The Sozzled Spendthrift and the case of the Mysterious Baubles

“Whose hideous earrings are those?” I asked, my head feeling like I’d left it in a vice all night, my mouth tasting like I’d just gargled with Thai toilet water.

“Yours”, my friend replied from the other end of the couch, fresh from a shower, but still stinking of tequila. “You bought them from some guy on the side of the road.”

“Oh….right. How much did they cost?”


“I spent R50 on neon green, spiral earrings made out of papier-mâché?”

“No, no, no… You insisted on giving him a hundred.”

….Of course I did.

You see, that’s my party trick. Some people start fights when they’ve had a couple jugs, others talk total codswallop to strangers, and some just dance to thrash metal like they’re being electrocuted.

I do all of those things, and worse….I shop.

My drunk self is a generous, extravagant impulse shopper who throws caution to the wind and believes that the best way to ‘carpe’ the ‘diem’ is to christen it with something sparkly and wholly unnecessary.

I offer to pick up everyone’s tab, demand ‘only the best’ box wine and shop up a virtual storm on Spree. And in the morning my budget hurts worse than my head and, often, I have to live with the tangible proof of my boozy binges.

Like those green, cardboard earrings.

I don’t know if people notice that I only take a set cash limit with me on BNO’s (big nights out), or that I often prefer braais to bars, but a lot of those choices come down to not being able to trust myself with money after a few drinks.

It’s taken a few years, but I think I have finally mastered the art of ‘sleeping’ on it when pushed for a money-related decision after 1 and ¾ drinks. However, every social occasion is haunted by the latent threat of my sloshed, inner spendthrift coming out to pay.

There’s a little more to the story….I wore those great, big, dangly, lime atrocities to work that morning. For the first couple of hours (while I’m sure I was probably still legally drunk), I was sure I looked fabulous. On the edge of ethnic chic with a hip, modern twist- that’s what the caption would say in the Cosmo spread, for sure.

The earrings soon began to grow on me…. in a very real and bacterially infectious sort of way.

After a few hours of walking around with those chartreuse-toned saucers slapping against my jaw, the residual vodka wore off and my earlobes began to burn. By the time I got to the bathroom, they had swollen to three times their size and were baboon-bum red.

It comes down to luck and probably strong genes that the sepsis was as short-lived as my hangover. Although R100 was, I guess, not too much to spend on a pair of earrings, I’m sure I could have gotten an infection a lot more cheaply.

Oh well. Live and learn.