I remember a piece of dating advice my mom gave me the first time I came home with a grade school crush: You’ve always got to have a man who likes you more than you like him. “That’s the only way to a happy relationship,” my single mom said. There was one big problem with finding that man who liked me more than I liked him–I didn’t like those kind of guys at all!
“Do you like seafood?” Princeton smiled at me, fumbling with one of the blonde braids I had weaved into my hair for a carefree summer–at least as far as my natural hair was concerned.
I pulled my braid from his fingers. “I love seafood. Crab is my favorite thing ever,” I smiled, excited that a guy was actually taking initiative to plan a date.
I met Princeton on Tinder, one night of furiously swiping more lefts than rights. With few matches, I felt like I needed to change how my pointer finger was responding to the men plastered on my phone screen. I started swiping right and before I knew it, I wasn’t even paying attention to who popped up; I just swiped. Then, “You’re a Match!” flashed on the screen and I went to see who I matched with and there he was:
Nerdy or Nervous Smile
He had all the makings of a Black nerd–or a “blerd” and while my vagina didn’t scream out at him on my phone’s screen, I was still intrigued. Anyone who knows my dating history knows that I love a man who has a little bit of corniness to him, but still has some type of appeal. Think Nick Cannon, Donald Glover or Drake, expect not famous or anywhere near it. Those are the men I typically lean towards, when I’m not chasing thugs.
Princeton studied my smile and said, “Ok, then it’s settled! I’ll pick you up at 7:30 on Thursday and we’ll go for seafood. I want to surprise you.” His smile made his glasses lift off his nose. He pushed them back down with his pointer finger.
My phone lit up at exactly 7:30 on Thursday. I picked up, “Hi Princeton. I’m coming down.”
“No. I’ve parked the car and I am coming upstairs to receive you,” I could tell he was smiling. “Which one is your buzzer?”
“You don’t have to do all of that Princeton. We can just go…”
Princeton cut me off, “My lady, chivalry may have died in a lot of these Neanderthals, but it hasn’t died in me. So, can you tell me your buzzer?”
At this point, I am fully dressed, with my hand on the doorknob waiting to turn it to walk outside. I rolled my eyes and sighed, “3L.”
My buzzer rang and Princeton walked up the stairs to “receive” me. I was so annoyed. But this was a new experience for me. I forced myself to go through with it.
We pulled up to Boil, a seafood restaurant in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Princeton opened all of the doors that walked in or out of, he even pulled out the barstool I was perched on throughout the dinner. He did everything short of cracking my crab legs and wiping my butter drenched mouth.
Every time I looked at that complete gentleman, I cringed. The chemistry just wasn’t there and he wanted it to be so badly.
“You get me,” Princeton laughed, placing his hand on my thigh, squeezing it.
I almost fell out of the chair trying to slide from his grip. And that act of avoidance is all I ever gave Princeton. The day we had coffee to plan out our first date, he sneaked a peck on my cheek only because I turned my head in time. The night of our seafood date, he tried again and my turning face wasn’t enough to deter him, so I coughed, almost in his face. I’m embarrassed just mentioning it now.
But Princeton didn’t give up. On our second date–yes I tried again, he leaned in for the kiss. I put my hand across my mouth, “Stop,” I asked more than I demanded.
“What’s the problem? I’m feelin’ you. You’re feelin’ me…” Princeton was looking for a response to his question masquerading as a statement.
I was not feeling Princeton. What I did feel was a need to be nice to a nice guy. For far too many of my dating years, I’ve dissed and dismissed the nice guy, often sending away men who would make great partners. I wanted to try something new and when Princeton came along, I thought I found my nice guy.
The biggest issue other than no chemistry was that I wasn’t attracted to him. To quote Rae Sremmurd, “I ain’t got no type.” But I do like to be attracted to the person I am with and because I have no type, that attraction is a large pool that I’m unafraid to take a swim in.
But Princeton rubbed me in a wrong way. No matter how many of the coveted “parts” he possessed, I just didn’t want it:
Takes regular vacations
Loves his momma
Has a car
Has his own place
Loves to go out, but stays home equally as much
Princeton’s “good on paper” list went on and on. But I could care less.
After that seafood date, Princeton would call, text me all the good morning, good afternoon and have a wonderful night sleep texts, but I wouldn’t respond. And then one night while at party, I spotted him. “Princeton?” I breathed through the one-word question, more confused than I was intrigued.
He didn’t do the immature thing I was doing–trying my best to ignore him and pretend we weren’t in the same room–Princeton walked right up to me.
“Danielle. You’re looking lovely,” he leaned in for a wet kiss on the cheek.
I shuddered, even with his hands on my shoulders. “Hey Princeton.” I smiled.
“What’s up with you not responding to my calls and texts?” Princeton said, cutting to the chase.
Since he started the conversation without small talk, I figured I’d follow his lead. “Princeton, you’re such a sweet guy and I’m sure you’re the perfect gentleman to be in a relationship with, but…”
Princeton’s smile faded, “But you don’t want to be with me. But you don’t think I’m cute. But you want to be my friend?” He tried to finish my sentence.
“One of those is right,” I looked down. “I have been trying to force myself to be into you and I know that’s not right, but I felt bad rejecting you, mostly because I know you’re the type of man I need or should be going for at least.”
“That’s some bullshit!” Princeton said before turning his back on me and walking off.
After about two months of radio silence from Princeton, my phone lit up with his name and number again one afternoon: “What’s up stranger? Still breakin’ hearts?” Princeton’s text read.
I still haven’t responded.
Have you ever rejected someone who was so into you?