If I Had Listened To My Single Friend, I Might Have Realized My Boyfriend Was Closeted
As told to Veronica Wells
We’ve always heard the adage that you shouldn’t listen to people who haven’t been where you’ve been, done what you’ve done, or walked in your shoes. If we took the time to evaluate that statement, we’d realize how untrue it really is. If we were to follow this sentiment, no one would be qualified to give us advice. And whether we’ve experienced this personally or not, the wise council of women, from various backgrounds and experiences, can not only be helpful, but life altering.
Those aren’t the messages we receive though. Instead, we hear about the bitter, single woman who is jealous of our relationship and doesn’t want us to be happy. Blame it on misogyny or patriarchy or the school of thought that says a woman needs a man to be happy. And since she is unhappy without a man she’s going to try to bring you down with her. And to take it a step further, if she’s really diabolical she’ll try to break y’all up so she can have said man for herself. It’s another way society teaches us to compete for the affections of men, viewing our friends, our sisters as nothing more than jealous, back-biting, untrustworthy competition.
We’ve all had friends who got involved with shady, shiesty dudes. Men who didn’t appreciate, respect or treat them like they deserve. But homegirl is so in love, lust or infatuation that she can’t seem to see any of this. When her friends try to warn her about this dude, her words fall on deaf ears. The situation is compounded when the woman telling her friend about her man is single. This happened recently with two women, two former coworkers, Ashley and Nicole. Their strange friendship got off to a very rocky start. But absence makes the heart grown fonder. And they found that if they didn’t have to see each other they could be quite civil, pleasant even.
Before Nicole left her old job, Ashley told her that she had started dating a new man who, for the purpose of this story, we’ll call Roger.
Roger, at 45-years-old, is a bit older than Ashley at 32. But that’s the way she likes it. In telling Ashley about her budding relationship, there were some things that immediately sent up red flags.
At 45-years-old, Roger was always in a hurry to hang out with his homeboys. He would have plans with Ashley and cancel because something with his homeboys came up. He was so close to his friends that he became furious, enraged even, just telling Ashley how one of his friends’ wife had kept them from hanging out one evening.
When he wasn’t preoccupied with his buddies and did interact with Ashley, he was sending her strange acoustic covers of Sam Smith songs that weren’t even good. And then to top it all off, at 45-years-old, Ashley was the first Black woman he’d ever dated. And if you’re wondering, yes, Roger himself is Black.
But Ashley dismissed it. After all, Roger was a slender but built 6’7 and owned his own construction business. Sure, he didn’t have all his teeth but Ashley was willing to work with that.
Nicole had her reservations about Roger but decided to keep them to herself not wanting to piss on Ashley’s potential happily ever after.
But all went out of the window when Roger put Ashley on a schedule. He provided her with a clear outline of the days and times it was appropriate for her to contact him. When Ashley shared that, Nicole could no longer remain silent.
“Don’t you think there are some issues you need to address with Roger?”
“You know, like the fact that he put you on a schedule or always chooses his friends instead of you. And then there are the Sam Smith covers…45 years worth of White girls…”
Ashley just rolled her eyes.
“Girl, you and I are in different places in our lives right now. I need a man with stability. All of that other silly stuff you young girls get caught up on, I don’t have time to worry about.”
Nicole just rolled her eyes and changed the subject. It was clear that Ashley wasn’t going to be able to hear anything she had to say.
Months later, Ashley called Nicole with news that she might be pregnant with Roger’s child. She immediately thought her friend was doing too much, entrusting her life to a man who was just not about the right.
Luckily, that wasn’t the case.
She wouldn’t realize how lucky she was until more red flags started popping up.
Shortly after the pregnancy scare, Roger asked Ashley, who had recently moved into a new home, to buy a bed that was big enough for him. For someone who, after a year, made no move toward commitment, this seemed like an unreasonable request…at least to Nicole it did.
Ashley brushed his fear of commitment off as a result of having lost his mother three years ago and started looking for a bed.
She also brushed off the fact that for Thanksgiving and New Year’s Roger essentially ignored her all day, refusing to respond to her texts and calls. For New Year’s he ignored her all throughout New Year’s Eve, finally sending her a Happy New Year text at 10 p.m. on January 1.
But again, God was on her side because just before she could find one or save the money to buy that new, big bed she and Roger went out for drinks and sh*t hit the fan.
They were bar hopping that evening. And after leaving one spot, they were walking into the club, Ashley a bit tipsy.
As they were walking into the club, a young White man was walking out.
Ashley could tell that he was starring at them. And by the time he was within earshot, looking right at Roger he said:
“I see you got your little lover friend out.”
Naturally, Ashley was confused. She turned to Roger and asked, “Where do you know him from?”
Roger shrugged cooly, “Around the way.”
Perhaps if Ashley had been more lucid and a little less tipsy she would have realized that no one he knew from just “around the way” would have known about their relationship. But she was loose, so she brushed that off as she and Roger made their way up to the VIP section of the club.
As they had just gotten another round of drinks, the same White man came back into the club. He ordered a drink of his own and spent the next hour shooting daggers at them until they left the club.
Finally, after a year of shady behavior, Ashley realized that her friend was right. Those homeboys were more like boo thangs. He was trying to tell her something with those Sam Smith covers and worst of all, not even his side lover, a man, was Black.