Amongst my friends, I am the one who always comes up with some rules or theories that I follow when dating. The theory I follow the most is the birth order theory. Since I am the youngest child, in order to have the most balanced relationship, I should date the oldest child. Dating a middle child ranks second and dating an only child or another youngest would be least ideal. If I look back at all of my long-term relationships, I have dated the oldest child and this theory holds true for me. If my theories had a pecking order, a close second would be my unproven theory that one out of every ten dates will be a good one. Date number ten was my last opportunity to make it happen.
Initially, when I told my best friend that I was going out with an African dude, she told me to be careful.
“I know,” I assured her.
I immediately remembered a story that my Writing & Reporting professor told us about a murder she covered while working in Chicago. Apparently, there was one person located at two different murder scenes. One scene had a woman’s decapitated head sitting on a front porch and the other had the same woman’s body sitting in a car. The woman’s boyfriend, who was African and a butcher, suspected that she wasn’t being faithful and was so angry that he used his meat cleaver to decapitate her. Then he placed her head on the steps of her supposed lover. That story, along with countless others that I’ve heard from my friends, deterred me from entertaining someone who is from the continent of Africa.
However, this self-imposed dating challenge has forced me to be more open-minded and I decided to meet him for a date. Date 10 initially showed up in my filtered email on Match because his status was “separated” instead of never married, divorced or widowed. He assured me that his attorney told him that his divorce will be finalized within the next two months. After last week’s date, I told him that I would meet him to see if we had a connection (but the reality is that I desperately needed a date for the week), but any future dates would not occur until I see the final divorce decree. He assured me that it was pretty much a “done deal”, but he would gladly show me papers upon receipt.
After checking our schedules, he suggested that we meet in Midtown at Café Intermezzo before I head to game night with my girls. I was delayed at the car wash and texted him that I would arrive fifteen minutes late. When I arrived at the bistro, he texted that he would arrive 15 minutes later due to an accident on I-85. The waitress seated me in what I immediately coined the “date room.” While I waited for him to arrive, there was a Caucasian couple on their first date talking about music and the best songs/artists of all time. Sitting behind them was a sister who wore an obvious wig sipping on a chilled bottle of wine with her swirl counterpart. I couldn’t hear their conversation, but they both looked out of place and the alcohol did little to loosen their inhibitions. Weird, I thought.
Suddenly, I heard the ding of my text message sound off. I looked at my phone and my date texted that he had arrived and was headed back to our table. Initially, I noticed his lean, towering stature (almost 6’4); his inviting smile and mostly that he didn’t appear to be African. He embraced me with a hug and when he spoke he didn’t sound African either (we never conversed on the phone before meeting). I chuckled to myself. Could I possibly be wrong, I pondered?
Laughing at myself, I thought, why did I think my date was African? Maybe it was his primary photo which reminded me of the African guy that always smiles at me at the Publix deli counter. Or maybe I read his profile when I was half asleep and ignored the word “Black” from the ethnicity description and only focused on the words “African Descent”. Or just maybe it was due to all of the Oscar press on Lupita Nyong’o, who shares the same flawless dark-hued complexion as my date, which somehow played into my temporary psychosis. Who really knows what I was thinking? But it appears that I may have been wrong.
We settled in our seats and the conversation began to flow. I noticed that he was more attractive than his online pics. He was quite the loquacious one (this is the exact same experience I had on my last date). Maybe since he’s separated from his wife and is normally accustomed to companionship, he needed someone to lend him an ear. He talked about his impending divorce and how he initially did not want to accept it. But, after seeing a therapist, he was able to learn about what was important to him; specifically, his needs, wants and non-negotiables moving forward. In his opinion, he thinks more Black men should be more open to therapy because he found it beneficial. From listening to the brothers I know, I would have to agree.
After ordering our drinks and desserts, we talked about our childhood and college years. He grew up in a two parent household in Long Island (his parents are from South Carolina…yep, I knew it, he is African American) and I grew up in a once married, but divorced single parent home in the suburbs of Atlanta. I incorrectly guessed his fraternity (I really thought he was an Alpha), but he surprised me when he told me that he was a Sigma (which admittedly is a first for me). We shared our “Love Languages”; mine is quality time and his is touch (lack of affection is a deal-breaker for him). He made it crystal clear that he wanted to be married again and have more children. Despite my age, I told him my desire to have a husband and a family. He admired my love for running (and admitted that his soon-to-be ex-wife would rather sit on the couch and do nothing) and shared that he was currently working out with a trainer in order to gain muscle. I looked at him with envy because, if I eat a bite of anything fattening, it is going to show up on both love handles the following morning.
Three hours had passed before I checked the time on my phone. Wow, time sure flies when someone has you completely engaged. I really enjoyed his company. He was the perfect gentleman, level-headed and seemed to be a great guy. What was missing? That undeniable chemistry that I felt with last week’s date for starters. But chemistry is just a spark, merely a small particle of fire that will eventually die out, right?
Nah, I don’t exactly believe that.
Despite not experiencing fireworks, I enjoyed my date and I look forward to spending more time getting to know him better once his divorce is finalized. As we approached my car, I thanked him for our date and gave him a goodbye hug.
I drove off thinking that was my first good date.
Thank you, God!