Nothing like Googling an ex-boyfriend and his arrest warrant/mugshot comes up.
That’s what happened to me the other day when I was writing a story and using an example from an old relationship. I decided to Facebook that ex-boyfriend to see what he’s up to now (or at least what he looks like). His name didn’t return any results so, overcome by curiosity, I typed it into that all-seeing Google search box instead. First result? Jailbase.com.
The unchecked, mass incarceration of Black men in America is outrageous. When one of my friends sarcastically mused that her future husband was likely locked up in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, I looked up the stats of prison inmates and was startled to see that more than 800-thousand Black men are serving time. According to The Good Men Project, there are more Black men in prison than there were slaves pre-Civil War. With nearly a million of our sons, fathers and brothers in prison, it’s not surprising that I would know at least one or two men who are behind bars (it’s still alarming though!).
This guy isn’t the first former beau whose current criminal status shocked me. I remember several months after I broke up with a guy and moved out of the state, my sister called to tell me she’d just seen him on the news arrested for armed robbery. About a year later, my mom said she went to his grandmother’s funeral and he was there in prison shackles with a police escort. Another ex sent me a Facebook message once telling me he “just got out” and asking if I wanted to meet up. I didn’t know he ever “went in”, but regardless I wasn’t interested in him anymore.
Thankfully, all of my ex-boyfriends aren’t ex-convicts. Most are equally undesirable though. Of ten guys I’ve been involved with, probably at least eight of them have a child and random babymama. In fact, this guy I was obsessed with for more than a year, currently claims he has two children by two different mothers. I say “claimed” because I find it hard to believe he only has two considering the time he boasted about having had sex with 60% of the girls in the crowded nightclub. Honestly, he’ll probably end up being the next Desmond Hatchett.
Another guy I used to date in high school worked at McDonald’s — and still does. In this economy, there’s nothing wrong with working in fast food, but sometimes I think if he would have applied that same cleverness to his academics that he used when philandering, he’d certainly be stacking chips in Silicon Valley and not looking one lost paycheck away from homeless at McDonalds on 25th Street.
Then there are the guys who have just fallen so far off the handsome wagon, I wonder if they were ever really riding it or if I was just blind. You know the type. They’re standing behind you in line at Best Buy and you don’t even recognize them for the prominent beer belly, months of missed haircuts, Phat Farm jersey and SouthPole jeans. It’s all you can do not to say aloud “What was I thinking?”
That’s not to be mean. We all know at least one person whose heyday is long gone. When that person happens to be a guy you used to date, especially one who broke your heart, who can blame you for feeling just an eensy bit smug? At the very least it’s relieving. I’d like to think that some of those guys would have continued down the good guy path they were on while dating me, but many men take a disastrous turn in life and take their ride or die chick right with them. I’m just glad I got out of the car when I did. Whether I jumped out or was pushed out, at least I’m out! With some of these guys, I know I dodged a missile. It just goes to show that sometimes rejection turns out to be God’s protection.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting anyone seek to find out if an ex has been hit by the Karma bus yet. That’s just asking for disappointment. Both fortunately and unfortunately, the internet gives you unprecedented access into the lives of love gone by, so no longer do you have to see a friend of a friend to not-so-casually ask “how’s so-and-so?” Thanks to people like Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg (and even Tom Anderson) as well as the general narcissism that our generation is known for, you can type a guy’s name into Google, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and see for yourself. Of course, I don’t recommend doing that if you still have even the slightest feelings for the guy because there’s nothing more depressing than seeing a man you’re not quite over, way over you.
But when you’ve moved on and happen across an old flame that clearly has been burned by his own doing since dating you, well, that’s just a strangely satisfying feeling. And if you haven’t felt that yet, you will. Like George Herbert said, “The best revenge is a life well lived.”
Have you ever come across an ex that made you say “Thank God I dodged a bullet”?
Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink
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