The biological clock is ticking in desperation

There's a time for everything. A time to hope, to be naive, a time to celebrate while keeping your fingers crossed behind your back.

And then there's a time to admit defeat and accompanying that with walking away gracefully.

That time is age 34.

Admit it, who wants to walk down the aisle with a walking stick? Who even has the figure to carry the delicate dress or the diet for it at that age?

South African 30-somethings are not having it any easier, what with the ilobolo reducing their life savings to the equivalent of a Zim dollar. And in our clan, education raises this commodity.

The last time I checked some guy parted with R40000 in exchange for a bride who was supposed to have been a virgin.

But then along came the Two Strangers And A Wedding show. Derrick Mathee and Gail Brookstein tied the knot in an unprecedented fashion last week.

Well, the strangers aren't exactly over the hill but they give one food for thought. I don't care if someone is out to make trouble for the newlyweds. I think it's going to work out fine.

They walked away with prizes dripping gold, too. I want some of that for myself.

I'm not the only one. I'm told some women in Corlett Drive have started a revolution. They went window shopping as soon as the displaced immigrants were stationed in an open veld in the posh suburb.

Some are said to have come bearing cameras, too, capturing the promising faces of men who were not only weary but broke as hell. All that mattered was that they were men. Have things gotten that bad? Clearly.

But at 34, with a bickering toddler behind you, the odds are stacked against you.

Damn it, I want to be taken care of. I want someone to hold my hand when I walk up the stairs, massage my back when it is sore and maybe close my eyes when I die.

Most of the time, though, I want someone else to take the trash out. I have seen male passers-by giving me a look that says: "Yeah, take out your own trash, you killed your man, didn't you?"

And when I pull out my gold card they nod a nonverbal question: "Is there no stopping these gold diggers?"

That's when I powder myself with a smirk that says: "Suit yourselves, sadists!"

My attitude stacks the odds further against me. Who wants to date the daughter of a merchant? Awuleth' umshini wam!

My uncles have not given up on fleecing prospective grooms. In exchange for donating livestock for my milestone ceremonies, they want R50000 to send me off to what could be a family of thugs.

My aunt is on her own mission, telling me with every wedding invitation that I'm next. She seems to think my cousin beat me to the game by marrying in her late teens. Never mind that there's something she skipped while rushing for gold - an education.

An education doesn't warm the sheets but what's an electric blanket for?

Mama dearest says I'm being groomed for the perfect candidate. Where the hell is he sleeping? Could it be six feet under, in prison, overseas or in the army?

In the meantime a friend of mine is setting herself up for failure, building a double-storey mansion with top-of-the-range furniture and all the bells and whistles.

When I broach the subject with citizen X he says he would run a mile if it were me. Clearly, his foot is outside the door. So I'm looking behind his back, just in case.

My sister, aka Kuki Winfrey, says it is this mischievous streak of mine that sends men of "integrity" away.

My question then is: if men are so elusive why are we bothering with conventional methods? Let's not laugh at the Mathees and the desperate single madams from Corlett Drive - they could be on to something.