I Got This
Single sista looking to get laid by a man who will not only know my name after, but may want to grab a cup of coffee in the a.m. Not looking to marry, but just want to be taken seriously. Open to all races because, let’s be real, if I wait for a brother I might be alone forever. I’m not a hater; I just want the best. I am a 35-year- old journalist who loves reading (trashy stuff), exercising (no budget for a car), and the outdoors (nothing like an evening on the fire escape). I’ll admit I’m looking for love but will be happy with just some mutual respect. I’m a damaged sister who is not yet totally broken. TS000
There it is—my very own lovelorn ad. You see, this is my heart and how I really feel, but no one wants to hear any of these things. “Looking for love” means looking for a husband. “Mutual respect” means a lot of men have left and not called back. “Thirty-five” means that I spent the bulk of my prime hookup years screwing losers who didn’t call back, so now that the proverbial clock is ticking I am looking for the best donor possible. In the end my ad is pathetic, sad, and desperate. However, it is one of the best things I’ve ever written; it is probably the most honest statement I’ve made in a long time.
But, as we newspaper folks know, the shorter the better, and a good edit can turn even the most desperate ad into a winner.
Attractive 30-plus professional woman looking for an adventure of epic proportions. Romantic at heart with a zest for all things horizontal, vertical, and perpendicular :) Craves attitude, aggression, and passion from men of all types looking to try something new with a woman looking to be her personal best. Serious inquiries only from truly available men. No creepers or creeps.
See, just like that, a spinster can be turned into a nymph. That is what I do. My name is Destiny Brooks, and I am the “Hot Sheet” editor at Baltimore’s hottest weekly, TEASE. Ten years ago I came to TEASE for an internship, and after a particularly bad blind date where the guy ate all his food with his pinky and thumb—no other fingers involved, fork, knife, spoon, nothing—I thought there had to be a better way to meet normal folks. My bosses did too, and we’ve turned that idea into a portal for normal folks to get together, and also paved the way for all types to find what they really want. Somewhere there is a woman who wants a man who thinks thumb eating is okay, and “Hot Sheet” is where she can find him today.
My job is to turn fantasies into reality, desperation into passion, and toe sucking into foot play. I am the gatekeeper to the hottest section of the newspaper, and every Wednesday thousands pick us up to read and reply to the freakiest fetishes and most passionate fantasies. In a few minutes your ideal match can be found in our pages. Yet the gatekeeper has not found her match?
Now don’t start feeling pity for me. The truth is that I meet many decent guys. I am an attractive woman with a halfway passable body and I get my fair share of attention. But simply put, I find most men questionable. After three years of overseeing “Hot Sheet” at TEASE and handling requests from fellas “looking for a friend” to freaks “looking for someone to chain up in my basement,” I am a little jaded when it comes to what men really want versus what they show and tell you on a date. Once I had to call a guy back after he placed an ad online to verify his content. He sounded like such a nice guy when he answered, but then came the moment I dreaded: when I had to ask him whether he meant he wanted a woman to “shoot his foot” or “shit on his foot.” He laughed and assured me that he meant “shit”; to shoot him in the foot would be crazy. After a few more uncomfortable laughs and corrections I hung up the phone knowing that some woman out there has no idea that her man likes foot shitting and is hoping she’s the woman of his dreams. So you see, I battle the freaks, predators, and masochists secretly lurking in our men. They don’t tell you, loyal wives and fantasy girlfriends. They bring it to me by the thousands every week because TEASE is their safe place.
Hence I am alone because I can’t trust.
I am that sad statistic that you see blazoned on the cover of every black woman’s magazine like a war declaration: over thirty, educated, successful, attractive, and never married. The media track us like humpback whales, estimating our numbers and measuring our fertility. When I read their articles on black love I think the writers and researchers miss the point. A lot of us are single by choice, not because of circumstance. I look at my girlfriends, and many of them appear happy and have been married for years to men they’ve loved enough to take a chance on. I also have single girlfriends who are men hunters. They don’t feel that their lives will really count until they get the house in the ’burbs with the stone patio, two kids, and trampoline in the back. And then you have women like me, who can’t trust and can’t get out of their own way. We aren’t man- or marriage- hungry because we have learned to live pretty satisfying lives without them. I know it’s going to take a lot for me to fall in love, and personally I am too exhausted at the end of the day to put any work into that, so I pass. I don’t complain and I don’t chase. I am that friend who makes everyone go, “Why is so-and-so single?” and there really isn’t a reason other than because I choose to be. But even I get tired of that answer sometimes.
Once again I am sitting in my office about to hit send to forward this ad over to George in layout for final inclusion, and as is the case about every six months, I am conflicted. Do I become my own client, leaning on “Hot Sheet” to bring me a guy, or do I stick to my diet of random dates and wait for them to say one of the crazy-guy keywords—rough, submissive, mommy, roommate, knots, or the all-time winner, free spirit—all key indicators that he probably has something to hide?
As usual, I wimp out and just drop the e-mail into my saved draft file to send one day, when I’m brave enough to try what has been so successful for others—a personal ad in “Hot Sheet.”
