Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls

Artwork by Anthony Gonzales

Dear Walter:

Navigating the dating apps is quite new to me. People seem to only want sex and I’m really looking for a relationship. Have you met someone online that you thought was going well and that person turns out to not be right for you? And how do you know when it’s right?

-Casually Dating

Dear Casually Dating:

Living for love like Madonna could have you vogueing for validation. I wanted to do more than strike a pose. But unlike a virgin, I escaped the wilderness to conquer my conquests on a dating app.

It was the season premiere of Scandal. Who knew we were on the precipice of a scandal of our own.

I arrived just in time. Vodka shots created a barrier from the cold winds threatening to pierce through my black denim jacket.

“They call me Pope,” he said. “When it comes to PR I’m the real Olivia Pope.”

I laughed. I’m sure he gave great PR. He sat perched on his ivory sofa dressed in red plaid, tapping his denim-clad thighs every time his bougie ass formed a sentence.

“Can I get a glass of wine?” That was the main reason why I came.

The wine bottle sat on a granite island countertop in the center of the kitchen. But this Sauvignon Blanc tasted like piss. I should have known from that big bottle. Sutter Home should stick with homes.

I plopped down next to him. “I was in the music business,” he said. “I used to date a famous rapper.” 

“Oh, who was it?”

I was a bit incredulous considering we just met. But I loved discovering new members to add to our community.

“I date guys who are lighter and smaller than me. See I have a 27-inch waist and I only weigh 140 pounds.” He stood up to flaunt his flabby body. The last time I weighed that little, I was in the 8th grade. And being a shade darker and few pounds heavier, I was no longer in the running to be America’s next top bottom.

“But we can be friends,” he said.

Did he just come from me? I felt mugged like he grabbed me by the pussy, coming for my complexion and weight. Sure I gained a few pounds over the holidays. But I’m definitely “dateable.”

“I go for more masculine and less bitchy,” I said.

He choked on his wine, wiping his mouth with his fingers. His lips looked like a pink leather couch. “I’m humble but I’m being honest,” he said placing his hand on his chest like he’s about to pledge his allegiance.

I laughed and poured myself another glass finishing the bottle.

“I need another bottle of wine,” he said 10 minutes before the store closed. He put on a pilly wool peacoat and we headed down the street. Adrenaline coarse through my veins like crack. We needed more wine. Besides, it was a major food group. We had to make it. But we arrived at the store five minutes after it closed.

“We can go to the Maryland one, it’s open late,” he said. “Maybe we should take an Uber? Nah, let’s walk.”

We bonded in the cold. The wind was like a bad husband — abusive and relentless. Walking from DC to Maryland for alcohol was the type of shit I used to do in my early twenties. Now at 30, I’m supposed to have graduated from casual sex, drunken nights, and other dumb decisions.

If only I could age like Adele, be 25 but dressed and acted 35. We could have had it all. But that’s a white woman’s problem. And as a black man who is a culmination of talking shit and snapping fingers, I could never be that bloated.

We arrived at the liquor store before midnight. I was drunk off excitement and exhaustion.

“What time you guys close?” I asked.

“We close in a few minutes,” the clerk said.

Pope traveled over to the glass freezer and selected a bottle of Pinot Grigio.

“I’m so excited we made it in time,” I said to the female cop who stood in the center of the store like she was protecting the president. “We had to travel across state lines.”

I was a bit chatty. Butterflies filled my belly while I waited for Pope to pay.

“Yo, what you doing?” He asked while doing his best “home boy” impersonation. 

“You can’t go around the hood asking questions like a white girl from the suburbs.”

I ignored him.

“God put me in your life for a reason — to bless you son.”

We finally arrived at his apartment. He placed the bottle on the island countertop. “I’m going to the bathroom,” he said.

“I’ll open the wine,” I said. 

The kitchen reeked of old spaghetti. I opened a drawer and found the corkscrew.

“You weren’t raised right,” he said.

“Excuse me,” I said with a mixture of confusion and frustration.

“You don’t go in people’s drawers. Now, I feel violated.”

“Oh, lord!” I titled my head and rolled my eyes. 

I didn’t think it was that serious. We retreated back to the sofa. Jimmy Kimmel was on.

“I want to watch a movie, but my computer is hooked up to the TV in my bedroom.”

“Um ok.”

“But we’re going in my room as friends.”

“Perfect.”

I grabbed my glass and followed him to his small bedroom. I noticed the zebra curtains, hanging across from the bed. A flat-screen sat on a black dresser in front of a full-sized bed.

“I don’t allow people in my bed with their clothes on.” 

“Oh,” I climbed into his bed in a black tank and matching briefs. He stripped down his white boxers and a ribbed tank.

We first decided on Moonlight, a movie I have been trying to watch for months. Ten minutes in, he decided it was too depressing and chose Hidden Figures’ feel-good vibe instead.

Unfortunately, his “hidden figure” emerged.

“Oh look what you did.”

“Umm, I thought we were watching the movie.”

“Come on and suck it.” It was pale, pecan-colored and punctuated with a bump on the side.

“I thought you weren’t into me.”

“Of course I’m into you, I wouldn’t have you in my bed at 4 am. You know what, fuck it. I don’t have to beg anyone to suck my dick.” He plucked that pilly wool peacoat from his closet.

“We’re about to leave. Get dressed.”

I needed to do damage control. So I fluffed him. I kissed the tip then jerked him off. I tried avoiding the bump. It stared at me like a pet sitting there with no narrative or backstory. How can something so visible not have a disclaimer?

“You got a condom?”

“Yeah of course.”

He pulled one from his dresser, dropping his coat on the floor. I bent over to continue negotiations.

“Nah this is too much and way too soon. I don’t fuck dudes on the first night.”

“Great, Me neither.”

My sex act earned me two more hours. Now that’s what I call progress.

I woke up the next morning to him hovering over me like a serial killer. I quickly got dressed.

On my way out the door of the apartment complex, he rushed me up the stairs because his neighbor was coming. I couldn’t see his face. He didn’t want him to see us together as if I would out him. Too late. I was so done with this bougie, Blatino queen with a bumpy dick.

Nothing Scarier. Not even Olivia Pope could handle it.

I knew when I first arrived that he wasn’t the one. But I went along to get along because I was bored. When it’s right, it just clicks. There is a certain fluidity that we call chemistry. You feel like you have known each other for years even though you just met. Someone like that is out there for everyone. And we all owe it to ourselves to follow what’s right. And not waste time waiting around when it’s clearly wrong.

If you see something, say something.

Love,

Walter

Got a question? Email your letters at asklovewalter@gmail.com

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