Stages: A Handbook on Men and Relationships – Chapter 5

Chapter 5
A couple of years have passed since I read over my older journal entries. I always scrolled through the entries, but I was usually looking for a specific thought or incident. Since I decided to create this book, I’ve been looking at those early entries that were written before the art gallery. The section that gave me the biggest kick was this period of time that I had labeled: The Playoffs. This was when I would go to the club and see how many numbers I could leave with. Flip had came out of his shell, but he still didn’t seem to be interested in doing the things I was doing. He did do okay for himself.
During the playoffs, on my best day, I got seven numbers counting the ones before and after going to the club. Of course two of them were incorrect, one of the women had what my man Flip called the DDF. The distance distortion factor, honey was troubled in the face, but she had body so I kept the number just in case.
The other three began a series of interludes which eventually brought me to my current stage. Flip got three numbers, one of his was wrong. The ratio for us always seemed to be three to one. Out of three numbers, one would always be a throw away.
What bugs me, since I’m not an uncompassionate man, was how easy it was to deceive the women who I was seeing at that time. I didn’t have to put much work into it. Why is it that women fail to question a brother in the first few months of a relationship? Is it because they are just meeting you and they don’t want to push you away too fast? Or is it that the women I chose were just simple. One sister was in the military, Laney. The other two both had kids, Ros, short for Rosalyn, and Eva. I could give you a detailed account of this era, but it would take entirely too long. On the other hand I guess it’s important considering this is the only time you’ll get to see me before I discovered smoothnicity, and discussing this will help paint a clearer picture of the stages.

In dealing with the aforementioned women I saw how women also go through changes, but I can’t relate those experiences to you and that’s not what this handbook is for. This handbook, once again, is for clarification. Kind of like in Biology and Psych courses where you study the stages of sleep. Knowing what the different stages of sleep consist of, isn’t really that useful, but it’s a nice thing to know, don’t you agree? No? Well, look at it like this, before you learn to drive you have to read the book, take the test, get your permit and do a road test. If you fail to meet any of these requirements, you can’t drive. For a man to truly understand relationships he has to have an understanding of the steps that we go through. And I’m sure a woman would like to have a manual for a quick reference. Now do you see the relevance?
When I first started dealing with Laney, it was a trip. We went out a few times before anything happened between us. But I can recall when it finally did happen. I drove out to the Navy base to check her out. She was in her little blue uniform, looking cute as hell. Her jeans fit nice around her hips and the matching blue shirt had her last named stenciled over the left pocket: HICKS. Her hair was tucked under her hat revealing her chocolate brown neck. Her height kind of bothered me because I wasn’t really used to messing with a woman that could look me in my eyes without tiptoeing. She met me at the gate with a smile on her face. She spoke with a guy in camouflage for a few seconds before she came to the car with a temporary pass so I could drive onto the base.
“Put this on your dashboard,” she said climbing into the car. I placed the pass on my dashboard before pulling into the base after the guard waved me through.
“What’s up Terrence? Have you ever been on this base before?”
“No, never had a reason, until now. I’ll come here everyday to see you though.”
“You still trying to run game like you did on the telephone last night.”
“Game? I don’t play games, unless you want me to,” I said.
“Anyway. I told you that you could wait for me outside of the gate.”
“I wanted to see where you worked.”
“Never met a sister who worked on helicopters before.”
“Well you just met one that’s been doing it for almost ten years.”
“What rank are you?”
“I’m an aviation electrician’s mate second class.”
“A what? I know what the ranks mean like E-1, E-6 and all that other stuff but what the hell is an aviator mate’s man?”
“Forget it, I am an E-5.”
“Is that good or bad?”
“Oh, pull over here to these barracks. That’s my little Mustang over there.”
“An American car driver, I guess it’s that military thang.”
“I just like the power under me. Besides I’m just not the economy car type, like yourself.”
“This is not an economy car. It’s a Legend, just like the owner.”
“That’s right.”
“In your own mind,” she said jumping out of the car. “Try and keep up if you can,” she said looking into the window.
“No problem.”
I followed her to her apartment which was off of Home Avenue, not the best part of the city. She had a nice place though. She shared a two bedroom town home, that had a balcony and private parking, with another sister who was in the military. She even had a guest spot where I could see my car from her apartment.
“So where is your roommate?”
“She’s on det.”
“What’s that?”
“A two week trip on a ship. They perform all kinds of operations while out at sea, war simulations and stuff.”
“I bet that’s cool.”
“Not really,” she said pulling her shirt off in front of me, revealing a tight sports bra.
“Hold on now, I didn’t think it was gonna be this easy… I’m just playing before you get an attitude.”
“I’m not getting an attitude. Hell, if you can’t handle seeing a woman in workout clothes then I know you have problems. I’m just getting comfortable.”
“You never answered my question concerning your rank.”
