When I first learned that I was going to be in New York the summer after my college graduation, I told myself that I wasn’t going to be a “Mary Tyler Moore” or a “Carrie Bradshaw.” I was not one of those small-town girls who made it out of the country, only to be seduced by the big city. I’d been to New York before…it didn’t impress me all that much.
Well, turns out visiting New York, experiencing the city in between conferences and plush hotel rooms is completely different from working in the city and living in Brooklyn. First I fell in love with Brooklyn and then I noticed that Manhattan, where I worked, had an energy that literally and figuratively propelled me to succeed. By the second month, of my three month internship, I was making plans to have a New York address before the year was out. Moving to New York, meant I would need to open a bank account somewhere in the city. Being that there was a Chase on every corner, that was the obvious choice. So one day, after work I walked a block or so to the nearest Chase to open up an account.
As a black woman, you always notice the other black people in the room. This person, I honestly can’t even remember his name at this point, was working at one of the desks. When he saw my “I need assistance” look, he jumped up to help me. I told him I needed to open up an account. We headed back to his desk where he set me up. In between the paperwork and the questions, there was small talk. What do you do for a living? I told him, so he knew my office was literally a block from his own. What do you do for fun? He told me that he was into racing cars. And that’s what he did on the weekend. He told me he knew Nicole Scherzinger’s boyfriend Lewis Hamilton. At the time I was looking for a story about black people to pitch to a black publication and this seemed ideal.I mentioned that I would like to speak to he and Hamilton if possible. So when he suggested he and I grab lunch next week, I just knew it was because he wanted to talk to me about the racing. I wasn’t really opposed to going on a date with him, but he was too short and not attractive enough for it to be my first thought. Aside from the fact that he tried to tell me that the login I’d chosen for my bank account, should have been different, I didn’t get any seriously bad vibes from him, so I figured going out to lunch, wouldn’t be too bad. Still the day of the date, I gave my mom the address of the Chipotle we were going to just in case she needed to provide the authorities with the address of the last place I’d been seen alive.
He took me to the Chipotle, where his uncle, who worked there, hooked us up.
As soon as I sat down, he says, “Well, what do you want to talk about?” Hmm…nice way to break the ice there pal. I thought it was weird but I just assumed he meant, what questions did I have about racing. I turned away to get my notepad out. Yes, I’d prepared questions. He must have been looking at me funny or something because in the midst of my search, I asked him, “You mean about racing right?”
“No, about anything.”
That’s when it hit me, he thought this was a date. I was immediately disgusted. At him for bamboozling me and at myself for falling for it. But I was already there, so I just needed to make the best of the situation.
Unfortunately, it was easier thought than done. Before our date ended, homeboy told me that he didn’t really get down with his family members and he didn’t believe in God. Now, I’d like to think I’m tolerate of religious beliefs and what not; but as someone who’s super close to their family and someone whose relationship with God is vitally important, I would never fool myself into believing that I could date someone who didn’t share my faith, or at least believe in a higher power. I had pretty much checked out. It was all just too much: the bamboozlement, the lack of faith and the struggle to converse were the three strikes I needed to be done. Thank God I had to get back to work.
I told him we had better be going. As he was walking back to my job, we saw some man, who looked the part of a stereotypical gay man. He was impeccably dressed, with vibrant colors, a man bag and a fresh fade. He looked good. My date didn’t seem to agree though. As soon as the man crossed his line of vision, he started clowning him. “Look at this dude. Walking around looking like a nerd!” I was silent. What was this high school? I told him I liked the brotha’s ensemble. That’s when my date said one of the saddest, most pathetic things I’d ever heard. “Well, you know sometimes you have to talk about people first before they can get a chance to talk about you.”
I scoffed, before I dropped just a little bit of knowledge on him, “I’m sure people aren’t looking at you as much as you think they are.”
It was at this point that I knew that this was the last time I would see dude. He was tragically insecure. Probably one of those kids who was a bully to his peers in high school. I was officially disgusted.
I thought that was the last time I’d see him; but lo and behold as I was walking down the stairs into the subway station, who do I see but my date. I tried to make myself small and take another staircase; but before I could turn and walk the other way, he’d spotted me.
I walked down the stairs slowly. He was with one of his coworkers so I didn’t have to be too accommodating. Thankfully, my date wasn’t going too far on the train and I could get by with fake, close lipped smiles and “umm hmms.” Before he jumped off he said, “Veronica, have you ever been to Coney Island?” I hadn’t and, instead of lying, I told the truth.
“I should take you sometime.”
I just said “Hmm…”