Love In The Time of Kicking It (Part One)

We are all clear on what love is – it may be different things to different people at different phases in their lives. In the romantic sense, for me at least, Shakespeare summed it up so magnificently in the famous Sonnet 116 “Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove. O no! It is an ever fixed mark, which looks on tempests and is never shaken”. That “never shaken” gets me each time – it’s my favourite line in the sonnet. To me it says, nomakanjani we are in this, I am going nowhere, circumstances allowing, – I have chosen to love my partner or spouse and despite the trials, tribulations and LOL’s, in this love is where I will remain.

No here we are in 2017, the wild wild west that is the dating scene, where far too many of us are kicking it. What in the world is that, one may ask, well it’s nothing really. It’s when two people are sleeping together, hanging out and going out – sonder a title. Upon the question “what are we?”, the response is absolutely nonsensical because you are kicking it. You are a placeholder in said person’s life, you are there to fulfil girlfriend duties without the title and more often than not no real commitment from a man – he does the bare minimum and you are happy because “we will get there” or you are still getting to know each other *rolls eyes*

What is it about honesty and openness that is so difficult? Why is it difficult to tell a woman exactly where she stands – why is there a lack of articulation of the status quo? I remember a time, it feels like a lifetime ago though, where men literally asked us to be their girlfriends or regte – this left no uncertainty, I knew where I stood, I also knew how to respond when another potential suitor approached me, I’d confidently answer that I have a boyfriend and as such I am not open to any other discussion outside of that particular point. Easy. Other than the rejection and bruised ego, life would proceed and that would be that.

Uwoah, then we fast forward to 20 damn 17. You meet a guy, he’s a great guy, you really get along with him and you find yourself drawn to him and spending more and more time with him. You are seen in public together, a young PDA here and there, there are morning and evening texts, random conversations during the day. Soon you are bed mates and generally go monate, life cannot be better and then you go out and bump into someone you know and its introduction time… I say “this is my boyfriend, Max” and he says “this is my friend Palesa”. HAAIBO. Alarm bells are going off, you do a mental recon of the “signs”, all the time you’ve been spending together and this friend title is just not adding up. The outing passes and a few days later it comes up in conversation, and you ask “hawu, khante what are we?” the simple answer is that you are kicking it. In Sepedi bare “le fetisa nako”.

I sincerely believe that when you truly want to be in an exclusive relationship with someone, their intentions are crystal clear – there will never be uncertainty. You will never wonder or ask “what are we?”. A man that wants you, with the intention of having you in his life in the long term will let you know, I also believe that in the event that things are not working out he will not just check out and disappear into thin air, there’s a certain level of maturity and respect that comes with a man who wants you and he will be courteous enough to have the tough conversation of no longer wanting to be there.

Perhaps my view is too simplistic and there are way too many variables in this whole kicking it vs relationship thing. Perhaps we have become so accustomed to options that we default to having a placeholder to curb the boredom and Cerebos whist we are actually pursuing various avenues until we find a place called home? Perhaps we are so afraid of re-living past hurt and failure that we refuse to make a solid commitment to someone who is actually a great catch? Is it because we are constantly yearning and chasing for more, that we overlook the greatness that stares us point blank in the face?

A dear friend once said to me that one of the biggest regrets of his twenties, was not applying himself to finding the right partner, he was kicking it and then he woke up one day and he was in his mid-forties – highly successful and highly single. I find that many of us in or twenties to early thirties are still testing the waters/playing the field or simply kicking it while we are looking for better or greater. In my experience, when I am in love or when I would like to invest in a relationship my system defaults to not looking for more, there is a beautifully calm sense of satisfaction and completeness in the here and now. I am not interested in what Tom or Mandla have to say or what game they’re trying to run on me – my mark is fixed and cannot be shaken, I also absolutely refuse to kick it, I am clear and will not alter when alterations present themselves.