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*