I approach the bar.
I am sure it is him on the lefthand side.
His tiny dreads are the same as in the pictures.
He is wearing a faded burgundy, similar to his profile.
He does not look like he is waiting for me, though,
As he is smiling, shaking his head playfully
At a beige woman standing near him,
Long dark hair, monochromatic clothes
She looks like everyone else.
It takes me a while to catch his attention —
I have to brush my finger along his shoulder
For him to turn around in his seat
And smile, surprised, at my appearance.
Here I am.
We shuffle around, an awkward introductory hug,
I ask what he is drinking. How long he has been here.
The basic mundane questions. I try to easy my way into conversation.
He stares back a lot, smiling contentedly,
Asking “what?” Every now and then for me to repeat myself.
The music is loud in here.
We are talking about what states we have visited
When all of a sudden he pauses the conversation to say
“Man you are really beautiful. What ethnicity are you?”
I usually treat this question playfully.
I have heard it enough times that I can turn it into a game
The classic, biracial guessing game.
“I’m gonna let you try and figure that out while I order a drink.”
I smirk and turn my head away toward the bartender.
He does not probe further but does not continue the conversation.
I wait a long time for the waitress to come to me.
I order a whiskey or whatever. My wine buzz from earlier
Is fading fast. I keep asking questions.
They come to me jarringly. He does not ask me a lot about myself.
He just smiles and nods and welcomes
Any kind of attention as I try to keep my eyes light
And warm and invested.
We migrate over to the main seating area.
There are pool tables and lots of people clustered around.
For a moment I feel grateful to be part of
This crowded cacophony of social energy,
Sipping my whiskey as we talk about
His interest in acting and modeling and
I am listening, and then he pauses, steps back
And admires me from a leaning distance
Twirls me around in his mind
And gazes indulgently up and down
My outfit. He comments on my style,
The combination of florals and denim and leggings.
I mean, I agree. My style is bomb as fuck. But
I didn’t come all this way for that to be the
Center of attention. I want to talk about stories,
novels, movie plots, and philosophical ideas.
I want to probe and play with your mind,
Sapiosexuality before physicality. Yet
My interest is waning fast.
I’m getting tired of just standing there.
He mentions his love of vaping.
I suggest we go outside. He opens the door
And lets me walk first up the brightly lit stairs.
It is not until I reach the top and turn around
That I realize he has stopped midway on the steps
Smiling like a gleeful child. “God Damn.”
He says. He has been staring at my ass.
I laugh girlishly. What else is a girl to do
In the face of such blatant, manly
We smoke outside, cucumber fumes.
The fresh air feels nice.
I try to steer our conversation toward
New subjects. Unsuccessfully.
At some point, I remind him
I cannot stay for much longer.
He pouts like a little boy.
“I will only be in town for a couple days. Let’s make this night last.”
His comments get more and more lascivious.
His eyes rove again and again over my body.
His hands start slipping, sliding, scaling my waistline.
Red flag. Red flag. Red flag.
I let him do these things to me. I do.
I let him. I try to enjoy them.
But I really just want to go home.
I came craving conversation and newness
Yet encountered, yet again
That leeching desire from a man
That only served to “leave me starving”
As Nayirah Waheed so aptly put it.
Her poem enters my mind several times that night.
Finally, I get home. After much coaxing and cajoling,
Prying my body away from his grasping hands,
My wryly smile stays plastered, placating, on my face,
At last until the car door snaps shut, and I am
Safe in a cocoon of silence and soft radio music.
My body tingles. But not pleasurably.
I crawl into bed, exhausted, though
I am not really that tired.
More so; Sad. Disillusioned.
I had just wanted a good conversation
And ended up talking my way
Out of unwanted seduction
Yet again. I surrender.
I surrender. I give up. For now.