Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Kissing Frogs

Ok, so I owe you an update on Carlos. I was reluctant to delve deeper into the Carlos situation until a very dear friend threatened to end our friendship because I had left y’all hanging. So, here goes.

I wish I could report back with something like this:

It’s Saturday morning around 11 am and I get a call from Carlos.

“Hey it’s Carlos,” he says. “Are you still free today? I thought maybe we could get together a litter later if you could fit me in.”

I, trying extra hard to sound unaffected, would say, “Sure, I have a little time this afternoon. Say, around 3pm?”


Then, I would hang up and rush to pick out an outfit, fix my hair, and put on a little mascara and lip gloss. Finally, I would meet up with Carlos a little after 3pm (being fashionably late on a first date is a must) looking fabulous, and enjoy a fun-filled afternoon with the dude I’d been crushing on since middle school. We would laugh, talk, giggle, flirt, and then live happily ever after.


Notice how I said “I wish I could say” that all that happened? That wasn’t a mistake. I really do WISH that I could say that. But, I can’t.

Here’s what really happened:

Saturday arrives and I sleep in late (until 9:30am) because I partied myself out at Abdul’s party the night before. I wake up and fill my morning with my usual Saturday routine, which includes a cup of coffee while reading the paper, an extra long shower, and a mani/pedi at the nail salon in my neighborhood. I spend Saturday afternoon sleeping and finally forced myself to get up and get dressed for the two birthday parties I was hitting up Saturday night. I got home from the second Saturday party around 3am on Sunday morning, and Carlos still had not called.

Now, ordinarily, I wouldn’t panic if a guy decides not to call for a couple days after we exchange numbers. I would chalk the delay up to him attempting to be nonchalant. But, when a dude that (1) I already know and (2) made it clear that he wanted to hang out the very next day, decides not to call when he says he will call, that is a problem. My biggest pet peeve is lack of follow-through. If you say you will call, then you should.

I still didn’t trip about not hearing from Carlos, though. Something deep down had me prepared subconsciously for his inevitable fuck up. I knew that something would go wrong. Either way, he faked on me and that is one thing I cannot stand. So, he was no longer the Golden Boy in my eyes. After Saturday, Carlos lost some of his shine.

Anyway, on Sunday, I went to church (GREAT service) and then to brunch. I came home and took yet another nap. (I am discovering that I can’t party two nights in a row. I’m getting too old for this shit.) I didn’t wake up until late afternoon on Sunday. I had only been awake a few minutes when I receive this text message:

Hey, my bad about yesterday. Work/sleep. Sorry bout that.

That’s it. That’s all he wrote (no pun intended). I didn’t even warrant a phone call.

Just because I was curious about what would happen next, I responded:

No problem. I was wondering what happened to you…

In retrospect, I get that I probably shouldn’t have even responded to that bullshit text that he sent. And that realization is supported by the fact that he never responded to my reply. So, since Friday, the only interaction that we’ve had is the one text he sent and the one I sent back.

Ok, so, let me explain something. I am a BIG texter. I send and receive over 600 text messages a month – Tmobile LOVES to remind me of this – and I know it’s a bit pathetic, but as I’ve grown older I’ve become less of a telephone person. My attention span has become so short, it’s really hard for me to even attempt to sit on the phone with someone for a substantial period of time. But, I was really pissed off at Carlos’s text because it let me know just how insignificant I really am to him. I know this because, as hard as it is for me to focus on a telephone conversation, I am able to snap right to attention and be pretty charming and witty for extended amounts of time WHEN I AM TALKING TO SOMEONE WHO MATTERS. In other words, if I like you, I’d rather converse with you than text you.

Anyway, I don’t even know why I expected Carlos to follow through. It was really obvious that we were both tipsy when we had our exchange outside of Abdul’s party on Friday night. Maybe when he sobered up and realized what he said and decided that he didn’t want to take it to that level with me. Maybe he woke up Saturday and discovered that he wasn’t really attracted to me after all. Who knows? But, really, who wants to be involved with a guy who’s only interested when he’s drunk?

I’m not going to lie and say I’m not disappointed. I’m sure (now that you know all the backstory) you could probably guess that I was thrilled to finally be able to go on a date with the guy I’d been feeling since puberty. But, when I really think about it, even if he were to call now, I wouldn’t be excited to hear from him. The way he handled the situation was a let down and reminded me of just how much it can suck when you run into a dude who is a true asshole. And I promised myself, after Mr. Ex, that I would never again date another guy who made me feel bad about myself.

So much for God opening a window…

I think the incident with Carlos served its purpose, though. I was feeling shitty after finding out that Abdul had finally moved on and God allowed me to walk away from that party with dignity by making Carlos stand up and take notice that I had, indeed, come a long was since middle school.

Also, it’s high time that I stop taking things so seriously. A few weeks ago, Jenna, my homegirl from way back, accused me of being a “serial monogamist”. She said that after three dates, me and my dudes are meeting each other’s parents and by the fourth date we’ve moved in together. As much as I wanted to challenge her on her characterization of me, I think she might have a friggin point! Looking back, I see the pattern that sets me on a path to “relationship” on the first date. From date #1, I am contemplating bridesmaid dresses, sit-down or buffet dinner at the reception, and possibilities for china patterns (do people still register for china these days?).

I’ve got to remember that a date is exactly that… a date! Nothing more, nothing less. Even if Carlos and I had actually made it on our little outing, all it would’ve meant is that we spent a few hours together. It doesn’t mean we’re in a relationship or even on the road to one. Even as I’m typing this, I am laughing out loud at myself because I realize how ridiculous my thought-process can be.

Whew! I’ve got some work to do… (on myself!)

Bottom line is, despite all the excitement that surrounded the prospect of Carlos and I finally linking up, he didn’t turn out to be the prince that I’ve been waiting for. But, I guess I’ll have to just keep on kissing frogs until I finally get it right…

Monday, February 25, 2008

Something else...

More about Friday night… now, you didn’t think I misspoke when I said “Friday night was FULL or surprises” in my last post, did you? Well, the first surprise was Abdul and his new girlfriend, my namesake. The other surprise was… something else.

Back in the sixth grade, my parents decided that they were uncomfortable with the public school system and enrolled me in Catholic school. It turns out that the Catholic school they chose was worse than any public school in the area. So, one day, my dad got fed up with the nonsense, takes me to my Catholic school, withdraws me, and drives me to my neighborhood school where I matriculated the next day. I was happier than a pig in slop that first day at my new school. First, because I was reunited with all my friends from middle school, second because I was now introduced to a new crop of seventh and eighth grade boys that would be the foundation for many of my crushes over the years.

During my first semester of middle school, there was a pep rally held for our basketball team in the school’s gym. I was still getting to know the school building and hadn’t yet encountered even a fraction of the students who attended the school. I was sitting with my friends, cheering along with the cheerleaders when the coach decided to make an announcement about the eighth grade students who would be playing their last season for the school. The coach called for some boy named Carlos and I was expecting a Latin boy to come bounding out of the crowd, but instead, the cutest black boy I had ever seen in my young life, joins the coach on the court. I am dumbfounded, flabbergasted. My heart started beating faster and I felt butterflies in my tummy. It was official. I was in puppy love!

From that day on, I just knew that Carlos was the love of my life. We were meant to be together. The small obstacle challenging our love was that he didn’t know I existed. Plus, word on the street was that he was dating one of the eighth grade cheerleaders. What could be more perfect and sickening but the star of the basketball team dating a cute little cheerleader? But, the news broke my heart and I just relegated myself to the fact that Carlos would never be mine.

The next year, Carlos moved on to our neighborhood high school. But, lo and behold, his younger brother entered the sixth grade, a year behind me. Carlos’s brother, Jeff, and I became very good friends. He was a cutie, too, but nowhere near as cute as Carlos. I kept up with Carlos’s whereabouts through Jeff and learned that he was seriously dating someone in high school (naturally). Even though I had many more crushes, I always held a soft spot in my heart for Carlos.

Fast forward about six or seven years. I was a few years into college at the state university and decided that I wanted to get a part-time job so I could pay for an apartment off-campus. I wanted to work at the mall, but my mother suggested that I try getting a campus job. I finally decided to work as a cashier at the campus bookstore. The busiest time for the bookstore was right before classes began, so the management wanted all new employees to come in for a few weeks during the summer for training. My first day of training, I was running late and slipped into the back of the conference room. The store manager was standing at the front of the room discussing store policy.

Then, she says, “You each will be paired with a senior cashier to help you with your training. I’m going to call a few up to the front to give you a brief explanation of what your duties will include.” She gives a signal to someone in the crowd and a guy walks up and stands in front of the crowd.

