EVER WONDER WHY SOME WOMEN hang onto a doomed relationship hoping that a commitment-phobic prick will one day decide to marry them? I never understood it, until now.
I know why because I fell prey to that situation. After dating a man for two nerve-wracking years and living with him for three years, I realized he was never going to get down on one knee and give me a ring. I’d wasted some of my best years waiting for a proposal that would never come. I was going to become yet another statistic. You know the one I’m talking about—another single, college-educated, African-American woman of a certain age without a man.
I still don’t understand how I got to this lonely place despite all I have to offer. I’m a thirty-four-year-old, high-level financial advisor with no children. I’m intelligent, beautiful, sexy and physically fit. I know how to cook, clean and screw a man’s brains out. I’m every man’s wet dream. Yet with all this going for me, I, Layla James, have always come out on the short end in the love department. So for every Single Black Female reads this, let my life be an example of the road that should be less traveled.
You see, I should have scoped out my future husband at Clark Atlanta University instead of waiting until I was settled in my career and financially stable. I chose an education over a lasting relationship. Once I received my degree, I thought the world was my oyster. Boy was I wrong. What followed was a steady rise in my professional career, while my social life netted zero.
Where shall I begin telling my sad tale of failed relationships? Hmmm…should I start with my good-for-nothing father, who left my mother and me for another woman and then proceeded to have three kids with her? Or perhaps I’ll start with Conrad Smith. Or maybe with the guys who followed him? That’s when my friends and I realized the abundance of good-looking, intelligent and available men was quickly diminishing, and what was left was online dating, speed dating, jobless men with no ambition, jailbirds, playas, thugs, athletes, old-ass sugar daddies, young-blood gigolos, professional students, white men and the worst offenders—down-low brothers, married men and men with baby-mama drama.
So, I’ve decided to take a sabbatical from all this falling in and out of love. Instead, I’ve decided to do some serious soul-searching to find out why I always come up empty. You know, see my therapist and preacher and find out why God has it out for me.
I’m going to share all of my and my girlfriends’ dirty laundry and explain exactly what led me to this moment.
I’LL TELL YOU WHAT KILLED my five-year relationship with Conrad Smith. He was always the “Unattainable Man.” From day one, I was doing the chasing.
Conrad and I met at one of those networking events in downtown Atlanta—the kind of event that women go to all gussied up under the guise that they’re making career contacts when, in fact, they’re there to be captured. That’s right, according to my friend/supermodel Skye Chandler, women go to clubs to be hunted and the men come to hunt.
The night I met Conrad, the men weren’t doing the hunting. They were just sitting back, waiting for women to approach and buy them a drink. Why? Because they were single, educated, successful, childless, black men. They knew they were in the minority and black women were just clamoring for men like them. And they used it to their advantage.
They could have had as many of us as they liked at any time. Most of them probably already had four or five women lined up on the side–all of them willing and ready to sleep with them. And you know what? Without hesitation, they probably slept with each and every woman who opened her legs.
One of my male co-workers told me that he had four women on the side. One was the party girl, the social butterfly he called when he wanted to have a good time. The next was the good girl with whom he could have a conversation and who would listen if he’d had a hard day at work, maybe even cook him dinner. Another was the fuck buddy whom he called when he needed to have his dick waxed. And, well, the other was his around-the-way girl who called him up when she was in the mood to kick it, which was perfectly okay with him. So why would he possibly want to commit when he had so many women at his beck and call?
Well that night, I took matters into my own hands and did some hunting. The moment Conrad’s fine ass walked into the room, I saw no other man but him. He was tall, athletic, impeccably dressed, high yellow and sexy. My eyes zeroed in for the kill, and sure enough, he took the bait and walked over. He didn’t wait for me. He was confident enough to approach me on his own.
I wasted no time finding out the facts. Was he single? Divorced? Did he have any children? Did he live alone? Did he have a job? These were all important facts I needed to know. I wanted to make sure there wasn’t a wife waiting at home, ready to kick my ass for approaching her man, or, if there was an ex-wife or girlfriend with baby mama drama. Having a job was crucial, but a career was even better. It showed he could support himself and wasn’t living at home with his mama. He answered all the checklist questions correctly. He was a single thirty-eight-year-old black man, who graduated from Morehouse College. He was an electrical engineer and had no children, which meant no baby mamas. And so our mating dance began.
