He Who Pays the Pauper Plays the Tune


I am a wall flower who dabbles in extroversion as and when I please. My placid demeanour is too often interpreted as being innocuous; my silence is taken as a queue for others to maintain a perfidious act. But don’t get me wrong I can be acerbic.

In recent months I have had the inopportune luck of crossing paths with a man and a woman who love nothing but to serenade me with tales of their coquettish youth and triumphant adulthood. The man in particular enjoys the tune of his own voice. He would recall exuberantly how he saved the youth of the city from the wretched path they were bound to take; of the bountiful accolades he gotten for his altruism.

His intelligence too knew no bounds; he was on course on getting an honorary PhD for his work, though he was a tad bit miffed as to why his name wasn’t listed on any of the previous years’ list of University honoraries. His delusion was disquieting.

He particularly had a thing for using proverbs out of context. He who pays the pauper plays the tune was his go to explanation for his social activism (or the lack thereof). A sign of intellectualism he may have thought. Intellectualism that required pseudo as a permanent prefix, I would have told him.

The woman on the other hand has provided me with too many moments of unadulterated laughter. I laughed at her, with her and for her. She assumes different pseudo intellectualism based on the topic of discussion. Depending on where her delusions of grandeur take her, her epithets can range anything from a scientist to a mathematician and everything in between. If anyone crosses her path; usually someone she finds professionally threatening they will be the subject of her desktop research analysis. MI5 have lost out on a great agent in her!

If I want to impress someone I let my work speak for itself (and eyes if need be). The thing with insecurities is that regardless of how long a diatribe you do, it will eventually catch up with you: as was the case with the two protagonists of this post. Your constructed words reveal the very thing you so desperately want to hide. You eventually run out of fuel and have no choice but to put out the fires of your constructed lies. Should you then come clean and not feel ashamed of whom you are..?

NOPE! That wouldn’t be the case where those two are concerned. They just move onto the next thing that they can grab hold of to feel great about themselves. Right now climate change is hot on the agenda and I suspect it won’t be long before these two jump on that bandwagon. I can already foretell the woman offering me a rundown of her contribution to this cause come Monday morning. How she was invited to present at international conferences (over the course of the weekend nonetheless) and part her wisdom on how to best tackle this issue. The man will offer me his ersatz political analysis on the issue and simply conclude ‘he who pays the pauper plays the tune’!

I must admit that the sanguinity within which they deliver their delusions is rather inspiring.

Engaging in what is often a one sided conversation with these two requires a lot of mental yoga. Because after weeks of listening to continuous repletion of grandeur my ears are suffering from repetitive strain injury whilst these two could only be described as suffering from the onset of a premature dementia.

In the now clichéd words of Sweet Brown “aint nobody got time for that“. I am too busy admiring the perfectly groomed and styled beards of the world. The hipsters are saving mankind one beard at a time. I always knew you hipsters had it in you. Hoorah!

Though they have admittedly created one problem for me and I’m sure many other folks who upon meeting such fine specimen are unsure as to whether one should offer their salaam and lower their gaze; or toss with loose strands of hair whilst simultaneously fluttering eyelashes and coyly enquire “so do you come here often?” ….. I digress…..

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The Get-Out Clause


I am an unmarried woman who is yet to loan her womb for the advancement of the world. Whilst I can’t give expert commentary on holy or civil matrimony nor on making one’s womb habitable for other beings to survive within it however, I believe that I am well placed to share few personal opines on dating doldrums and other paraphernalia. I am not a paragon of familial union or maybe I am but let’s not digress because this is not what this post is intended to be.

I have given the dating charade a passing chance here and there. In 99.99% reoccurring of the cases, friendship was both the get-in and get-out clause. I have only partaken in such exercises once or twice, maybe thrice at a push if we widen the criterion and add the hot guy from my college days who at a closer inspection and one date night at Pizza Hut later turned out to be what our cousins across the pond would call a douche.

Of course this process isn’t representative of all. But there is no reason why my own ethnographic study couldn’t be replicated.

I am a very guarded individual and thus it is hard to let those sentries down for any man, or women may I add. Unsurprisingly when it comes to dating it is the same. I say dating, it is anything but. I equate “dating” (ok we’ll stick with the word for now because I can’t think of a suitable synonym) to a phone contract.

No reputable phone company will allow you to just walk away with a brand new off the shelf state of the art mobile device and entrust you to keep up with monthly payments for 36 months without doing some rigorous examination. I too follow suit minus the credit check because how much a man makes or doesn’t is none of my business (damn you feminist ideologies for leading me astray from the much desired and lucrative path of gold digging. I once scolded an affiliate for showering me with gifts, would you believe it; on the basis that I am more than capable of buying my own gifts).

I subject my potential affiliates to meticulous and painstaking examinations that would last anything from 2 years to a lifetime. Some people just ooze suspicion so they are put under permanent surveillance. Such examination ranges from, but are not limited to: surveillance in the form of internet trawling, cross examination (usually with fellow female companions), character reference, covert participant observation (to the man in question this usually translates as: she is digging me but playing hard to get so let me up my game), overt participant observation (to the man in question this usually translates as: she is a flirt and probably equates to numerous other things in his head that I fortunately aren’t privy to).

With each test that is passed the male in question moves up a rank. Accepting a friend request on whatever social medium I feel most comfortable with adding him to, to exchanging email accounts (I must admit to begin with their emails are delivered to the junk inbox and are treated as suspicious sender), to adding them to my mobile phone’s contacts list once I am satisfied with their writing skills. If he can manage to write/send an email with most linguistic rules intact with the odd LOL thrown in for good measure, he can proceed.. it is all in the writing my friends, it is all in the writing.

If a man can conjure up a simple declarative sentence other than ‘I want you tonight’ it is a good indicative, as any, that his dealings are that of elevated social groups, not the one-night-stand types. I must admit that I suffer from an innate subconscious ability to read between the lines. Ambiguous grammar punctuation is a turn off. Am I alone in thinking so?

Of course I make an exemption for hipsters, no need for tests where they are concerned. I say let us go on few tree hugging sprees and dabble in some bohemian sensibilities whilst enjoying the sweet sound of alternative music. I’ll happily gift you my favourite black skinny jeans for you to titivate, when yours has come off at the seams.

Hipsters aside, once a potential affiliate has passed all the required competency tests they enter the coveted stage of ‘getting to know one another’. This stage is more organic and more often than not lasting friendships emerge from it that transcends distance, language, religion and culture. What can I say I am an international lover!

Google translate and my listening skills come in very handy when the person in question doesn’t speak any of the Lingua Francas I am versed in. I just listen to them and pick up the odd word and depending on what translation Google feels like giving me that day (because that thing is a fickle) I make up the rest of the conversation based around that word/phrase.

Similarly when the romantic endeavours of both parties come to an abrupt cul-de-sac, the sustained friendship refrains both parties to the contract to cancel it altogether and return to the perfect strangers we were. Bit like you fulfilling your contractual obligations to the phone company, and once the company is satisfied that you aren’t a dodgy person they offer you more lucrative deals in the hope that you will stay with them longer. Friendship is thus the get-out clause. See, there is a point to all those tests after all.

And on that note…Happy Thursday lovers! Believe it or not, Thursday is the start of the weekend for many. The rest of us mere mortals such exoneration shall await till 5pm Friday.