The invitation arrived by blue-light brigade in a red envelope. “Will you be my Valentine?” it read. “Well, yes!” I replied. It’s a little early for Valentine’s I thought, but hey, it’s not every day you get a Valentine’s letter with a presidential seal.
What to wear? A two-tone shirt will set the wrong tone. Traditional Zulu attire will look like I’m trying too hard. I decided on a sequined number I picked up at the Milnerton flea market. Glitter was big at the Golden Globes. Why not?
The same blue-light brigade picked me up at around eight and sped to the Spur in Sea Point. According to fossil records the oldest Spur in the country and indeed the world.
My date arrived looking very dapper in a suit. We ordered crumbed mushrooms to share. He asked about my parents and where I was from. I complimented him on the shower on his head. A team of Spur waiters surrounded us and burst into song. I stopped them — clearly they had the wrong table — and asked that they leave the sparkle stick.
The next moment the lights went out leaving me and my date — if not at a candlelit dinner — bathed in Spur sparkles. My sequin looked magnificent. I took the opportunity to ask my date about his work. “It’s hard,” he said. “People are mean.” I tried to lighten the mood by changing the subject to Nkandla. It did the trick. With a sparkle in his eye my date spoke at length of the layout, the bells, the whistles.
The lights came back on. Our mains arrived. Robert Mugabe dropped in to tell us about his date. Just last week he fell head over heels for the one bodyguard who reached out to catch him. I looked longingly down at my Spur Burger getting cold.
Bob wrapped up his story and left. My date’s mood took a turn again. “I wonder where I’ll be in 18 years’ time,” he said. I wonder where we’ll all be in 18 years’ time I thought to myself. “Keep your shower head up,” I told him. “I’m sure you’ll age just fine.”
Desserts arrived. Two Kahlúa Don Pedros. My date mumbled something about a speech at a sauna. “A sauna?” I said. “I’m game.” He said the sauna was weighing on him. I wasn’t surprised but a little confused. He said there’s going be children at the sauna trying to shut him up. I said I didn’t mind them watching but did they have to be there? He agreed.
He said the sauna was the one place he could show his mettle and put his foot down. I was a little shocked but thought, hey, if it’s a good old-fashioned romp he’s after let’s do it and asked for the bill.
The bill came to a whopping R263.45. The Spur is not the cheap and nasty option it used to be. I looked at my date looking at me. We both looked at the bill. “I’m a little short,” he said pushing the bill my way. “I pay tax,” I protested. “Exactly,” he said.