I have a date tonight. A dinner date. I should be excited since it’s been awhile, but I’m not. It’s not the date, he’s a cool dude. He’s not a stranger but not someone I’m entirely familiar with, but from what I know I think it is kind of dope that he asked me out. I like how he asked me out. “I’d like to take you out to dinner, or a something. I just want to spend a few hours getting to know you. Can I?”

I took a deep breath before I replied. I typed, “Food is fine. When?” and then I deleted it. Then, I typed “Or something? Come on, Bruh.” and then I deleted that. I finally responded with, “I’m down. Did you have something particular in mind?” He did. What ensued was a back and forth of reschedules. On my end. Claiming to have forgotten last minute appointments and commitments, apologies and promises to “make up for it.” He accepted them all and was so patient with my shenanigans, that when I got the “New Year Resolution: Convince Janell that she won’t regret giving me just one date.” text, I obliged.

So here we are, date night and I’m all blah because I wish that I were getting dressed up to go out with someone else. My someone else. I don’t mean to be rude, and again, I’m sure he’s a great person and from what I already know about him, I know I’ll have a good time. But I’m in my feelings because I want more of that and I’m not getting it from who I want it with. I set a tone that I’m refusing to undo. But anyway.

I came home yesterday and decided to play in my closet to see what I had stashed in the back. I haven’t had much of a reason to jazz myself up, so as I sipped my wine and found a few little black dresses I had forgotten about, I decided I indulge myself with a little fashion show. As I was standing in the mirror, looking a hot mess, I was actually pleased with what I saw. I looked good. I held my camera up to take a picture and thought, “Now, who are you sending this to and why?” No one! It was for me! I snapped a pic in one of the dresses, posted it on my FB story and shared that I had only paid $1.99 for it. I sat my phone down and asked myself why I hadn’t sent it to Mr. 51, or anyone else. I shook the thought away and went on about my business.

Later that evening, with nothing but candlelight, my LED set to Red, and hands dripping massage oil, I watched Mr. 51 sleep. I took in his sighs, caressed his warm skin, sponged in how relaxed and safe he looked in my bed. I laid there in my thoughts, watching him. Losing my breath just a little when he wrapped his legs around me and pulled me close. I told myself I was safe with him, but mentally went back to the picture. I’ve always wanted to be the girlfriend who had the randoms covered – pictures, texts, surprise dinner invites, impromptu weekends, hot baths, hand massages – that’s me naturally. I’ve wanted to do all of that with a partner who reciprocated. I had that a months back. Someone who was as excited and happy to give the little and large things, and he made me want to give them back. And that was scary. I walked away from that because it was too heavy, it was just too much. No. What was too much was that my heart was somewhere else. All hooked and tied to this fine ass specimen sprawled across my bed, sleeping peacefully.

Hooks and all, I had to snap out of it and get back to what I know: He’s not supposed to get the exclusive rights to me and for the past six months he has. I gave it to him willingly, he didn’t have to ask. I cut everyone off and if I’m being honest, a part of me wanted to see if he’d see that as some sort of loyalty. Like, your move nigga.

I wanted him to put his shit aside too. I want him to roll his sleeves up and profess that he didn’t care about all the chatter I pitch about open relationships and freedom. I wanted him to say I want you just how you are, now what’s up. But, he didn’t. Nor did he ask me to be exclusive. From day one, he has accepted me without conditions and I never gave him any.

Here’s the other part: While I’ve exclusively dated him, can I say that he has done the same? Tsk-Tsk, I don’t tell no lies. I’m aware of a someone just like he is, but what about others? Who else is he chasing behind? I can confidently state that I drain him dry, but a few someone’s could be filling him right back up.

I use to tell myself that older men were the safest bet. They had all of their play out and didn’t have time to be chasing tail all over the place. Ha! Man, older dudes are like virgin puppies with new pussy, they are all over it. So I’d be playing all in Fool’s Gold to say that I’m the only one in his contact list. What it’s about for me at the end of the day is respecting a person enough to move respectfully. Respect my presence in your life by protecting me from your appetite. I do.

I felt a few hours of guilt about doing something that is natural to me. Whether it be with Mr. 51 or any other man, why should I deny MYSELF the recourse to be wooed? To have a chair pulled out, a car door opened, to be in the passenger seat looking all faded and velvety. That’s the benefit of being single, enjoying the perks of good company without the drama. Or dismissing it without wavering if it isn’t kosher. My rebooted curiosity in dating isn’t about sex either. At almost 46, I don’t think there’s much more for me to learn in that department. I’ve been to the mountaintop hunny, and foreplay, mid-play and after-play aside, it’s like a movie you’ve seen a million times. No matter how many surprise scenes you discover, it all ends the same.

With him, it’s extraordinary and I am satisfied. To an extent. So I sit with my legs extra crossed and don’t bother to wax as frequently because that part of me is his, for now. He has my heart too, but what I absolutely refuse to give him is my mind. Wheeeeew, I won’t ever lose myself in a man like that again. So I’m here for the reality bites, especially the one I got last night.

After massaging that man real good, I watched him for a good while. Took him all the way in. I admitted a few things to myself as I sat in that silence. I don’t care how long I choose to stand in the cusp of what’s next with this man, I won’t stand there and swat others away anymore. I won’t deny opportunities to kick it and do something different, see somewhere different or just the chance to sponge-in energy outside of four walls. I will not. I will be the same dope Janell who’s all in for the reciprocity. What you give me, you will receive.

Mmmph. He’s carnal with it. At one point, I had to check his hand for a knife and a fork! Or at least his pockets for one of those gas station rhino pills. Forgive my details, I just caught myself closing my eyes appreciating the replay. But ANYWAY!

It’s not about game. Come on now, are we really doing that in this phase of life? It’s about leaving the games to the children. Being adult with our intent, being clear with our desires. We’re grown, folks. That button-lipped tongue biting ain’t for us. We should also know that sometimes it’s more than words. Everything doesn’t require a discussion, just match the moves and if it would not fly for you, don’t send that shit on a flight to me. I want freedom, not foolishness. Acknowledging one’s freedom is really just about respect. I respect you enough to not bring intentional harm or disruption to what we have. I acknowledge what you require, and I won’t dilute what we have.

In the meantime, I received a text a short while ago – “Good evening Sexy. I was wondering if you would be open to coming over and letting me cook for you instead of going out on this messy night?” No sir. I politely declined. He could have good intentions and I may take him up on the offer in the future. But in this emotional state, I’m not setting myself up for any additional entanglements. Not right now. So I guess we’ll resume our back and forth until I give in or he tires.

In the meantime, let me go and tuck these fishnets away, and hang this black leather mini-joint and black leather duster back up and relish an evening of binge tv. I need to leave this dating shit to the youngsters. I’m getting soft and volatile in my old age.

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