“What?” she yelled from the kitchen. “You want something to drink? I got soda, beer and wine coolers.”
“I’ll take a cooler.” She walked back into the room with a napkin and the drink.
“As for if my rank is good or not, it’s neither. I didn’t score high enough on the exam to receive a higher rank. I’ll make it next time.”
“Is it harder to make rank being a woman and all?”
“Not really, so what do you want to do?”
“We can continue talking if you like. Do you have any videos? Whatever you want to do is cool with me. I just wanted to see you.”
“I have a few movies, but I’m not in the mood for videos. I’d rather take a walk. As for you just wanting to see me, use another line.”
“How long have we been talking now, about what, a month?” I asked.
“Bout three weeks. I wouldn’t return your phone calls the first few days.”
“I know.”
We walked outside for a few minutes, thank God I wore sneakers.
“Damn Laney I wasn’t really expecting to take a walk.”
“Spontaneity is always a good thing to have in your life, don’t you agree?”
“I guess, but I like things to be kind of set unless it’s-” I stopped speaking as she interrupted me. We walked into the house as she finished stating what she cut me off to say.
“Like a new relationship? A new relationship should be spontaneous. I’m sorry, go ahead, continue.” She walked upstairs to the bathroom to turn the shower on.
“So new relationships are supposed to be spontaneous and that’s it?”
“It should stay exciting, but the sad truth is familiarity breeds complacency.”
“What?” I asked her.
“The longer you know someone the easier it is to start forgetting to be romantic.”
“Maybe. Why are we talking about this,” I said trying to get away from the relationship talk.
“You’re avoiding, I can feel it. I guess we’re not a couple so we don’t have to discuss such things,” she said.
“Maybe we will be one day, right?”
“If you say so,” she responded walking towards the stairs.
“Laney, what do you expect of me?”
“Excuse me?”
“Nevermind. If you’re about to shower I can go home. I wouldn’t want to invade your privacy.”
“How do you know I don’t want you to invade?”
“Look, I’m just chilling. I wouldn’t want to start anything that we aren’t sure about.”
“Maybe you’re right,” she said from around the corner. I stood up and walked towards the stairs to see if she was standing there. The contrast of her white towel wrapped around her dark skin stimulated me. She looked down at me and said, “If you want to turn on the TV or the radio just grab the remotes sitting on the arm of the couch.”
“I’ll do that.”
Temptation. There wasn’t much work involved at all with Laney. I think it was her, not me, who made the decision to become involved. I knew I was going to get it, but I just didn’t think it would really be that easy. I walked back to the couch and turned on the TV. I looked at Sportscenter for a few moments and finally I allowed my manhood to take over.
I could still hear the shower running when I began walking up the stairs. As I reached the last stair I could see steam coming out of the door to my right. It was open, but the lights were off. I slipped my shoes off in front of the door, dropped my pants and the rest of my clothes on top of the shoes and walked into the bathroom. I could make out her figure through the glass.
“I knew you wouldn’t keep me waiting for long.”
“You did? I figured you would call me to wash your back or something.”
“Thought about it, but I allowed free will to take precedence over whatever is about to happen.”
“Which is?” She stepped out of the shower with her arm reaching out to caress my johnson. I stood right by the door and held her towel. As her hand rubbed over my shaft, she held my shoulder and turned me away from the toilet. She sat down on the seat and placed me in her mouth. The warmth caused my knees to buckle momentarily. She looked up and licked from the base to the tip slowly. Her breasts were still wet as I touched her nipples. She stood and walked me towards her bedroom.
“Damn Laney that felt nice.”
“I’m glad you liked that. Tell me what you want.”
At this moment the only thing on my mind should have been stabbing, but for some reason I was thinking, “Wait til I tell Flip.” Straight up Stage One stuff. My mind wasn’t even on the fact that this fine ass sister was about to freak the hell out of me. I was thinking about what I was going to tell my boy. That’s a trip huh?
When we made it to her room she grabbed a condom from her nightstand and gave it to me. I stood butt-ass-naked in front of her, attempting to roll the damn thing down for about thirty seconds. It wasn’t smooth at all. I finally got it rolled down and the damn rubber caught my hairs. I dropped on the bed like a punk. Laney laughed and lay back on the bed pulling the covers up. Her legs were bent pushing the sheets up. I lifted the sheets and placed my head between her legs. I kissed the inside of her thighs and made my way up to her breasts. She wrapped her legs around me. I thought, “Damn long legs aren’t so bad.” That shit felt good.
When we finished I lay on my back. She was definitely a good catch, tall, dark with a beautiful style about her. She rested her head on my chest.
“Terrence what’s on your mind?”
I knew better than to say nothing, especially after sex.
“What about me?”
I remember thinking to myself something like, “What about you? Your mouth, close it and go to sleep.” But I didn’t say it.
“I’m thinking about how good you looked in that towel earlier.”
