“And I’m not sorry;
It’s human nature.
And I’m not sorry;
I’m not your b*tch,
Don’t hang your sh*t
This is how you lose her (shout-out to Junot Diaz):
Step One: Before you’ve even had a chance to get to know her properly—preferably, on your first date—question her sanity. Because you know that causing a woman to question herself (or at least, attempting to) is the fastest route into her pants.
Step Two: On that same first date, be sure to make her very aware of your sexual prowess—even with women you consider “just friends” (but have no problem being intimate with, should you desire).
Simultaneously suggest that her own platonic friendships with men are invalid, because there’s no way a man would want to be friends with a woman without benefits involved.
Step Three: Assume a mild sense of entitlement far before you’ve earned it. Feel free to impose your will and opinions onto existing aspects of her life and work, and make unreasonable and unnecessary requests whenever you feel necessary. Also feel free to instruct her on how to respond to said requests, to best suit your comfort level.
If she dares decline your requests, ignore her and ask again. She clearly didn’t hear you correctly.
Step Four: If and when you reach an impasse with said woman, make sure to be as condescending, insulting and dismissive of whatever she’s trying to express as possible. In fact, tell her she should be flattered by your interest, and accuse her of a victim mentality, should she attempt to communicate her discomfort with your behavior.
If all else fails, and you find yourself flailing, “read in between her lines” and fling the facts of her race and gender—in this case, Black and female—at her as if they’re expletives that explain (if not excuse) her contrary behavior. You know, because Black women are notoriously difficult to deal with*.
*Note: This last part will be especially effective if you are Black, because there’s no recrimination as poignantly hypocritical as one coming from a member of one’s own race.
Step Five: This part may seem petty, but if she’s a writer, or a reader (or has an above-elementary-level education), be sure to demonstrate repeatedly that you have no regard for the difference between “your” and “you’re.” It’s sure to grate on her very last nerve, and cause her to wonder why she ever seriously entertained you in the first place. Well done, you!
So, yeah…of course, there’s slightly more absurdity to this story (I couldn’t get a larger screen grab), but suffice to say the “Harlem Knight” has ridden off into the sunset. My first instinct is to simply say: “Good riddance.” Because you can’t really mourn someone who has proven himself unworthy of consideration, can you?
But to tell the truth, this has been a strangely teachable moment—for me, and hopefully, for him, too (doubtful, but one can hope). Let me explain:
One: It’s a lesson in following my instincts. For as cute, charming, generous and entertaining as the Knight was on our (single!) date, I was turned off at the onset by some of his comments and opinions (all of which he is, of course, entitled to). Yet, for the sake of this project—and admittedly, my own curiosity—I remained open to him as a prospect, even while I didn’t see a future.
I don’t need to do that. No one does. There is nothing to be gained by talking oneself into something—or someone—that feels…off. In this case, it was a waste of my time and his, since we are clearly so far from a match that meeting again would’ve been absolutely pointless. So, I suppose I owe us both an apology for that.
Two: STOP UNDERESTIMATING CHEMISTRY. This lesson is growing slowly on me, so please bear with me; prior to a week or so ago, I hadn’t had any basis for comparison for quite some time. But in spite of his aforementioned cuteness, charm and professed prowess, I simply didn’t feel drawn to the Knight. At the time, I just assumed that I wasn’t drawn to him yet, but when a man insists on sitting next to you in a booth, and you’d prefer he stay across the table, that’s generally a sign that the heat isn’t exactly rising.
Admittedly, I’ve been underestimating chemistry during this entire process, so this isn’t a fault of the Knight. As discussed in prior posts, I simply thought I was out of touch; but maybe the truth is that I just hadn’t wanted to be touched by anyone I’d encountered.
Three: Boundaries, damn it. Maybe it was just due to that lack of chemistry (or perhaps his cavalier proclamations), but I recall feeling very aware of my boundaries in the presence of the Knight—boundaries he would nevertheless prematurely challenge, much to my dismay and growing discomfort.
Aside from the fact that boundaries exist for a reason (see “instincts,” above), what’s more telling, as this process progresses, is how willing I actually am to dismantle my boundaries (or at least, attempt to) if/when I feel an actual connection with someone. The truth is, I’m far less self-protective and defensive when I feel trust and empathy with someone, which leads us to…
Four: Respect. As the Knight so quickly revealed, he doesn’t have much—at least, not in response to a woman who speaks to him as the equal she believes herself to be. Perhaps the most telling, insulting and saddening part of our final exchange was that he clearly considered my identity (as a Black woman) to be an indictment, which he followed up with well-worn (out) clichés about my attitude and perspective—despite the fact that he hadn’t enough knowledge about me to make those types of assumptions.
Were I less experienced, less secure, or—God forbid—more desperate, I might’ve been a bit more rattled by the Knight’s behavior. But while he attempted to reduce me to a stereotype, he clearly didn’t realize that he was doing the same to himself. Because as exhausted a trope as the “angry Black woman” may be, the “intimidated, insecure man” (of any color) is equally damning. And in my experience, that is the only type of man who speaks to a woman—particularly a woman he barely knows—the way the Knight spoke to me.
So, the last lesson? Not all knights are worthy of the title—or the girl.