Tag: er

Guide to Everything – Part 12


Step 12 – The break-up


Some poor fool once wrote a song with doomed lyrics about breaking up never being easy, but he was wrong. Breaking up can be as much fun as courting. Maybe even more.

Studies undertaken in an uncontrolled environment by a group of Norwegian parapsychologists have shown, however, that the dissolution of a relationship is frequently fraught with great trauma. It should be borne in mind that the sight of a man refusing to give up his seat for a woman on the Stockholm to Göteborg train is enough to traumatise the average Nordic adult.

Breaking up need not be accompanied by pain and anguish. As the man, you should steer clear of such things. There will be more than enough gnashing of breasts and beating of  teeth from the woman. You will need all the strength you can muster to go back out there and make the first move.

On the other hand, it is equally important to make sure that your break up is not amicable. There are few sights more degrading than a man and his ex sitting at Mugg & Bean sharing a couple of skinny decaf cappuccinos and holding hands for the last time.

Anyway, the chances are that she would rather stick red-hot crochet hooks into her eyeballs than share anything with you ever again. And that is the way it should be.

Here are some helpful hints on the different methods of breaking up.

The face-to-face method

Popular among younger men who have not lived long enough to grasp the true import of the situation. They often fail to realise that women do not appreciate the “courageous and honest” approach nearly as much as they think. Yet they insist on sitting the poor woman down and holding her hand while looking earnestly into her eyes and then breaking her heart. “It’s the least she deserves,” he says, blissfully oblivious to the scalding irony of his words.

Apart from anything else, the face-to-face method opens you up to physical violence. I have known women who, from a reclining position, can move with the speed of a striking cobra. If you insist on using this method to end your relationship, all I can suggest is that you dress like an ice hockey goalkeeper. She may, of course, simply shoot you in the stomach when you least expect it.

The electronic method

No mess, no fuss. Popular among older men who have been slapped, headbutted, bitten and kneed in the groin more times than they care to remember.

There is a school of thought that says it is unethical and immoral to break up with a woman via email or SMS. I have no idea why. It is safer for everyone concerned. The only inconvenience is having to change your number when she begins sending you death threats every hour on the hour.

When ending it via a text message, keep it short. Something like: “Sorry bt cnt do ths hve a gr8 lfe xx”. There is no need to get poetic or melodramatic. This is an ending, not a beginning.

The telephone method

There is really only one thing to remember when you call to dump her. Never use the line: “It’s not you, sweetheart, it’s me.” This is like throwing a chunk of raw meat to a starving crocodile. She will slam the phone down and pursue you with all the enthusiasm of a sniffer dog pursuing a black man wearing a hemp suit.

You may think that by saying these words she will back off in the deluded belief that she is the normal one and you are the fucked up sociopath. Well, she won’t. She will move in for the kill. She will arrive on your doorstep and start banging on the door with a blunt instrument. When you eventually let her in to avoid a public disturbance charge, she will smash the first ornament she comes across and then begin shouting: “So what’s wrong with you what the hell’s wrong with you tell me tell me you bastard are you going to tell me what’s wrong with you?” And from there it is just a matter of seconds before you are a whimpering, craven mess clutching at snatches of philosophy to justify your fictitious inability to function in the real world. Weep, if you have to, but get the hell out of there as fast as possible.

Let her keep the apartment.

The cut ‘n run method

This is by far the least traumatic way of breaking up, especially if you are to blame for the collapse of the relationship. The method is quite simple in its execution. When you come home from work, make sure that you follow your normal routine e.g. Grab a beer, kick the cat, head for the couch.

When she starts nagging you to put the music out and turn the dog down, say that you are nipping out for a box of smokes and stop only once you reach the lower slopes of Machu Picchu.

The only problem with this method is that she will come looking for you. Next to revenge, women want closure most of all. And they can’t get it if you are not there.


Most men are quite happy to get closure by means of a last pangalang. But you should not be the one to suggest it.

For women, closure involves shedding bitter tears and asking a whole bunch of questions that have no answers. Sometimes she will try to hit you. The best thing you can do is to stand there with downcast eyes, shaking your head sadly from side to side while deflecting the blows. Do not say anything. Do not make any sudden movements. Quite a few women still subscribe to the more traditional values, and for them genuine closure only comes once you are sprawled on the staircase with a shattered spinal column and two bullets in the back of the head.

If you are one of the lucky ones, however, you will be breaking up with a modern women and she will be the one to suggest a last pangalang. Be cool. This is not normal sex, so forget the Lou Reed and the box of tricks. It is vital that you remain submissive. I find it helps to pretend that you are Diane Fossey and she is a silverback. However, you may wish to try something else.

The important thing is to remember that she is doing this so she never has to think of you again. At this point, you will realise that nothing makes any sense at all and you are ready to begin the whole wonderful cycle all over again.

Good luck.



Coming up … How to make a man fall in love with you (without losing your sanity, sense of humour or virginity).


Poltroons, Pizzas and Pangas

Who is Ben Trovato?

Nobody knows for sure – not even him.

“Metaphysically speaking, I have no idea who I am,” says Trovato. “Nor do I wish to know. Asking ‘who am I’ is the kind of crazy talk reserved for stoners and people with Alzheimer’s.”

His 10th and latest book, The Whipping Boy, is more than “just a book”. It is, says Trovato, a weapon in the war against terror, for which a user’s guide will be mailed upon receipt of the beer equivalent of money.

Along with Trovato’s much-loved and widely hated columns, it contains a bunch of fake news stories, hilarious letters to the rich and famous, and outrageous job applications that resulted in the author not receiving a single offer of employment.

