“A diamond is forever” is stamped in our collective consciousness as much as Nike’s “Just do it” or Mastercard’s “Priceless”. They have become part of our language and, in the case of diamonds, it has come to signify proof that a couple’s love is forever – in the face of a 50% divorce rate in most Western countries. DeBeers’ advertising agency tapped into our need to prove and proclaim there is the “One” out there, and this soul mate will relinquish a couple of paychecks to put a stone on our finger that was probably mined under unsafe conditions, half way around our love obsessed world.
I am no stranger to meditation. The very first yoga class I ever took, over 18 years ago, happened to be a free meditation class on January 1, 1996. I…
When I first saw the light of day, my parents were utterly stumped. I was supposed to be a boy and my high-pitched girly wails interfered with their well-laid plans. They only had one name picked out, Giacomo, in honour of my godfather, a famous soccer player and family friend. He and I were going to have a lifelong bond and a shared name.
“In the years before we were married, we were ‘just dancing’.” The Moral Indefensibility of the Defence of Marriage Act
My first, openly gay pal was a guy called Mark. We worked together at an Advertising agency in Johannesburg. I was 19 and the Creative Department secretary. Mark was a budding art director. I was fascinated that he only ever wore shades of grey. He was amused that I said anything that came into my head – and knew how to pronounce Tao correctly (he was a huge fan of ‘the right way’).
We had lunch together every day – sitting in the sun outside the ugly concrete building that housed our agency. And imagined our futures. I would travel all over the world and be rich. He would find someone who loved him, get married and have a gracious home – filled with his delicate watercolours and sunlight. We would tease each other about the role reversal, and plan what we would wear to his wedding. Then he would laugh and say ruefully: “as if …”.
Leo and I have been conducting a love affair of sorts since my teens, when I first opened a four-volume paperback of “War and Peace” and fell madly in love with Prince Andrei and Natasha, and thought it extremely unfair I wasn’t born a century and a half earlier.
If you are new to LA and have noticed that women you just met and briefly socialized with bid their farewell with “we should do lunch sometimes”, let me break it to you: don’t count on the lunch invitation ensuing any time soon after. Or ever for that matter. At first, I was surprised by how warm and forthcoming complete strangers could be in this town. That was followed by puzzlement when it sank in that no one really wanted to have lunch.
With the corner of my eye, I saw the rabbi, standing on the side of the road, flailing his arms, trying to catch my attention. I stopped. It’s not the beginning of a rabbi joke – I was actually on my way to yoga, running slightly late and, truth be told, I probably wouldn’t have stopped for just any hitchhiker, but I figured the man in the black hat, with the fringes of the tzitzit dangling from under his jacket, who is not even supposed to shake my hand, was probably safe. As it turned out, his car was being repaired and he was waiting for a merciful soul to drive him down the three-mile road to the center of town he would have otherwise had to hike.