I literally gasp out loud. The person standing at the front of the room is none other than Carlos. In the flesh! I couldn’t believe it. And, even after all these years, when I looked at him, my heart skipped a beat. I didn’t hear a word he said. I just had a flashback to middle school, watching him walk through the school looking cool, getting respect from all the guys and hugs from all the girls. He looked the same - still cute, still confident, still… short. Lol! (But who am I to judge?!)

When we finally made it into the store and were given our cash drawers for the first time, Carlos walks over to me and says, “Don’t I know you?”

I am startled and more than a little flustered, but I manage to tell him that we went to middle school together and that I know his brother, Jeff. From that moment on, we develop a very obvious little flirtation. A little while later, Carlos forgets about me and instead develops an intense crush on an Asian girl who worked at the cash register next to me. They flirt and date openly and my feelings are destroyed. I try not to let it get to me, but it was a little devastating. I thought that, finally, after all these years, I might have a chance with the infamous Carlos. But, instead, he gravitated toward someone who looked NOTHING like me. I figured that had to mean that he wasn’t attracted to me at all. After all, how could he be attracted to her and me at the same time? We’re so different! Where she is bones, I am flesh, where she is light, I am dark. But, soon after, I would no longer have to deal with that. He quit the store for personal reasons, so I didn’t see him much after that (although his girl would make it a point to talk about him on a pretty much daily basis).

So, Friday night, during Abdul’s party, Carlos is spotted walking through the crowd (small town, remember?). I see him, but I’m not sure how I should react toward him. I had pretty much decided that he was out of my league. I wasn’t the type of girl that he was interested in anyway, so why continue to pine after someone who was so obviously not into me? Anyway, I am standing with T and my bestie and Carlos comes over and hugs each of them. (I told you that in DC, EVERYBODY knows everybody ELSE.) When he gets to me, he takes a step back and looks me up and down. He seems impressed, but I cannot be sure.

He leans in for a hug and whispers, “Long time, no see. You look good.”

I am a bit taken aback, but I say, “Thanks, you do too.”

He walks away and I am thinking, damn, he still looks great! I keep it moving, though, and continue to have a good time with my friends at the party. Later, I bump into Carlos by the bar. He leans down and asks me what’s been up with me. And then he asks me those dreaded questions, “Are you married yet? Do you have any kids?” I tell him that I am chilling, not married, no kids. He says he has neither a wife nor children. This is promising, I think. But, then I see him turn his back and chat it up with some other girl, so I, again, chalk it up to his just being curious about what I’ve been up to, and keep it moving.

After Abdul broke the news about his new relationship with my namesake, I was ready to leave. My bestie and I hit up coat check to gather our belongings and then we head out the door. At this point, my feet are killing me after dancing in three-inch stilettos for four hours. I wobble out the door in a daze and run right into Carlos’s chest. Before I can move, he wraps his arms around me, making this our third embrace of the night. Funny, I don’t remember him ever hugging me this much in all the years we have known each other. I am a bit tipsy and I suspect he is, too.

He whispers in my right ear, “Weren’t we supposed to go out a long time ago?”

Not that I can remember, I am thinking to myself. I would’ve definitely remembered that!

But to him I say, “Uh, yeah. I think we were.”

“You said you’re not married, right?” he says, still holding me close.

“Right. Not married. VERY single,” I say. There go those damn butterflies.

“Well, we need to go out.”

“That’s cool, you tell me when you’re free.”

“What are you doing tomorrow?” he asks immediately, finally letting me go.

I tell him that I have no definite plans during the day, but my night is booked up. He asks for my number and he gives me his. We make plans to see each other Saturday during the day. He kisses my cheek and goes back inside the club. My bestie and I wobble to our cars and say goodnight.

“What was Carlos saying to you?” she asks.

“He asked me on a date!” I say. We giggle because she knows how many years I had been waiting for that invitation.

Isn’t this just like God? When one door closes [Abdul], he opens a window [Carlos].

To be continued…

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Green-eyed Monster

I had an action-packed weekend, and all the "action" was much-needed. As I have mentioned repeatedly in past posts, I had pretty much been spending every weekend at home on my couch. I hate cold weather and just can't seem to motivate myself to leave the house when the temperature is below 50 degrees. But, this weekend, I had places to go and people to see! I was invited to 3 birthday parties this weekend (one Friday, two Saturday). Interesting things happened at each of them, but I will just stick to one for right now. I had no idea that I knew so many people born in February! Happy birthday to my Pisces friends!

Friday night was full of surprises.

I had been excited about this party for weeks! My good friend Abdul was turning 28 and his parties are famous, so I knew I would have a good time. DC can definitely be a small-town at times. I love walking into a place and knowing more than half the people in the room. Friday night was like that. This actually happens a lot because people who are from DC find it hard to leave DC. Every now and again one of us escapes to another city or country, but for the most part we stick around our hometown for years past our expiration date. As a result, I have the distinct pleasure and honor of having known most of my friends for most of my life. The people at Abdul's party were people I had known since at least middle school. We are now in our late 20s, so you do the math. In other words, these people are like family... and what's better than partying in a room full of fam?

Here is some backstory on me and Abdul. We run in the same circles and had been kicking it with the same people for years, but we had never made each other's acquaintance. It took a trip to Atlanta to bring us together. In 2003, my girls and I took a trip to ATL for the NBA All-Star Game. When we touched down, we started calling around to see who from home had made it down South for the game. My bestie had gone to high school with Abdul and his cousin. Abdul’s cousin O was one DC-er who managed to escape to another town and was now calling Atlanta home. Abdul was staying at O's house for the weekend. On our second night in Atlanta, Abdul, O and a couple of their other friends met us at our hotel and the bunch of us spent a very entertaining (and platonic) night together, exploring the city and enjoying the sights and sounds of All-Star Weekend.

Well, suffice it to say, Abdul and I immediately connected. We laughed, joked, and flirted all night and made arrangements to link up when we returned home. I’m not sure what attracted us to one another. We had totally different backgrounds (he is African and Muslim, I am Black American and Christian), totally different personalities (he was quiet and shy, I was outgoing and boisterous), and really not much at all in common otherwise. But something about him was just magnetic. Part of the attraction had to do with the fact that he is possibly the cutest thing on two feet. He’s got a slender build, smooth jet black skin, and the most beautiful set of straight, white teeth that I’ve ever seen, made more pronounced by the contrast between his skin and his smile. It didn’t hurt that he could dress his butt off and was probably the sweetest guy I had met in years. All-in-all, he was a pretty good package.

When we got back to DC, Abdul called me, and a few days later we spent several hours together, just talking and getting to know each other. For months after that, he was my “going out buddy”. We went to dinner, to the movies, to the park. Anything we could think of, we did together. We just genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. We never slept together but many of our outings were peppered with hot and heavy makeout sessions. He would’ve been just about perfect – if not for what I perceived to be our very obvious differences. We would argue all the time about the stereotypes he thought were true about Black Americans and Lord knows I believed some of the stereotypes about Africans. And when he began to criticize my faith, that just about did us in. Eventually, our “dates” became and less and less frequent until we got to the point where we pretty much saw each other every once in awhile. We went on like this for years. Hot and heavy one moment, cool and cold toward each other the next. Luckily, I didn’t have much invested in the relationship so it wasn’t really the emotional rollercoaster that it appeared to be from the outside looking in.

One day, Abdul and I had a discussion and we decided that we should just be friends. Take away all the physical and friendship was what was left. And I truly enjoyed his companionship. When I didn’t have a date, I knew I could call him and he would eagerly join me for a bite to eat or a movie. If I wasn’t dating anyone at the time, I knew I could count on him to provide the male company that I needed. Then, I met Mr. Ex and became so wrapped up in him that Abdul fell to the wayside. He didn’t complain, but after Mr. Ex and I were through, I went back to Abdul seeking his friendship and he was reluctant. Who could blame him, really? We still hung out every now and again, but things weren’t like they used to be. I now know that I took him and his friendship for granted for all those years. And as soon as I found what I thought was “better” (turns out it was really oh so much WORSE, but I digress), I kicked him to the curb.

A couple of weeks ago, Abdul and I went to the movies. It took me days to track him down, but I finally caught up with him and he agreed to go with me. I know that sounds formal to say that he “agreed” to go with me, but that’s exactly how it played out. I told him that it had been nearly impossible to catch him. He explained that he had just been busy with work. And to me, that was weird. Work had never been an issue before, but he did have a fairly new job, so maybe this position was just more demanding. I told him I wanted to go to the movies and he agreed, although he seemed a tiny bit reluctant. We saw the movie, he paid (as always) and he hated it. I felt bad and offered to take him out in a couple weeks to make up for it. Then, I didn’t hear from him again... until he called to invite me to his birthday party.

