The Time I Became a Jehovah’s Witness


I know that for some of you reading the header you’ve already decided in your minds that what I’m about to tell you is a pack of stinking lies, but I swear every word is true. And I don’t write of this event to diss anyone’s religion – I like religions (maybe not the Catholics so much); for example, I believe that I would have made a pretty fabulous Jewish wife if the Jewish boy I dated for a short, yet memorable period in my life had deemed me respectable enough to attend Friday night supper at his folks. But he didn’t, and you know that if you’re not cracking the nod for the challah you’re definitely not cracking it for the chuppah.

And I don’t even know what that was about because I would have magayered quicker than you can say shemsach (a new word I learnt from my friend Candice Cohen to describe the amount of cheese Woolworths puts on their burgers). I would have been there like a bear, buying cakes from Denise’s Delights and chopped herring from Checkers. I still go there, though, to Checkers and loiter at the Kosher counter on a Friday afternoon, pretending I’m shopping for Shabbos. I’m sad like that. And while I look back with fondness and nostalgia on that short, memorable period in my life when I nurtured the fantasy of becoming Jewish (and it was truly a fantasy because we actually only went on about two dates and argued the entire time. He’s a Capricorn, say no more) I don’t think the same thing applies to him because I heard, through the grapevine, that he ended up becoming a rabbi. Which is a pretty Capricorn thing to become, now that I think of it. They’re all bossy as hell.

I can only imagine that his dark past cavorting with a shiksa is something he doesn’t talk about much and would rather forget. (Luckily he’ll never read this because he doesn’t have the internet. That’s how rabbi-like he is). But anyway, this is not about that, though it does give you some insight into my character. So, when I was 15 I developed this enormous crush on a tall, blonde surfer boy I’ll call Troy (because I suspect, unlike my rabbi ex fiancee, he does have the internet). Only thing was, Troy was a Jehovah’s Witness, and they also have strict rules about whom you can and cannot hook up with.

In those days the movie ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ had not been made so it didn’t occur to me that his religion might just have been an excuse. I took it at face value when he told someone to tell me he could only date within the faith. So, for me it was a no-brainer. I became a Jehovah’s Witness. Admittedly, not for long enough that I got to walk around on weekday evenings knocking on people’s doors, but if Troy had said, ‘listen, babe, if you’re free Wednesday we’re hitting Westridge’ I would have out-knocked and out-pamphleted the lot of them just for the chance to hang out with him. But I don’t think they fully trusted me to spread the word right, either. This might have had something to do with the fact that at that stage of my life I put a lot of time and effort into trying to look like Madonna.

Since I only had the clothes I had and my mom wasn’t keen on dropping a bunch of money to make her teenage daughter look like a street-walker, I had to improvise. No corset? No problem, I just wore my bra over my shirt. I saw it on a music video. Also, for some bizarre reason the fashion look of the day was long johns, so I stole a pair out of my dad’s cupboard and tie-dyed them purple. These items, together with the hot pink glitter gel I used liberally to slick back the sides of my permed mullet, well… hot as I thought I was, in retrospect the look wasn’t a win.

But there I would sit, Saturday after Saturday in my Madonna outfit for two hours (two hours, friends!) while the pastor called on brother this and sister that (that’s how you address people in the Kingdom Hall) to read from the scripture or reiterate why celebrating your birthday is satanic while my eyes bored into the back of Brother Troy’s head, willing him to turn around and notice my underwear-as-outerwear. And there wasn’t even Instagram to distract you in those days, so you had to pay attention. It was really all a complete waste of time because, bar the one time we kissed in my friend’s jacuzzi (okay, I kissed him and he couldn’t get out even though he tried several times. I’m surprisingly strong for a girl), he had zero interest in me and my glitter gel.

And the reason why I’m remembering all this is because yesterday he sent me a friend request. Out of the blue. Not that I hadn’t stalked him fairly recently and seen he’s still a member of that church but has a lovely wife and family and while he looks the same and I’m sure is a delightful human being, what possessed me to feel that degree of adoration and behave like a crazy person I’ll never know. Though I’m happy to report I’m not crazy now at all. At all. Ask my husband.


17 thoughts on “The Time I Became a Jehovah’s Witness

  1. I can totally picture you in the Madonna kit and think that before I leave the school you should rock a Madonna day 😂

  2. LOVE the image of the bra over the shirt ! Nothing quite like unrequited teenage love, is there. Great blog, thank you – you always make me smile.

  3. I must be your biggest fan…I absolutely adore your blogs and sometimes stock-pile them like one does with lekker series on dstv catchup. Your humour and humility, coupled with the reality of all the situations you describe, resonates so well with me…I actual read my wife your last blog in bed (out loud)…

    Your biggest fan needs you to write a book…pretty please

    As always,
    Alrick Sangster

  4. I must be your biggest fan!!! I absolutely love your blog! I even stockpile it and read them all consequtively as one would do with your favourite series on dstv catchup. You’re sense of humour, humility and reality of all your situations resonates very loudly with me…You amaze me! I even read your last blog to my wife in bed the other night and we both pissed ourselves…Please keep up this amazing blog and pretty please – write a book already!

    Your biggest fan
    Alrick Sangster

  5. not only did i have hold my sides as they were splitting from laughter but i now have new respect for “the mayor’s” brother who actually married all the religions he dated.

  6. Like your favourite chocolate which you have enjoyed over the past week and when Monday comes along you have one piece left, to be enjoyed and uplifted to face the week ahead. Thank you for making my start to the week.

  7. 🤣🤣🤣 oh this was wonderful to read!

    I once went on a date with a guy who was a Jehovah’s Witness… but I didn’t know that when accepting the date.

    Anyway, 10min into the date, came along the longest hour and a half of my life. With him non stop trying to convert me into a JW. 🤦‍♀️ The number of times he told me to go to on that lunch date, must have been no less than 15.

    Never saw him again, but I knew his sister and parents whom thought I was great, but within a minute of greeting me, they would go into the conversion attempts 😄

    Look, I’m accepting of all religions and cultures, but don’t force anything on me. Haha never again!

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