A Picture of his HMMM HUH…..

I met a guy, TEL, at my friend’s birthday party at the Cheesecake Factory.  I’d heard amazing things about TEL leading up to this impromptu encounter.  We had lots of mutual friends, and everyone spoke highly of him.  When we finally encountered each other, he lived up to his hype.  He was deep without trying to be a gentleman like.  We exchanged numbers, and I was looking forward to hearing from him….but not like this.

I looked down at my phone, rereading his text.  The text came through just as I was pulling in at my place from another night out.  It read:  “Kiss.  You pick which lips.”

Ugh.  I’m more of a “Hey, just thinking about you” or “Have a wonderful day” kinda girl.  I was a little offended that TEL would come at me like that, especially since our first conversation was about the marketing power of social networking, not anything sexual.

That text was the third one TEL had sent, and each one was increasingly worse.  I remember talking to a bunch of guys once about what women need to know most about men, and many said that men don’t know it all.  They act as if they do, of course.  But generally, when a man effs up, it’s not with the intent to do so.  Sometimes you’ve just got to tell him what he did or is doing wrong.  So I wrote back to TEL, letting him know that his texts were habitually stepping on the line circling my comfort zone.

He wrote back, apologizing profusely.  The next time I saw him, he apologized again.  He seemed genuinely sorry.  And from then on, anytime he text me, it was along the lines of “Hey, Reagan, what’s good?”

I was glad I’d said something.  Otherwise, I could have lost a potential friend over an error in his judgment.  He was a good dude who did a bad thing.  I often say you have to learn the difference between a good man who effs up and an effed-up man given to occasional moments of grandeur.

A MONTH LATER

I threw a “house party”  Saturday night with my girls Drea, and Katrell.  About  a hundred people in the backyard of my house partying till four A.M.  My phone was dead most of the night, so no e-mails came through.  I realized this when the party ended and charged my phone.

I was sorting through a ton of messages while sitting on my kitchen counter drinking water from a gallon jug, when I noticed one  e-mail came from a guest at the party.  It was from TEL, a.k.a.  Good Guy Who Does Bad Things. Er?  The subject read “NSFW” (not safe for work).

My curiosity got the best of me.  I clicked.  In summary, he said he’s insecure about his looks, but is great at sex as his penis is very large.  He talks to women about sex all the time because he’s confident in his ability to please.  He wants to know if I think he has a problem.

There were five attachments to his e-mail.  As I waited for them to download, I felt a bit ba for him.  He had such a low opinion of himself, and despite the negative traits he pointed out, I still thought he was really cute.

When the pictures arrived, I saw that they were, all of them, shots of his very hard penis from different angles.  I wondered if he took them in the bathroom at my party – or if he actually kept pictures of his penis on his phone.

I sat on the e-mail for two days.  I was completely blown but I didn’t know how to respond or even if I should.  Like a big reaction was what he wanted, right?  I mean, that’s why a guy shows a woman his penis on her phone, right?  Then I was, like, dude was a perv, certifiably nuts, and I didn’t want to flip and have him excited by the attention and continue doing pervish things.  I mean, was this the beginning of some stalker ish?

I told Katrell about the e-mail, and she called me a prude.  “How big was it?”  she asked.  “Forward me the pics.”

Drea was equally confused.  “I’m  sorry, what?” she began.  “You’re mad that a man with a big dick is interested in having sex with you?  Am I missing something here?”

I questioned my outrage until I read the e-mail again.  Nope.  Uh-uh.  Still offended.  I have to say something.  I finally wrote to him: “I’m extremely uncomfortable with your last e-mail.  Please don’t contact me again.”  He wrote back ten minutes later explaining he was “drunk and high.”  He understands my reaction and is very sorry.

I’ve been drunk.  I’ve done some amazingly dumb ish.  I’ve never gotten the urge to send pics of my va-jay-jay or even my breasts from my camera phone or my computer.  I don’t even have pics of my va-jay-jay.  Do most people?  Am I rare?

