At 38, Ron had been with enough women to fill twelve issues of Essence. He had loved a few, but mostly, he had either hurt them or had been hurt by them.
At this stage in his life, he wanted something more.
Ron wanted more than just the sexual conquests that most of the women had been.
And he wanted more than just the few months of happiness most of his relationships had been.
Older and wiser, he knew that in order to have something different, he had to be something different.
So, he spent time alone after the last failed relationship. Instead of seeking more sexual conquests, he sought resolution for his emotional turmoil and unrequited desires for love.
Instead of dating more women, he dated himself, taking time to process where he had been, where he was and where he wanted to go. Some of that time was spent alone, some was spent in church and some was spent on the couch of his therapist.
After two years, he felt ready to venture out into the world of dating again, with a new mission to find something better than he had before.
At 36, Leslie had allowed more than forty men inside of her. Some had been inside of her heart, some only inside of her bed, but all of them had been inside of her body.
And now that she was focused on finding someone to have and to hold for the rest of her life, she had all of the men in her life inside of her mind.
Leslie wanted something different, but the thought had not occurred to her that she should be something different.
When she was out with the girls, they all talked about how men were dogs and that since you couldn’t beat them, you needed to join them. And so, just like they imagined men were doing, Leslie and her girls were on a mission each weekend to find cute guys who could keep their beds warm for a while and take them to nice places.
Not that Leslie didn’t believe in love.
She had been in love a few times and had actually loved the last man she had spent time with. But the two of them had been unable to find a way to keep the music playing, so she simply turned it off.
And she thought she had turned everything off, but the heartache was still playing, even as she pretended that it would only take the “right” man to break through her icy exterior and warm her heart.
Ron walked into a bar one Friday night and right into the peripheral vision of Leslie, who began staring while her friends began chiding her.
“Don’t just stare at him, girl,” said Linda, who believed in being aggressive to get whatever she wanted out of life. “Go get that tall, fine man. He’s here by himself, so he is single and you are ready to mingle.”
“I ain’t chasing no man,” Leslie replied. “I’ll just wait until he notices me and he’ll come to me.”
And, Ron did notice her.
Sitting at the bar, he had a direct view of Leslie and noticed that she was looking his way, so he decided to make a move on her.
A few quick words and Ron was walking away with Leslie’s number.
The following weekend, they went out to dinner, followed by drinks and another date the next day. Their conversations were filled with what each wanted out of life and love.
Ron made it clear that he was looking for a woman to be his girl and much more.
Leslie said that she wanted to be someone’s girl and to be in love.
On the third day, Ron invited Leslie over for dinner. He cooked a gourmet meal of steamed salmon, scalloped potatoes and asparagus spears.
Leslie brought a bottle of wine that the two enjoyed before and during the meal.
Intoxicated with food, wine and the newness of dating, the two kissed and explored and touched and rubbed.
Ron had already decided that since he liked Leslie, he wasn’t going to press her to have sex with him. He wanted to take his time and really get to know her.
But Leslie had already decided that since she liked Ron, she was going to have sex with him. She wanted to get naked with this man, not even thinking about any other portion of the relationship she talked about wanting.
So, she made her move and made an announcement.
“Let’s do this,” she said. “But I want to be clear-I don’t want any strings attached to what we’re about to do. It’s just sex and it doesn’t have to be bigger than that.”
Ron was stunned. To him, Leslie sounded like the player he used to be. He had expected and wanted so much more, but he knew from her words that there was only so much to expect now.
And so they did the deed.
Two whores whoring. One reformed whore falling back into old habits and one consistent whore, claiming to want more, yet unable to shake the habits of finding less.
Neither called the other after the tryst.
Ron didn’t call because he wanted to go back to his plan to be more and find more. What he had with Leslie was more of what he no longer wanted.
Leslie didn’t call again because she actually did like Ron. But because she was afraid that he would only use her for sex, she had decided to beat him to the punch. Yet, she still hoped that someday…
Ron remained consistent and met a beautiful woman who refused to get overly physical until they had dated for a while and had a mutual understanding of what they were trying to build. They both wanted the same thing and had each worked hard to be the thing they wanted.
Leslie went out to the bar with her girls the following weekend.
They talked about how all men were dogs, but Leslie couldn’t help thinking that for all of their talk, she and her girls had been barking themselves.
Someone once said that you can’t turn a whore into a housewife, and while that may not always be true, what is true is the simple fact that the whore has to first acknowledge being a whore…
Darryl James is an award-winning author who is now a filmmaker. He released his first mini-movie, “Crack,” and in Spring of this year, will release his first full-length documentary. James’ latest book, “Bridging The Black Gender Gap,” is the basis of his lectures and seminars. Previous installments of this column can now be viewed at www.bridgecolumn.com. James can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.