“That’s all you’re thinking?”
At that point I thought, “I’m thinking I should’ve gone to the bathroom to wash myself up so I wouldn’t have to listen to your ass.” Instead I said, “I’m thinking of us.”
“Me too,” she said rubbing her hand on my stomach. “I’m thinking that maybe this wasn’t right.”
“Why would you say that?”
“I don’t wanna lose your respect.”
Too late. What the hell was she thinking? Giving up the draws and giving head in the same day, I’m sure she knew that shit was instant freak status, especially since I had no intention to kick it with her too tough.
“Do you still-”
“Have respect for you? Of course I do. Why wouldn’t I? You’re still the same woman you were when I met you at the club that night.” Except that, nevermind I don’t wanna go there.
“You can sleep here if you like,” she said.
“I think I will.”
Laney, as easy as it seems to have turned out, became more complicated. But I won’t get ahead of myself. Instead, I’ll address some of the set rules to Stage One as they pertain to this night that I had with Laney:
1) Never shoot yourself in the foot with a dumb comment after sex. Ensure that her mind is at ease.
2) Always stay the night, the first time, I don’t think I have to explain why.
3) Finally, make sure you get it one more time, that first night, so she goes to work with a smile on her face.
Laney was a nice sister. Don’t ask, “Then why did you dog her?” Please don’t ask that. I did not dog her. If you can recall, I never dog anybody. She assumed that it was going to be me and her. I never asked or said that I wanted to be with her only. After that night Laney and I shared a good two weeks of friendship. We continued to sleep together as I began talking to Ros on the phone. A lot of brothers go wrong in trying to play games on women because they continue to do the same things after they get a few phone numbers. They continue to hit the clubs and all the “singles” spots. When you’re out there like that you can’t help but get caught up in a lot of shit. Besides, San Diego is way too small for that kind of stuff. You can talk to somebody you’ve never met and almost everytime you’ll have someone in common. Kind of like the, “six degrees of game.” Instead of continuing to have my face out there in the scene, I chill on going out and concentrate on the ladies that I have on deck.
Ros had a little boy, the problem with women and children for a Stage One, or Two man lies in how you deal with her and her family, initially. If I’d started to see the boy and her at the same time then there would have been conflict. I always asked her how he was when I talked with her, but I never did anything corny like asking her to put him on the phone. I didn’t talk to her about anything that would make it seem that I was interested in anything except friendship. If her son came up, I kind of glossed around it by switching the subject with a joke or talking about music. We also talked about the things that she enjoyed doing, versus what I enjoyed. What was cool about the timing in dealing with Ros, was that Laney had to go out to sea for a two month deployment. I drove her to the docks the morning that she was leaving.
“Are you gonna miss me?” she asked.
“A little.”
“That’s all, just a little?”
“Yeah, I’ll try to keep busy so I won’t think about you so much.”
“So you will miss me? That’s what I thought.” We had been kicking it for about two and a half months at this time. The irony in this was that me and Flip had actually been out of the club scene for a while now, but I had only dealt with Laney. Almost like a real relationship. He was taking care of his business, and I was dealing with Laney exclusively, big mistake. She eventually got to the big question before she boarded the ship.
“Tee don’t be out there messing around while I’m gone.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know what I’m saying.”
“Not really. I don’t mean to upset you before you go on the boat, but do you recall when we first started this that I didn’t want to be in any commitments?”
“Yeah, but I thought that since you and I-” her expression caused me to feel bad for a second.
“Laney, I do care for you greatly, but while you’re gone I’m going to think about us, a lot.”
“I’ll think about you too, but I really thought that we were trying to build something.”
“I know. I felt it and I wanted it, but I just got out of a long relationship that didn’t turn out the way I wished it would have. You know that. I just need a little time. Maybe we should chill out when you come back, you know? Just be friends for a while, again.”
“Terrence, you could’ve told me this before now. I mean that’s some real fucked up shit to do,” she said holding back her tears. The wind picked up and all of the other sailors were almost through getting on the ship. Her eyes seemed darker than the brown that they were. I had to make this right if we were still going to be cool when she got back.
“Look Laney, forgive me for saying this now, but I knew if I didn’t say it then I would’ve been just another dog who was leading a woman by her leash. I didn’t want to do that to you.” I held her chin and looked her in her eyes. “I think too highly of you to do that.” I kissed her on the lips softly. She made a small smile and then it disappeared.
“I just thought…Well, you’re right that it would’ve been messed up for you to have strung me along for six months or so and then decide to pull this. I respect you for being honest with me.”
“And I respect you for listening rationally. I’ll pick you up when you get back and we can talk about this more. Agree?” I held out my arms.
“Agree.” She pulled me close and held me tight. I would miss her for the next eight weeks, but I’d get over it. She walked up the steps and disappeared inside of the massive gray ship.
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