My equal let me down. I want someone brand-new who can appreciate a woman with vintage appeal. Let me show you what a woman really wants and hopefully you can give me what I need. Looking for babes in the woods—35 or younger. TS400
I’m not the personals ad type—I wouldn’t even be reading this if Deja hadn’t left TEASE on my coffee table—but damned if that ad doesn’t sound like me. I too am a unicorn, the woman who people tell you does not exist. My name is Gloria Tulley, and at fifty-five years old I’m still as hot as I was at thirty and have the sex drive of a twenty- five-year-old. I am not damaged. I was married for twenty-six years to a successful businessman seven years my senior and we have two wonderful children. I was happy during my marriage but never satisfied. My husband viewed me as a possession and not a partner. I handled our home, the kids, our friends, and he worked. We were both heavily invested in our children’s success, but as they grew older and depended on us less and less, there was little keeping my husband and me together. Most people looked at our numerous homes, charity work, and overachieving kids and thought we were a successful couple. But things at home were just okay, and while most people could live their whole lives in that state I knew there had to be more.
My husband, Pace senior, loved me sort of like you love an old car: the memories make it great but it really serves no purpose for you now. I love him but I am no longer in love with him. All of these years he’d feared that I would leave him once the kids were grown. He’d bring it up as a joke at times, that if it weren’t for the kids I would have been gone long ago. I reassured him that this wasn’t true in the early years, but as time dragged on I realized that once Pace junior and Amelia were gone I’d be stuck with Big Pace. I knew that I would have to escape. I yearned for adventure, new things, and a man who would not just love me but be passionate about me, the way Big Pace had been in the beginning. Love is responsibility, obligation, and dedication; I needed chemistry, excitement, and intimacy, and the sex that comes with it!
Big Pace and I had not been passionate for years. And I just did not have it in me to grow old with the okay when there was still life to be lived outside the doors of our home. My baby, Pace junior, started freshman orientation at Salisbury University one Sunday. By that Tuesday evening, when Big Pace returned from his conference in Florida, I was out of our main house and fully settled into the beach house. At fifty-five, I was starting all over again.
The beach house was my perfect home away from home. It sat on a small inlet on the Eastern Shore. For the last few years I’d been yearning for a beach house, and when Big Pace found out he started a mad search for million-dollar golf-course homes with five bedrooms or more. When I tried to tell him that I wanted more of a weekend cottage with friendly neighbors, three bedrooms max, and a whole lot of old-world charm, he was vexed.
“Why not invest in a property that we could rent out in an area with amenities that will make the house great for resale?” he asked.
“Big Pace, this isn’t an investment. This is our family’s weekend home for our kids and future grandkids to come to year after year for a change of scenery.” As usual, this fell on deaf ears because Big Pace did exactly what he thought best. That was our story. As our years together progressed my voice seemed to grow more and more silent. Big Pace knew what was best for all of us and we had to live with it.
Living in a planned community of seaside McMansions did not seem relaxing at all; just more house to clean, maintain, and worry over. For weeks he sent me specs of new homes or photos of existing ones. I sent them all back with the same notes: too modern, too big, too close to the boardwalk, et cetera. One night while on the computer I found what I’d been looking for: a 1,200-square-foot cottage built in 1923 and restored in 1955 with three bedrooms and one bath with a wraparound porch and views of the Chesapeake Bay. It sat on one acre in a small town called Kinship. I then found a Web site on Kinship and saw that it was one of a few small towns founded by free slaves after emancipation. It had been a successful, self-contained, tobacco- farming town well into the 1950s, until a huge canning factory was built and the farming families swarmed toward its better-paying, more reliable, and less physically demanding factory jobs. When the factory eventually closed, the town suffered greatly. Many families moved away, and those that remained were working hard to bring new investment into the town by hosting historical tours, working with the local university on preservation projects, and creating promotional Web sites for new residents and tourists, like the one I was on. The town was in rebuilding mode, and I wanted to be in on it!
I will never forget the day two years ago when we first drove out to see the cottage. Big Pace was disgusted by the small stores and local- bar atmosphere of Kinship. There were no chains or big-box stores for miles. The post office was a little kiosk in the town’s main grocery store. Most of the homes were run-down because the seniors left in the town were unable to keep them up. And even the better-maintained homes had a trashy feel, with above-ground pools, toy-strewn yards, and muscle cars parked out front. I saw these things but remained hopeful that my oasis still lay ahead. The real estate agent told us that the cottage was on a private road away from the main areas of Kinship. It had been owned by an older couple who’d moved out about fifteen years ago to go into an assisted-living community, and their kids were just getting around to selling it. Currently, the agent, Inez, had five similar houses on the market, but this one was the nicest. It was priced right and structurally sound and could easily be cleaned and ready for move-in or totally overhauled into a modern dream. We pulled onto a long, winding, dusty road where the trees shaded us like a magical secret pathway from a children’s tale—I was already enchanted. I could see myself taking long walks along the private road and our future grandchildren spending hours exploring in the woods. The road went on for about a half a mile before I finally saw it—a white cottage with black shutters, a wide welcoming porch, and a chimney right in the middle of the house. An old porch swing swayed in the breeze and the sun danced on the front windows. And the front of the house was the best part—the bay. It was just our house and miles of blue ripples. I turned to Big Pace to ask if he saw what I saw, and all I got was the back of his head heading into the house.
Excerpted from Tease by LaDawn Black. Copyright © 2009 by LaDawn Black. Excerpted by permission of One World/Ballantine, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.