Thanks but no

“Who?!” The word shot out of my mouth in a high soprano and at bullet speed. 

 “Roy. The guy on the 4th floor.” My coworker’s eyes danced and her voice rung tenderly. “Don’t you think he’s cute? You should date him.”

I stood there in stunned silence for a second or two. Once I found my voice,  I said something to the effect of “Thanks but no.”

While I am single and waiting/looking, Roy didn’t show up on my radar for two reasons. 

Reason #1: We work together. Now, I have seen people succeed at turning a fellow employee into a mate. My aunt and uncle actually met at their job and still work together. So did my parents, come to think of it. But for every fairytale work romance, there are five horror stories.

There’s also the unique situation of healing heartache. I know my heart better than anyone else except God. And both He and I know that seeing my heartbreaker five days a week would make any emotional bruises heal at a snail’s pace. 

Reason #2: He’s not my type. I don’t expect to find the perfect man but I’d like him to have some of the qualities I’m looking for. I know that he’ll come with flaws but hopefully, they’ll be flaws I can live with.  Roy comes with one that’s a dealbreaker : Arrogance. When I speak with him for a project or task, I get the feeling that he’s dumbing down his speech. His head is always held high as if he’s wearing an invisible crown. It can be intimidating but I just see it as annoying.

 My matchmaking coworker told me she tried to introduce the Roy possibility to another young single coworker who shut her down…for all my reasons and then some. The matchmaker rattled off a list of reasons of why we should take Roy off the market:

“He’s cute.”

“He has a gorgeous smile.”

“He’s cut because he plays soccer. “

I smiled and refused again while walking back to my desk. A short time afterwards, Roy passes by my desk on his way somewhere else. He’s wearing a scent that is heavy and sweet and lingers in my space long after he turns the corner. A minute later, my phone rings with an update from the matchmaker:

“And he smells good.”

I burst into laughter. While that’s a wonderful thing, it’s still thanks but no. 

Just Like Music

I was in elementary school when it started. My father arrived home from work with the gift I had been nagging him about for the past week. I tore open the sky blue J & R bag that held the CD and let out a high pitched squeal. She wore combat boots and chin-length box braids. The debut album of Brandy. That day triggered my captivation with R & B. 

I loved Brandy’s mellow dryness over bass beats. I bobbed my head to Aaliyah’s smooth crystalline vocals. I tried to imitate Monica’s rich runs. Mary J. Blige’s unadulterated husky alto ministered to my ears and soul. The three-part harmony of SWV was as sweet as candy. 

 I relived this great part of my childhood last weekend. My sister and I were talking, updating each other on our lives with YouTube music videos supplying the background music. But it was inevitable; the music won over the conversation. We abandoned our chat to search musical archives, digging up 90’s Whitney, Janet, Shai, and extreme one-hit wonder Imajin

Perhaps I’m biased as a 90’s tween/teen but music from that era is timeless. If R & B was born in the 60’s and 70’s, then it came of age in the 80’s and 90’s. Then, the genre was still young and open to experimentation, borrowing from faded classic hits to mix with hip-hop. The result was auditory ambrosia.  It’s great stuff. 

When the current reigning titans of R & B relinquish their crowns, I can’t imagine them having the same or greater effect on their listeners. I’m sure members of the younger generation would beg to differ.

New you

Yesterday afternoon, I saw a real life Afro. A thick luscious Angela Davis-full, Soul Glo-dewy afro. What made the style unusual is that it was worn by a teenager. He reminded me of a lollipop due to the contrast of the massive hair with his popsicle thin body. One of my friends asked him about his hair and why he chose to grow it so long. He responded nonchalantly and guardedly, with no real interest or joy. When he walked away, my friend decided that he wasn’t really interested in growing his hair but…

“he’s interested in creating a personality.”

There could be some truth to that. Sometimes, when we want to generate new selves, we deviate outwardly. Wearing one earring, risque clothing, ultra long acrylic nails, floor length weaves.

Maybe it’s because the change is immediately visible. When I was 13, I began to wear glitter on my eyelids. It was some cheap goo I got from a beauty supply store. The shiny flecks made me itch but I thought I looked gorgeous. Dramatically different.  

Of course, it was just temporary. Gradually, I got tired of the glitter and moved on to the next thing that would “transform” me. 

So glad I know now that internal renovation is not as quick but just as important and more lasting.