“Abdul, you know I wouldn’t miss the party, but you were supposed to call me so that I could take you out.”

“Oh, I know. I just been busy. But let’s get together soon. I’ll call you.”

I hang up and know that something is not right. Any other time, Abdul would’ve jumped at the chance to hang out with me, but, I couldn’t put my finger on what caused him to act differently toward me.

Later, I tell my bestie, “I think I lost my going out buddy.”

She laughs because she knows that Abdul and I tight. “He’ll come around," she says. "He’s probably just busy.”

“That’s what he said,” I sigh. “But he’s never been ‘too busy’ before. Ever!”

So, I call him on Friday afternoon just to confirm the time and the location of the party. It will be at a lounge in Bethesda, a suburb of DC. I tell him I’ll be there.

“Alright baby girl,” he says. I can tell he’s smiling into the phone. “Thanks so much for calling.”

Aww, that melted my heart. This was sounding more like the Abdul that I know and love. Love? Well, yeah. I guess I do love him. And my heart was bursting at the thought of seeing him later that night (it had been weeks) and wishing him a happy birthday.

I did my hair, put on the new shirt and jeans I had purchased for the occasion and headed to Bethesda to meet my bestie and our girl T. I walked into the lounge and immediately found Abdul in the crowd. He came over with hugs and cheek-kisses for everyone. He squeezes my arm and tells me I look good. And he looks great. His white button down seems iridescent against his midnight skin. He has a fresh shape-up and his smile is brighter than ever.

I don’t crowd him during the night, I let him do his own thing, only speaking to him when he comes over to check on me and my girls. Literally, half the people in the spot are there for him. He’s a well-known and well-liked dude and it shows every time he has a party.

Toward the end of the night, I see him standing by himself, which is rare, since all night he has been surrounded by other people. Standing nearby is a girl who is my namesake. We have the same first name and even spell it the same, which is unique. She is also standing alone. Needless to say, we grew up with her, too.

My bestie says, “Hey! Look who it is. Let’s go say hi.” I am not really interested, but I walk over with her. I exchange pleasantries with my namesake and she and my bestie strike up a conversation. Meanwhile, I grab Abdul and start dancing with him. He holds me close and I breathe in his cologne.

Then, he leans down, kisses me on my cheek and over the thumping bass he whispers in my ear, “Let me introduce you to my girlfriend.”

My heart drops. “Girlfriend.” The word sounds foreign coming from him. It’s almost like he said it in his native language because I do not understand it.

“Girlfriend?” I repeat. He quickly turns his back and grabs my namesake’s hand and pulls her over. He introduces us.

“I know her,” I said and then walked away. I know it was rude, but I just needed a moment! My head is swimming and the music and noise from the crowd has been put on mute. I am lost in my own thoughts. Why am I devastated by the news that Abdul has a girlfriend? Is it because he didn’t tell me before tonight? Is it because he chose my namesake to be his woman? I mean, I have no real problems with my namesake. She is actually a very sweet and very kind girl and I know that she will only be good for him. She is not the issue.

I wandered around the club aimlessly until I made it back to Abdul and the namesake who were now dancing with each other. Her back was facing me and he was facing the crowd. Abdul’s eyes meet mine and he looks at me tentatively. We stared at each other for awhile until he mouths “I’m sorry.” And in that moment I realize that the reason why I am so devastated is because I am just now recognizing that Abdul is a catch. He has been all along. I just didn’t realize it… maybe I even realized it, but just didn’t acknowledge it. How does the song go? “On and on it seems to go, but you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.”

So as you can deduct, I am a bit schizophrenic when it comes to relationships. One second I’m lauding the benefits of the single life. And then I'm cursing being lonely the next. I guess what it comes down to is sometimes my relationship status is “single and loving it!” and other times I am “desperately seeking someone... anyone, in fact”. But the truth is that I do want to eventually find that person who is right for me. The yin to my yang. The peanut butter to my jelly. The lighter to my cigarette (thank Ashanti for that). I know he’s out there, but some days I am doubtful. And I feel like I just lost a good prospect for a partner in crime. Abdul and I get along famously aside from our friendly competition of Africans v. Black Americans. But now, he was left to argue his points in favor of African folk with someone else.

I know I am being unfair. My bestie pointed out later in the night that I could’ve had Abdul at any time over these years. All I had to do was say the word and I would’ve been the person he was holding hands with on Friday night. But I didn’t want to be that girl until someone else landed that role. Me being maddened and upset by the news of his new relationship was immature and childish and I know that instead of being envious, I should be happy that my good friend found happiness with my namesake. This lightbulb moment didn’t make my heart hurt any less, but it did at least make me have some “act-right” until the party was over...

I put on a happy face and pretended to enjoy myself for the remainder of the night. Hoping that my night would somehow get better... and believe it or not, it did...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

It keeps getting weirder...

I sincerely apologize for the delay in posting. I have been dealing with a migraine for the last three days and can't seem to shake it. That impeded my creativity just a little bit (obvi). I really am working on being more consistent, but it's turning out to be more of a challenge than I could've ever anticipated. Anyway, I am working on few more posts so I can have some waiting in the wings already prepared for you in anticipation of weeks like this one when I can't focus because my head feels like someone is banging my skull with a sledgehammer. Ugh! Calgon, take me awaaaay!

Just when I think that things with Mr. Ex can’t get any more annoying, he went ahead and put the icing on the cake a couple weeks ago.

In the week before Mr. Ex was coming to my town, my friend Allegra, tired of the wack dudes we meet on a pretty regular basis, decided to put a personal ad on Craig’s List. She sat down and drafted a blurb that described her and the type of person she is looking for, included a picture that partially hid her face (but showed enough to peak someone’s interest), posted her ad, and waited to see who would bite. She got a lot of crazy responses from a lot of weird guys and a couple responses from a few that were worth exploring. She had her hands full with communicating with the few seemingly decent guys that had hit her up, so we didn’t speak for a few days.

When we finally got a chance to chat about her success, it was a Friday night. She starts telling me about one of the guys who had responded. She thought he was cool except he had not one kid, but TWO. That was a bit challenging, but she was interested enough not to cut a good brother just because he was a dad. And we agreed that, as long as he was actually taking care of the kids, their mere existence wasn’t necessarily a deal-breaker.

In the midst of our conversation Allegra says: “Oh, and why were you sending me messages with “Mr. Ex’s” picture in them?”

“Excuse me?” I asked, completely dumbfounded, because I hadn’t sent her any message at all, much less a message with a picture of Mr. Ex.

“You know,” she said in an irritated voice, “Those stupid messages you sent me in response to my ad. That really wasn’t funny.”

“Yo, I didn’t send you any messages.”

“Do you have an AOL account?” she asks.

I think on that for a minute. “Yes, I have an AOL account from back in the day that I don’t even use anymore. It’s been years since I’ve logged on!”

“[Brown Girl], are you sure that you didn’t send me any messages?”

“I promise you that I wouldn’t have wasted my time or yours by sending you fake messages with pictures of my ex-boyfriend.”

“Yeah, now that I think about it, that doesn’t really seem like something you would do,” she said.

“So, what did these messages say?” I ask, already knowing that Mr. Ex himself was behind this debacle.

Turns out that the messages Allegra had gotten were being sent from my old AOL account. Mr. Ex had said that he would be coming to town that weekend and was wondering if Allegra (he did not know it was Allegra at the time) would be available to hook up while he was in DC. He also gave a brief description of himself that included his name (an alias that he had apparently acquired since we broke up, because the name he gave was not the one he was born with), height, weight, age, and the fact that he has no kids and NO GIRLFRIEND, which – at this point – we know to be untrue.

Anyway, Allegra thought that Mr. Ex was really me, playing some sort of practical joke on her and her personal ad. So, she responded back to the message thinking she was replying to me.

Her response was something along the lines of “Wow, you must not have enough work to do. I’m going to call your boss and tell her that you’re playing on the computer during company time.”

By the time Allegra tells the story to me, she has already disposed of the messages she got from Mr. Ex, so we feared there would be no evidence of them. But, at her encouragement, I logged into my AOL account just to see what Mr. Ex had been up to. He had cleared my inbox completely, and there were no messages in the sent mail folder. BUT, there were a few messages in the “Old Mail” folder. I opened them up and , lo and behold, there were the messages from Mr. Ex to Allegra and from Allegra back to Mr. Ex (although she thought she was writing to me).

A few hours she tells me all this, my phone starts blowing up with Mr. Ex announcing that he was in town and I begin to wonder how this could possibly get any more ridiculous.

Now, Allegra is convinced that Mr. Ex knows that the personal ad is hers. But given the fact that half her face is concealed in the picture, that is unlikely. I think it’s just a really, really unfortunate coincidence that of all the women that Mr. Ex could contact on Craig’s List, he chose one of my closest homegirls. When I call to tell my other homegirl, Katrina, about the irony of this situation, she accuses me of taking the incident too lightly.

