Blue says I need to stop dating guys with regular names.
She is convinced that men with names like Jason, Christopher, Michael, Brandon, and the like are all out to get me.
I try to explain that assuming a man is insufficient and spoiled because he bears a name that aligns with respectability politics, is absurd. She reiterates her point when another Brandon has hurt my feelings, a month later.
"I feel like a Kwame would be too immersed in his roots, to be an f-boy. He'd be too busy trying to find the origin of his namesake, to cheat, lie, or use you."
I'm not opposed to her philosophy, but I'm a benefit-of-the-doubt kind of gal. I like to fathom your existence, by spending time not assumption.
Brandon is an iPhone poet. He scribes in his notes app on long train rides home because his car is in the "shop." How long will they hold your car at the mechanic, anyway? I think this should be general knowledge, for all women. (Not because materialism is important, but because we'd like to know if we're fraternizing with a liar.)
This is Brandon's claim to fame when we first match on Tinder. The app has become more of a game, thumbing through when I'm bored and half-assing consistency like everyone else.
He says, "Your bio says you're a writer. I'm a writer, too. Poetry, huh? We should go to an open mic."
Blue stops my story, here, "Why do you keep dating creatives? For once I'd like you to date someone that isn't a closet poet or a 6th-grade manuscript away from asking you to help them progress."
"Ah, c'mon. Writing poems on his phone doesn't make him a creative."
Brandon is cool. He's good looking, real chill, has a son who he spends a significant amount of time with, and works in telemarketing, but he really wants to be a writer.
Blue is pissed, "Telemarketing?!"
"What if he has a good heart, Blue?"
She tells me I've been watching too many Tyler Perry movies.
On our first date, we go to an open mic. I bet you didn't see that one coming. I decide not to perform, because I'm trying not to expose the whole I'm-an-HBO-Def-Poet-Slam-Champion-Fiction-Author-4x thing, until we're a bit more comfortable. Besides, I'm okay with him shining.
Get your shine on, boo.
He walks to the stage, trendy lopsided unkempt beard, smirk above, and iPhone on full swipe.
Read. Them. Poems. Sir.
Get. Your. Scroll. Up. On.
He taps the mic to make sure it's working, coughs, and speaks:
I'm a virgin to the mic, well, at this cafe.
That means...I'm gonna pop my cherry tonight.
He winks at me, in the crowd, when he says this. He laughs. The crowd is silent. I'm almost under the table.
I've been waiting to make you mine.
You're so damn finnnnneeeee...
Waterfalls do not equate to the effortless
flow of your spinnnnnne.
Blue is on the floor, in stitches, after stanza one. She doesn't realize that it's only funny after the fact. When you walked in with the dude, and it's evident that you're on a date, folks look at you with sorrow in their eyes.
It's safe to say I didn't want to see Brandon again.
Does that mean I didn't see him again? No.
I met Brandon on the cusp of meh and I-gotcha-a-dollar-gotta-be-quicker-than-that.
That horrendous outing was one month before I met what I swore was the love of my life. He fit all the stories that married and happy couples tell: shows up out of nowhere, few degrees of separation, everything just falls into place.
I'd erased Brandon from my mind once I met Carlos...yeah, we'll call him Carlos. However, he had one of those regular names too. Blue might be on to something.
Carlos was a whirlwind, a plethora of promises, someone who said the right things at the right times. I believe he meant these things when he said them. I'm unsure if he understood what love is.
I am sure after months of perhaps, maybes, tucking his sentiments into conjunctions he still did not realize that love is a decision, a choice, not something that falls out of the sky.
We've got this f-boy thing all wrong.
We believe they come peacocking, draped in regret, that we'll be able to spot their red flags like they hang from their pockets on Crenshaw.
But f-boys are subtle.
They are a cross breeze.
A bunch of mismatch negroes who don't know what the f--k they want.
F-boys wear suits and smiles, fitted and timbs.
They'll tell you they're coming into their own and ain't ready to provide.
They are hotep, pro-black, activists that activate when you're in their presence and will fight for you on the front lines, but still tussle your name through the dust.
who'd swear on their bibles,
that they have no tendencies,
Siri: "Define f-boy."
Slate says it's the worst kind of guy, a buzzword, an insult that doesn't need elaboration.
Webster: Can't compute, but usually this word correlates with Donald Trump.
Urban Dictionary: Someone who ain't about sh*t.
Synonyms: A-hole, bae, jerk, boo.
Buzzfeed: Fifteen Signs You're Dating A...
Huffington Post: A Brief History of the Internet's Favorite New Man Bashing Slur
Bustle: Ten Words That Should Be Added To The Dictionary With "On Fleek."
Waits for the second date to Netflix and Chill.
Because this gives off the perception that he might be a gentleman.
Doesn't anticipate rain, so he asks to borrow a coat on the way out.
Football frame, rocking a Banana Republic women's trench walking to the J train.
Will call you at 2 am without an emergency.
Like, "What's up? What you up to?"
Like you ain't sleep.
Has his father show up at 11:30 pm, in the aisle of the movie theater asking if he forgot his curfew.
At 28 years old.
A man, prone to rocking crimson and creme, twirling a cane, and pulling out his compact mirror to ask if you think he's pretty at a dinner table.
Tells you that he's looking for love and runs for the hills once it's said.
Sits in your living room and tells you that he "can grow to miss you."
Rubs your stomach, says he can envision you being his "baby momma" one day.
Kisses you quiet, when your voice is too much.
Uses the word "females" like you're not a whole being, just an anatomical knickknack.
Puts his hands in your box braids and says, "I bet more guys are interested now that you've put that afro stuff to rest."
Tells you that you're making up statistics.
Like science ain't a thing.
Like math ain't real.
Like we ain't out here middle-aging and single, fly-as-all-hell-though, still.
Like that's a bad thing.
I see you, sistas.
Will show up to your crib, still in talking phase, after y'all both worked 12 hours and asks you if you cooked.
Wants an independent, goal oriented, business woman, that'll keep her ass in the kitchen, supermarket, hospital bed, birthing babies, and making sandwiches at the same damn time.
Spits an embarrassing ass poem on your first date and then sends you one every day, by email...
named Jason, Michael, Christopher or...
Brandon leans in after I tell him I'm only interested in being friends and asks me, "Who hurt you?"
This is also after a post-date phone call, asking when he can come over to a plate of my cooking.
"I see that food on Instagram, yo. I'm tryna taste it."
All puns are intended.
Blue and I flat line, at this part of my story. She is on my hardwood floor, rolling. She asks one more time, "What's his name again?"
Just in case you were wondering....
This is the beginning of my new e-book "F-Boy Literature." Some of the prose you've read here but there are new essays and poems you haven't. I'll be dropping it on August 23rd, and I'll be having an exclusive reading/release at the Union Square Slam Feature on the same day. Trust me. You don't wanna miss this.