We had our first social of 2018 at Amuse Cafe in Linden on Tuesday night… and what a night it was. For those who couldn’t make it, here is some information to fuel your regret.
The night was billed as a Summer Nights Social. The idea was to provide gender non-conforming people in Gauteng, regardless of how they identify, with an opportunity to meet up, chat and generally just socialise in an informal, friendly and accepting environment. My good friend Anna from the Emporium of Delights and All Things Nice kindly agreed to bring some of her costume jewellery stock with her, so there was something to do if the conversation got a bit boring.
We had started advertising the event just over a month ago and there had been quite a bit of interest in the event, but you never know how many people will turn up on the night. I was expecting somewhere between 10 and 15 people based on the interest levels we had, but we have had events where we were expecting 20 people and only a handful arrive, and we have had events where we were only expecting five people and then 15 arrive on the night. I was therefore very pleased that in the end 13 people arrived over the course of the evening. This is a very good turnout for a weeknight and we were very happy. A big thank you to everyone who turned out to support us. Organising these events takes a fair bit of effort and we literally make nothing out of the event, so events that are poorly supported can be very soul destroying. When we get a decent turn out, my heart literally sings.
As usual, I had some dressing ‘challenges’ of my own to overcome (you can read all about them in a few days’ time at Daniella’s Ramblings if you so wish). I was somewhat unsure what to wear. Should I be casual (Amuse is a fairly casual venue) or should I glam it up? Or what? I settled on a pair of skinny jeans, my new off the shoulder pink top, beige cowboy boots and some accessories. Luckily Irene had some spare time and was able to do my makeup for me. I think she did a fantastic job.
After dressing, makeup and a few errands (for more details please read my personal blog), I arrived at the venue just before 6 as I wanted to make sure that I was on time and be able to assist Dirck (from Amuse) with information (or anything else) should he need it. I was sitting at the table Dirck had reserved for us (thanks Dirck), sipping a coke and responding to WhatsApp’s when someone walking past asked me (very politely), ‘excuse me, but are you Daniella?’ I looked up and saw someone, a good looking young man to be sure, standing in front of me. I had no idea who they were. I looked blankly at him and said that indeed I was. He could see that I was at a complete loss and said, ‘you may know me as Heidi’. OMG it was my Facebook friend and local drag queen Heidi van Kleef. I had only met Heidi in real life once before, at a show of hers and I had never seen her without her glitter, hair and heels before. The presence of a beard also threw me off the scent to be fair. We were able to spend some time catching up on the outdoor veranda (it was a very pleasant late summer evening) and actually talking to one another in person. It was lovely.
Soon some guests started to arrive. Heidi had been asked by Dirck to stand in as host(ess?) for the evening as he had to attend an urgent meeting. Anna was the first to arrive and she joined us, and we celebrated Heidi’s recent promotion at her day job with her. Then Nicole arrived. Anna, who lives so far in the East of Johannesburg that we have to check the time zones before phoning her, had never been to Amuse before. She seemed quite taken by the charm of the place. Then she noticed the sculpture of the naked male torso. She felt compelled to touch it and I managed to get photographic evidence before dragging her away from it.
Clearly it was time to move in doors… Claire, Liza, Grizelda and Irene all arrived in quick succession and soon we were all happily chatting away. The service was good as always and our throats were soon lubricated. After a long day hard at work most people were hungry, and I think almost everyone ordered something to eat. The food was up to the usual standard and one of the things I really like about Amuse is the portion size. Many restaurants charge a lot more for a plate of food and they seem compelled to compensate by giving you far too much to eat. Amuse follows a less aggressive pricing strategy and their portion sizes are smaller, but I find this preferable. It is a far more ‘European’ model (as opposed to what I have seen at North American restaurants) and I think it sets Amuse apart. It also makes an evening out far more affordable.
After everyone was finished Anna opened her box of tricks and a number of people sampled her range of accessories that were on offer. It seems she was happy enough with the amount of stock she sold, so thanks to everyone who supported her.
I really enjoyed myself and it was fantastic to meet so many people new to the scene in Johannesburg. And of course, it was fantastic to catch up with old friends and talk with people who we seldom get to interact with face to face. I particularly enjoyed meeting Michelle in person. We have been on line friends for a very long time but had never met in person before and seeing all the other new faces made me very happy too.
I hope everyone had as much (or more) fun as me. As to all of you who would like to come to one of our events but have not been able to, all I can say is that you are missing out. There is no need to come en femme if you are too scared (although there is no reason to be scared) and nobody will judge you for what you wear. We would love to meet you all in a fun, relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Hope to see you at the next one (watch this space for details).
Once again, a big thank you to everyone who came out and I hope to see you all again soon. Thank you to Anna for providing us all with an opportunity to acquire more bling and of course thank you to Dirck and the rest of the Amuse team for being professional and so welcoming to our little community. Finally, a big thank you to Irene who did people’s makeup on the night, was such a good hostess and who helps and supports me so much!