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30 May, 2008

Searching for Dan B. – Part One of the "Can White Men Jump?" Two-Part Saga

Can white men jump…to it, that is? Or maybe I’m the culprit here. I’m going to go ahead and come clean about something I did years ago that still bothers me to this day. Every time I think about this incident I feel a little spike of shame, because my behavior back then just doesn’t gel with the kind of person I believe I am today. I mean, what was I thinking? Why did I do it? I’ll tell you why, but first let me tell you exactly what I did.

Back when I was in college I became friends with this white guy. I’ll just call him Dan. B. ‘cause I don’t want to put him on full blast the way I’m putting myself on full blast. Me and this guy hung out between classes, chit-chatting and people watching, etc. There was nothing romantic or sexual about our friendship, although I did secretly wonder at least once if I was missing some sort of vibes that I was too dense to know were there. Did the fact that he sometimes smiled when he caught sight of me mean that he thought I was cute or something, or was he simply a nice guy? Hell, I didn’t know and he never said a damn thing about anything having to do with noticing me as anything other than a buddy to chit-chat with between classes. I mean, I don’t even remember how we met or started hanging out. I just looked up one day and a pattern had begun.

So there I was, wearing jogging suits and baseball caps with my ponytail hanging out of the opening in the back, and not a stitch of makeup, nail polish or anything. Just trying to get though my first undergrad degree, so I could get a better job and be able to better provide for my then five or six year-old-daughter. Probably hadn’t had a guy look twice at me in a hot little minute and, if I recall correctly, I was in the middle of a serious sexual drought. It’s not a big deal for me to go a couple of years without sex if I’m not in some sort of relationship. Well, I mean, it’s a little bit of a big deal, but it is what it is.

Nevertheless, sexual deprivation was the cause of it all.

To campus comes this dude I went to high school with. He was a cop and back in the day we had a class together, where we flirted and flirted and flirted, but never took it there. Ladies, you know what happened, right? Yep, you guessed it. We pick back up where we left off and suddenly I’m curling my hair and jumping into sundresses and stuff, instead of jogging suits and jeans and t-shirts. I’m all hot and bothered and ready to toss his butt a little bit…and then there was Dan B.

One day I come out of the Arts & Sciences Building and Dan is waiting for me. I’m looking all cute in a little track star type sundress, got my hair all curled up and, I believe, a little make-up on my mug. Dan’s grinning from ear to ear, separating from the group of white guys he’s standing there with and making his way in my direction, and in steps the cop. With a ‘what the hell you want’ snarl on his face, he just steps his six-foot-six butt right in front of Dan before Dan can walk up to me. Out of the corner of my eye I see Dan take a small step back and his smile slips a little to the left. He’s unsure of what to do next, because the cop is a big dude, even though he is no lightweight either, and he doesn’t know how to play it. Mixed in there a little bit too, is embarrassment, because he left his friends to come and talk to me – which he probably had to explain later on – and then this happens while they’re looking on with ‘what did you expect’ expressions on their faces.

God, this is another loooooong post, but I have to get this off my chest, folks, so please bear with me. Okay, back to the story…

What did I do? Sigh. This is the part I will forever be ashamed of. I walked away with the cop, plotting, because my panties were wet and I was planning on letting him lick them dry. Of course, you know he did, many, many times, but that’s neither here nor there. I left my friend standing there and that was a shitty, shitty thing to do. I should have had the cop step to the side and introduced them or something. I should’ve chit-chatted with Dan like we always did, instead of blowing him off because a magic stick was suddenly within my reach. I should’ve done a lot of things…shoulda, coulda, woulda…

Come to think of it, I should’ve blown the cop off and kept on hanging out with my friend, because you just know that mess got old real quick. After a minute or two, I remembered why I was prone to going years in a row without sex – because I’m not really a casual sex kind of person. Coming up on two years without sex caused me to develop temporary amnesia in more ways than one. And you just know that, after I cut the cop loose and went back to my sweats and baseball caps, Dan was nowhere to be found. I never saw him again. I’m sure he saw me though. Probably was sitting back in the cut, watching me be by myself and thinking, ‘that’s what your ass gets’, and who could blame him?

But in my defense I would like to offer the following rationalizations:

1) I’m probably like lots of other black women who, as we were growing up, we never considered anything other than black men as mates, because that’s just the way it was. Nothing to do with prejudice and everything to do with environment and expectations, implied and otherwise.

2) Dan never indicated an interest in me and if he did, I missed it completely. I’m a little dumb when it comes to abstract stuff like that. A man could step to me every day for a year and ask the time and I’d just tell him and keep doing what I’m doing. Well, I wouldn’t now, because I know a little better, but back then I would’ve been thinking, ‘this dude seriously needs to invest in a watch.’ Anybody who knows me knows that beating around the bush has never been a strong point of mine.

