The secret to successful blogging

29 09 09
In what is becoming an annual event,  Peach St Bernard has written to me, this time offering me help.   On this occasion, she has requested an explanation for the sorry state of my unfeminine blog. Please do read while I fix the pretty red ribbon in my hair and page through baby name books in preparation for the sprog I may or may not have in the next 10 years. Ahem…

I have been thinking a lot, DBAWIW. About Wot It Means To Be A South Effrican Woman Etc Etc. I recently turned 30, and I have been thinking long and hard about children and whether I would like to have a baby, either with someone else, or on my own as a single woman. Why am I thinking so much about kids lately, I wondered to myself, as I flicked through my list of 20 or so blogs that I try to check up on every day. Suddenly – it was all clear. In looking at these blogs. I hit upon some really profound truths about women and writing and creativity after the age of 25, which I wanted to share with you because, I am afraid to say, I feel you and your little blog are in dire need of these golden nuggets of insight.You know what the problem with your blog is, DBAWIW?

You don’t have a baby.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I will in all likelihood have one child in the coming years, if not several. And I will be as besotted with those sprogs as the next mom. I’m all for ree-pro-duck-shun. My question is – why are there so few good blogs written by South African women that don’t droan on disproportionately about babies??? Maybe I am missing something,  but it seems to me that if you are a woman in South Africa over the age of 25 who wishes to write a blog, it is absolutely *critical* that you fall into one of the following three categories:

– you don’t have kids at the moment (oh oh), but you desperately WANT kids. This is third-prize in the blogging stakes, really, and requires you to write long posts about how much you adore your nephews/ nieces/ friends’ kids and how you desperately want kids SOON. Confirming your successful femininity by expressing your desire to nest is key to dispelling any anxiety in your readers that you might not be entirely normal. Any examination of *why* you might want kids, what the consequences and challenges might be, why there is so much emphasis on your biological “destiny” in South African middle class circles, or sheer paralysis in the face of taking the decision to conceive is strictly verboten.

– you are pregnant. This is second prize in the blogging stakes. Your blog quickly stops covering those pesky dull topics which are not really suitable for ‘the ladies’ such as current affairs, politics, satire, the arts, or business. Phew! We can leave those conversations to the menfolk with their big brains and fancy words, and concentate on the real stuff – describing in minute detail your insane cravings for chocolate-covered coal and how your doctor described your uterus as “compassionate, but determined”, or some such equivalent. Asking insincerely for advice from the throngs of pregnancy-sympathisers in your comments section is also a *must*. “Ladies,  TOUGH DECISION AHEAD!! Help!! I’m thinking of doing the painting details on the nursery walls with a soft sponge, so which is better? Sea sponge, or artificial sponge from Game? Like, HELP ME OUT HERE!!”

– you have had the child. This is the Holy Grail of life phases for South African women bloggers. At this point, you can dispense with any pretence of dialogue with the outside world and just begin the relentless evangelising of motherhood and how amazing and affirmed you are by your choice to have kids. Yes, it was tough, but you would not change it for the WORLD, NO WAY JOSE. Most female bloggers in this phase are smart enough not to call their blogs names like “I openly pity you if you don’t have kids” or “I take your ambivalence towards having children as some sort of sign that you are incapable of giving and receiving love” or “Western society has told me I have made the right decision and my god I am going to use this blog to reaffirm that daily”. They call their blogs self-deprecating or whimsical names such as “Whoops! I’m a bad mom!” or “The Journey” or “Mum Central”.  Here you can write post after post after post about how when they smile, the ripped rectum was all worth it, and how mooshy you get when your husband holds up a finger with the baba’s green creamy poo on it and says “Look honey!”. Awwww! Adorable! Endless posts about sleep deprivation and amazing self sacrifice all for the love of your child are also thrilling and thought-provoking for your reader.

I would encourage you to think hard about your blog DBAWIW. Does it meet any of the above critera? No I think it does not.

May I suggest you fall pregnant chop-chop, or at very least stop this unnatural and unladylike interest you have in stuff best left to men, such as The News and Humour. Failing that, I will be sure to send you photographs of my uterus when I have a child one day.

Just a little friendly advice,

Peach St. Bernard.

There are two extremely important points made by Peach St. Bernard (which, incidentally, is a marvellous porn star name) in this helpful assessment of my and other blogs:
1) Peach St. Bernard, you are utterly correct. Your words are like the cold splash of water I needed to wake me from a nightmare; a nightmare filled with debate about current events and trends and politics and humour. Why oh why have I wasted my time NOT talking about babies and pregnancy for such a long time?
2) I greatly look forward to high-resolution, full-colour photographs of your inhabited uterus. I shall stick them up on my fridge next to my friends’ children’s drawings of hairy fire engines and lopsided houses.

