You look like a whore’ said Thembie, our housekeeper, as I was dressing to go out for lunch.

I looked in the mirror.

“Elegant!” I thought to myself, admiring my tight fitting black dress, fish-net stockings, high heeled shoes and thick red lipstick.

She muttered something in Tswana under her breath, and pulled out a few dresses from the cupboard for me.  ‘Try this’ she said, handing me the plain brown sack.

“I hate that one!” I said.

“So why did you buy it then?”, she asked snarkily.

I had no ready answer for this, and tried it on anyway.

I hated it.  She made me try on a few other outfits.  I went back to the tight black.

‘Whore’, she muttered again. 

‘Shouldn’t you be cleaning the cupboards?’ I sniped back, smoothing down the fishnets.

Thembi and I have that kind of relationship.  She constantly gives me her opinion , I constantly ignore it.    I am highly respectful of Thembie, but I think I have much better dress sense than she does. I have good dress sense, she has good cupboard sense.  I’ve learned not to question her cleaning methods.

I added a bit more lipstick and went on my way.

At lunch, I met an old boyfriend.  He didn’t even mention my appearance. He didn’t comment on how elegant and sexy I looked.  I decided he must be gay.

Two of my close girlfriends walked past our table. I leaped up to greet them. Kiss Kiss!

“‘Nice whore dress” they said in unison.

I ignored them, said bye to my old boyfriend who looked a little relieved the lunch was over, and headed to my car.

“Your car is still safe, Madam”, said the car guard, “I been watching it for you”.

I tipped him five rand. He looked me up and down. “Nice dress!” He pulled out a fifty rand note from his pocket, proffered it my way, and said. 'What do I get for this?”

I arrived home with a grudging new found respect for Thembie and her dress sense. That night I had a party. I swallowed my pride and asked her to dress me. She chose the blue ‘slightly baggy’ dress that I like but have never been a hundred percent convinced by.  But, she obviously knows what she’s doing, I thought, and I put it on. I headed off to my party, filled with elegant confidence.

The first people I bumped into were my same two women friends.

“You look like a domestic worker” they both said, eyeing me with pity.

“And you both look like c--s!” I snapped back.

That’s the thing with Thembie. You can never win.

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