I know Valentines Day and the month of love always gets a bit of a bad rap for being a commercial marketing day to get couples to spend money, but that angle of it aside, I thought it was important to tackle the honesty of romance.
I put up a post asking for people to share their stories of how they met their partner, and this is what they had to say.
Carla and Jeanine:
Okay but it’s going to be quite short:
For the “mature” part of my 25 years, I have always dated men. Men of every colour, creed, shape, and bank account size. I also always thought I’d end up marrying a man.
But somewhere along the line, quite early on, the identity “pansexual” spoke to me and its stuck with me ever since.
While I regarded myself pansexual, and while there were plenty of women I thought were beautiful, I was never attracted to any. Then, a year ago, I was attending my friend Litha Mpondwana’s farewell in Greenpoint.
As I was about to meet my former colleagues, I spotted a friend of mine in the parking lot, media maven Charlotte Kilbane. She was accompanied by a friend, another woman. A strikingly beautiful woman. A woman I with whom I could barely make any eye contact.
I was so shaken.
Only later was I reminded that we had discussed my job as a journalist and my impending trip to Cuba. But at the time, all I could think about, anxiously, was what the hell was it that I was feeling around this woman, Jeanine.
It freaked me the hell out.
So instead, I decided to drown the anxiety in multiple glasses of whiskey sours. After about a month and following my dream holiday/pilgrimage in Cuba, I was invited to a supper at Charlotte’s house.
Only after accepting, did I realise that Jeanine was coming too (and was later told she had asked Charlotte to invite me). By this point, I had somewhat figured out my feelings and had already told my friends that I thought Jeanine was haaaaat.
And that message spread.
I was nervous and excited about the prospect of seeing her again. Naturally, the idea of being attracted to a woman when you’ve never experienced it before is scary.
Fortunately, I was accompanied by my open-minded friend Amanda Moore who kept me from freaking out.
I spent the night listening to Jeanine, totally taken by her and equally perplexed by my response to her.
One of the conversations we had was about combat training and Krav Maga (ya, stereotypical letties we are).
I used this as an in the following day, messaging her on Facebook, pretending I wanted to learn how to fight (please, I have an older brother, I don’t need training).
From then, we kept messaging until eventually she shared her cellphone number with me and I shared mine. We set a date for our first meeting alone.
It was initially on the 25th but the wait became too much and we instead met a few days earlier at Rockpool in Sea Point. Six hours later and a pizza and beers down, I realised that there was no fighting this; I was hellava into this lady.
But that didn’t stop the fears circulating in my head: What would my friends say? What would my family say? What would people on Facebook say, especially the “Christians”?
But after a few more dates, I ended up telling my parents.
Both were, unsurprisingly, incredibly supportive. Not like the cliched supportive but my parents’ own special way.
My mother cracked some jokes and said she doesn’t care so long as I am a good, kind person. My father said as long as I am happy, he could care less about my sexuality.
He then proceeded to send me a link to the pansexual flag.
With their very clear support and that of my close friends – Casandra, Amanda, Kylie, Kaylee, Angie, Rehana, Nawaal, Viasen, Chris, Adrian, Nidha (sorry anyone I may have missed – I am writing this during work hours haha), I knew that I could pursue a real relationship with Jeanine.
And that we did.
Nine months later, Jeanine and I live together (another lesbian stereotype about nesting VERY quickly) with Nooi the Jack Russell and Myrtle the Pitbull (yes, another stereotype).
And I am happier than I have ever been and will forever remember that parking lot.