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by vivrant thang on other woman

nina_simone.jpg

But the other woman will always cry herself to sleep
The other woman will never have his love to keep
And as the years go by the other woman
Will spend her life alone

The second most popular post behind my top fifty songs list remains “Other Woman,” where I share my views on women becoming involved with married men. Re-reading it now, I think I may have come off a tad bit sanctimonious. Maybe not though, or I would have hoped someone would have called me out on it (respectfully – cause that’s how we do it here). But it was how I felt at the time – and how I still feel.

I’m revisiting the topic now because of something that happened to me recently – or rather an ongoing situation came to a head. Please note that some minor details will be vague or even completely changed to protect the innocent [read: my black ass].

Earlier this year, I started some side work at an organization and have to go up to their offices fairly frequently throughout the week. My first week there, one of the evening staffers took it upon himself to make my acquaintance. He gave me his business card and let me know if I was ever leaving the building late and needed an escort, he was at my service. I realized he was flirting but I just smiled and nodded. He was somewhere in his mid to late fifties and although I joke talk about pulling a sugar daddy, I certainly was not going to look for him in a place I handled business. I don’t shit where I eat. And he certainly was not going to be married.

Over the course of time, on my way out the building in the evenings, I would stop and chat with him and the other night staff. (In case you’re wondering, couldn’t be avoided because I had to pass him to get out.) But it was cool. I’m a social butterfly like that. I just laughed off his comments about me being “the finest woman in the building.” He broke it down for me how I was like “that there Jill Scott and Patti Labelle” – and somebody else I forget – wrapped up into one. Old men got compliments now!

One day he mentioned that he loved to cook – the other man sitting there co-signed that he had skills. I’m always impressed when a man throws down in the kitchen and I told him that. He said he did most of the cooking in the household. Since he knew I was a “Carolina girl,” and loved some down home cooking, he promised to bring some food in for me to sample. I tried to dissuade him, admittedly not very hard. He was bringing a dish that I hadn’t had in years. He brought it in a couple days later and that was the beginning.

Over the next few months, he didn’t let more than a couple of weeks go by without bringing me something he cooked. Often, it was more than enough to eat on for two days and always very artfully arranged. I would always protest – albeit weakly – telling him that he didn’t have to keep doing this. But he said “I gotta take care of you!” I admit, that was music to my ears. There were some nights that I was leaving those offices dead on my feet – mentally and physically. To leave there with that little “care package” and not have to go home and rustle up something to eat was almost as good as coming home to a foot massage and a listening ear.

That’s how it starts isn’t it?

Time passed. I kept laughing off comments about how “if only I wasn’t married….” Whatever. Just bring me my food. I didn’t take it seriously at all. Just jokes. My thoughts were on my stomach, as I allude to here.

Things came to a head recently when the head of a department invited me to an event. Of course ole dude encouraged me to come out as he would be manning the grill and told me I could bring some stuff and he would cook it up for me.

I came out with a friend of mine and sat back while he cooked up the food for me. It was a real nice time until he sat down and started talking. He got onto the topic of relationships – and of course sex. He went on and on about how that was at the top of his list of things important to him and how a man got to take care of business with his tongue.

He was oblivious to me and my girlfriend exchanging not so subtle glances and mocking commentary. I did not respond to what he was saying – not in the way he would have liked. But I didn’t try strongly enough to end the conversation, although it was making me uncomfortable. The whole thing felt wrong and dirty – because it was.

Before I left, he pulled me to the side to make sure I wasn’t offended [read: harassed]. He said he hadn’t meant any harm. I brushed it off and told him we were cool. I left there feeling unsettled – and knowing that was the end of my “care packages.” I always knew the day was coming when the somewhat lighthearted flirting would take a turn. He just had to get me outside of the office.

In the end, I know this is for the best. One of my primary reasons for never getting involved with a married man is that I believe what goes up must come down. If I eva found out the Mister was taking food out of our house to give to some hussy, that would be his ass. There would be hell to pay. So by the same token, I had no right to do the same thing to another woman.

I shared this story with someone who told me that I was leading him on. Although I know there was never a snowball’s chance in hell that he would get anywhere near this, he probably thought he was making strides. That sex talk was testing the waters. While I was filling my belly and perhaps reveling in the attention a bit, he probably thought he was wearing me down.

Admittedly, “taking care of me” is one of the keys to my heart but only a single man could hold that key.

And I’ll be letting him know that in no uncertain terms.

Lesson learned.

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