Cunt – A fucking good word

23 09 09

I had steak last night with Purple Poodle and an old friend from our year at Wits Business School. I hadn’t seen the dude in a very long time, and was feeling a little apprehensive about the meeting. It’s been five years since we all bonded over group projects as we committed to being learner business tycoons and titans of industry.

Oh hold on, I need to make a few photocopies for my boss, be right back.

Sorry, where was I? Oh ja, business tycoons, titans of industry, etc. etc. The three of us had a marvellous evening. We spoke a lot about how the word ‘cunt’ is just such a delightfully expressive term, and really should be liberally applied to bosses and all sorts of unpleasant individuals and situations.

For example:

Situation 1:

You’re at the counter at Woolworths. You’ve just bought R500 worth of  groceries, including three dozen tampons. You realise, as the queue surges behind you, that you’ve left your wallet at home. “Oh, what a silly cunt I am,” you trill at the the cashier, while she looks at you blankly and inclines her head.

Situation 2:

You’re all gathered in your company’s boardroom, whereupon the boss announces that there’ll be no bonuses at the end of the year owing to ‘the recession’. You stand up and say, “I’m afraid that is super cuntish behaviour, sir, and you’re going to have to be shot as a result.”

Situation 3:

You’re at great aunty Gertie’s 80th birthday party, where you have the bad fortune to be accosted by your cousin’s husband, the boob-starer. “Hello,” the boob-starer announces to your bust. “Move along to the buffet table, cunt-face,” you reply sweetly.

Yes, the opportunities for cunt-calling are manifold. Don’t let them slip away, I beg you.

blah yadda hunna rhubarb

21 09 09

I’ve just submitted leave forms for the nine remaining days I have left of leave this year. Thus, the next few months should be pretty tolerable owing to the fact that I will be away from the office for parts of a week – and a full week in November – until we begin it all again in January 2010.

I suppose it’s unsurprising that instead of saying a cheerful hello to my colleagues on a spring Monday morning, I would prefer to whip out a pair of nunchakus and smack most of them in the head with intricate skill and athletic prowess.

Perhaps that is less unsurprising than I’d imagine. Perhaps other people who’ve not taken enough leave by this point in the year DON’T imagine inflicting bodily harm on their colleagues. Perhaps it’s just me…and my colleagues.

Anyway, the weekend was nice. The good news is I managed to read 30 pages of my book, after about six weeks of not reading. The bad news is those 30 pages were some of the most depressing words I’ve ever read. Depressing in a good way, however; in a way that makes me want to continue reading to find out what happens to this man and if he effectively destroys all of his relationships in the next +/-250 pages of the novel that remain. Will let you know how it all turns out in April next year.

Right, it’s evident I have fuck-all to say. In fact, I’ve had fuck-all to say for a while now as I’m sure you’ve noticed. Let me get back to doing fuck-all, then. Adios.

Dead famous people

17 09 09

Last night, a group of my dear friends and I gathered at S‘s new flat for dinner. After a while, the conversation turned to the recently dead, and obviously Patrick Swayze was top of the list. It also came up that Keith Floyd had died, prompting someone to enquire who he was.

“Floyd…you know, the drunk guy who always had a glass of wine in his hand as he cooked on TV? The person who started TV cooking programmes?” someone explained.

I doubt old Floyd would have disagreed with that description, really.

After our expressions of lust for Patrick Swayze (whose performance in Dirty Dancing in 1987 caused my grandmother’s friend to exclaim that he made her wish her ovaries still worked), we moved onto other dead famous people. We were all very sad that Baby’s father in the movie, Jerry Orbach, died a few years ago. He was great in Law & Order – always had the best quips and I loved how sardonic he was.

In other news, I need the help of you clever people who might watch South African television from time to time. There is an advert promoting responsible sexual practices on TV, with the payoff line something like “Imagine a world where partners don’t sleep around” or something like that. Anyway, for the life of me I cannot understand what is trying to be conveyed in the second-last scene of the advert – the one before the two friends get themselves tested.  A boy and a girl (Girl A) hold hands and kiss in the hallway. She walks into a room where another friend Girl B is sitting at a computer (Girl A and Girl B are the ones who are tested in the final scene). Girl C is also in the room with a guy. The guy gets up and gives Girl A what looks like either a business card or a condom. Girl A looks confused. She refuses this and exchanges high fives with her mate, Girl C.

I *AM* confused. Can anyone tell me what is actually happening in this scene?

Yo Mr Prez

14 09 09

Today is the day that some of my problems might be solved, I believe. The presidential hotline, an initiative aimed at responding to ‘public enquiries and complaints’ has been launched. The toll-free hotline – 17737 – is apparently staffed by 43 ‘liaison’ individuals in the presidency. I believe, however, that President Jacob Zuma is definitely one of those 43 lucky people.

A government statement said the aim of the hotline was to “introduce a culture of putting the citizen first in all government departments as well as municipalities”.

I’ve compiled a script for when I get through to the president so that I don’t mess up and end up just talking about District 9 with the prez instead of the serious problems I have with aspects of the country.


