Warning, this post is long. I had to split it into two parts so you can digest it in all its glory. Let's call this a cautionary tale to the young with the moral: all that glitters isn't gold (or platinum). Without further ado, the beginning of the BougieTale of PsychoMike…
Once upon a time, over ten years ago OneChele was a bright-eyed marriage-minded young lass. I wanted to be married by the age of 27, so help me God. [giggling at this now] In my fervent quest for marriage prior to my self-imposed deadline, I hit an obstacle not-so-fondly nicknamed "PsychoMike". Before he was known as PsychoMike, Michael was the man I was going to marry. No questions asked. He was The One right up until he really, really wasn't.
Mike rolled up on me at a bullshiggity "networking" party I attended with two girlfriends. And by rolled up, I mean he was walking across the room, saw me in his peripheral vision, stopped dead in his tracks, turned towards me, eyed me up and down, smiled with all his teeth and made a beeline to my side. His opening line was a little corny but effective, "I don't want to bother you but I had to come over and introduce myself to the most beautiful woman in the room. My name is Michael. Can I give you my phone number in hopes that you'll use it?" He flashed a 1000-watt smile and looked into my eyes. It was such a vast improvement over all the, "Psst, psst, hey girl" game I had been hearing all night that I smiled right back. Michael was good-looking in an über-Bougie kinda way. He actually favored the picture above quite a bit down to the tortoise-shell glasses. Had the buppie 'I'm all that and ya better recognize' vibe working for him. Conservative dresser but it was all quality, well-cut, well-tailored clothing that fit his frame... and it was a nice frame. We were in instant visual like. My roommate came over and I introduced her, we stood making small talk before he escorted us to our car.
I took Mike's number and gave him mine. He called the next day. (points) He was intelligent, funny, and quick-witted. (more points) He was a high-powered attorney for a Fortune 500 company. (many more points) He was a Midwestern boy, spoke to his mama once a week, had spent some time as a pilot in the Air Force and generally had his program tight (and knew it). (mega-points) We set up a tentative time for him to come by for a visit. Now here's where the train goes off the tracks a little bit. He had also chatted on the phone with my roommate and wanted to take us both to dinner. Now at this juncture, I was confused (and a little tart) but bear in mind that I was SUPER YOUNG at this point and far more naïve. I was only slightly bruised relationship-wise, not jaded at all and took people at face value. I did not call bullshiggity at the drop of a hat. J So I assumed that I had misread some signals and this was going to be a friendship thing all the way around. So after my roommate asked me what was up, I said, "I think Mike and I are becoming friends." A few days later, Mike came by the house. I had worked late, was tired and was picking up a very "date-y" vibe from my roommate so I fell back. Told them to go to dinner and enjoy. The next day she told me she didn't think there were sparks. She left town for a weekend trip.
Mike called me that same day to ask me out. He said he and my roommate were in the friend zone and didn't I recognize that it was all about me? Well damn… that's what I thought but as a good friend, I double-checked with the roomie to make sure she was truly not feeling him and she gave me the green light. Okay. Everybody remember this point in the story. The first point where I should have recognized that all was not right in the state of Mikedom and that even when your good friend says, "Sure go ahead and date him," she really doesn't mean it. Alright. We've laid the foundation, let me hit some high points.
On our first date, Mike took me the Lexus dealership to help him pick out a new car. He let me pick it out, model, color, upgrades. He drove it and then told the salesman he wanted me to drive it too. And I did, with a huge smile on my face. When we got back to the showroom, he turned to me and said, "Do you like it?" I said I did. He turned to the salesman and said, "I'll take it, the lady likes it." When the salesman called over the finance guy, Mike said, "I'm paying cash." In hindsight, I recognize this for the calculated show that it was. In retrospect, I know that Mike who was seven years older and quite a bit wiser (then) had figured out who I was and how to play me in no time flat. But at that moment, watching him hand over a check for $45,000, I was dazzled and awash with the possibilities of what could be.