“He’s trying to talk to other girls and still be on some get-back ish with you,” she says angrily.

But the funny thing is, I don’t really care that he was trying to contact other women. Good riddance to him. Let him become someone else’s problem. That’s fine by me. What really bugged me is that I couldn’t understand why he was using MY email address to do it. He has his own. Why would he choose mine to do his dirty work? Maybe he DID know that Allegra was the person behind the Craig’s List ad… Whatever the circumstances, it was just a really weird turn of events.

As I shared the story with other people, I kept hearing the same advice over and over again. Everyone I spoke to said that I HAD to confront him about this situation. It was weird and it was troubling and I needed to put a stop to him using my email address. So, once I was sure that Mr. Ex was on the bus on his was back to New York, I sent him a text telling him that we needed to talk. When he got the text, he called me three times back to back. I ignored his calls because the Grammys were on and I just didn’t have the energy to discuss the situation and nor the patience to deal with the nonsense he was sure to pull out of his ass.

The next afternoon, I called him up and he answered on the first ring – almost as though he were expecting my call. Within seconds of us exchanging pleasantries (I don’t even know how I managed to be pleasant during this call), he asked me what exactly I needed to discuss with him.

“Allegra put an ad on Craig’s List,” I start.

I hear a low moan escape from him, but I continued talking. I explained how she had asked me why I had been sending her messages with his photo embedded. I explained that, of course, I wouldn’t have done any such thing. And I also explained that my email address had been used to send the messages.

“So why did you do it?”

He starts to chuckle, which only infuriates me because there is nothing comical about our conversation.

“DC is just way to small! When she responded and I saw her email address, something told me that she was your homegirl. But I met that chick before and that picture she posted didn’t look like her.”

“Look,” I said. “I am not concerned about who you talk to. Knock yourself out with that. What I am concerned about is the fact that you are using my email address to contact strangers on the internet. Please stop immediately.”

What he didn’t know was that I had already logged into the account and changed the password so that he could no longer access it.

“It’s just weird and I want you to stop,” I said forcefully.

He apologized, but he gave no real explanation for why he was using my address. Then, he tried to make small talk with me, but I wasn’t having it.

“I gotta go,” I said.

“It was good talking to you,” he says.

I hang up the phone and stare at it in disbelief.

Is this dude serious?

BTW (by the way), this is a totally true story. I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Taken Out by Haters - The Notorious B.I.G. (5/21/72 - 3/9/07)

So, the Brown Girl is FINALLY pushing a new whip!! Whoo-hoo! I bought the car more out of necessity than anything else. Let me just share something: American cars are NOT the lick! I will never buy another American car if I can help it. Sorry, USA, but your cars SUCK! Anyway, as I was cleaning out the old Chevy in preparation for trading the damn thing in, I came across a few old CDs under my driver's seat. The one that I have been pumping NONSTOP ever since is Notorious B.I.G.'s "Life After Death" disc one. Oh my God, those songs bring back soooo many memories. You don't even know. And the beats are STILL hot and the lyrics are STILL dope - a decade later! How did this dude manage to stay relevant after all these years? Anyway, I still have so much love in my heart for B.I.G. While riding to work on the strength of "I've Got a Story to Tell" on repeat, I remembered this post that I wrote back in March of '07 and thought it would be a good idea to repost. (Plus, it buys me some time to crank out another - original - post for y'all...) Enjoy! And bless up to the Notorious One. You are sorely missed...

Christopher G.L. Wallace b.k.a. "Notorious B.I.G."
(May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997)

I was just 17 years old when Biggie died. March 9th was a Sunday and I was driving home from church… can't remember exactly what I was doing or where I was headed, but I remember the DJ saying that Biggie had been shot in L.A. and that he had died. I was dumbfounded. Just seven months earlier, Tupac had been shot and killed in Vegas and people were in such disbelief about it that there were rumors floating about that he wasn't really dead and was off in the Caribbean lounging on a beach. I liked Tupac. He was cool and all. And I found his music enjoyable. But, B.I.G. was "that dude" for me. And hearing that his life had ended so suddenly was shocking and sad.

When I do the math, I realize that B.I.G. was only 24 years old when he was murdered. At the time, I was a senior in high school and 24 seemed soooo old to me. Pac, B.I.G., Puff… they all seemed like adults. But today, as I look at pictures and watch video footage of B.I.G. in action, I see a kid. A BABY (no offense to those 18-25 year olds, but y'all are young!) who's life was cut short. Nobody really knows the motive behind his murder, but we can pretty much put money on the fact that it was over something stupid. Senseless murders (and to be real ALL murders are senseless) frustrate the HELL out of me. So many of our black men are killed over nonsense. So, I'm just gonna say it… beef, that's backed up with gunplay, is for suckas. If that's how you get down, you are WACK.

I remember my college roommate and I got into a really big fight over Biggie (petty, I know). She was a DIE-HARD Pac fan. I mean, this girl would wear all black every September 13 in observance of his death. Yeah, it was that serious for her. I, on the other hand, had always been down with B.I.G. My roommate and I were riding in the car on the 5th anniversary of Pac's death and a Biggie song came on the radio. I turned up the volume. She turned off the radio. I looked at her like she was crazy. She told me that she didn't want to hear music from Pac's rival on the day that he died. I challenged her on it and she got mad. Her retarded ass wanted to turn the Pac/Biggie beef into a me/her beef. I wasn't having any of it.

I know that B.I.G. had so much good music still left in him. His rhymes were so dope. I knew the words to every song on every album he ever recorded. Knew all the uhns and the baby-baaabys and the skits in between. And to this day, whenever I hear a B.I.G. track, I just gotta dance. There is no way around it. I was in a club here in DC during the MLK holiday and the DJ played "Hypnotize". I swear, it was like the late '90s all over again! People got so hyped when they played that song. And I got a shiver down my back when I remembered how young I was when that song came out. I wasn't even old enough to get into a club when Hypnotize was in heavy rotation. I remember when his deep voice said "Is Brooklyn in the house?" on "Get Money". Back then, I had never even been to Brooklyn, but there I was on the dance floor screaming "Without a doubt!!" just cause I was caught up in the moment. Good times, man. Good times…

I'll always respect Biggie because everything he spit became an instant classic. The minute I hear the first strains of "Big Poppa" or "Notorious Thugs", I am instantly transported back in time. All the memories associated with his songs are good ones. And, truthfully, there aren't many other artists from the late '90s whose songs you can play 10+ years later and people still jam like the song was released yesterday. In my mind Biggie is an icon. There will never be another like him. It is hurtful to know that his life came to such a tragic end. He deserved more than to be shot up by a "faceless" assailant. (I put "faceless" in quotes because one of those muhfuggas in the car with him saw the shooter's face. There is no doubt in my mind about that.) And a decade later, there have been no arrests, no trials, no prosecutions in connection with his murder. Talk about injustice…

B.I.G., you may be gone, but you are certainly not forgotten. Today, 10 years after your death, I am still a fan of the Notorious B.I.G.… probably now more than ever.

Rest in peace...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Why Single Sorta Sux

Ok, so it only took me three days to post. So, I'm getting better! Yay, me! My last post really came from my heart. That story was very real and those feelings were very legitimate - to me. But some of you really came down hard on me for even entertaining The Engaged One. The only thing I can say is: it is what it is. My posts are about my life and sometimes life isn't always black and white. The situation with The Engaged One happens to be one of my little gray areas. Maybe you don't approve, and I can understand that. But, be patient with me. I am still learning and growing because I am a work in progress. God is not done with me yet! Anyway, I would like to thank all those who posted comments and all those who hit me off-line to let me know their thoughts on the last post. Please keep giving me feedback! It really does motivate me...

You may be surprised to learn what I think is the worst thing about being single... It’s not being the one to show-up at the formal company dinner without a date. It’s not staying home on date night when everyone else is out seeing the latest movie or sampling the food and drink at the hottest new restaurant. Nope. Those things could be awkward and uncomfortable, but they are doable. But, in my opinion, the worst thing about being single is the way that (some) non-single people treat you.

I work in an office filled with young women in their mid-20s to mid-30s. Everyone in my office is either married or seriously dating someone.

Except me.

Now, I am not single and “dating”. I am just SINGLE. Period. End of story. There are no real prospects on the horizon and I am not actively seeking a partner. And you don’t know how happy that makes me. But to my married/attached friends, I’m like some freak of nature with an affliction that could be cured if they can just match me up with the “right” person. My coworkers are sweet enough. And I know the mean well. But sometimes, they make me feel worse about myself than I otherwise would’ve felt.

