It was a steamy hot summer in New York City. I was spending a lot of my free time with my friends. This was a few years back when I was hustling and working on weekends too, which didn’t leave much free time to enjoy.
I was interested in dating, but not really taking it seriously. I was mostly doing hoodrat things with my friends. And any and every time one of them talked about meeting someone on this or that app, I would get curious, hop on, check the messages, get bored, and never get back on.
This time around, in the midst of being bored and ignoring messages in my inbox, a young woman messaged me. She reminded me of Freddie from A Different World, except more refined. Her pictures were fascinating, one after the next. From her bedroom, to far away deserts, this woman was clearly into details, culture, and fashion, but not in the sense of labels, in the sense of curating a look based on placing special pieces together. You could tell everything she owned had a story and everything she loved had a memory attached to it.
Her message was simple, effective, and made me smile. “You look good enough to hug and your hug looks like it feels like home.”
Isn’t it a shame, if a man messaged me that, I would swear he was just lathering me up in game without substance. But from a woman, this breathed its way into my chest and sprayed goosebumps up and down both arms.
I tried to be just as clever as she was so I replied, “My hug is the thing homes are made of.” I hated it. I deleted it.
“You can find out for yourself,” I wrote, replacing the deleted message.
She got back to me almost immediately, “I’d love that. I’m Joey.”
“I’m Danielle,” I offered back.
“So when can I collect my home?” She asked.
“Ah, I see what you did there because my hugs are like home. Cute.”
“Yes, you are and yes I am. So let’s be cute together,” I loved how forward she was without making me feel icky. I was fully receptive to her fearless flirting. “I see you like thrift shopping. Me too. Would you want to meet up at this shop in Brooklyn?” She dropped a link to a shop I’d been wanting to go to but hadn’t found the time.
Joey and I made plans to meet up at that thrift shop and then grab a bite. I was nervous. It had been a while since I’d been out with or dated a woman. I never treated the situation any differently than I would if I was out with a man. The situation would just present itself differently. Women listen, lean in, hear you, see you. The connection is just different —I wouldn’t dare say better or worse.
I got to the shop a bit delayed because that’s just who I am. I tried to cool myself off before I walked in. Because I had been rushing to get there, and it was hot, I was sweating, hard. And then, I was worried about my sweating, which made me sweat more. I paced slow, trying to convince myself to calm down.
The door opened and Joey peeked out and called my name, “Hey crazy. You giving yourself a pep talk?” She laughed.
I laughed. She walked over to me. “I was sweating and freaking out about sweating and I wanted to dry off before I came in,” I couldn’t believe I was admitting the embarrassing truth to her.
“Aww, poor sweaty baby,” Joey was short, but she grabbed my sweaty hand, leaned in and up toward my mouth, and kissed me. It was sensual, soft, but aggressive, and perfect honestly. I most certainly kissed her back and by the time I started to get really get into it, she pulled away. “So, now we’ve gotten that part out of the way.” She smiled and pulled a thick paper towel out of the bag she was carrying.
“So you just have these nice ass napkins on the go?” I smiled, took it, and patted my brow. “Thank you.”
“Yeah, I’m a sweaty bitch too,” she said. We laughed.
We shopped around the store and she tried on everything from dresses to high waisted pants that looked tailored to her short, curvy frame. She tucked away into the dressing room to get dressed so that we could leave. “Dani, can you help me?” She popped her head out.
“Yeah I got you.” When I walked in, she grabbed me by the wrist and tugged me into her. We kissed again. Sis had me in a daze.
When we parted lips, she said, “I’ve been wanting to do that again since I did it the first time.” She smiled a coy smile.
Dinner wasn’t great, but our conversation was. With our food sitting cold in front of us, we closed the restaurant down. We ended up bouncing around to a few bars in the area and decided to keep the date going longer.
“You hungry?” She asked, interlocking our fingers.
“I very much am.” I dabbed my forehead with her luxurious napkin. This thing lasted me our entire date, in which I pretty much sweated the entire time. Usually, I rush dates to be over because I’m so self-conscious about my sweat. I can’t even believe I’m admitting that now, but with Joey it didn’t matter. I’d never felt that free before (at that particular time in my life I was in my 20s) while I was dating someone fresh and new.
Joey and I had a marathon date that lasted almost two days. We parted ways later that next afternoon. We spent most of our time getting to know each other’s scars, stories, traumas, triumphs, dreams, all of it. It felt like a cathartic experience for us both. The farthest we had gone in that time was kissing and some touching, but mostly kissing.
We made plans to link up again. I was going to some sort of thrift store Olympics– you get a bag for a certain price and fill that however you can for a flat price — and Joey’s eyes lit up when I told her about it. I was going with some friends but figured it was fine to bring her, even though if she was a dude, I doubt I would invite him, whether or not he was interested in thrifting.
“Oh, I’m def coming to that. Hit me,” She kissed me one more time and was out.
Stay tuned next week for more.