The promenade in Sea Point has to be one of the best in the world.
It’s filled with happy new families walking together to the different parks for the kids to play in. There’s fit people running up and down and sometimes working out on the workout bars provided at the end, or beginning (depending where you come from), of the promenade. You will also have the pleasure of viewing some of the sexiest people Cape Town has to offer with one of the most spectacular sun set backdrops behind them. It’s mesmerizing. It’s long, clean and above all else it’s safe. It is one of the best spots in the world…
But when that beautiful sunset has bowed down completely, the path along Beach road starts to sing a different tune.
It was 2001 when I made my first trip to Cape Town, that was not a school trip or family vacation. It was a lover and myself off to explore the apparent gay Mecca of Africa. After much sightseeing I turned to the bf and asked if we could drive down the street cluttered with stray rent boys to which he was more than eager to do. Why? Was this another sight to see? Well, after the heavy expose’ that featured on Carte Blanche a few weeks prior, I just wanted to quench my curiosity. I’m from a small mining town, the idea that there is a street filled with men you could climb on top of for some change was just something I needed to see. So we drove out to the road and true to word as soon as you drive slowly so many men start coming out of the dark to show you what they have on offer. Did we pick one up? No, mainly because it’s sad. It’s not sexy. It’s pathetic, and that makes it sad.
Twelve years down the line and Sea Point is free of hookers and drug pushers… Or so I thought.
After a delicious supper I wanted a stroll down the walkway, partly to get the digestives going, and partly to smoke a j. It was a cold night – I had a leather jacket on. To my right I see a boy standing at the bus stop. Sure, he could be waiting for a bus, but hello, the SA bus services have been on strike for like three weeks and the boy in question is in a tank top and tiny shorts – did I mention I was in a leather jacket? Poor little rent boy. Moments later another man comes towards me and tries to spark a conversation but I know this is just the beginning of his sales technique. I’m a sister with enough rings around my trunk, you feel me? So I know. Say hello, keep it polite, but keep going.
WTF? Have we stepped back in time? Why are the hookers back? And why am I so irked? For one main reason… With online sleaze, bathhouses and action bars there’s really no need to be prowling around a children’s play ground offering sex. Similarly there is no need to solicit sex there either. So who is to blame? “Straight” men… Of course. The reason it’s happening is because the clients that pull up on beach road are not men who would go to the bathhouses or action bars. They won’t have online hookups. Because they’re not gay so they can’t be seen at a gay establishment and it pisses me off. You give homosexuality a sleazy name, one I struggle to combat even only in conversational context… No no no, I’m accusing, and assuming and maybe behaving like a prude.
Everyone needs to make money… Right? Who am I to say how. And some men need to pay for a little something something, who am I to say they can’t?
I let it go. For the meantime.
The next morning I went for the same walk and was lost in the sky and the sea with the mountain and the grass when oops, I stepped in shit. And I am back to where I was last night. It’s not about hating prostitution. It’s about activism. Activism for the park. It is not a place for hookers. It’s is not a place for sex. And tough as it may seem to understand, it is not a place for dogs to drop a coil.
It’s the one place that, seemed to be, free of shit. I would love it to actually be. Just one little place, and I guess it’s as easy as not picking up a hooker – there – and taking your dog to dump on one of the other many walks out there for them… Thats If you can’t pick it up.