The Inevitable Truths: Lady Liberty by Tranaé P.F.B.

I think it was a short time after the night of great conversation, laughs, and finding out we both had a love for The Wood, but somewhere right before the casual cuddling on the metro, accompanied by the quick goodnight kiss on the cheek before the doors closed at Chinatown-Gallery Place. No. It had to be after the bar, where he ordered me a Corona with grenadine, yet sometime after the dinner at the barbecue spot in Georgetown. Or maybe it was right before we left the Fro-yo place, and he held my to-go bag of barbecue chicken quesadillas while we walked down the street. Okay. Right. It was definitely right before then. Definitely. The check. The check we both reached for.

Yep. I’m THAT girl.

Don’t blame me though. Since I can remember, I was the observant little girl raised by a myriad of aunties and the beautiful black women at our hair salon. A common scenario of me patiently waiting to get into Yvette’s chair after my mom, listening to grown folk conversation about everything from men to mammograms has been imprinted into my being. Even back then, in the midst of dreaming about how dope my pressed ponytails were going to look in school the next day, I was being schooled, almost subconsciously, on womanhood and what that even meant.

Over the years in that salon, I got a crash course on men and relationships from some of the most strong and independent women you could meet. Yet, they all came in different forms. They were married, single, divorced, looking, creeping, reaching, happy, in love, in lust, pissed off, abused, abusive, attracted, appreciative, ride or die, and every other thing you could possibly be in a relationship. They were also doctors, salespersons, teachers, lawyers, writers, and artists. Older, younger, mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers. I’ve heard their experiences firsthand, listening to their stories as if they were from the mouths of griots.

What I took away from them was that I needed to be a strong and independent woman too. That I should never depend on a man, let alone, anyone for anything. I didn’t want to be categorized as weak and I definitely didn’t want a man to confuse me for someone who couldn’t make it happen on her own. I wanted to let him know that I had it together, and that while he’s cool and everything, I got this.

So I reached for the check on our first date.

Some guys wouldn’t understand why this is even being discussed. What man doesn’t want a girl who doesn’t mind footing the bill sometimes? And he’d be right. It’s cool to be able to do things for each other. Anybody who has some sense knows that any relationship is a two-way street and compromise is just as important as communication. This wasn’t about me reaching. It wasn’t about reaching at all. Even in the midst of having a great time getting to know this guy, I was still subconsciously vying for control.  

He finally asked why I was so adamant about paying. I told him I was just trying to relieve him of any obligation to carry my weight. I thought it would translate to him as I’m not someone who needs to be taken care of, not realizing to him, it might have translated as “I don’t need you or any man. Matter of fact, I’m probably a lesbian.”

However, he told me he doesn’t want his dates to pay.  He took me out, and I should just enjoy it, and let him do that.

He was THAT guy.

I said I understood. And I did. Throughout the times we kicked it, he showed himself to be a stand-up kind of guy, and my commitment to put up an iron-clad front began to soften (at least a little bit) after a while. I began to realize that I had only focused on what the women in my live had taught me about standing on my own and protecting myself and my heart. So much so that I thought I had to be a statue on an island, clutching my tablet of independence for dear life. And while strength and independence are extremely important to who I am today and are great qualities for anyone, it can’t be everything. I also realized that over the years, I never quite interpreted for myself how to need someone, let alone build a real relationship with someone who is willing to be there for me. And one of the lessons I learned through this was, every once in a while, you have to let go and let a man be a man.

That’s the oldest and most simple concept in Dating 101, yet it took me nearly 23 years and a check for dinner to really feel and understand it.

What can I say? I’m learning.

About the Writer
Tranaé is a freelance writer residing in Washington, D.C. and connoisseur of all things fresh! She also happens to be my little sister, which in itself makes her fresh! Check out her dope moves via Twitter @naesonFBaby

Leave a respond