For instance, as I discussed in my last post, yesterday was Valentine’s Day. Now, two years ago I removed Valentine’s Day from my personal calendar and decided it should no longer be observed by me. Why? Because my ex ruined the holiday for me with his selfish and inconsiderate ways and, so, I decided that I would no longer acknowledge it. Unfortunately, the rest of the world would make sure that it was shoved down my throat every February. Now, I’m fine with that. Just because I don’t see any real benefit in celebrating Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean that everyone in the world should just stop recognizing it. But when I express to people at work that Valentine’s Day is just another day and that I won’t be doing anything special in honor of it, they look at me as though I’ve just told them that I’ve been laid off, or diagnosed with some grave illness… essentially, they look sorry for me.

When I explained how I planned to spend my night yesterday, you should’ve seen people’s reactions! They fed me sarcastic lines like “Hey, if I wasn’t married [to the man of my dreams] and if we didn’t [already have a table reserved at the best restaurant in town] and if I wasn’t [expecting to see a Tiffany & Co. blue box on the side of the bed on Valentine’s morning], I would have the same plans you do.” Or, my personal favorite, “You’ll probably be having more fun than I’ll be having [with my wonderful companion of the opposite sex while you sit at home alone, you poor loser!].” Yeah right. With the seriousness in their voices, I know that they don’t really believe the script they are acting out for me. They don’t envy me and my position. They just feel bad that I didn’t have a man to spend V-Day with.

Now, if you read my Valentine blog, you already know how I spent my evening. And I was FINE with it. Really, I was. I was in a positive state of mind, actually looking forward (believe it or not) to eating a pan of brownies while vegging out in front of the television with Capone curled up on a pillow beside me. And you all know that I went through a brief period of feeling sorry for myself… when I started to doubt that I could really be happy spending Valentine’s Day all by my lonesome. But really, that doubt came as a result of interacting with non-single people and observing their responses to my stated evening plans.

They would say things like “Girl power!” and “Valentine’s Day is really about loving yourself.” Those would actually be nice sentiments if they weren’t bullshit. Someone even said, “You rock for being so brave.”

Brave?? Why is bravery required? I’m spending V-Day alone, not exploring some foreign land. Are you saying I’m brave to be able to make it through another day? But why? I live the single life every day of the year. And, trust me, after the hellish relationships I have endured for far too many days of my life, I am more than happy to be single.

Spending Valentine’s Day alone is not life-threatening. But when someone asks “Are you spending Valentine’s Day with anyone special?” It makes me feel crappy. I feel like stealing a line from Miranda (a SATC character) and saying “Nope, no one special. But I plan on spending it with a few UN-special guys.” In truth, though, I don’t even have the energy to be funny about it.

My coworkers are always volunteering to set me up with someone in an attempt to cure me of my singlehood. Now, I am a good sport, but don’t go bringing me some old bullshit prospects just because I am single. I may be unattached, but I am not desperate. One work friend really made an honest effort and I was somewhat impressed just because of who the guy was. You see, this friend knows that my standards are somewhat high (although you could probably never tell that based on my poor dating track record), so she decided to pull out the big guns.

“Brown Girl,” she says. “The guy I want you to meet is so great! I really think you’re going to like him.” She proceeds to give me the rundown. Turns out, homeboy is not only a retired NFL player, he is also an astronaut employed by NASA. At first, I didn’t believe her. That’s the kind of career combination that a 5 year-old concocts when he still thinks that anything can be accomplished simply by willing it so, and he’s asked:

“Bobby, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

“A quarterback and an astronaut,” little Bobby replies.

“Aww, that’s so adorable!” coo Bobby’s parents who chuckle under their breath at the odds stacked against their son.

On with the story...

When my coworker shares this man’s occupation, my first thought is – she is making this up. She is trying to come up with the most outlandish career combination she can think of simply to deter me from turning this dude down. My second thought is - why is a former football player/astronaut still single? Especially when he’s living in the Washington, DC area where the straight female to straight male ratio is approximately 12:1.

So, just to prove to me that she wasn’t lying, my friend forwarded me an article from a national newspaper, reporting the fact that the NFL/NASA guy would soon be orbiting the Earth in some spacecraft with a team of other astronauts. I think, “Wow, he’s legit!” and then I see his photo, and I realize why he is single. Big, bushy moustache, receding hairline, buckteeth and at least my dad’s age.


I have to remind her – again – that I am single, not desperate.

To this day, Miss Missy who tried to set me up with Mr. NFL/NASA won’t let me live that situation down. She was sort of offended that I turned down her friend. And she basically thought I was ungrateful for not at least giving him a shot. She didn’t say that, but then again, she didn’t HAVE to say that. It was written all over her grill.

Anyway, when I share with her how I spent my night last night, she very obviously clucked her tongue, rolled her eyes, and said that I could’ve been spending my night with NFL/NASA and then I wouldn’t have had to sit at home on Valentine’s Day. Little does she know, I was definitely happier with Capone than I would’ve been with him.

But I refuse to acquiesce to the peer pressure. I am not willing to just accept anyone that people - friends or otherwise - present to me. I am not obligated to humor their concern for me because, guess what? There is nothing WRONG with me. In this society, so much weight is placed on linking up with someone for lifetime companionship. While I do desire attain that, it’s not something that I need to acquire right this second. And, if it doesn’t ever come, I’m ok with that, too. I refuse to settle for less than what I deserve. As a result, unless someone is coming to me with all that I need and most of what I want, I am not going to just go along for the okey-doke. I am fine with spending Valentine’s Day and every other day doing exactly what I want to do (which will likely involve my couch and something chocolate). And I refuse to let anyone make me feel bad about being single and liking it.

So, next year, if I – God willing – am still in the same place both mentally and physically (namely, “single and loving it”!), I will welcome the question: “So, are you spending Valentine’s Day with anyone special?” Because I will have a ready (and genuine) response: “Yes, I’ll be spending it with someone very special. Me.”

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Trouble with a Capital “T"

I just looked at the date on my last post. Shameful! I cannot believe that I haven’t posted in a week! I have really been slacking and I have no real excuse. Recently, I’ve had a lot of blog topics floating around in my head. I have composed so many blogs in my mind, but haven’t been motivated to write them down. Everytime I sit down at the computer, I get restless and it gets harder and harder for me to put pen to paper and produce a post. Even a short one! I am in a bad, bad way. Finally, tonight (on Valentine’s Day), I forced myself to sit down and start massaging my keyboard. The reason why? Remember that post I wrote a few years ago saying that I was seeking drama? Well, the Brown Girl has found something to shake up my life. Sorta… I am still too protective of myself to really let down my guard, but the craziness came right to my doorstep. I had been working on one post in particular, but then something happened that interrupted our regularly scheduled blog and forced me to write this:

I met someone recently who made me wish that I were someone else. Which surprised the hell out of me. For the most part, this is a foreign feeling. I mean, aside from wishing I were Beyonce or Halle Berry or Eva Mendes from time to time, I am generally happy being the lovely little brown girl that I am. Rarely, do I wish to be someone completely different. But, the person type of person that I’ve been craving to become has pretty much shocked the hell out of me.

I was indirectly introduced to a certain person (he knows who he is and is probably reading this right now) by a mutual friend. In fact, she introduced me to several people on the same day, but somehow, he and I connected. In the days (yes... DAYS... this isn't some long term thing) since we were introduced, we have spent significant amounts of time chatting about a variety of things. I find him attractive and I am MORE than sure that the attraction is mutual. The chemistry is palpable. He’s funny, smart, educated, politicized, professional, charming, and a variety of other characteristics that, if I continued to list them, would make you question whether this man is real. But he is very real. He is also very... E-N-G-A-G-E-D.

Yes - engaged.

To a woman (thank God). I’m sure she is lovely. But, her existence is really very inconsequential to me. Every now and again during my very flirtatious conversations with said man, I will ask questions about her. And he is more than willing to share details, if I ask. But, I don’t ask about her because I’m interested, I ask about her because I am trying to remind myself that she is very present in his life.

Now, the one thing I am adamant about is respecting relationships. I am the type of person that will cut a man off without further discussion if I find that he is involved, or – God forbid – married or engaged to be married. You see, I am a firm believer in karma. Especially since the Lord recently blessed me by taking care of my last ex. Mr. Ex got everything he deserved thanks be to God - literally. And I don’t want to get myself into a position where I am treating someone badly. Because I fear that decisions I make now could boomerang and disrupt my future life, I try to stay away from trouble and try my darnedest to stay out of sticky situations. But this time, trouble and temptation found its way right to my front door.

