You know, the whole “ashes to ashes, dust to side chicks”-thing Beyonce done started?
Well, I’m not feeling it.
And it has nothing to do with some of some faux romanticize notion of feminism and sisterhood. But because it inflames the idea that women are either one of two things romantically: either we are the “side chicks” or we are the “main chicks”
The reality is most women are both – excluding nuns of course. Nuns are always side chicks. Think about it…
Anyway, these hoes ain’t loyal. And as long as a man/partner/or Jesus himself doesn’t value and respect us, neither side of us – be it ring holder or ringless carrier of his shit – will ever be his priority.
I mean really, Beyonce-on-wax and Jay-on-wax have been pretty on and off – on wax – for at least four albums. And I’m willing to bet that before she became his wife, there was moments in their courtship when Beyonce was the chick on the side.
How do I know?
Because I have been there.
Picture it: Philadelphia, just a little past night fall and sometime during the earlier part of this century…
I was out walking my dog Smokey along Chew Avenue when a black later model Mercedes Benz with tinted windows and a sonic bass sound system pulled up beside me.
The passenger side window rolled down and someone yelled, “Hey.”
Initially I ignored him and kept walking. Even though it was in the early 2000s – the time before folks got all conscious about street harassment – I still had a proper hatred for random guys who wouldn’t even give the courtesy of turning the damn ignition off when trying to “court” me.
But the guy was persistent. “Hey…Charing right,” he asked.
I stopped walking and squinted to get a better look. I knew this random – well, sort of.
He was a friend of a friend, who I haven’t seen or talked to in years. Matter of fact, the last time I actually seen or spoken to him was the last time he pulled up on me three years ago in West Oak Lane. And during that time, he was driving a shiny new Blue Jaguar. I wasn’t attracted to him nor his car. But he gave me good game. So we exchanged numbers and vowed to hang out. But that never happened. So I just kinda forgot about him.
And I thought he had forgotten about me too.
“You sure do look really pretty. I see you lost some weight too. Looks good on you,” he shouted through the open passenger side window.
I blushed. I did lose some weight. I lied and told him I was doing the Aikens diet but really I was just starving myself. Still, I was very proud of the results and I appreciated him for noticing.
We chatted some more about our lives before he abruptly asked me to go to the movies and dinner.
“Tonight,” I asked.
At the time, I thought the offer a little forward. But I was young, which means I was shallow in my thinking too. Plus he had a nice car, was offering free food and a movie and I wasn’t doing anything particularly interesting at the moment. So why the fuck not?
“Cool. I’ll come get you. Are you at the same house,” he said.
I squinted, not quite sure the last time he was supposedly at my house. But I nodded anyway. If he is could find it, than it was meant to be.
“Alright I’ll swing by and get you in a half an hour,” he said.
“Okay cool,” I said before I continuing my walk with the dog.
Two hours later is when he actually show up. I got in his Benz. He complimented me on my stilettos and then drove off in the opposite direction of the movie theater.
“Where are we going,” I asked.
He smiled, staring straight ahead at the road. “Remember I was telling you that I was getting into real estate? Well I got some property around here. You know those duplexes off of Vernon Road? Well I own a couple of those,” he said rather proud of himself.
I raised my left eyebrow. “Um okay? But why are we going there again?”
He chuckled. “Oh, I just need to check the movie times in the newspaper. And the newspaper is at my property”
At the time, this made partial sense. We were the people who came before the rampant accessibility of smartphones and unlimited wireless plans.
“Oh well, why can’t you call MovieFone,” I suspiciously asked
Random dude briefly took his eyes off of the road. “Well, I used all of my daytime minutes. And my nights and weekends don’t kick in until after 9 p.m,” he said.
I thought about it. My own bird had no daytime minutes and those overtime minutes rates at the time were, indeed, a bitch. “I guess so,” is what I told myself as we pulled up in front of his apartment building.
He cut off the car’s engine and looked over at me like, are you coming? And I looked at him like, no!
He sighed and said, “Come on. I just need to check the times. We’re not going to be long anyway. And I promise I’m not trying to set you up. I just don’t think it’s proper for a female to be sitting out in the car like this. It ain’t all that sweet around these parts.”
I gave him the “Nigga whatever”- look, but exited the vehicle anyway. In spite of my reservations, he was right about the neighborhood. To get into the duplex, we had to go up a flight of steps on the side of the building and through a door on the second floor. It was a very dimly lit room, but I could tell that it was junky as hell. Like, I actually had to step over boxes and bags of clothes and other trinkets, just to make it through the front door. A couple of times I tripped and nearly fell on my face.