We talked. We laughed. We drank. We danced and swayed to rhythm and blues and popular hip-hop tunes. When the music turned to some sexy reggae, we got even closer. I could feel his rock-hard chest against my heaving bosom. And trust me, when I say it was heaving. I wanted him so much, I thought I was going to explode. When the time came for the night to end, I didn’t want it to be over. So when he asked me what I wanted to do next, I invited him back to my place.
Once there, it didn’t take long for him to back me up against the kitchen counter and lay a kiss on me, the likes of which I’d never experienced. Before I knew what was happening, Conrad was picking me up and placing my curvy behind on the countertop and we were going at it. He pulled my silk shirt out of my pants so he could rip it open and lower his head to my breasts. He licked and teased my nipples through my lacy bra and I moaned aloud.
Like Tarzan, he carried me from the kitchen upstairs to my bedroom and we had sex like rabbits. I didn’t care that he might think I was easy. I just wanted him, hot and sweaty in my bed. What I got was rock-my-world-sex that made my toes curl and brought me to a mind-blowing orgasm that had me screaming out his name over and over and over again.
The next morning, Conrad didn’t quickly flee my bed. He’d lingered and we’d cuddled. He hadn’t minded sleeping in the wet spot, either. Then after making love again slowly and tenderly for the second time that morning, we went out to breakfast. At the restaurant, he’d stared longingly into my eyes as we sat eating pancakes smothered in butter and syrup. He didn’t care that I had a voracious appetite. He’d playfully pinched my nose and told me I was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. And in the throes of a great night of sex, I believed him. Later, we came back to my place and spent the entire day together in bed, making dinner and watching TV. It was wonderful.
So what went wrong, you ask? Any man that can make you come like that must’ve been worth keeping around, right? That’s what I thought. So I did everything in my power to show Conrad I was a woman he could settle down with. I got my hair done weekly by my girlfriend Chanel and it was no weave. It was the real deal. It wasn’t long by any means and reached my chin. But it was all mine and Conrad liked that. I kept myself fit by hitting the gym four to five times a week and kept my nails and toes perfectly manicured. I was a freak in the bedroom and his mama in the kitchen. I cooked gourmet meals, washed his clothes, cleaned his apartment and served myself up to him whenever and wherever.
And when I say wherever—I mean it. We had sex in the bathroom of one of the finest restaurants in Atlanta and almost got caught, but do you think that was enough to get me a ring? No! In fact, I think the more I did, the less committed he seemed.
Conrad and I had broken up and gotten back together more times than I can remember. But when he finally broke down and suggested we move in together, I thought, okay, I’m finally getting somewhere. Like a fool, I put all my shit in storage and moved into his place. I took it as a sign that we were on the marriage track. But now, I realize he was only being practical because I was always at his apartment. The M word never came across his lips.
Why couldn’t he see what I wanted, which is for us to be a happy, successful, married couple living in the burbs? With Conrad and my good looks, we were sure to make beautiful babies with nice hair. We’d have a wonderful life together, but Conrad just couldn’t or wouldn’t commit. He’d always say it wasn’t the right time career-wise for him or that it wasn’t the right time financially. And then like all men when those excuses started to wear thin, he resorted to the old standby—I’ve been hurt before so we need to take things slow.
Why did I put myself through such torture? Well, first off I hadn’t had a serious relationship in years. I’d spent the better part of my twenties moving up the career ladder. So when I met Conrad and saw he was marriage material, I did everything in my power to keep him. Plus, he was the one man who hit the spot every time and made me see stars.
I keep telling myself that cutting him loose will be easy, that somehow, someway I can exorcise him from my heart. But then he lays it on so thick about how much he needs me and how he can’t bear to be away from me. And you know what? I fall for it each and every time and so I continue on the road to nowhere.
~ * * * ~