The following morning, I received a ring at my door.  It was this guy from one of the local florist.  He was walking up the driveway of my house carrying this huge orchid.  He set the cellophane-wrapped flower on the counter inside of the kitchen.

I looked at him.  I looked at the orchid.  I looked back at him.  “What is that?”

He looked at me.  He looked at the orchid.  he looked back at me.  “It’s for you.”

“No, it’s not.”

He nodded. “It is.”

I spotted the card and tore into the plastic to get it.  Did Dean send me flowers?  Did that amazing wonderful, gorgeous man send me this gigantic thing?  I hadn’t had a man send me flowers since RAM.  I ripped open the envelope excitedly and pulled out the card.

It was from Good Guy Who Does Bad things, whom I’d since come to think of as Bad Guy Given to Occasional Moments of Grandeur.  I was deflated and immediately plopped into my chair to read it: “Blah, blah, blah.  Sorry.  Blah, blah, blah.  Forgive me.”

I looked up at the gigantic orchid towering over me.  It reminded me of a huge, curved penis.  Just like the pictures on my BlackBerry.

This is not irony.  I should have sent it back.  But then, it wasn’t as if he’d ever know.  Was the florist going to call and tell him?  They’d either trash it – a shame, because it really was beautiful – or resell it.

I told the florist guy the back story about the orchid.  He agreed with my assessment that there was phallic imagery going on.  He was disgusted, too.

“You keeping it?” he asked.

“I dunno.”

Keeping the orchid wasn’t about the orchid.  It was about whether I’d forgive the dude.  I couldn’t figure out if he had made an honest mistake….again and I was being prudish, hypersensitive, or unusually conservative about the whole thing.  Or if he was an effing pervert and I was having problems accepting that because he had such good word-of-mouth.

So I decided to keep the orchid.  I forgave but refused to speak to TEL again.

A Case of The What If’s

He called.  The next day.

For a month, we’ve talked on the phone, multiple times a day.  Sometimes he would schedule his lunch break with me, and I would meet him at a variety of restaurants around the city and talk to him.  I do the same thing after work before I head to the gym.  I’m like a teenager.  I’ve nicknamed him my Teenage Love Affair.

But now, I haven’t heard from DH in two days.  I texted him last night, called this morning.  No response.  He usually calls me right back, even if it’s just to say he’s busy and can’t talk.

I check my phone compulsively all day.  Nothing.  By the end of the day, I’m so wound up I’m debating not calling him ever again.  I mean, if he wanted to speak to me, he’d call, right?  I’m not trying to be that chick whom dudes laugh about like “Son, shorty’s a stalker!”  I read He’s Just Not That Into You.  A text and a call are enough.  If he cared one way or another, he’d call.

After work, I skip a US Weekly party to go to the gym.  I have to get some of my aggression out.  I listen to Lauryn Hill’s Unplugged as I run.  Her lyrics make sense.  I replay “Mr. Intentional.”  Bad, bad sign.

I go over my last conversation with DH in my head.  He called me before I ran my Saturday errands.  We talked for thirty minutes.  And as soon as we hung up, he called right back to say he was really feeling me.  Then he didn’t call again?

I do an extra fifteen minutes of cardio because I’ve still got energy to think.  At least I didn’t do him.  I’d be devastated.  I run the last mile – hard and uphill – to get my frustration out.

On the way home, I wonder what happened.  Did he get back with his ex?  Did he meet someone else?

I debate calling him again.  I think of the possible outcomes.  He could send me straight to voicemail.  He could not answer and let it ring.  He could not answer and I could leave a message.  He could answer, act as if “I have to call you back,” i.e., if I’d known it was you, I wouldn’t have answered.  I only have a one-in-six chance of getting the response I want.

I realize I’m driving myself crazy.

The next morning, I check my phone – I sleep with it under my pillow-before I get out of bed.  No call.  It’s officially been three days.  I rationalize why this whole “affair” ending is for the best.  From great suffering comes great art.  Maybe this heartache will inspire a great story or poem.  And I’ve been off my game ever since DH and I started talking, daydreaming, talking on the phone all hours of the night, showing up to work exhausted.  This is for the best, Reagan, I tell myself.

