This past weekend was my first date with New Dude. I really wasn't sure what to expect because when planning the date he said, "Let's do something jiggy." Go ahead and re-read that. I'll wait.
1998 called and they want their slang back.
We left it at "let's grab a meal and take it from there". Cool, I'm flexible. When he called back to say we'd met up at one o'clock I thought okay – brunch? As we all know in the dating guidebook a brunch implies something different from a dinner. Shifting my mind towards the friend zone, I put on a cute sundress (dialed back on the cleavage) with wedge sandals (no stiletto). We exchanged first date hellos (light hug while checking the other person out to make they look as good as you thought they did) and climbed into his car. We made comfortable small talk as he drove further into the far (far) north suburbs of Dallas. He turned off the highway towards an über-bougie neighborhood and I wondered what restaurant was tucked away amongst the million dollar homes. We pulled into a driveway and he said, "It's a cook out, do you mind?" Besides the fact that I would have put on cute shorts, flat sandals and a bunch more sunscreen, no – I didn't mind.
Right up until the front door opened and a beautiful older woman grabbed up New Dude in a hug and said, "Baby, I'm so glad you could make it." After their embrace, he turned to me with sheepish grin and said, "This is my mom." My bouge took over and I plastered a pretty social smile on my face, "It's a pleasure to meet you Mama New Dude." She gave me a sympathetic smile, a warm handshake and said, "Everybody's here."
Everybody? Yes, everybody. This ninja, on a first date; brought me to a cook out with his entire family, friends from elementary school, line brothers and a few co-workers. Seriously? #WDDDA (Where Dey Do Dat At?)
After greeting people and pretending that they weren't all eyeing me up one side and down the other, I excused myself to the little girls room where I did what any addicted blogger would do… I began to live-tweet the experience. Twitter was highly amused. I stashed my purse in a guest room, tucked my BlackBerry into my pocket and dove into the festivities. Overlooking the fact that everyone else was in shorts and t-shirts, overlooking the fact that I had only known New Dude for 10 days and overlooking the fact that it was 98° in shade… I grabbed a plastic cup of some punch that smelled at least 110-proof and dove in.
New Dude was in conversation across the yard, so I was kinda on my own for fitting in. I rolled up on the first group of ladies and got in the conversation. Mama New Dude came over and we hit it off immediately. She's old school bouge: married to a lawyer for 48 years, dressed in denim and diamonds, Spelman grad, classy but real. About 20 minutes into our conversation she took my hand and said, "My son's kind of an idiot but give him a chance. He's good people when his brain is engaged." She took one look at the "you don't say" expression on my face and laughed, "No really. You'll just have to see."
I did turn to look at him in time to see him get splashed by the kids in the pool, requiring him to take his shirt off. Nice. No, I mean ni-ice. And yes, I'm just shallow enough to say that the hotness did distract me from the fact that I was the only non-family, non-long-term friend at this shindig. Right about then, the ghetto-fab side of family pulled up. Bumpin', talking loud. They unloaded DJ equipment, ice and liquor… a lot of liquor. The crew led by Cousin Ray-Ray (who prefers to be called Big Ray) pimp-walked into the yard. He was rocking a long white T, Texas Longhorn basketball shorts, an electric blue doo-rag and brand new Nikes. "What up, fam?! See ya'll still livin' gooda den a mug up in here!" [Ebonic to bougie translation: Hello family, I see all is well with you and yours] He high-fived, soul-shaked and head bopped folks before his eyes landed on me. "Who brought the scenery?"
To his credit, New Dude came out of the house with a new shirt on and cut him off before Ray could side-wind my way. After pointing Big Ray in another direction, New Dude came and plunked down next to me. "So, you ready to kill me yet?" I gave him a look over my sunglasses that cleared the rest of the people from the table in no time flat. He and I needed to have a little chat. Long story short, he explained that this was a test. *strategic pause* Um-hmm, he decided to see what I would do and how I would react. [laser beam side-eye] To which I responded, "Ooo-kay, if that's how you want to play." We talked for a few minutes more until DJ Big Ray turned on the music (he started with Al Green's Love and Happiness) and lifted up a bottle of Hennessey over his head, "Who ready to blame it on the alcohol?" He pointed the bottle at me, "How about you, shawty?" I put my hands up and retreated to the kitchen with the church ladies.
One of the female cousins came in with me and asked me what I did for a living, one thing led to another and come to find out she read my book and she reads the blog. [hey girl] She paused, looked around the kitchen and said, "Are we about to become a BougieTale?" I smiled and said nothing. But yes, here you are.
I was handed a plate, a refill on my drink and invited to sit down. Now anybody that's been to a cook out knows that all the good conversation takes place in the kitchen. I found out more about New Dude in the hour I sat at that table than I'm sure he planned to tell in two years' time: all the scoop about his ex-wife, his education, his love of banana muffins and all things sour apple flavored. He kept wandering in trying to break up the conversation and they kept shooing him back out. His great Aunt Ida said, "That's what he gets bringing you out here with no warning. Know he got better home training than that." The next time he came over trying to whisper in my ear, Ida said (loudly), "Is he trying to spit game?" The entire party fell out at 82-year old Ida talking about spitting game.
His mom asked me if I knew how to play Spades and I just smiled. She told New Dude to pick a partner and sit down. He picked one of his boys (who talked much smack) and the games began. Here's the deal… I grew up in a house were games were taking seriously. Sure, we were told it was all in good fun and all about the sportsmanship but in reality… BougieFam likes to win. And win big. For those unschooled in the way of Spades, it's all strategy, luck and bluff. You can tell a lot about people by the way they play. Some folks underbid to get your confidence up so you'll be set. Others overbid and assume the cards will fall their way or their partner will have their back. I play my hand. I start out conservatively to check the lay of the land and then (cards willing) I go for the kill when you least expect it.
New Dude was a good player but the cards weren't falling his way. His trash-talking partner – all bluff, no strategy. Mama New Dude was mad aggressive. Once she figured out I knew what I was doing, old girl would cut a four of diamonds just because she could. "Running a Boston" is when you take every book and allow them nada. Yeah, we did that. Trash-talking guy was not a gracious loser. "We got set by women, bruh." Mama said, "Yes you sure did." Then she started clowning and told her son, "I raised you to play better than that, now get up and get us fresh drinks. Who's next?" Mama don't take no mess. Her husband and brother sat down next and we ran a Boston on them too. She and I fell in love with each other. Her son? Jury's still out.
Well, it started to rain and DJ Ray was on his eighth DJ Khaled song in a row. We decided to bounce. We got in the car and just sat silently for a minute. "We're in hour 6 of this date and you've met almost everyone I know in the world, can we call it a third date already?" He asked and looked at me with a smile. I smiled back, "No, but good try." He leaned in a little, "So how about some drinks?" I shrugged, "Why not?" I simply could not have a date where I liked the mother better than the son. This would be his chance to impress me with more than his physique and his family.
The conversation between me and New Dude at the wine bar when I finish this BougieTale tomorrow…
Thoughts? Reactions? Gut feelings about New Dude? Any wacky first date tales of your own? Comment as you will…