On Thursday, I texted him, “Hi B.”
On Sunday, he texted back, “Hey.”
If you text a boy during the week and he waits until the end of the weekend to text you back, it’s because he’s trying to avoid an awkward conversation about his weekend plans sans you.
At 32, I would never respond to a dude after he made a move like that, but 2012 Minda, the one who would date a guy like B, was always eager to be played. Not only did I text him back—some joke about how I was just about to send Scooby Doo and the crew out to search for him—but I’d also bought us concert tickets to see Childish Gambino at the Palladium in Hollywood. The tickets had cost me $150, but let’s be real, I’d probably drank and eaten at least double that on the handful of dates B and I’d been on. He was the type of guy whose dates always involved three or four different places and I was down to match him round-for-round at each one.
I bought the tickets because B liked to play white boy indie crooners like Pete Yorn in his car. More like Pete Yawn, amirite? If the lyrics of a song aren’t like 10 percent obscenities, I can’t listen to it in the car. It makes me drowsy. I baby-stepped B into rap music by playing him Childish Gambino. In 2012, Childish spent a lot of time rapping about his childhood struggle of not being Black enough for the Black kids and too Black for the white kids. I figured B, a Black boy from a small city in Tennessee who attended an Ivy League college, could probably relate. He fell in love with Childish so quickly, I was almost jealous. Definitely jealous.
I knew B wasn’t ever going to love me. I probably could have handled that. A summer full of free drinks and free dinners and, okay, enough sex, but it was almost like he wanted me to want him to love me.
A couple of weeks earlier, we’d walked up to a bar a few blocks from my apartment in Silverlake. The bar smelled like hipsters—thrift stores and holey Tom’s slippers. I ordered a cocktail off the bar menu that had unicorn tears listed as an ingredient. B pulled me close and placed my legs across his lap, he always had to be touching me. He wanted to know why I was considering leaving my career to go to graduate school for creative writing. He couldn’t understand why I’d waited until I was nearly 30 and accustomed to fine wines and fine dining to condemn myself to years of PBR and PB&J.
“You can’t really write anything of importance until you’ve had your heart broken,” I explained.
B nearly whispered when he said it, “I’ve never had my heart broken.”
“Never?” I asked.
“Never,” he repeated.
I took a sip of my cocktail and immediately knew two things to be true: 1.) B was out to break my heart, and; 2.) Unicorn tears taste bitter.
The next morning, he and I were laying in my bed, arms and legs tangled like grapevines. I was wondering how long he was planning on staying because I needed to get ready for a brunch date. The few dates I’d been on with B felt like not enough dates to be exclusive, but too many dates to mention other men.
And that’s when he said it: “I’m just really enjoying being in this moment here with you.”
He must have felt my body tense, seen the sheets wrinkle in response, because he asked, “Too much?”
Sex is sex is sex is sex. Nothing more. Men complain women don’t understand this, but how can we be clear about a man’s intentions when he’s being intentionally misleading? If all you want is sex and someone to help you rack up your bar tab, you can’t say romantic shit when you’re lying up beside me in my bed naked.
A week later, he’d tell me his co-workers had said he had a “glow” about him. A week after that he’d get jealous upon arriving at a bar and seeing me chatting with two dudes. He spent dinner seated on the same side of the table as me, hand possessively gripping my knee, making occasional eye contact with the two men. There were his words and his actions and then there were the days he let pass between texts. Why does dating have to feel like Sherlock Holmes cosplay? How you feel about me shouldn’t be an unsolved mystery.
I didn’t see B again after the concert, even though he ended the night by saying, “We’ll hang out again real soon… I promise.” We’d gotten into it at a diner that night. He had asked me if I was sure I needed that cupcake and I’d answered him by scraping all the frosting off the top with my teeth, pressing my tongue against the roof of my mouth, and letting the sugar—like my feelings for him—dissolve into warmth and wetness and silence.