I’m brooding as I get dressed.  I miss him no matter how much I try not to, but that quickly turns to fury by the time I walk out the door.  I step into the brick-cold weather and just get madder because despite giving into Charlotte culture and buying a North Face bubble coat, I’m still cold.  Why did I let myself get so caught up so quickly?  And what kind of games is this man playing?

Eff it.  I’m calling.  If for no other reason than to get the closure that will come when I curse out DH.  I don’t care if he doesn’t care.  I care, and I want to know why!  He owes me an explanation.

His phone rings.

And rings.

And rings.

He answers.

He doesn’t talk so much as words just rumble in a drawl from his throat.  I melt.

“Hello?”  Even I’m baffled by how sweet my voice comes out.

“There it is!  I’ve been waiting for you to call.”  He’s smiling into the phone.  I hear it, then I picture it.  It’s a beautiful sight.

“Uh, so why didn’t you call me instead of waiting?”  Ooh, I sound a little belligerent.

“I lost my phone.  I didn’t have your number written down,”  he half-explains, half-pleads.  He must have heard my angst.  “You didn’t leave your number when you left a message , baby.”

I feel like an idiot.  I’ve wound myself into a frenzy over nothing.  Nothing!

“But, uh, Reagan, can I call you right back?”

Uh oh.  I don’t say that out loud.

By way of explanation, he offers, “I have a client on the other line.”

I know what that means:  If I’d known it was you, I wouldn’t have answered.

I put on a chipper voice.  I won’t let him know how disappointed I am.  “Sure!  Talk to you later!”  Oops!  I didn’t mean to be that happy.

I hang up and plan never to hear from him again.  Now I’m mad that I called.  I should have just let it be.  I’m sure I’ll bump into him soon.  I’ll see DH in the club, give a pleasant but brief hello, act like we’re virtual strangers.  I throw my phone in to my bag and zone out for the ride to work.

When I got home from work, there’s a voicemail.  From DH?  I immediately check my phone.  “Hey,” he    says in his Barry White bass.  “Just wanted you to have a wonderful day.  Call me back, Reagan.  I miss your voice.”

He wasn’t ducking me.  I’m crazy, I realize.  I’m really crazy.  I’ve mistaken life’s ish happening for Shifty Man Syndrome.  What if I hadn’t called?  What if I had really been on some hard pride, “eff that”?  I would have totally lost someone I like over nothing.

I’m dancing around my house, contemplating the exact level of my excessive crazy, when my phone vibrates.  Two buzzes.  Three? A Call?  I reach into my bag.

It’s DH again.

“Hello?”  I answer.

“Hey…..I know you’re just getting home from work – ”

“I always have time for you,” I say, cutting him off.

“Reagan, I just wanted to talk to you for a sec.  I wanted to tell you….”

Afterwards he makes me promise not to tell anyone.

I lean against the side of my door, a big doofy smile on my face, biting my bottom lip as he says what needs saying.  If my nieces weren’t with me I would have screamed, doubled in half, jumped all over the sidewalk, and given Charlotte a morning show of just how crazy I am over DH.

A Teenage Love…

Nothing really matters.  I don’t really care, what nobody tells me. I’m gonna be here.  It’s a matter of EXTREME importance, my first teenage love affair…”

– Alicia Keys

The night I met CK, I met another man.  He was my physical type, o he was my every type.  This man was gorgeous in every sense of the word.  I was immediately attracted to him.  We chatted, and I found there was a catch.

He had a girl…but he said they were on the rocks.  I told him I don’t deal with taken men.  He told me I should take his number and call every so often to check up on his status.  Eh….too much work.  And does that not sound a little bird-ish?

I took the number, but I never called.  The logic was, would I want some chick calling to check in on my man’s departure from me?  “Karma, karma, karma comes back to you hard,” we learned from Lauryn Hill.  Plus, there are certain people you just want to d things the RIGHT way with.

