I read Aliya S. King’s latest blog post about her worst date ever. It’s hilarious. So hilarious, that it’s inspired to write about my own worst date. Voila’!
Circa 2003-2004 (The Wonder Years)
By the time I’d graduated from college, I’d mastered the art of kickin’ it. If there was a party to be had, I was there. It’s no secret that I attended the best university in the world, which just so happened to be conveniently located in the Party State of the USA–Louisiana.
Then, I was a first-semester graduate student. I hated it so much, I used every distraction I could to forget that I had to sit through three-hour lectures in a dim classroom where I was the usually the only brown person. My entrance into the room was equivalent to the sound of crickets rubbing their legs together–even in the one case where my professor was African-American. Or maybe I was just paranoid.
My distractions included throwing impromptu house parties with my roommates (who were all carefree fifth-year undergraduate seniors) as if I didn’t have assignments due, visiting a less than fitting boo at his job in the mall, sleeping, posing an an undergrad student at my alma mater on Pretty Wednesdays (some folks didn’t know I’d actually graduated) and more sleeping.
This particular October night, my distraction of choice was Harambee. Harambee a culmination of week-long events to celebrate Black folks at the not-so-black neighboring university in town. Afterwards, I was ki-ki’ing outside when an old classmate came by. One of her good friends was interested me so she wanted to introduce us. Um, okay. Who is he?
He walked up and at first glance everything checked out. He introduced himself as James, a 25 year-old student (grad maybe?) who could have sworn I was a model when he first saw me. He was cute. We exchanged numbers, talked and set up a movie date. Cool beans.
The night of the date, I was getting dressed and running late as usual. I heard him knock on the door and asked my roommate, Monica, to tell him I’d be right out. Let’s talk about Monica first. She’s a character of sorts. If you’re looking for laughs or off-the-wall commentary, she’s your girl. She finds humor in the simplest of things, which is why we’re so close. However, when she burst in my room this time, she wasn’t so funny.
You always want to know what your girls think, even if you don’t give a damn.”That’s him? What do you think?” I asked.
She paused. “Ummmm, I think he’s got a dead tooth,” she said.
I looked over at our neighbor, Teedy, who was sitting on my bed for support. Monica had a reputation for pranks and over-exxagerating. Teedy gave me nothing but a blank stare and a sniggle. “Wait…What do you mean a dead tooth?”
She went into a fit of laughter. Between snorts and gasps for air, she said, “I mean dead like that muthafucka is DEAD–ROTTEN!”
“Are you serious? It’s rotten? Like black rotten?” I asked. How did I not catch that? I know I met him outside, but we were under a street light.
Aww hell! I hurried out of the room and down the hall. It couldn’t be that bad, right? I walked into the living room to find him sitting on the couch with an earpiece in his ear. The old-school joint. This was years before the Bluetooth, so wearing it wasn’t an act of convenience or safety, it was just plain lame.
He stood up and turned to me for a hug, and I spotted the tooth. And it was dead–as hell. It was the tooth on the side—the premolar–or what some would call the “fang” tooth. It shined and sparkled like he’d just buffed it. It was screaming, “How youuuu doin’??” like Wendy Williams.
I looked straight ahead the entire drive to the movie theater and I could still see the tooth from my peripheral. I’d never been so happy to enter a dark room in all my life. Later at dinner, the night started to get interesting. I was trapped at a table with this dude, face-to-face. I couldn’t stop looking at that damn tooth.
James seemed to pride himself on being a local celebrity of the sorts. He’d been name-dropping and giving random people daps and shout outs since the date started. Conveniently, he knew the shift manager at the restaurant, who just so happened to give him the dinners on the house. The date evolved around him, and he totally dominated the conversation. He did so partly because he was a self-absorbed guy, but also because I was so hypnotized by that tooth, I had few to no words to say.
When the night came to a close, I knew everything possible about James, except how his tooth died. Was it always dead or did it decay into a slow death? Was he nice to me? Yes. Was he disrespectful? No, but the world was not big enough for me, his personality and his tooth. I’m not a selfish person, so I bowed out gracefully and let them have the show.