Believe me – I I know I should force myself to respect this man’s relationship. But, deep down inside, I really don’t WANT to respect it. I WANT to cross that line. I don’t even know this man well, he's a virtual stranger, but the temptation is very real. At least three acquaintances have admitted that they have been involved with married men. I was so passionate, vehement about the wrongness of their actions. I won’t lie – I judged them (In spite of my promise to stop being so judgmental in 2008. Oh well, resolutions are made to be broken!). I didn’t understand why a person would even allow themselves to be attracted to a man who is spoken for. I always assumed that if a man told me he was taken, it would be a huge turnoff. Well… not so much. I thought that I was be disgusted, but… I was strangely intrigued. And I was disgusted with myself because of it.

And here’s where I start wishing I was someone else. I wish I was that girl who could not care that a man is engaged. Who could just say, “The ring is not on his finger yet, so for my purposes, he’s still single.” I wish I could be the woman who said, “Sex is sex. It means nothing more than that.” The type of woman who lacked morals and values and was decidedly unconcerned with karma and the after effects of cheating. Who didn’t take to heart sayings like “what goes around comes around.”

But unfortunately, I am not that woman. I am just a Lovely Brown Girl. A woman who is unable to sleep with another woman’s man and then look herself in the mirror. A woman who recognizes that this ongoing flirtation will lead to nothing good in the long-run. A woman who’s heart still suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of having been cheated on repeatedly.

Those of you who know me are probably feeling extremely uncomfortable right now. I am always the voice of reason, always the one who makes an irrational situation rational, the little voice that is your conscience. The Earth seems thrown off its axis when a person like me starts thinking illogically. Those of you who don’t know me are probably judging me, but trust me when I say that you do not know how you will respond in this situation until you have actually been in this situation. What a revelation that is… I never would’ve guessed. Me, who’s normally so adamant about not crossing any lines has finally been tempted. Scandalous…

I think part of the reason I am so intrigued is because of my current situation. Tonight, I am at home and it's Valentine’s Day. Kinda pathetic, right? I’m sitting on the couch watching reruns of Law & Order: SVU (a favorite). I went to the store and picked out the perfect V-Day cards and gifts for my parents just to have something to do after work. I decided that I should have something chocolate on V-Day, so I bought the ingredients to make fudge brownies and they are now in the oven. My dog is here. But aside from Capone, I am alone.

Earlier today, that’s what I focused on - being alone. I put on a happy face and smiled as coworkers received flowers, candy, and balloons from significant others. I listened to friends in similar positions whine about being dateless. And, of course, I flirted shamelessly with every man who did not belong to me throughout the day, just to remind myself that I am desirable in spite of being unattached. (totally unlike myself) It was a cheap trick, but a good solution to help me to remember that I’m quite a catch. LOL! I needed that reminder.

But, tonight, as I sit on my couch and the scent of chocolate brownies fills the air, I realize that I may be alone, but I am far from lonely. And I don’t have to be depressed because I don't have a date tonight. I also don’t have to amuse myself by flirting with men who are already taken. I am content. I just sometimes forget that.

When I sat down to write this, I could've spent a bunch of time talking about how he’s wrong for flirting when he is engaged. But, hey, people are gonna flirt. Just because you’re engaged doesn’t mean that you’re dead, blind, deaf, etc. He hasn't crossed any lines. His mere presence just caused me to be interested in crossing them... but that's not his fault. I’m keeping blame out of this post because it's more important for me to admit my personal responsibility for wanting to take things too far. I can’t control what this man does or how he behaves, but I CAN control my own actions and behaviors. And I’ve decided that I’m going to continue to respect relationships.

This one time I wish I could be a different person and just taste what it’s like to live life on the other side of the coin.

But I already know that I would only end up in trouble with a capital “T”!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

"The Boys are Back in Town" = Mr. Ex

You may have noticed that the layout has changed several times over the last week. I decided that The Brown Girl's blogspot needed some redecorating. I thought I had settled on a layout and was pretty content with it. But, sadly, I have received complaints. So, I'm taking another shot. Maybe the blue is too much? We'll try it on for size for a while and if it isn't a good fit, then we'll go back to the drawing board. Now, on to the main event. Today's blog:

This weekend, my phone was ringing off the hook. Not exactly people calling me to inform me of events to fill up my social calendar. Not because of any number of crises that could have arisen. No. None of those things. My phone was ringing because Mr. Ex was in town and he made the mistake of thinking that I actually cared.

The first time my phone rang was on Thursday. My cell phone rang around 9pm. My phone lit up and I looked at his name and number emblazoned across the widescreen. I sent the call directly to my voicemail. And when it buzzed to indicate that he had left a message, I waited almost two hours before I listened to the message.

You see, the last time we spoke, he told me the goings on of him and his new girlfriend. Of all the things that could’ve devastated me about our ridiculously emotional breakup, the thing that had been the biggest slap in the face was the fact that he had gotten another girlfriend in record timing. Like, immediately. I wasn’t surprised. He had moved back home to New York in a rush and I recognized that he had probably packed his bags so quickly because there was somebody there waiting for him. It was obvious that he had been cheating on me through the majority of our relationship, which explained why he was so frequently perturbed by questions about his whereabouts and whowiths.

Anyway, he spent that last phone call telling me about how he had discovered that New Girlfriend had been cheating on him. As he started giving me ALL the gory details, I contemplated hanging up on him. And then, I realized that I was really curious about what he had to say. It occurred to me that this is possibly how he might have spoken about our relationship drama to other friends in the past. I wanted to hear more. Hear what he was thinking. He told me the whole sob story. Explained that he had cried as a result of what he had discovered. I remained silent, which only made him agitated. He prodded me with questions. Wanted to know what I thought about his situation. I had little to say up until the point where he told me he had cried. Then, I burst out laughing. I mean, pure, unmitigated joy spilled out of me from the depth of my soul.

“Why are you laughing?” he asked.

I caught my breath from my belly-shaking laughter. And, once I got my bearings back, I was furious.

“What do you want from me?” I demanded. “You have a lot of nerve calling me and telling me this nonsense… as though I would actually be interested in what is going on with you and your “new” girlfriend. Although, something tells me she is not so “new,” I finished.

He was quiet for a moment. “What’s that supposed to mean?” he said. It was more a statement than a question.

“It means that I am not stupid. I know you were probably screwing around with this girl while we were together. The funny thing is… I don’t even care anymore. And now you are calling me and telling me all this drama. As though you want me to feel SORRY for you.” I spit out the word “sorry”. “You’ve gotta be kidding me.”

He was quiet again. “So you don’t feel sorry for me?” he asked. The gall of this dude!

“Feel sorry for you??! Sorry? The only person I feel sorry for is your girlfriend. Poor thing. Trapped inside all of your drama. How are you going to be mad at her for cheating on you when you have probably been cheating on her the entire time you all have been together?” I shot.

“What makes you think I’ve been cheating on her?”

“Well, have you?” I asked, not even needing to hear the answer because in my heart I knew he had.

He chuckled and I felt nauseous.

“You’re pathetic,” I said.

“I know, aren’t you glad you got rid of me?”

“More glad than you’ll ever know,” I said. And then I hit the little red button on my cell to end the call.

He called right back. I ignored the call and went on about my night.

A week later, I got the phone call from Mr. Ex letting me know that he was going to be in DC for the weekend. And, I could’ve cared less. The next day, I received a text message, saying:

Hey, I’m in ur town so if u want 2 get up just call, but if not I understand 2. Be good [his nickname for me]. Lol! That was for old times.

"Old times"?? Screw “old times”!! "Old times" were NOT good times. I have no desire to revisit the past. So, I ignored the text and continued with my Friday night plans.

The next day, I received another phone call from him, which I, again, ignored. I still haven’t listened to the message.

What good could possibly come from us seeing each other again? Whenever we speak, he never ceases to upset me. And I have been living such a drama-free life without him in it.

Although Mr. Ex repeatedly tells me that he knows he messed up and that I am the love of his life, I know that he isn’t the one for me romantically. I am not interested in being “friends”. So, it’s best for us to just let each other live... without interrupting each other's lives.

When we broke up, I was so hurt, so devastated, so betrayed by all of his transgressions during our relationship, that I had nothing but incredible anger in my heart for him. I thought of a number of things I could do to get back at him. I had his bank account information. I had access to his cell phone bill and could've decided to call every number listed and tell whoever answered some ridiculous embarrassing secret. I asked people what they would do to get back at people who had done them wrong just to get ideas on things I could do to Mr. Ex... or to his "new" girlfriend. But, in the end, I didn't like the idea of who I had become as a result of my anger. I am not a hateful person, but I seemed bitter and temperamental. I finally decided that I wasn't going to let this man change my personality and I wasn't going to let him turn me into a bad person. So, instead I prayed at night for God to handle the situation. And he took care of it. Better than I ever could've handled it on my own. Leave it to God... he always delivers.

