Tuesday, August 16, 2016

THRWN: A Dating Series, Pt. 1

This series is sponsored by CRWN Mag. You'll find quarterly installments in the magazine that you cannot find, digitally. CRWNMAG exists to create a progressive dialogue around what it really means to “go natural” in America. Through beautiful content, thoughtful commentary, hair inspiration and resources; we’re telling the world the truth about black women by showcasing a new standard of beauty —  and documenting our story in tangible, print form.


“I’m not big on the texting and calling, everyday, thing.”

This stands out like a stray note on his biographical ballad—once Puerto Rican, newly Afro-Latino, after a stint in an HBCU, and realizing his pristine sand brown skin could warrant a beach wave to land upon him at any moment, great parents, only purchases black-owned items this year, loves anything whiskey flavored, wants to own a counseling practice one day, wants to shed his frat f-boy skin and sees himself with a woman who wants lots of children.

He is establishing rules, and although I’ve trained myself not to take anything on the first few dates seriously, I am already seeking intentions.

They manifest as a barrage of questions:
Every day?
Does he see himself as a fixture?
Does he want me to respond with my regulation?
Are these parameters for some soon-to-be exclusivity?

I’m swirling these inquiries with my thumb atop the salt on a margarita glass like I wasn’t the type of teenager that fell asleep on the phone with my crushes. I am already envisioning my calendar, busying myself, preparing to adapt to a man who doesn’t like to use the phone.

I am retracing footsteps of successful unions. They say he comes out of thin air, is usually a few degrees of separations away, and feels like an old friend. He is all of this. We’re sitting on the Brooklyn promenade taking in the stars when I start connecting the dots: Our mothers went to the same high school, he and my mentor are both the same line number/fraternity/alma mater, our favorite colors are the same, and his mother and I are in the same profession. There are too many coincidences for this not to mean something.

We’re walking to the train when he says, “You’re amazing. I’ve never met someone like you.”

I cringe, not only because I am still learning to embrace compliments. I cringe because the word “amazing” is so often followed by words I cannot stand. “Amazing” is followed by conjunctions and excuses when something is about to disseminate or plunge into the friend zone.

“You’re amazing, but you’re just not what I’m looking for right now.”
“You’re amazing, but I’m just trying to kick it.”
“You’re amazing, but I don’t think I’m ready…”

These days I’m trying to clasp the word with open arms, because amazing gets me places. It’s the reason I can stand twelve hours and cater to little ones, come home and pen novels, and still make room for love.

I’m amazing, because despite the hurt that seeking adoration has brought me; I am still awaiting it silently and patiently. I understand that it’s more than chemistry and compatibility, but a willingness to make it work. I am looking for this desire in the gesture of his hands, in the spaces between text messages, in the moments where we come undone.

We leave the date on a high note. It’s only been a few days, but we can both feel something stirring. We’re waiting for my cab to arrive when he lands a clumsy kiss on my lips, for the first time. I find it endearing, that someone that could plan a date so fly, poetry, Mexican, skyline, all my favorite things, could still be so nervous.

The car pulls up, and two words are still floating around in my mind, willingness and amazing. I am betting on the fact that no conjunction followed. I am trying to let all expectations drift along Atlantic Avenue. I want to leave them on the pavement.

These words are still stewing three days later, after a slew of cute emojis, and can’t-wait-to-see-yous, when he is unexpectedly standing at my doorstep. He texts, in a language broken by brown liquor: I’m outside. I open the door to find him clumsy, like our first kiss and pouring emotion. The cab driver told him about a love he’d left in another country, and he rerouted the ride to me.

He slurs, “I just wanted to tell you that I think you’re the one.”

My expectations are somewhere downtown, and so I let him in to talk. Instead of seeing what’s before me. Instead of ignoring his attempt to breathe life into something that hasn’t had time to be born. I am walking him to the living room, listening to his drunken devotion and all I can seem to think is: Is he willing?


Welcome to the new dating series. It's sponsored by CRWN Magazine and there'll be installments that are only in print. With the impending "F-boy Literature" and a ton of other projects on the horizon, it was only right that I gave you a new one. If you're a fan of "Of Micah and Men" and the series on MadameNoire, this is for you. It's filled with prose, introspective moments, and dates that'll keep you on the edge of your seat. 

Frequently Asked Questions---Cuz y'all nosey and I love y'all.

Are the stories true? 

Always. I change names, occupations, and affiliations to protect the folks involved. However, they've all happened. 

Do you date, to write? 

Absolutely not. That's why the series has a huge break in between. I date, because I'm out here looking for the Dre to my Sidney (Brown Sugar), and the stories are quite interesting. Years ago, I decided to share my dating life, and that turned into the book "Of Micah and Men." The series garnered hundreds of thousands of views. It's been a thing, ever since. 

Do you give dating advice?

No. Unless you have a degree or certification in giving advice...I don't believe in that. Individuals are unique, and your situation will vary based on folks intentions, etc. I tell stories, with my signature style, and I hope that you're entertained. If you happen to derive a lesson from the narrative, kudos to you. 

Can I tell you a story about my dating life? Will IfNoOneHasToldYou.com post it? 

Yup! We have a column just for contributors! Email us and find more information here. 


Erica B., formerly “Rivaflowz”, is an author and arts educator based in Brooklyn, New York. Erica writes fiction and memoir that elaborates the experience of the millennial woman of color. She’s written/published three books: (Intention, Boroughs Apart, and Of Micah and Men). She’s an HBO Def Poetpoetry slam champion, and content & arts education strategist for bloggers/writers/companies.

Join her here, once a week, for her dating series. 

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