It’s a running joke amongst my friends that every time I meet a man who has a particular name, I should politely say, “It was a pleasure meeting you” and simply walk away. No further commentary would be necessary. Just so happened, date number six was given this name. The Hebrew meaning of this moniker is “Who is like God?” Think of the name of the most famous athlete or the greatest entertainer in the world.
Initially, he seemed rather formal via email but, once we conversed over the phone, he became more lax. His small town North Carolina, southern dialect charmed me as he told stories of his years at Morehouse and his career in municipal real estate. We debated about whether HBCUs (historical black colleges and universities) are necessary. Having attended both a large university and a HBCU, I saw firsthand the disparities between the two. Predominately white institutions have up-to-date amenities, computer labs and curriculums compared to most HBCU’s outdated housing, antiquated technology and curriculums that were relevant three or more years ago. Mr. Morehouse Man argued that HBCUs are still relevant and that black folks can still get a good education because several of his friends who graduated from HBCUs have high paying jobs. Having only attended a HBCU, he proudly stated that he was pro-Black and militant. Who still says that in 2014? His one-dimensional thinking unnerved me.
After almost two weeks of chatting on the phone, I felt it was time to meet in person. I remember telling him that we really should not talk on the phone anymore without meeting because, if we don’t have a physical attraction, we couldn’t get our time back from weeks of wasted conversations. We finally decided to meet on a Saturday.
I originally wanted to meet at Taqueria Del Sol since I had a craving for their charro beans and turnip greens. He questioned my choice asking, “What type of food is that?”
Rolling my eyes because the name implied a Mexican restaurant, I said “Mexican/Southwestern.”
“Isn’t La Parrilla on the same street? Let’s meet there?” he suggested.
I remembered a previous conversation we had about his love for chain restaurants. So much for being open-minded and trying something new. “Sure, that’s fine,” I complied.
When I arrived at La Parrilla the place was packed and the wait was an hour. I phoned my date and he was still at home. I told him that the wait was too long and that I was heading to Ormsby’s which is down the street.
He quickly asked, “What type of place is that?”
“A sports bar. If you don’t like it, there are several restaurants within walking distance that we can choose from” I replied. Slightly irritated, I hung up the phone and headed to Ormsby’s.
The place was crowded and swarming with college students. I was able to avoid the line by walking in with a large party of folks being seated that looked like me. Long lines are a thing of my past; I just couldn’t wait in a line. I headed to the bar and ordered a glass of wine to kill some time, since my date had just left the house. As I sipped on my wine, I walked downstairs to see if I could run across anyone of interest in the game room. I locked eyes with a cutie, but he was probably the age of my oldest god child, 22 at best. I repeated to myself, “There will be no Cougar Town in my future.” My phone vibrated and my date told me that he was parking. I finished my drink and walked outside to meet him. As I walked out the door, he phoned me stating that the line was wrapped around the building. I told him I was outside as I spotted a man walking up the steps and talking on a cell phone. I watched the man walk up the stairs for a moment, thinking to myself “not a bad look from the back side.”
“Are you walking up the steps?” I queried.
“No” he replied as he turned around on the steps to look at me. “I see you now,” he said.
I mumbled “What a liar” as I hung up the phone. As I took a closer look, I recalled photos from his profile of a man who looked like Angela Basset’s husband Courtney B. Vance. This guy could definitely pass for his younger, not so attractive brother. Note to self, when dating online, make sure the guy has a close up photo before you agree to go out with him.
He apologized for making me wait so long and we walked over to La Fonda to grab a bite to eat. As we settled into our booth, I noticed that he wasn’t his normal loquacious self. “Maybe he was taken aback by my beauty,” I thought and laughed in my head. There were some awkward silences. It didn’t bother me and I continued to look over the menu, void of conversation.
The waiter took our order and my date began to warm up. We talked about the challenges of dating in Atlanta. My date believed that we were both single because we were trying to date someone out of our league. He mentioned the 80/20 rule, or at least his version of it. 80% of the people are trying to date the top 20% of the dating pool. If a college educated black man represents the 20%, this theory might have some merit. He told me that he would date the cook in the kitchen if he thought that she was attractive, whereas I would not date a man with the same job. That is absolutely correct. His argument was that women should be open to “dating down” if men do it. I told him it wasn’t apples to apples. From the beginning of time, men have been providers and protectors, and women’s liberation has not negated the fact that men still define themselves through this role. A man wants to be head of household. Point blank.
We debated the entire night. I knew it was time to wrap the date up when he started talking about the Morehouse Man legacy in his current position with the state. He boasted that his former predecessor was a Morehouse Man, who was hired by a Morehouse Man. The position he holds has had a Morehouse Man in it for over 30 years. I wanted to stick my finger in my throat to fake gag, but instead I shook my head in disbelief.
“When I leave, I will make sure a Morehouse man replaces me,” he exclaimed.
Really? Am I still in college at the Atlanta University Center? Somebody has clearly been drinking the Kool-Aid.
“Why don’t you hire the person who is most qualified for the job?” I queried.
He responded, “Because it is my responsibility to make sure this legacy continues.”
Can somebody bring over the check please?
I started yawning and it became contagious. He knew it was time to depart. We walked to my car and I thanked him for dinner, gave him the obligatory church hug and drove off.
As I drove home, I gave myself a pep talk to stay positive and hopeful. If I continue to date, eventually I will meet someone who gives me that spark. But tonight, I had no such luck.
If I continue to dream, one day I will achieve.