But, I am not all revenge and hate when it comes to Mr. Ex. I truly do hope that one day he grows and matures into a man who respects fidelity and loyalty. I really hope that he will be able to make some woman happy and that he will find a way to be content with his lot in life. But I will not be there to see it because I have decided that I am done.

Maybe one day we can be "pals" who hang out whenever we visit our respective towns, but today is not the day.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Stay at Home Friends...

So lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships. I’m a woman. It’s what we do. I have had several conversations that have inspired me to write and the following is just one of them. Recently, I was speaking with a male friend about relationships. Not just ANY male friend. A very intelligent, educated, professional, handsome, straight male friend. At any rate, said friend explained to me that there was a girl who was “just a friend” who had been asking him to hang out on a pretty regular basis. This friend, we’ll call him… Darryl… said that he had been making up excuses about why he couldn’t chill with her, but that he was running out of alibis. I wanted to know WHY he didn’t want to chill.

And he says to me, “Well, she’s not really that attractive.”

“So,” I say. “She’s just a friend, so what does it matter. Hang out with her, but just make sure that she doesn’t cross any lines.”

He shoots back, “But, she’s kind of unattractive. She’s more of a ‘house friend’.”

“ ‘House friend’,” I repeat.

“Yeah, you know, the kind of girl that you chill with in the house. I don’t really know if I’d want to be seen with her in public.”


My first two thoughts after he said this to me were:
(1) Wow. This chick must really be a dog. Like she’s gotta look like the female version of Flava Flav. (I am picturing how ugly she must be in my head…)

(2) My self-esteem has been reaffirmed. Obviously, I’m decent enough to be seen in public since he and I hang out – in public – on a pretty regular basis. I guess I transcend the category of “house friend”.

Then, I got offended. How dare he suggest that someone is not worthy to be seen in the light of day. If you are comfortable enough with a person to be friends with them in the dark, why be ashamed of them in the light? I told him as much.

He was unfazed. “I mean, it’s really not that serious. There are several women who I would put into the ‘house friend’ category,” he says. “It’s nothing new.”

I am appalled! I would never do this!! Then, I did a mental rundown of all the guys I’ve gone out with in the past. Were there any that I would consider ‘house friends’? Let’s see… the first to pop up was Rick who is shorter than me – and I’m 5’1”. So, basically, we’re talking midget status here. I usually don’t date men who are shorter than I am (can you understand where I’m coming from??), but I made an exception because I thought he had a great personality and hella style. Plus, we were just friends who occasionally went out, so there was no real pressure. BUT, sometimes when we were out, I would feel stares. Not stares directed at me (ha!), but at Rick because he was so tiny. It was really quite embarrassing for me. So, after that, we just hung out at Rick’s house or my house. So… I guess I had somehow relegated him to ‘house friend’ status. No! This can’t be possible. I wouldn’t do something so low… so superficial!

But wait. I am not done.

Then, I remembered Nasim. He was fine. Played football, had body for days. But he had an S-curl – when S-curls were not cool. There was just something strange about being seen in public with a dude who’s hair looked wet ALL THE TIME. Hey, I was in college at the time. Forgive me for being shallow and acting age-appropriate! In fact, I was afraid to touch it because even though he told me it was dry to the touch, I didn’t believe him. (He also tried to tell me that his “curls” were natural, which I also did not believe. I know a S-curl when I see one.) So, unfortunately, Nasim and I began dating strictly up and down the main drag at school. That was the only place I felt safe being seen with him. Otherwise I just KNEW I would get clowned!

Finally, there was Damon. The sweetest brotha I ever knew. I met him when I was in law school (post-Jeremy) and he was from some town I had never heard of in Michigan. Apparently, they dressed differently in Michigan. His style was definitely something I would never fully get used to. So, we would only go to low-key spots where I was sure I wouldn’t run into anyone I knew. I could just see my childhood friends doubling over in laughter, saying something like “I HOPE dude ain’t from around here.”

So, ugh. I am just as shallow as Darryl. And that upsets me. But, looking back on Rick, Nasim and Damon, part of me understands why Darryl would maybe feel like putting this girl in the “at-home” pile.

I hope that now that I’m a bit older and more mature, I am able to recognize that good people don’t come in neat little packages. I hope that I am able to accept people for who they are and that I have learned not to care what other people think about me, or what other people think about people that I like. Rick, Nasim, and Damon were all great guys – especially Damon. But he got tired of me being a “homebody” (which, at the time couldn’t have been further from the truth, but I could’ve won an Oscar for my performance) and decided that he wanted someone with more refined socialization skills. I lost a good guy just cause he was a bama. Reflecting on that decision, it was soooo not worth the loss… wonder where Damon is now? *sigh*

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The "Intro" That Sprialed Out of Control

Random thoughts. Can't believe this is really how my mind works. LOL! Enjoy!

I have been SO BUSY! I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say that due to the fact that I am consistently broke on a monthly basis, I have assumed a few side projects to help make ends meet. And, when I say “make ends meet”, that’s just what I mean. I am floored by how I am unable to save money no matter how much extra dough I think I will have after all the bills have been paid. In fact, these days, it seems like the more money I think I’ll be able to save, the more I actually end up spending. I’ll set aside some cash for a “rainy day” and then have to tap into that stash because some unforeseen expense will arise. Like, for instance, this month I received a notice saying that my car registration needs to be renewed by the end of the month. And that was just ONE surprise.

In an annoying twist. I was also notified that it is time to make a donation to this thing called the “Client Protection Fund”. This “donation” is required of every attorney licensed to practice in the state. You’ll notice that I put the word “donation” in quotation marks. That’s because it’s hard to believe that something could be called a “donation” when it comes to you in an envelope with “COURT ORDERED MANDATE” emblazoned on the front. And the bastards have the nerve to charge $210.00 for it! Ugh. Sometimes I swear I’d be in a better financial situation had I just gotten my B.A. and started working immediately after undergrad. Hmm… in fact, I’m SURE that I’d be in a better situation had I chosen that path. At least then there’d be no “COURT ORDERED MANDATE”s being delivered twice a year. But, as usual, I digress…

I was saying all that to say that this is the reason why there hasn’t been a blog for a couple days. I’ve been on my grind trying to earn some additional funds. I have to find a way to manage my time more effectively so that my life is not ALL work and I can manage to squeeze some play in there somewhere.

Lately, the “play” has been whittled down to just about nonexistent. The weather had been miserable here in D.C. Dreary and bitter cold. So nobody was having parties. At least nobody yours truly knows. I need to get down with a more sociable crowd. My friends and I work so hard, we don’t have time to even canvass our friends to see what’s happening around town. I recently started spending more time with a friend from law school. In fact, she’s responsible for my only party appearance in the last two months. A few weeks back, I went to a “Prince vs. The World” party with her and a few other friends. I didn’t even know that we had such parties here in D.C. She introduced me to something new! I had a ball!! I got a drink at the bar (a Red Stripe because it was only $5 and I am on a budget), gulped it down, chased it with some water and proceeded to dance until I sweat out my relaxer and my feet were hurting (and I was wearing flats!). In fact, my hair still hasn’t fully recovered. (I need to factor a relaxer into the budget this month, too! <>)

Anyway, Prince vs. The World was a great party although I would have to say that, in my honest opinion, if the competition was really between Prince and “the World”, this time around it’s The World – 1, Prince – 0. Yup, that’s right. I got down waaay harder to some of the other songs than to the Prince joints that the D.J. was spinning. Yeah so anyway, I’m saying all that to say that I’ll probably be hanging with her again since she seems to know where the fun parties are. Besides, if I keep down the same path, I’ll inevitably waste away on my couch watching episodes of “Sex and the City”, “The Wire” and “Project Runway” OnDemand, because that’s what I’ve been doing every weekend for the last few months. Pathetic.

But I recently discovered that I probably have SAD (seasonal affective disorder). This I discovered after extensive research… I Googled “feeling unmotivated in winter” and that was the result. I am totally unmotivated when it is cold and dark outside. Speaking of “getting dark”, have you noticed that the sun is setting later in the day now? Yay! Finally, I am able to see a sliver of sunlight when I leave work. It’s usually set by the time I get home, but at least I get to see the last rays before my day is over. This is important to me since I don’t have windows in my office and generally don’t know what’s going on outside of my office building from one minute to the next. When I am at work it makes no difference whether the day is mild and beautiful or if there is a monsoon ranging. Either way, I don’t see it, hear it… I am completely unaware of the weather situation, which sometimes works to my benefit if it is cold and rainy. I am thinking of investing in one of those light bulbs that mimics sunlight as treatment for my SAD. But only if it costs less than $10…

Whew! That was a long intro… and now that I read it, it’s more than one-page long and isn’t so much an “intro” afterall. I think this qualifies as a bona fide post. So, I will treat it as such.

