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Real Talk: Respect Me, and My Man

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Black Couple Portrait Serious
Couple pictured are models.
Last Sunday, my boyfriend and I were shopping at a flea market in LA. We were walking around together until I went to peruse some antique jewelry and he wandered off to another booth nearby to look at vintage tees. I’m waiting for the booth-keeper to open a case of vintage brass rings when I hear a woman coo, “You want to try some of my hair?”
 
Huh? I look over my shoulder to see a Black woman a few years my senior waving a Remy ponytail at my bald boo. (And yes, they were selling weaves at the flea market! There was a table set up and everything.) He chuckles awkwardly, not knowing exactly what to say with this woman who is seemingly hitting on him right in front of me. Hmph!
 
She didn’t know we’re together? Did she not see me? Or did she and she just doesn’t care? I don’t know if she’s oblivious or all types of ignorant. Either way…
 
“Babe,” I call to him loudly. “Come. Do you like this ring?” Mind you, I don’t really care if he comes, or what he thinks of the ring. I just want my presence known and felt, even if that doesn’t matter to some women – it matters to me.  
 
This was not, nor will it be the last time a woman has (or will) hit on my dude with me nearby. He’s an attractive guy— tall, broad-shoulders and sun-kissed. I guess many a woman has had the same reaction I did upon initially seeing him, which was something totally eloquent like, “God damn!” That doesn’t bother me. Long ago, a mentor told me, “You really don’t want anyone that no one else wants. It means the product is defective.” 
 
But it is…well, bothersome let’s say, for a woman to be aware that I am with him, completely ignore my existence, and hit on my dude— sometimes sly, sometimes overtly — right in front of me or right after I walk away. It’s happened at parties (including those I’ve thrown), at restaurants when I get up to go to the loo, and now, at the flea market of all places. It’s all made me wonder, where is the honor among women?
 
Blame man shortages, self-esteem issues, daddy complexes, or just pure D trifling-ness. Whatever the cause, there are a good number of women who think of men’s significant others, and even wives, as a “non m*****f***ing factor” when it comes to getting their paws on “the prize.” 

Maybe all these passes we’ve given to celebrity women who take up with men long before the ink on their divorce papers are dry, has given everyday women the sense that this is ok to pursue committed men. Um… nah, boo. No bueno.
 
Usually, I brush off encounters like these and charge it to the game. But this time the look on my face must have given away my disgust. I’m walking through an antique chandelier booth with my boo when I hear an “excuse me.”
 
I turn around to find the woman who’d offered my man the hair. “I just wanted to apologize,” she begins. “I honestly didn’t see you. I’m not that chick. I would never do that to my Sister, you know?”
 
Hmmm. Perhaps there’s some honor left among a few of us after all.
 
Demetria L. Lucas is the Relationships Editor at ESSENCE and the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: Your Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter: @abelleinbk
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