Are We Dating Or Nah?

This past Saturday while I was getting my weekly shape up, a beautiful, melanin princess entered the barber shop.  Instead of just taking a seat with the other patrons, she plopped down in the empty barber chair next to me.   She was on her cell phone with an uneasy scowl on her face.  After she hung up the phone, she looked at my barber and began to share her conversation.


“Felix, why this chick just ask me what are we?”


Yeah. . . . . I had that same expression on my face too!  Needless to say, I sat there captivated as to what this short haired Lauryn Hill had to say next.  The distress in her voice made me eager to hear more.  Felix, my barber, obviously knew this millennial. And in typical Felix fashion, he began to entertain her question. . . . . 


“What are we?  Keisha, what are you talking about?”


“She wanted to know if we were going together”


“Okay . . . . .  So what did you tell her?”


“I mean, I told ol’ girl I liked her . . . . . . but I’m not ready for a relationship just yet!  We’ve only known each other for seven months!  Damn!”


“But Keish, you know there’s a reason she’s asking right?”


“Nah!  I told her from the start that she didn’t have to give up the pussy!  But, she did!  Who am I to turn down Girl Scout cookies?”


“Well it seems that you came to the right place.  My boy Mike here is a writer.  He’s likes to talk about relationship issues.  Mike man, what should she do?”


Now, I really didn’t want to be dragged into this.  I was happy watching Georgia pummel Vanderbilt on the big screen in front of me.  But seeing that I was asked for my thoughts, I conceded and gave my two cents . . . . . . 


“So you’ve been with this woman for seven months and you don’t know if you want a relationship or not?”


“It’s not that simple Mike”



“You see, my job takes me all over the Southeast.  For the past four months, I’ve been in South Carolina helping to start a new plant.  While I was away, Tonya would only send me a good morning text.  Outside of that, there was nothing!  I would call her every weekend though.  When it came to conversation, she didn’t have much to say.   None of our calls would last for more than ten minutes”




“Ol’ girl never shared a whole lot about herself.  I don’t even know if she graduated high school or not!  All she talks about is how her baby daddy doesn’t pay child support and the new counseling gig she got a few weeks ago.  That’s it!”


“Okay Keisha.  If Tonya didn’t have much conversation, why did you continue to entertain her?  Why not just cut your losses?”


“Well I just thought we were “cool”.  Every time I was in town, we would kick it at my place”


“So y’all would Netflix and chill?”


“I guess you could say that.  She would come over and I would cook for her.  After we finished dinner, she would take care of me”


“Okay.  So basically you considered Tonya to be just a late night hook up?”


“Something like that.  Like I said, she didn’t have much conversation.  Seemed like she was fine with the situation.  Who am I to deviate from the program?  I’ve had “friends” before that didn’t trip on similar arrangements!  I kept telling Tonya that I wasn’t ready for a relationship, but she kept at me!  Kept buying me little things.  Kept sending naked pics to my phone.  I never pressured her into having sex.  She wanted it so I gave it to her!  We’re both consenting adults . . . or at least I thought we were”


“Hmmmmmmm . . . . . . .”


“So was I wrong for telling the truth in the beginning?”


“No, you’re not wrong Keisha. . . . .”


“But what?”


“Seems like Tonya wanted more, which explains why she hit you with the full court press.  And at the first sign of it, you should have shut it down”


“I tried!”


“Really?  Are you sure about that?”


“Man, after the first night we slept together, she blew my phone up the next day!  Asking what I was doing?  Where I was going?  When I didn’t answer her call or texts, she left like twenty messages asking where I’ve been and who I was with!”


“Damn, that is a bit extreme.  Did you purposely start avoiding her?”


“That wasn’t it at all! My aunt had passed and I was with family at the funeral.  I told her that’s where I would be that night, but she left messages like I was cheating on her!  After the first fucking night!  So yeah, I distanced myself!  She apologized after I told her the deal and admitted that she was out of line.  She still wanted to be with me though”


“And even with that glaring stalker sign, you continued to shag her?”


“I mean she cool peoples, plus baby got that phatty!”


Laughter erupted throughout the shop!  I couldn’t help but laugh myself as this narrative was all too familiar.  This “what are we” limbo plagues a lot of relationships today.  Now like I’ve said before, I’m no life coach or marriage adviser.  However, I’ve had my share of “what are we” moments, with most of them not being the best.  Trust me when I say that no one likes getting caught up in “commitment pending” space.  But why do most of us end up there? Probably because we treat relationships like politics.  We want to win the election by any means necessary.  So if that means lying about seeing others, we’ll do it.  If it means giving up the cookies to someone we met yesterday on the internet, we’ll do it.  If it means having to rent a beamer and spending rent money on baby girl to impress, we’ll do it. All to thwart the competition.  And no matter what he/she says, there is always competition.  With that in mind, let’s get back to the impromptu conversation with Keisha . . . .


“So what happened when you told Tonya you weren’t ready?’


“After she got through crying and cursing, she said that I led her on.  She said that I abused her heart”


“Well besides you stealing her cookies, I don’t see anything you did wrong.  Count this as a lesson learned and keep it pushing”


“I want to but . . .”


“But what?  I mean if you’re not ready, you’re not ready right?  Let her go to find the perfect love for her”


“I hear you, but I don’t know if I’ll find another woman like her”


“On the real Keisha, it’s not nice to keep anyone in a holding pattern if you’re not interested in taking it further.  If you care for her, tell her.  Go to dinner and be open about your needs as well as your insecurities.  Also, establish some ground rules.  For example, while you’re trying to figure shit out, she can date whoever she wants”


“Nah man!  I ain’t feeling her dating other people!  Fuck that!”


“You may not be feeling it Keisha, but it’s only right.  She should be free to date.  What if it takes you two years to be ready only to realize that she’s not a compliment to you?”


“I’m still not feeling that dating someone else!”



“Well sit down and be honest with her Ike!  You can’t have your cake and eat it too!  Take it from someone that’s been there”


“You make it sound like I’m playing her”


“Are you? Have you entertained other women while you were in South Carolina?”


“Well . . . no. . . .  I mean I get a little head every now and then.  Andre Three Stacks said that head really don’t count”


“Really?  So what if Tonya was giving head to someone else?”


“Hell naw man! I told you I wasn’t cool with that! How am I supposed to be cool if she fucks other people?  That’s my chick!”


“Listen Keisha.  When I date, I go out.  I have conversations.  I don’t even like kissing if we are just trying to get to know each other.  People can only put up a front for so long.  And for guys, we tend to put up the front until we get the cookies.  For ladies, you all tend to put up a ruse until you get girlfriend /fiance status”


“So how do I get around this?  I don’t want her to date nobody else”


“Sounds like you’re more afraid of commitment than anything else.  And that fear comes from your past dealings, which is normal these days.  Tell her that due to your past, you want to take your time”


“Kinda hard when she’s giving up the booty”


“No it’s not.  You don’t have to take it.  Tell her you want to get to know who she really is. Take sex off the table and see what happens.  If she refuses to tell you anything more about her past life and all she wants to have is sex, move on.  She’s hiding something chief”


“Easier said than done”


“It always is”


I rose from my seat and paid Felix for his work.  Keisha was silent as she took her turn in the chair.  I could see that she was deliberating whether this young lady that she had been having relations with was worth the hassle.  My question for the singles today is why do we have more and more people falling into relationship limbo?  Are you truthful when you meet a potential boo or is it politics as usual?


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