“Yeah, sorry about that. My last tenant left this apartment a mess. Here, let me hold your hand,” he said.
I mean it was rather gentlemanly of Random Dude to hold my hand as he guided me across the wasteland he called a second floor, but it would have been more gallant of him if he had actually cleaned that shit up before I arrived.
We walked down a hallway and down another flight of steps to another door. Looking back, the whole thing should have been a red flag – for a lot of things. I mean, why couldn’t we have just used the front door? But since most duplexes in the city were just converted single family, multi-level houses, the complicated and often nonsensical floor layouts didn’t raise any alarms. Plus, he assured me that we had to go this way because of his tenant who occupied the less complicated route through the first floor apartment.
Thankfully, his basement floor apartment was much nicer than the trap house we had just exited from. The center piece was a soft black leather sofa couch, which accented the black and white marble-esque floors and plush white area rug. Very minimalist. Very clean. And very ‘hood classy. In fact, the decor was so sophisticated that I had a hard time believing a straight man came up with the interior design all by himself.
He offered me a seat on his nice leather couch before turning on the television and taking a seat next to me.
I stared at him in confusion. “Um, what are you doing? We’re going to the movies, right?”
He stared at me blankly before peeling himself off of the couch. “Um…okay. Yeah. Let me just look around for the paper. I know I have one around here, somewhere,” he said.
As he pretend-searched for a newspaper, the house phone rang. He excused himself, darted into another room and answered it. I couldn’t see him but I could hear him whispering to someone very aggressively. Then I heard him slam the phone down into its cradle. A few moments later, he returned back to the living room with the cordless phone in his hand and took a seat right next to me on the couch. Then he picked up the television remote and started flicking through the channels. Something about his disposition wasn’t right. In fact, he seemed quite troubled.
But I didn’t care. “Hey, did you check the times,” I said.
He rolled his eyes and shifted around awkwardly in the couch’s cushion as if he was struggling to find something somewhat plausible to say. Eventually he blurted out, “well I didn’t know what you wanted to see?”
I shook my head at his corniness. If it hadn’t been clear to me before, it was certainly crystal clear now. He brought me to his home just to fuck. He wasn’t going to tell me this – nor even asked me – as that would be too much like the upfront decent thing to do. Instead, he was going to plot, scheme and make up some bullshit about not remembering how to read or something like that, before passively suggesting we watch cable in his bedroom. It was a game of pussy by exhaustion and even though I was young, I was not ready. Keith Sweat.
“Yo, you playin’ right now. I’m not into this. I’m out,” I said grabbing my purse and heading for the second floor door.
“Wait, don’t leave,” said Random Dude as he leaped up from the couch, “I’ll call MovieFone right now and then we can go, okay?”
It was not okay, but I indulged anyway. Plus the new Batman was out. And I really wanted to see, and not pay for, it myself.
Not long after he disappeared into the back room, the house phone rang. Random Dude ran back in the living room, picked up the phone and gave a tense “hello.” He listened calmly for a few seconds before screaming “go fuck yourself” at the caller and hanging up in protest.
“Well hot-damn,” I said as I tried to muffle my chuckling. “Who are you cursing out like that?”
Random Dude shook his head and rolled his eyes. “That’s just my tenant,” he said.
“Oh word? That’s the type of landlord/tenant relationship you about? What happened to nice little Mr. Roper?” I said sarcastically.
But Random Dude did not laugh; he did not say anything. Instead, he sat back down on the couch and stared aimlessly into space. He had that troubled look on his face again. I still didn’t care, but I was no monster. So I asked him what was really wrong.
He shook his head again and opened his mouth to speak. But just as the words were about to come out, there was a knock at the door.
No, not the second floor door. The other door.
Apparently, it had been right next to the couch I had been sitting on the whole entire time. I looked at Random Dude for explanation as to who was at the door and more importantly, why was there a second door?
But he said nothing. He just stared at the television intensely, almost as if he was trying to escape into it.
There was a second knock. Random Dude stood up and I thought for sure he was going to answer it. He didn’t. Instead he frantically ran into the back room and closed the door behind him, leaving me all alone with the knocking, which was getting more aggressive by the pound.
I was about ready to panic.