More pontificating on life, fashion, romance, Jeremy, Ascot, and celeb gossip at a later date. For now, this is all you’re getting! (But, I hope it explains why my posting has been so infrequent… or does it?? Re-reading it, I guess it’s really more of a random stream of consciousness. Sorry!)

Saturday, February 02, 2008

And, they call it "Puppy Love"

Ok, so I was inconsistent about posting this week. I am trying not to let this become a habit. I will post at least every two days, dammit! That is a promise. I notice that whenever I post about fashion - although I have NO CLUE what I am talking about, it makes y'all post! Eureka! I have found the answer! I will post another fashion blog soon because I love to know what y'all are thinking. Anyway, happy Super Bowl Sunday! Eat up, drink up, be safe! Go... Patriots... Giants? Hell if I know! I just found out who the Super Bowl teams were this morning. Pathetic, I know... Without further ado, today's blog (which, I am aware, is long overdue):

Aww! Puppies! Gotta love ‘em. I tell ya, peeps, I was just about to classify myself as a “dog lover” until I recognized that the only dog that I truly “love” is my own.

Honestly, the best piece of advice that I can give to a single person is: get a dog. Like now. Today. It changed my life – for the better – in so many ways. Before I became a pet owner, I knew a few people who were head over heels in love with their pets (including a woman who worked at one of my internship sites who had no less than 50 pictures of her big fat fluffy cat wallpapering her office). At the time, I didn’t understand how a person could go so insane over an… ANIMAL. I just couldn’t fathom loving something that wasn’t even human. You see, I grew up in a house where pets were not allowed. My mom didn’t want pet hair in her carpet nor did she want to end up responsible for cleaning, walking, and feeding some little mutt. I am deathly allergic to cats and have asthma, so a kitten was a no-go, but I always wanted a dog. I asked for one every year and, every year, was met with a resounding NO.

Anyway, I was afraid of dogs. Yes, having a dog was good in THEORY, but I was only halfheartedly interested in the reality of a dog. Whenever a person’s dog would come near me, I would jump. After all, I had never had any animals in my house growing up and these little critters seem kind of unpredictable, so I wasn’t really comfortable with having one sitting next to me or rubbing up against my leg. So even though I asked for a dog every year, I knew I wasn’t getting one and, truthfully, I was ok with that.

But, as I’ve mentioned before, I try to challenge myself every year. I attempt to overcome a fear or do something I’ve never done before. And in 2001, I made the decision that I would get over my fear of dogs. This was my senior year of college and Jeremy and I in our “on again/off again” relationship were in an “off” period. So, one day after class, I drove to Just Puppies, which was a store that had, well… JUST PUPPIES… to over come my fears.

I would head into the store, walk back and forth between the cages and then settle on a pup I wanted to take into the “holding room”. The first time I held one, I remember it was wiggly and warm. Sorta like a baby with more movement. And I didn’t really like the sensation. I put it down and went back to being a casual observer. The second time, I found a rather calm puppy and held and stroked her until she fell asleep in my arms. Later that week, while out and about, I encountered a woman with a very large dog and didn’t feel any fear at all. In fact, I pet him. But when he licked my hand I wanted to throw up. Guess I wasn’t cured after all.

The third time I went to the store, I was particularly depressed. My roommate, who had done all that she could to keep me entertained during my self-imposed exile in our apartment (I had, for all intents and purposes, not left our apartment for four days), considered it a welcome change when I asked her to come with me for my weekly sojourn to Just Puppies. It was the end of the week, so when we got there, the cages were mostly empty. Straight ahead of us was a cage containing two Italian Greyhound puppies. If you’ve never seen one, they’re pretty weird looking. Skinny and straggly and just… skinny and straggly. I walked up to the cage to see what was going on in there. I saw a shadowy figure in the back of the cage. And, when he spotted me, he pushed the two (much larger) greyhounds out of the way to get to the front of the cage.

He was the tiniest, cutest, sweetest thing I had ever seen. He licked my hand a few times and I looked at it, wiped it on my jeans and then walked away. A few minutes later, a young girl took him out of the cage and was walking around carrying him in her arms. He was a Miniature Pinscher and he was so adorable! I wanted her to put him down so I could pet him, so I basically stalked her around the store until (finally) she put him back in the cage. Well, as soon as she did, I ran over and took him back out and held him in my arms. We sized each other up and after about a 30 second stare down, he sighed, tucked his snout under my arm and settled in for a nap.

Well, needless to say, the rest is history.

I somehow convinced my very anti-animal roommate to go halfsies on him. We signed the paperwork and he was ours. After we paid a grip for him, I looked him over again. I decided he was rather homely looking. He was born with floppy ears and a long tail, and in an effort to make him look even more like a Doberman Pinscher, his ears and tail had been recently clipped and were looking sort of wounded. He also had a big round belly because he had worms (I would discover that during his first poop). But I loved him anyway. I named him Capone, after Al Capone – obvi, because I thought that such a tiny dog could use a BIG name. It was good for the ego.

Eventually, my roommate and I went our separate ways and because she was definitely NOT a dog-lover (although she was - and remains - very fond of Capone) she let me buyout her half of Capone and then, he was ALL mine. Of course, some may wonder why I wanted him. Even after a year of training and tough love, he occasionally pooped behind the living room sofa, chewed every pair of black shoes I had ever owned, and refused to eat anything but namebrand (read “expensive”) dog food.

But, I’ll tell ya single folk. With Capone, there was never a dull moment. He is great company even when he’s just sitting beside me quietly (which isn’t often). He is a fabulous guard dog. Every single woman living alone should get a MinPin because they will let you know if anyone gets even remotely close to your front door. They are very territorial.

Capone adds a rhythm and a consistency to my life that was missing before. Even if I stay out late at night, I know that he must be walked in the morning, and even if I am dead-tired after a long day at work, I know that I must walk him before bed in the evening. Btu I don’t mind those quiet moments together. When I am sick, he curls up next to me and lays quietly with his head resting on his little paws and I am lulled to sleep by his tempered breathing. When I am sad or crying (which I did a lot of in our early days due to Jeremy’s scandalous ways), he will crawl into my lap and nuzzle his head against my tummy and look up at me with those bright eyes, and all is right with the world.

And, the best part about being a dog owner? Even if everyone else in the world hates you, your dog will ALWAYS be happy when you come home. Capone suffers from separation anxiety, so everyday for seven years, he has thrown his small black and brown body against the door in the morning when I leave for work. I try to talk to him, try to convince him that I am coming back home. But no matter what, he looks at me with those panic-stricken bright brown eyes and inevitably throws himself at the door when I leave. It’s heartbreaking. And my heart has been broken everyday for seven years. By the same token, when I come home, Capone is a basket of nerves. Before I can even make it to the front door, I can see the silhouette of his pointy ears and small body watching me from the window. When I come inside, he jumps up on me, turns around in circles, and hops up onto his doggie sofa (yes, he has a doggie sofa and so what??) and begs to be held. His whole body shivers and trembles and his tail wags approximately 100 times per minute. That excitement is infectious and, in turn, I am even more excited to see him. He is playful and mischievous, cute and cuddly... just... refreshing! Even people who supposedly "don't like dogs", fall in love with Capone upon spending a few moments with him. He'll pretend to ignore you at first, then get a little closer, then a little closer until... lo and behold, he is sitting next to you and you are absentmindedly rubbing his little head. And, here, you thought you didn't even like dogs! He's good like that. He's a great judge of character. Whenever I start dating someone new, the first test is Capone. If he relaxes (after the first few minutes of standard hysteria that occurs anytime someone new enters the house) fairly quickly and allows you to touch him (or if he really likes you, to touch ME), then you're datable. If he barks, acts jumpy and nervous, and/or throws a fit when you get close to me, you're probably a wolf in sheep's clothing... And, yes, I do take this sort of thing seriously.

So, even though sometimes he breaks things, or chews things he’s not supposed to touch, or tears open a trashbag or two leaving detritus strewn across the floor, he’s still the best dog ever. Sometimes I get freaked out by the fact that I have started to slightly resemble the “cat lady” from my internship. Sometimes I worry that Capone is the only man that will ever love me. and then, I’ll think of how many times he has comforted me when I am sick or my feelings are hurt, how happy he is when I come home from work, how handsome he looks when I'm walking him in his hoodie or his turtleneck sweater (I am not laughing, so you shouldn't be either), how smart and resourceful he is (he can open doors, climb things, find whatever you are missing, etc.), and how content I am when he cuddles up/let’s out a sigh/rests his head on his elegantly crossed paws and starts to snore happily, I realize that even if it will be just me and Capone forever, that’s alright by me.