3) I wasn’t thinking. I was young and I wasn’t thinking.

And (drum roll, please…)

4) I was horny!

There, I said it. I was young and horny and it never occurred to me that Dan might not have minded being tossed up a little bit. After all, he was white and I was black and that was just that, dammit. Can white men jump? Because if they can, they do it differently than brothas. Most of the time you know when a brotha wants to get with you. But I hear tell white men sometimes aren’t sure of how to approach sistas, especially if they’re unsure of the reception they’ll receive. I could be wrong, ‘cause it’s not like I’m an expert, but I think I read that somewhere.

I want to be clear about something. I’m not implying that Dan was trying to be anything other than my friend, because I don’t have a clue one way or the other and it’s a moot point at this stage in the game, anyway. What I do know is that I treated him badly, albeit unintentionally, and for that I feel badly. I guess I should feel badly, huh?

Over the years, I’ve contacted the university’s alumni department a couple of times and requested that they send Dan B. a message to either call or email me, because I’d like the opportunity to apologize to him. I like to think his lack of contact is because he doesn’t remember who I am, but I have a sneaking suspicion it’s because he does remember and he’s wondering what I could possibly have to say to him after all this time. Or better yet, his wife is probably like, ‘call that b*#$!h if you want to start sleeping on the couch.’ Put like that, would you call? Or maybe it’s been so long ago he simply doesn’t give a damn anymore. Maybe he never really did give a damn and I’m the one who needs to get some business. Who knows?

But I’m going on the record right here and now, folks. This guy graduated from UMSL about three years ago (I think I remember him telling me he was taking his time earning his degree) with a degree in English. I’m told he still lives in Missouri somewhere and he won’t call or email me, for whatever reason. So I’m left with no choice. If you know Dan B. or you know somebody who knows him, send him to my blog so he can read this himself, would you please?

Otherwise, ya’ll know I’m trying to be a writer and everything, so maybe one day he’ll run across my name somewhere, remember me and stop by my blog under his own steam, just to see what I’ve been up to. And if so, I hope he reads this post and accepts my heartfelt apology.

Dan B., if you can hear me, blink twice!

Sistas, if you're reading this and you feel me, throw your hands up, sway from side to side and sing along with me, "Oh-way-oh-oh."

Folks, if you have any thoughts or can relate or want to kick me while I'm down, hit me up.

(Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Can White Men Jump? Saga– Coming soon to a blog-zine near you!)


CaroleMcDonnell said...

Ah gee! I love these college stories...people do such weird things in college.

Alas, I've only dated white guys. Never had any orientation toward black guys. It was always a kind of "anything but black" mentality but it was as if I was born with it. I suspect it had something to do with being deserted by my father when I was a baby.

Anyway... I can't remember betraying a friend ever. I was always faithful. But I did betray my sister once and did to her the same thing you did to Dan. Oh, I so don't want to remember doing it...but I know it ruined our friendship and was part of why we became estranged. Rejection and embarrassment is a toughie. -C

Terra Little said...

Under the circumstances, I'm not glad I'm not alone. LOL. But knowing I'm not alone does help me not feel so ogre-some. Thanks for sharing, C!

Tee said...

Well, errr, ummm, since you keep harrassing a sista, I'm here and you know how I do. But, you're on your own this time home slice...ROFL. I don't recall ever doing anything like this to a friend, but I do have some stories I can share about so-called friends who did similar things to me. I think the best way to look at it all though is to acknowledge why you did it, work through it, apologize, forgive yourself and move on. Hopefully the incident made both of you stronger people.


Terra Little said...

Hold on a sec, while I twist the knife a little harder...LOL...Yes, I know how you do and it's one of the things I like most about you. Thanks for stopping through! Bout damn time...

Trice Hickman said...

Hey Terra,

Wow, it's tough when you have regrets about things that could have been, but at this point there is nothing you can do about the past. You've acknowledged your mistake, reached out in the best way you could, and now you're moving on. I agree with the other blogger who said you have to forgive yourself. Dan B. was a lesson learned. You aren't the same person now that you were back then, and you'd never treat a friend like that again. Some say that in life you only get one shot...well, after reading about you and Dan B., I hope you get two...

Trice Hickman, author of Unexpected Interruptions

Terra Little said...

Hey Trice,

If nothing else, it's too bad I dimwittedly passed up the chance to have possibly made a lifelong good friend, a "bestist" friend, a BMF. You get so few of those as it is. I think that's what I lament most, but we live and we learn...

Terra Little said...

...and you're right. It wouldn't even occur to me to treat a friend like that in the here and now -black, white, blue, green or purple. That's why I can't fathom what I could've been thinking. LOL. I think after this though, I can finally forgive and forget.