Karl-or-whatever-his-name-is continues with his charity spiel, still sounding sincere and earnest. His voice has this deep, gravelly quality. I could listen to it all day – well, if I didn’t have other, more urgent things to do. And if he wasn’t lying with every deep, gravelly word coming from his sternly beautiful mouth.

“We thought we could call the project, Fashion and Philanthropy: a winning combination. How does that sound to you? After all, you’re the one with a sense of style.”

Fashion and Philanthropy: a winning combination!? Good grief! What an unimaginative, uninspiring slogan. It sounds just like the kind of nerdy idea that nerdy Polelo would come up with for her fake charity.

“How about Fashion with Compassion?” I suggest.

He gasps, shakes his head in admiration. “Fashion with Compassion! What a stunning slogan, Ms Pilane! The people at CARING would love that. No wonder your designs are so admired.”

He leans forward with his elbows on my desk now. So close that I can smell his fragrance again. Clean and fresh and mysterious … like a forest at twilight.

I find myself thinking: If only! If only he were genuine. If only he truly worked for a charity that cared for kiddies! And we could work together, fitting his project into my part of the show. Side by side – fashion and compassion! How wonderful that would be.

And Rosie is still winking at me, and raising her eyebrows in query. I know exactly what she’s trying to ask.

Isn’t he gorgeous, Tee? Didn’t I give you a lovely surprise? I knew he was just the perfect guy for you, the minute I laid eyes on him! Are you falling in love yet?

Rosie is a great believer in love and romance. Especially now she and her mechanic Vusi are an item. Every day is Valentine’s Day in Rosie’s romantic world.

“You don’t know what you’re missing, Tee! You need to give it another try. When you are in love, the whole world is beautiful. You want to be kind and sweet to everyone you meet.”

She’s as soppy as our mother!

“I don’t have time for that nonsense,” I always tell her. “I have a fashion empire to build.”

The truth is, I fell in love once. A long time ago. Metlha, his name was. But he expected me to spend my free time partying with him. He got angry when I locked myself away in my bedroom, sketching designs or studying the work of Irish designer Simone Rocha or our very own Anisa Mpungwe. And with Ralph Lauren’s slogan painted high on my bedroom wall: I don’t design clothes. I design dreams.

In the end, Metlha gave me an ultimatum. “Make your choice, Tee. Fashion or me! You have to give up one or the other. Or we will never work out.”

I walked away. Why should I have to choose between love for a guy and love for my work?

But Rosie never gives up. She keeps trying to hook me up with the perfect guy. She keeps hoping I will fall in love for real. Not much chance when this latest guy is as fake as a glass diamond ring!


Tell us: Rosie says, “When you’re in love, you want to be kind to everyone.” In your experience, is this true?