Bianca Coleman spoke to him.


Where would you most like to live?

Mthatha. I drove through it the other day and was quite taken by its understated charm. However, it appears to be full so my next choice would be a stretch of coastline somewhere in Central America or Indonesia where the water is warm and the cops are asleep.

What is your best-kept Western Cape “secret”?

My identity.

Where do you go to do your shopping and why? Speciality shops or malls?

I could not, in all honesty, answer this question without immediately going out and killing a small animal with my bare hands. Shopping, like marriage, is an oddly emasculating experience.

What are your favourite gourmet treats and where would you get them?

I would enjoy gourmet beef rotis, gourmet mutton bunny chows and gourmet gatsbies but I have no idea where to get them from. At home, getting any kind of meal is a treat, really. It doesn’t even have to be gourmet. Just edible.

What is your favourite restaurant? Where is it, what do you like about it, and what are your favourite things to order and why?

My favourite restaurant is Blikkie Pizzeria in Paternoster. I recently waited over an hour for a pizza and when I complained, the owner came out and screamed at me. They had run out of dough but didn’t tell anyone. He’s like an Afrikaans Basil Fawlty crossed with Stalin. Eating out is so much more enjoyable when there’s a violent confrontation with the management.

What is your biggest/most decadent indulgence and where would you get it?

Magic truffles. They are similar to magic mushrooms but if you have too many they make you invisible. I’m not telling you where they are. And there’s no point in you coming to look for me, either.

What is your favourite outdoor spot anywhere in the Western Cape – to walk, hike, picnic, view – and why?

I’m not much one for walking, hiking, picnicking or doing anything that doesn’t end in applause or payment. In fact, I think the outdoors as a concept is heavily overrated. My only contact with nature is when I go surfing, but this can hardly be considered outdoorsy fun considering that in these parts nature has a nasty habit of biting your legs off.

Where is your favourite local holiday destination, and why?

The Victorian Times tavern in Fish Hoek. I can walk there, stay as long as I like and almost walk back. The locals have fascinating stories to tell about the time they were captured at the fall of Tobruk. There’s also a pool table and tons of women whose faces have fallen off. It makes a fabulous holiday destination if you don’t mind sleeping in the bushes.

What is your favourite long or short distance drive anywhere in South Africa – passes, scenic routes, small town destinations?

My favourite short distance drive is to the bottle store. Long distance would have to be all the way up to St Lucia, with a few days at Jeffreys Bay for some epic waves and a panga fight with the insensitive brutes who are building on the dunes.

Where did you most recently go for a day drive and why?

I drove from Fish Hoek to Muizenberg on Boxing Day. It took me all day because the city council is digging up the coast road and a million Vaalies were occupying Boyes Drive. By the time I got there I couldn’t remember what I was meant to be doing and had to turn around and come back. That took another day.

Where is your favourite or dream international holiday destination, and why?

I am drawn to Thailand. The people there are very spiritual but at the same time they won’t hesitate to chop your head off if they don’t like you. They put a lot of the most dreadful things in their mouths, but not dogs. For this alone, they get my vote.

What are your hobbies/free time activities and where do you like to do them?

I am a collector. I collect mainly small change, speeding fines, parking tickets and bills from my post box in Sea Point. I once collected a butterfly when it flew into my study but I couldn’t bring myself to stick a pin through it and the little bastard escaped through the window before I could call myself a lepidopterist.

What makes Cape Town the most special/beautiful place for you and why?

Everything is so beautiful. The girls, the beaches, the trees, the penguins, the queers, the bergies, the N2, the perlemoen poachers, the 28s, Bontehuewel. I love them all.

What don’t you like about Cape Town, or what would you like to change about it?

Table Mountain. It blocks the view and is infested with muggers and fynbos. I would demolish it and build the world’s biggest theme park using a lot of chrome and face brick. I would also crank up the temperature of that big, frigid wet thing. And maybe build a few beach bars.

If you did not grow up in Cape Town but elsewhere in South Africa, please tell us your earliest childhood memory of that place.

I grew up in Durban. The earliest thing I remember, as I made my way down the birth canal, was the sound of my parents bickering. I tried to pull myself back up but my hand slipped and the next thing I knew, I was being held upside down by a man in a white coat. Instead of doing the decent thing and putting some clothes on me, he smacked me sharply on my naked bottom. I got a leg loose and kicked him in the face. “That’ll teach you, motherfucker,” I thought. I had paid close attention to what was going on around me for the previous nine months and, thanks to my mother, was born with a filthy mouth that has served me well to this day. I remember the doctor passing me to my father, who smacked me. Then he passed me to my mother, who did the same. I was also smacked by several orderlies and a security guard until someone covered up my shamefully small willy before the nurses could see it.

Where is the best place to take your children and why?

The best place to take most kids is straight to an adoption agency, especially if they are capricious, tantrum-throwing brats who aren’t so bright and won’t go to sleep at night. Whatever you do, don’t take them overseas because they will end up sitting in the row behind me kicking my seat all the way from Joburg to London.

What is the quirkiest or most unusual place you know in the Western Cape and why?

I would have to say parliament. For six months of the year it stands empty. The rest of the time it resembles a lurid convention of professional prevaricators, bogus democrats, pusillanimous poltroons, serial philanderers and an assortment of hypocrites, perjurers and profligate wastrels.

What, in your opinion, makes Cape Town unique?

Nowhere else in the country is one’s maternal genitalia so profoundly invoked as it is during the many wonderful al fresco debates that take place around the city.

Describe your perfect Saturday or Sunday.

I wake up.