Three important things to know at this point: 1) Mike and I saw each other every other day, talked on the phone two or three times a day. 2) In three months time, Mike never did more than hold my hand. 3) The roomie was tart.
Right around the middle of our third month, I was planning the wedding in my head. Mike and I fit. Sure there was no sex (not even a kiss goodnight) but when I mentioned it, he said he wanted to be respectful and know me on every other level first. [hindsight side-eye to myself] But even without the physical stuff, we had major chemistry. There was something about our personalities and values and goals that clicked. Mike met my family. BougieDad wasn't convinced (rest his soul, he NEVER thought ANY one was good enough for me), but the rest of the family liked Mike well enough. My girlfriends (with the exception of roomie who remained silent) gave him a thumbs up. He was a personable guy. He was the first man I had dated where I could sit reading a book while he read the paper for three hours without speaking and it was comfortable. In months four and five, he at least started introducing sexual topics. We hugged. He kissed me beside my mouth and then backed away quickly. This confused me. Were we just going to talk about it? [cuz that's irritating] But my worries about that arena faded when he took me to look at houses and said, "How would you feel about living here someday?" What's not to like about a 5000 square foot home on the golf course of a country club community? Month six he handed me his platinum AMEX and asked me to buy him some casual clothes that I'd like to see him in. When asked about budget, he said, "Don't worry about it. And pick up a few things for yourself while you're at it." Yes… I was already Mrs. Mike in my head. He took me to the theatre and gala balls and his work parties. We watched sports, I cooked for him and we played countless hours of cutthroat Scrabble. We were a couple.
One sunny Saturday in the middle of month six he called and told me to toss a toothbrush and change of clothes into an overnight bag, we were road tripping. At last, I thought. We can get these fireworks kicked off and then it's onto wedding central. He wouldn't tell me where we were going but I recognized the way to South Texas. A weekend in Galveston by the Gulf is always romantic (or should be). As we pulled up outside of a brick office building Mike cut the engine and turned to me. "What if I told you that when I was in the military, I had terrible allergies and sinus problems and they gave me huge amounts of steroids?" I was speechless, not understanding what this had to do with my weekend of romance. He continued, "And what if I told you that it caused a condition known as testicular atrophy and that I'm impotent?" I thought he was joking and so I laughed. [Note to readers: when a man says the word impotent… laughing is not the reaction that they are looking for] When I realized he was deadly serious, I apologized almost tearfully (wouldn't you well up a little?) and asked what we were doing at this place. It was a men's health clinic that specialized in this condition. (This was early Viagra days people). I will not entertain you (though I really, really could) with the details of how our meeting went with the doctor. Let me just say that a sheltered, bougie twenty-something female who had only dated athletes and law enforcement guys was way out of her depth. And the classroom demonstration portion of the afternoon is a nightmare forever burned into my memory.
The weekend was… stressful. When things that should be effortless suddenly take a lot of effort, and I mean effort on the part of someone who was again rather sheltered and clueless… Okay let me put it this way: When brochures, diagrams and medications have to be considered prior to getting a swerve on… the swerve is not as much fun as it ought it be. The tenor of our relationship changed but I so desperately wanted to be mature, accepting and understanding that I talked myself into believing this wasn't a big deal. If this was the ONLY area where we weren't perfect, I was okay with it. And then three things happened: 1) I ran into my ex and future S.O. Gene [don't even ask how many times we've broken up and re-united, it's pitiful] 2) my roomie and I moved into a house with a THIRD roommate (our bougiefied version of Living Single) and 3) word got to me that Mike had been out with his ex-girlfriend. This Bermuda Triangle of events had me eyeing up Mike differently. After all, it wasn't as if Mike was Gene… did I really want to put up with the hassle and the headache if he wasn't who I truly wanted to be with? My roomies were both eerily silent on the issue.
Here's a great place to pause to the story. Tomorrow, the worst trip (EVER) to Hawaii and how Mike became PsychoMike. Any comments/thoughts/observations so far?