“CBW’s not coming?” my girl, Sarah, inquires about my boyfriend.
“Um, it’s girls’ night. He’ll be fine,” I say.
We’re not the pair that has to stay up under each other at all times. “Maybe he and Jay can hang out,” I suggest.
“Oh... no,” she says. “He stays with me.” Here’s the deal: My girl? She’s the youngest of four and the only girl. She’s grown up hearing every horror story imaginable about men, especially what they do on vacation. It’s made her completely and utterly paranoid.
She and I have argued countless times about the importance of trust in a relationship and the logic that if a man is going to cheat, he doesn’t have to get on plane to do it (nor does it have to be hot wherever he is.) “Either he will or he won’t. Cheating is a character issue,” I’ve tried to convince her. “Do you trust him or do you not?”
Her: “I trust him... to do what men do when women are throwing themselves at him.”
We have this convo yet again as I try to convince her to come to dinner alone and let Jay, for once, just be. Se opts to sit out dinner to spend the evening keeping an eye on her man.
The next afternoon, I’m sitting in a daquiri shop with my dude. “What’d ya’ll get into last night?” I ask.
He and some of the other men hit up a bar on Bourbon Street, then the rest of them headed back to the hotel.
“What’d you do?”
“Chilled, walked around.”
We sit in companionable silence for a bit listening to the band play.
“This is a wild city,” babe observes out of nowhere.
This is going somewhere, though I’m not sure where. “What makes you say that?”
“I was walking back to the hotel from the bar, right? These two strippers stop me.”
See, I told you. “And then what happened?” I ask.
“And then one starts trying to unzip my pants and the other one’s trying to get her hand down them."
I’m sorry. “Negro, what?!”
“And I just start yelling, ‘Whoa! Whoa! Stop! Stop!’ and I’m backing up. And they stopped.”
Pause. “You’re just now telling me this?!”
He looks at me quizzically. “That I got hit on by a stripper? I looked like a tourist on vacation without a woman. That’s mild... This one time in DR..."
He went to rent jet skis. They were all in use so the attendant offered him a photo album of girls he could rent. He says, “no, no girls” and the guy goes, “Boys? We have boys!” and flips a few pages over to photos of young men.
“Men alone on vacation get hit on the same way women do every day of their lives,” CBW explains in response to my baffled face. “The only difference is it’s offered freely to you, we’re expected to pay.”
He shrugs, takes another gulp of his Hurricane. I stare at my Bellini and note to self that I should consider paying more attention when Sarah speaks.
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