For all I had known, we could have really been in a trap house. Think about it: he drove a lot of expensive cars and had a whole bunch of rental property. And within all of that bragging about what he owned, he never got around to once telling what he did for a living. This could logically be a police raid. It could also logically be a set-up by some rival drug gang. I mean, that angry-sounding telephone call could have been some sort of warning that they were coming. And he could have pissed them off even more by telling whomever to “go fuck yourself”
My mind was spinning with all types of scenarios worthy of a Lifetime Movie of the Week. And his absence from the situation was not helping to quell my anxiety.
Random Dude finally emerged from the back room carrying a handful of papers. He stomped to the newly discovered second door, looked through the peep hole and then screamed with all the bass he could muster, “WHO IS IT? ”
The knocking stop but no one spoke. Then after a few quiet moments, the knocking started again.
Oh shit. I was ready to leave but scared to move.
It was like, whoever was on the other end of the door was taunting us. I looked to Random Dude for clarity, but he seemed unfazed by the obsessive knocking. “Well, what do you WANT?”
The knocking stopped again, but this time someone spoke. It was a soft voice; a feminine voice. She mumbled something, but neither one of us could make out exactly what she saying. So Random Dude asked her to repeat herself. This time we both heard her clear as day say, “OPEN THE FUCKING DOOR!”
Random Dude, who was still standing directly behind the door, yelled back a definitive “NO!”
That’s when things got eerily quiet.
I had heard this kind of silence before. It happened often in horror films. Right before the mask-wearing killer kicks through the door and hacks everyone to death. I did not want to get hacked to death. So I grabbed my purse, headed for the second floor door and prepared myself for a ill-routed and dressed dash to freedom.
But the silence continued. And for a split second we thought she had left. I relaxed a bit, convinced the immediate danger had ceased. Needless to say, I did not care about seeing the new Batman movie anymore. I was ready to go home. I told Random Dude that, but he told me to hush.
“What,” I said with my hand on my hip. “Don’t talk to me like that. I SAID that I’m ready to go.”
“Shhh…,” he said again, but this time as he pressed his ears to the door. After a few moments, he slowly backed away, pointed at the door and whispered something to me.
I did not hear him. “What,” I asked loudly.
He waved his hands frantically but it was too late. She heard me. “I KNOW YOU GOT A BITCH IN THERE. I’M GOING TO KILL YOU BOTH,” she screamed. Then she started kicking at the door. She kicked at the door so hard, I was certain it was about to come off of its hinges.
Random Dude must have thought so too. “GET AWAY FROM THE FUCKING DOOR! GO HOME YOU STUPID BITCH…” he said screaming through the door. “I GOT PAPERS. I GOT FUCKING PAPERS…”
I was standing with my mouth open.
Random Dude had to be the dumbest dude on the planet to believe that calling a crazy lady who is actively trying to kill us a “stupid bitch” was the right thing to do at that moment. But never mind him. I needed to get out of there. As the two of them struggled for control of the door, I decided to make a run for it through the second floor entrance. I ran up the stairs, down the hall and towards the first junky room I could find.
The problem was, all the rooms were junky rooms.
I scrambled around in each room, stumbling and actually falling over boxes and trash bags full of clothing. I was looking for the portal door out of this personal Hell. I would finally find it in the final junky room at the end of the hall. Relieved, I reached for the door and twisted the handle. It was locked. I needed a key. Random Dude had the key.
“Oh my God. I’m going to die before I seen the new Batman,” is what I thought to myself.
Reluctantly, I made my way back down the same hallway from wince I came. From the top of the steps I heard Random Dude threaten to call the police.
A few second later, I could hear his dumbass on the phone. “Um, yes. I have a situation here and need immediate assistance…,” he said in a professional tone.
Meanwhile homegirl was still screaming and trying to kicking at the door. “FUCK THE POLICE,” she asserted.
Confused about where to go and what to do, I decided to go back into the living room. At the very least, I could finagle the keys from him while he was busy keeping the banshee woman at bay. But he was, once again, hiding in the other room with the door shut. For a second, I contemplated just letting her in. I figured that while she was stabbing him to death going, I could slip past her unscathed. But then I thought about it some more: that’s wouldn’t work. Women always go after the other woman first in these situations.
Without a clue of what else to do, I sat back down on the couch. I figured that is she was going to kill me, at least I could die comfortably seated. Thankfully the kicking and the screaming stopped. And then I heard a door from the distance open and shut. She was finally gone.
Or was she?
‘Eyyyyyyyyyyyeeee, SEE YOU!”