Well time continued to pass, and so did a few months.  By this time, it’s mid-summer, and I was in D.C. visiting family members.  I ran into him again one Saturday night at Josephine, a D.C. lounge catering to tastemakers and those who pretend to be such.  I walked in with my girl Sadiyah, who casually reintroduced us, and we-the stranger and me- had a drawing of recognition at the same time.

“Hey,” I said.  Blush.  Giggle.

“Hey,” he said.  Grin, grin, grin.

I played it cool as we remembered out loud that there was a very mutual interest.

Finally, he said, “But you never called.”  “This has to be fate us meeting up in the same town, and in the same place.”

I shook my head.  “You had a girlfriend.”  I gave a what-could-I-do-shrug for emphasis.

He nodded, then smiled.  “We were broken up.  And she’s moved out.”

Word?

He made me promise to give him my number before I left.  I don’t know why I didn’t give it to him right then.  Maybe I didn’t want to appear too eager?  Silly me.

I left before I could pass him my digits.  I looked for him, please believe it, but he was nowhere to be found.  So I text Javon and told her to make sure they guy got my number.  Over brunch the following afternoon at Lauriol Plaza, a Spanish resty in Adams Morgan better known for its sangria pitchers than its food, Sadiyah assured me the she did.

I hope he calls.  I really hope he calls (and is as amazing on the inside as he is on the outside).

Had Him At Hello!

I was 27 years old before I realized how easy it was to meet men. Until that point, I tried all the standard tricks- tossing hair, tight skirts, tighter shirts, being alternately loud or demure, and asking what material they were wearing (actually highly effective.) Nothing was guaranteed. I wanted something that was 98% effective like when using a condom properly, a high ROI that read like a standard temperature, 98.6.

I was on the beach one day, watching the waves come in when a tall dark shirtless stranger stepped into my line of vision. He was lovely and muscular. I couldn’t let him pass me by. I had to talk to him, but I didn’t know how.

I looked at him.

He looked at me.

I looked away.

Then I looked back to see if he was still looking.

Yep, but he was peeking, pretending not to look.

Yikes!

This exhausting game went on forever. Me trying not to look while I’m looking, him detouring from his previous destination to pretend he had business going on in my general vicinity.

Then I had a revolutionary thought. I would smile, appear friendly. Maybe he’d smile back.

So the next time I caught his eye, I did it. I smiled.

Then he smiled. From afar.

Now what?

I don’t know what came over me. I kept smiling and then blurted, “hi!” All nice and chipper like. And kept smiling.

He sauntered my way to say “hello.”

Well, hey now.

Two Types of Men He Says…

So last Saturday I’m at home majorly depressed. I had convinced myself that the dealer in my card game of life had some sick twisted pleasure out of dealing me such a bad hand. I was pouring myself a glass of Moscato ready to begin my own private pity party when my buzzing phone stops me at ten o’clock. It’s Katrell.

“Be dressed for ten-thirty. We’re going out.” “I’m coming by to pick you up.” She always knows what’s going on. “And don’t give me that bullshit about you not going; and don’t get all dressed up either.”

I sigh in her ear solely for the dramatic effect. “Fine. Are you driving?”

The car honks fifteen minutes late, which is fine because I wasn’t fully dressed until five minutes ago. I’ve got on jeans, heels, and a frilly top that’s cute and I can sweat in.

“Who’s throwing this fabulous party?” I ask.

“A DJ. Friend of a friend. We should be able to find it. I have the cross streets.”

“Um, you don’t have the address?”

“Relax,” she assures me. “We’ll find it.”

We find it, and as soon as we pay our entrance fee, Katrell sees this guy she knows and gives me the deuces.

I’m left there standing at the door, so I decide to walk as best I can through the gyrating bodies on the dance floor. The farther away I get from the DJ booth, the less I can see. With all the boys towering over me, I can barley make out anything. I head to the foyer and plop onto the first available couch. I knew I should have stayed home. I break out my phone to text Roderick to come and get me, but I’m interrupted by a bass-filled voice.