Good morning Mr Jacob Zuma, how are you? I am well, thanks. Well, as well as one can be on a Monday morning after having broken a tooth on Saturday night. You see, I cracked it in July last year and attempted to file it with my own nail file in an attempt to avoid visiting the dentist. I am not a fan of the dentist, and not undeservedly so, I feel. I have had LITERALLY (not literally like “she was so late that she literally flew to her appointment”…the real meaning of literally) dozens of injections during a host of fillings and root canals, and thus equate trips to the dentist with pain and loss of income…sort of like paying my flat’s levy each month while being punched in the face. So on Saturday night, after a lovely evening spent picnicking under the stars while listening to local singers do their thing with a symphony orchestra, half of the broken tooth finally fell off as I brushed my teeth.

Have you ever broken a tooth Mr Zee? Perhaps while dancing around to that melodic, if terrifying, ditty you sing? It is irritating. My tongue can’t stop playing with the hole that’s been created. I wonder if this is what my late grandfather felt like when all his teeth, bar one, fell out? I’m told he could eat steak with that one tooth and his gums.

Sorry, I digressed. I shan’t waste your time any longer. The purpose of my call was to ask why you consistently order the roads agency people to build square speed humps. You’ve had them create so many car-unfriendly cubes of tar on the road that I find I’m purposely driving into potholes in order to avoid them. Much as I enjoy driving my vehicle as I would a 4×4, the square humps of raised road are killing me, and really placing strain on my bras. I promise I would slow down for a gently curved speed hump. If you would attend to those horrors on North road in Morningside, that would be awesome.

Look, I don’t want to overburden you on your first day so I’ll just say one more thing. I miss Jessie Duarte since you moved her from her position as official spokesperson. Reading official ANC/government reaction is no fun any more. Who’s going to accuse Jonathan Jansen of being racist anymore?

OK, thanks for listening. Please get back to me about the speed hump thing.


The natural life is for sissies

11 09 09

Last night I made butter.

This, however, was not my plan at the outset. Initially, I was attempting to whip cream for a dessert I was assembling. I decided to use my new handheld blender which had previously been used only to make smoothies. Apparently one can’t overwhip a smoothie. Blended banana, guava, orange juice and yoghurt does not turn into, say, cough mixture or eye makeup remover if one overwhips it. The same cannot be said of fresh cream.

I should have known better. After all, just 23 years ago, at the impressionable age of eight years old, I learnt that churning cream till one’s wrist detaches itself from one’s forearm and falls into the bowl, makes butter (crunchy, fingery butter). I learnt this during a maths class. Perhaps the teacher was tired of teaching long division, and decided to give us skilzzz. Maybe it wasn’t a maths class.

Anyway, once I had seen what my blender could achieve last night, I considered going ‘natural’ in the ways of cooking/assembling food. I thought about turning my loft area into a compost heap where I could chuck the ends of my cucumbers and chocolate wrappers.

The rewards of such earth-friendly behaviour are obvious: I would no longer have to get off the couch and make the journey to the dustbin to dispose of my rubbish…all my compost heap would require of me would be good aim as I chucked away leavings. Also, the smell would really piss off my neighbours, which would be really fun for me.

I thought about converting my patio into an organic herb garden where I would grow the most delicious tasting rocket in Sandton. My cat’s faeces would be the perfect fertiliser for this garden of love. I would start wearing smocks and saying things like “taste the fine traces of pepper and pecan-like crunchiness.”

A couple of things made me change me mind about my potential organic life.

The first was realising, after spooning the salted butter into a plastic bag (because I have no small plastic containers) and shoving it in the freezer, that the probability was 97.63% that I would dispose of the said plastic bag of butter in a year’s time after forgetting about its existence after a couple of days, and being shocked upon finding what looks like a bag of jizz hidden under my frozen mince.

The second was realising that I don’t own a smock.

Stranger than fiction

10 09 09

I noticed this morning that a South African story has made it to Reuters ‘most read’ list. I suppose it is newsworthy that a carrier pigeon can transmit data quicker than Telkom can, but mostly it’s just depressing for Internet-using South Africans. This got me thinking about what other local stories have made international headlines of late. These are what I came up with:

  • The Caster Semenya sex furore and the latest indignity this athlete has suffered – her YOU Magazine spread.
  • Workers killed in a mining explosion
  • The success of the fabulous movie District 9
  • Brandon Huntley’s quest to remain in Canada because he allegedly fears for his life in South Africa.

In essence, South Africa’s made headlines because a bird is quicker than our Internet; we have a world champion female sprinter who may not be a ‘real girl’; we’re blowing people up in mines; we’re making interesting and world-class films about aliens and xenophobia; and we have a white carnival worker who caused a ruckus in Canada ‘cos the blex in Sarth Effica are apparently out to get him.

If one were to judge from those headlines, why would anyone NOT believe that lions roam the streets of Jo’burg?