At 23, I have three wonderful loves under my belt. Two in the form of exes that pop up around my city every other week and prompt mildly awkward small talk, and one that is currently and literally under my belt about five times a week.
After a ‘first love’ that lasted five years came to an end, it wasn’t long before I’d met someone new. Maybe this was intentional, maybe it wasn’t. Maybe I needed a palate cleanser after laying to rest a relationship which was all I’d known since I was 16. And cleanse I did. I learnt what it meant to be me without the person I had grown up with, the only boyfriend and partner I had ever known. I learnt about my sexuality, and how to make tom yum soup. I learnt that there are different ways of arguing and the shit that worked in resolving issues with my ex was not going to fly with the new guy. I learnt that I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know someone new on such an intimate level.
And while I was the happy-and-terrified deer-in-the-headlights of a new relationship, everyone around me was discussing how awful I was for being in a new relationship so quickly. I apologised to no-one. FFS, it was none of their business.
Fast-forward a year, and cut to me sobbing uncontrollably for a month, surviving on whisky and Salticrax alone, and nursing a broken heart that – quite frankly – f*cked me up a good deal. Second love had come and gone.
While I licked my hungover wounds, more than missing the parts of my failed relationship that I adored, I addressed the parts that weren’t as fabulous as they should have been.
I emerged onto Jo’burg’s nightlife streets, revelling ridiculously in my heartbreak-induced weight loss and making grand declarations of what my new single life was to be. I will kiss all the boys! I will dry-hump near strangers with abandon! If they’re good at the dry-humping, I will hump-hump them into one-night-stand oblivion! I will do all the things that all the single ladies do in all the movies about single life!
And then, on a sunny day at a festival, a tall and gorgeous man asked me if I’d ever been told I look like Pocahontas. Yes, bru. All the time. But you’re super-cute, so I’ll let you buy me a warm beer. I took his number. A few weeks passed, I ugly-cried over my ex-boyfriend a few more times, and then decided it was time for my first-ever casual sexual encounter. Tall And Gorgeous met me at a bar one evening and take him home I did. By all appearances, one-night stand we had.
Except… Fast-forward a year and I just got off the phone with him, discussing this very piece I’m writing. Our one-night stand had turned into sushi and sex dates (have you had one? You simply must), which turned into sleepovers, which turned into breakfast dates, which turned into the most glorious year of laughter and love.
Three relationships with not much space in between them. Sometimes, I can see in my friends’ eyes that they think I am unable to be alone. And I must respectfully disagree. I adore my own space. I am a highly introspective person who indulges in a weekly masturdate (when you treat yo’self) of naked pasta eating on the couch. I feel content in knowing who I am – and even more certain of the fact that I have a ton more to learn about myself. Above all else, though, I don’t believe that being in a relationship will prevent me from learning these inevitable lessons as they present themselves.
I love good sex. I love food. I love the laughter that comes deeply from my belly when I’ve let my guard down. If I happen to find someone with whom I can indulge in all of these things, trust I’m not going to give it up because the world tells me I ‘need’ to be single. This doesn’t mean I’ll settle for just any oke that comes my way, but if I happen to meet a unicorn among men, I’m gonna ride it until one of us loses stamina.
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