Try the surefire ugly-girl test

Every drinker will tell you that one of the most trustworthy means of telling whether you've had one too many is to do an easy little test - and I bet you've heard this before.

Every drinker will tell you that one of the most trustworthy means of telling whether you've had one too many is to do an easy little test - and I bet you've heard this before.

When you enter the bar or shebeen, cast your eyes around and identify the ugliest woman in the room. While you continue knocking back the drinks remember to look in her direction every now and then.

The moment she starts looking pretty, it's time for you to go home.

An old friend, Costain Mapiye, had me rolling on the floor with laughter years ago when he told me about the dreadful outcome of his failure to read the signs that he had had too much.

He told me when he first cast his eyes on the girl (in the bar), he told himself he would never touch her, no matter what.

She was not exactly born to strut the ramp at beauty pageants, but what really turned him off was her reputation - she could drink any bar dry and was known to have beaten up a few men who rejected her charms.

According to Costain he drank himself silly that night and does not remember anything after that. In the morning he was woken up by a loud, growling snore and realised there was someone else in his bed.

Costain was a tiny man with a birdlike face, cursed with a temper that knew no bounds.

He recalled: "I turned the person (in bed) around and saw it was that damn woman. I threw the blankets off the bed and as she woke I demanded from her: 'Who the hell brought you here...?'

She said it was me and I told her 'bullshit'. I ordered her to dress and leave my house immediately.

Whether he got a beating that day he did not say. But if he thought he was alone in his misery, a cousin of mine had a similar experience with a dagga-pomping, chain-smoking and beer-loving woman who wore dreadlocks when they were still considered wild and untidy.

She wore men's shoes and never bothered with make-up or the vain things that make women different from men.

Above all, she carried an acoustic guitar around. I knew the woman concerned and if she was beautiful "inside" God had deprived her of that quality on the outside.

He met her in a shebeen in Soweto. The next thing he remembered was hearing a guitar strumming in the middle of the night.

He opened his eyes and saw he was in a smoke-filled, candlelit room. Next to him, on the bed, was - horror of horrors - the woman from the shebeen, cigarette hanging from her mouth, sitting on the bed and playing the guitar.

"Where are we?" my cousin asked meekly.

"Relax. This is where I live," she assured him, stroking him lovingly.

He had apparently driven to the "love nest" himself but remembered absolutely nothing about the trip.

Like Costain, he claims "nothing" happened on the night. I was not there, so, no arguments.

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