My heart literally sank into my bowels. She had made it into the house. But how? When? And more importantly, where?
I started scanning the room, trying with no luck to find from which direction the voice was coming. Then I heard it again,”I SEE YOU BITCH!…”
I wanted to run but I did not know where. The voice could be coming from anywhere. And the last thing I wanted to do was run right into it. Thankfully the crazy lady gave me some assistance, “LOOK UP HERE AT THE WINDOW, YOU STUPID BITCH.”
I slowly looked up and damn near jumped out of my skin. It couldn’t have been? I had to blink a few times just to get my brain to process and accept what my eyes were telling it we were seeing. Basically, there was a decapitated woman’s head floating by itself in front of a narrow sliding glass window.
But my brain is smarter than that. And what it actually told my eyes was that what I was looking at wasn’t a floating lady’s head. But rather a jackass, who had managed to wiggle her head in the gap space between the window pane and the air conditioning unit.
Suddenly all the fear in my heart vanished and was replaced by curiosity, particularly over how she was able to get her entire big ass head through such a small opening?
She snarled at me and then said, “You see me?”
I squinted my eyes at her and smirked. Bitch, how could I not? You look ridiculous. I mean, all of this for that dude? I guess that dick must be bomb after all…is what I wanted to say.
But what I really said was, “Yeah, I really don’t having nothing to do with this. Whatever this is, is between y’all. I was just trying to go to the movies to see Batman,” I said before shrugging and retaking my seat back on the couch. “Nice living room, though”
She glared at me for a couple of seconds more and then said, “Thanks. I actually finished decorating the entire house before I found out that he was nothing but a LYING CHEATING PIECE OF SHIT,” she screamed.
I shook my head. “Yeah that’s a tough one. But where did you get the couch from?”
The floating head and I chatted some more about interior design before Random Dude reappeared in the living room, holding a broom.”The police said they are on their way so you better leave,” he said as he swatted and smacked the floating head across her face with the broom bristles.
The floating head hissed a few times but finally retreated. Once she was gone, Random Dude quickly snatched the air conditioner out of the window and shut it completely.
“You should really think about putting some cardboard or tape a trash bag over that hole so that it won’t mess with your electricity bill,” I said. He looked at me stunned. I gave him a curious look right back.
“What? I’m ready to go,” I said as a matter of fact.
He shook his head and sighed. “Alright let me check things out to make sure the coast is clear.”
I rolled my eyes. “Well you go do that.”
Fifteen minutes later, Random Dude returned and assured me that everything was okay.
Um yeah. “What about crazy out front,” I asked.
He shrugged, “Oh I spoke to her and she promised to stay in her apartment on the first floor.”
I picked up the remote and threw it at him. “WHAT DO YOU MEAN, HER APARTMENT ON THE FIRST FLOOR,” I screamed. And then I added, “NIGGA!”
He dodged the remote. “Man, not you too. Listen, I’ll tell you everything once we are out of here. deal?”
I nodded my head. “You got-damn right, it’s a deal.”
We walked swiftly back to his Benz, which was still parked pretty out front. Once safely in his car and on the road, Random Dude spilled the beans. As no surprise, the crazy lady wasn’t actually his tenant, but rather his ex girlfriend who couldn’t get over the fact that they weren’t together anymore. I asked him how long had they been separated.
“We broke up two hours ago,” he said casually.
“NIGGA,” I yelled. “You broke up with the girl right before you picked me up for our date?”
He looked at me nonchalantly and said, “yeah.”
I called him a nut-ass and demanded he take me home immediately.
Once safely in front of my house, Random Dude asked if we could try our date again tomorrow “Come on girl, don’t be like that. I’m done with that girl. And I’ve been feeling you for a long time. I think we could have something special here. You can be my main girl.”
I rolled my eyes and reminded him that before he even thinks about starting a new relationship, he should make sure the old relationship is done and over with. He said he understood. But then added: “So does that means I can call you once I get everything straight with the ex?”
I shook my head at him. “I can’t believe you have the audacity of hope,” I said before hopping out of the car.
Two days later, Random Dude called me. “I just wanted you to know that I spoke with my ex and everything is cool now. You don’t have to worry about her. She is okay with everything,” he said.
I told him I would call him later and hung up. Then I promptly added him to the Do Not Call list.
Anyway, the moral of this long story is that most dudes lie. And it doesn’t matter if they lie to the main chick or the side chick as they will lie to us all.