thirty days

Photo on 3-29-13 at 10.51 PM #2Until four weeks and two days ago I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t up for the challenge and I wasn’t interested in commitment. Thirty days ago, I was resigned to the fact that the greatest love of my life, which was also the greatest disappointment of my life, might in fact have been ‘it.’ I had decided that I had missed the relationship boat, and I was okay with the life raft that just kept me dry. I was satisfied with not being soaked in anyone’s expectations or insecurities, even if it meant that I was left unprotected from all the other dangers of exposure.

Until 30 days ago, I had decided to tell the world that if I fucked up in the past, then I was willing to live with it. I made a Kissinger decision, bitch, and I could regret it the rest of my life or I could accept that it was the best decision I could have made at the time. I don’t have any regrets. Feeling stifled in someone else’s dimming shadow is not much of a choice anyway. Until thirty days ago, I was satisfied in my world, because I’d finally had it appraised and I wasn’t coming up short. I didn’t seek forgiveness and I didn’t need anyone’s remorse. I had decided that all I would commit to is putting one foot in front of the other and letting the day run its course.

I had decided. I had figured it out. And then, he asked me on a date.

A date? A whole one? Yes, a proper date. I got picked up at my house and there were forks and knives on the table.

I told him that I didn’t need a title and I didn’t need a relationship. There was a time in my younger, more naïve life, when the person in this body would have wanted something – anything. A road dog, a homie lover friend, a cuff buddy, a boo, a side-piece, a boyfriend, a husband, a business partner, a hope, a dream, or a goddamn clue. But, on that day – 30 days ago – I wanted free dinner. But who can say that out loud when someone asks, “so what do you want from this?”

I said I wanted someone who wanted nothing from me. I wanted someone who had met himself, knew his own flaws and didn’t wait for me to mother him into fixing them. I wanted an adult who could handle that I had lived adult things, had fought adult traumas and didn’t need a hanky anymore. I wanted someone who I enjoyed spending time with, not someone to call mine. I never wanted to possess or be possessed again. I wanted someone who chose me, with every hiccup and hang up, and who never asked me to be a ‘better me.’  A better me doesn’t exist!

I said things like this. And I meant things like this – when they came out of my mouth, then stuffed with fish & chips & diet coke and rum. And I really fucking meant it. And I said it like a sailor too, I fucking swear!

And now this dude is my boyfriend. I don’t know how it happened. I’m pretty sure he snuck up behind me and clobbered me over the head like a cave man. And I can’t remember the part when I fell for him, but I know for sure that I did. He keeps saying, “It’s natural.” And I keep thinking, “oh shit! Is this real? Really? OMGOMGOGMOGOMGOMGOMG Is this real? Really? oh shit!”

He asked to get to know me. I thought he was being facetious. Apparently, he wasn’t, because he’s still around. And I think he knows me pretty well, for as much as someone can actually know another person. Around day two, I wondered if he would be a flash in the pan like the douchebag in New Orleans. Around day ten, I wondered if he would hide me like my first love in Philadelphia. Around day thirteen, I feared he wouldn’t really be able to communicate with me like the philanderer in Paris. Around day twenty, I figured he must be a man whore like that ass clown in the Bronx. Around day twenty-two I told him not to hurt me and, on day twenty-two + 2 seconds, he laughed in my face. “Me? Hurt you?! I’m so in love with you, only you could mess this up.” He said it with a chuckle that only half masked that he really meant it.

He doesn’t walk in the faith that we’ll last forever. It works because I don’t know that I believe in forever anymore. Neither one of us grew up believing in marriage or seeing nuclear families function. We don’t have high hopes for a day far away from today when we’ll say ‘it’s us against the world,’ and mean it. We think people who say shit like that are stupid. We know that we’re good today and that we’re committed to trying to be good to each other every day thereafter.

He? Well, he’s just grateful that he knows what this feeling feels like and I’m glad to share his company. Me? Well, I’m not sure that I can handle the pressure of being someone who is now so adored, so revered, so supported – when I spit in the face of the possibility just 30 days ago. Thirty days ago, I was, in fact, determined against this very reality that I’m soaking in with such delight. What happened on day thirty that made me feel ready to be all the things that I had written off ever being, ever expecting, just 24 hours before? What about me today is so deserving, when 30 days ago I was such a skeptic?

I ask, because I don’t have an answer and I don’t want to mess this up.

What if this is ‘it’?

too taboo for the twos of youse…

It would take Christian fearing people to bring up head scarves during sex and men’s understated appreciation for a woman’s choice of underwear during Sunday brunch. But, these are my friends. So, this is what we do…

If you were sitting at a table, any of the 6 we made that poor man pull up from the basement, at Langston Bar & Grille today, I’m sure you heard an hear full on the topic of relationship taboos, especially with regard to women getting too comfortable in a relationship. The table seemed to be convinced that wearing a silk head scarf and/or grannie panties to the boom boom room might be interpreted as getting too comfortable. But the argument was (and still remains) if you met home girl wearing a doo rag and a dashiki to bed, what’s so taboo about the norm? You can’t change a player’s game in the ninth inning. Wouldn’t it be worse if out of the blue, she started to creep the unwanted accoutrements into the bed chamber? I mean, really, six months later – who wants a surprise wake up to a retainer? Pause.

The whole conversation got me to thinking about relationship expectations and what is taboo. What are the things men act like they don’t care about because (1) their female friends make them feel ashamed, so they won’t admit it in public; (2)  their ex-girlfriends didn’t react kindly the last time they brought it up; and/or (3) they don’t really know they don’t like it until it happens and it’s kinda too late to tell your schnookie-kins that that isht is whiggity whiggity whack?

I think women are pretty accepting that a man’s physical deterioration and his lack of attention to his own maintenance is just part of the circle of life. Yes, if Mufasa hadn’t died when he did, he may have grown old to be a hyena – especially if he started to drink beer and watch a lot of football. I trust that Sarabi had no illusions. And if she was anything like my female friends, she accepted he was king and all that, but she was wayyyy open about the superficial things she was not going to accept pre-ring and pre-Simba. My point is that most of the women I know seem pretty clear about things that are just simply not going to fly past the threshold… Dirty feet. Holey drawls. Dare I continue?

It’s not so much a question of what keeps men from sharing barriers to intimacy, but how do they push through those moments when the swamp thing slurks into bed wearing tube socks and head gear. I ask because, frankly, this is a matter of diplomatic interaction I’ve yet to master. As soon as yo’ ashy elbows and crusty lips comes within 5 feet of me… I push the panic button and a metal door with air ventilators closes off my bed to unwanted intruders. So, I ask, guys, how do you do it? What tricks of the eye do you employ to keep the charade going just one more night? Mind you, there is a lot riding on your responses. Your answers will confirm or deny whether or not you all are more advanced than us in this one sector (and in this one sector, only).