we start to flirt, we’re not really going anywhere with it, it’s a reaction, an autopilot. Depending on how the target [yes, i did say target…or would you prefer stimulus?] responds, then the dynamics can change, and the gears can be shifted. We then consciously try to get the target’s patterns synchronized with our own.

As I was once reliably informed, just because someone wants to play maths set with you doesn’t mean they want to do anything else with you.

Also, just because someone wants doesn’t mean they’re going to do anything about it.

There are several levels of geometry.

Level 1 – You see, you like, you walk away. You probably tell your pals about this hot person you saw.

Level 2 – You see, you like, you react, you walk away after a pleasant flirt session.

Level 3 – You see, you like, you react, the flirt is rebuffed, you go look for comfort food.

Level 4 – You see, you like, you react, you score, you walk away.

Level 5 – You see, you like, you react, you score, you walk away, you come back for seconds.

Then we have the spheres. People always ask how they can tell is somebody likes them. It’s easy. They’ll tell you. Don’t kill yourself guessing.

But before they get round to that, just listen to what they say, watch how they act around you. Someone who likes you as a person will not zone into your sexuality. They will notice it, and appreciate it, but they will not express it. Not until they know you well enough.

When someone is genuinely interested, they won’t respond using a maths set. Instead they will talk to you, actually talk to you. They will hang around you, spend time with you, get to know you, study you. They will be almost assexual with you, coz they’re looking beyond the stimulus.

Someone who genuinely likes you will take some time before they get ‘flirty’ with you, coz they want to decide if there’s anything worthwhile here. And at this point, it’s no longer called flirting, and it’s far more pointed than the usual ‘you have beautiful eyes’. So if someone who’s been friendly and general with you suddenly pulls you close and kisses you, you’re onto something.

The idea that flirting equals interest came from the media. TV people have between 1 and 3 hours to convince us that two people are in love. They can’t afford to have the couple talking about life and careers for two months before they fall in love. So they get them to flirt from second one and voila, chemistry in ten scenes or less. Media is all about symbols, and in media, flirting is the symbol for love. Then we take that misconception into the outside world and assume that everyone who likes our eyes is head over heels.

‘They’ say we can always tell when a someone is interested. That’s a hoax. What we pick on is hormones and chemistry. When someone is genuinely interested in you, you will be clueless. Until they tap into the maths set, then you’re left wondering where the sudden musk came from. At which point if it’s not mutual, you will freak out and run.


If someone flirts with you, have fun, but don’t get your hopes up, it’s just an autoresponse. If they seriously like you, they will keep it on manual and resist the urge to jump you, even if it’s only with words.