“What are you drinking?” I’ve met him before, but I don’t remember where. Cute. My type. But I’m not in the mood to holler.

“Tom Collins,” I say, taking another sip from my glass.

He sits next to me without asking, tells me he’s drinking rum punch. He holds out his cup for me to taste. “It’s good,” he promises.

“I’m good,”

Not sure how many cups were in his system, but he was in the mood to talk. “You got a boyfriend?” he asks.

Trick question. Jay and I are Jay and I. Technically, I’m free to date other people. I mean he did just tell me that I could do and see whomever I wanted, and he’d be totally fine with it.

“I’m seeing somebody, ” I say, giving the vaguest answer possible.

“Well, there are some things you should know about men,” the guy, not technically a friend, not really a stranger, begins.

This, in a nutshell, is what he tells me: the people you seriously date only come as As or Bs. Anything else, like a C through Z, is a time killer. It’s not the real thing, so why put forth the effort?

An A is the nice man your parents would like to see you dating or married to. He is reliable, rational, dependable, HONEST, humble, considerate, and goal oriented. He courts you. You know how he feels about you; you don’t question his motives. He is consistent. You don’t worry that he is cheating or lying. He does what he says he will do. Within reason, he does what you ask him to. Everyone you know likes him. He is good to you and for you. Basic common sense and all rational thought indicate that you should marry and live as happily as possible ever after with this man. A is a boyfriend/husband material. A rescues princesses from disastrous situations in fairy tales.

A is for Another Guy

B? There’s just something about a B. You can’t ever really put your finger on why. He doesn’t do half of what A does, but you will do twice as much for him. He’s not really reliable. He’s definitely inconsistent and usually not entirely honest. He might not be conventionally attractive, but he’s hypnotize you into believing he is the finest man you will ever encounter. He is, however drama.

Around B, life gets away more interesting. Your emotions run the full gamut; you are a wreck operating in a near-constant state of stereotypical PMS or menopausal symptoms. You might coast with a variation of forty to fifty mph with A, but B is zero to ninety in six seconds flat. You know full and hell well it’s disastrous just to be around B, much less be with him. But if loving B is wrong? Fuck it, you don’t want to be right. And the sex! It’s not just about the sex, of course, but with all that emotion, could it be anything other than mountain-moving? It’s not the kissy, lovey-dovey, nice only-in-the-bedroom sex you have with A; this is Pinky-Cherokee-Italia Blue pornographic. And you love it! Fairy tales are not made about B. The concept of happily ever after does not rationally exist with him. The best you can hope for with B is seven days without tears, without hanging up on him, or without breaking your BlackBerry in a fit of rage over the most recent stupid thing he did. For all his dysfunction, you’ll want to spend the rest of your days with him. But if you have any sense, B, at best, is a one-night stand on vacation. B is the dude you cheat on A with if that’s how you get down, but by God, you don’t leave A for him.

B is for Big Mistake.

At this point, the drunk guy adds the real kicker: the odds of finding an AB combination are about as likely as Lil’ Kim’s comeback. So you’re going to have to settle. Men don’t come in packages that are dependable, drama-free, gentlemanlike, sensitive but also aggressive, swagged-out, and passionate, driving your emotions and your body haywire. Those are all the traits that women say they want in a man, but they don’t exist well all in the same man. You’re going to have to choose which one you want.

I’ve dealt with and A, and God knows I’ve dealt with a B. I’ve tried to make an A more B and a B more A, and it did not work.

But then there’s J.A.S, who is all of those things this guy says one man can’t be, and he blows this theory out of the water.

“Reagan, that’s what you may think about him but you can’t have it all. Not in one person,” the stranger promises. He leans over towards me, and kisses the side of my cheek. This perfect stranger whispers in my ear before he gets up off the couch, that he enjoyed our talk, and that he hoped we would bump into one another real soon, and maybe the outcome will be slightly different.

I ponder his assessment as I wander back to the bar for a second drink. Is J.A.S the exception to the rule?

Maybe I’m lucky.

(exhaling)

Maybe not.