Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Sir Ass-A-Lot

Reasons that I love living in Los Angeles? It never snows here. It never gets deathly cold. That's so great for me; I've been an avid walker for about 16 years now. It is my favorite form of exercise, because it clears the mind as well as burning some calories. I prefer to walk outside instead of on a treadmill, to breathe the air and feel the breeze and the sun on my face. I'm in the habit of taking walks in the morning on weekends; it gets me out of bed and gets my day going. With the weather in LA as it is, I get to take my walks all year round!

So, on a very warm and sunny Saturday morning in August 2004, I rolled out of bed at around 9:30, washed my face, put on a pair of black shorts and a grey zip-up hoodie, gathered my bed hair in a ponytail and slicked on some lipgloss (as my mother used to say, "You never know who you'll run into"). I laced up my sneakers, and my iPod and I were out the door.

I'd been walking for about 20 minutes, and was halfway down a particularly pretty, tree-lined street when I noticed a tall African-American man walking towards me. He was about 6'2", built, dressed in a fitted t-shirt, jeans and a worn baseball cap. He was gorgeous.

He smiled as he approached me, and I thought, is he smiling at someone behind me? Because I don't exactly stop traffic right after I've rolled out of bed. I tried to sort of casually look over my shoulder, like I was fixing my hood. Nope, nobody behind me. So now he's smiling at me and stopping to talk, and I look like I've got some kind of neck twitch. Fantastic.

So Gorgeous asks me, "Hey, sorry to bother you, but I'm looking for the Smiths' house, do you know where that is?"

"Oh, no," I replied, "I don't live around here. Just on a walk. Sorry," while thinking wow, you are even hotter up close.

"Have a nice day," I said, and started to walk away, when Gorgeous stopped me. "Um, actually," he said, "I was just driving by, and I saw you, and you were so cute that I pulled over and tried to find some way to say hello."

"Oh, really?" I said, and couldn't help breaking into a big smile. "Well, that's pretty gutsy of you. I'm flattered."

"I'm Kareem," he said, extending his hand.

"Ginger," I responded, shaking it.

We chatted for a few minutes. Kareem was also from my hometown, New York; in fact, he had grown up in an area where my dad's parents had lived. He was funny; despite the fact that we were total strangers, we talked easily. The whole situation felt pretty natural. He asked if he could see me again. We walked to his car, and I gave him my cell phone number.

As I walked away, I couldn't believe my luck. I'm generally pretty guarded about my personal safety (for reasons that you will soon discover, dear readers). I wouldn't normally stop to talk to a man I didn't know while on one of my walks, but this felt different. We were in broad daylight on a busy street, and his whole vibe was just...comfortable. He was cute and funny! He actually seemed down-to-earth! I have to admit to entertaining a vision of the two of us telling our curly-haired, green-eyed, cafe-au-lait-skinned children about the day that Daddy spotted Mommy while he was driving one morning, and was so smitten that he just had to introduce himself. I am generally not one to put the cart before the proverbial horse, but I've observed, in my short life, that Great Couples always have a Great Meeting Story. This one could potentially rank up there with the best of them! Hey, you never know.

Later that afternoon, I was having lunch at an outdoor cafe with my friend Donnetta. We had just been served our drinks, and she needed to use the ladies' room. Just as she left the table, my phone rang. It was Kareem. I was surprised that he'd called me so soon, but I can't say I wasn't pleased. "Hey," he said, "I couldn't wait to talk to you again, Ginger. I'm so glad you stopped to talk to me this morning."

"So am I," I replied, and I meant it. "So what's up?"

"Well," he said, "I just had to let you know, that as you walked away, you made my day, because of that ass. It is just a beautiful thing."

"Um. Uh, my ass??" I laughed. I figured he must be joking, so I played along. "Yeah, it has special powers, it can do that."

"Girl," he continued, "you've got an onion."

"An "onion"? What exactly is an onion?" I knew I would regret asking.

Kareem filled me in: "An onion is a butt so fine it makes a grown man wanna CRY, girl."

Okay, I was at a loss on this one. For those of you who have never laid eyes on me, I am Irish. Caucasian. Translation: I am white. I do not have a trunk, and if I did, I would not have any junk to fill it with. Now, I have never put much stock in racial stereotypes, and I'm well aware that there are lots of bootylicious white women out there. But no one, of any race, will ever mistake me for J.Lo. I was also more than a bit thrown off that Kareem, whom I had met barely 8 hours previously, was extolling the virtues of my posterior before we'd even been on a proper date. Don't get me wrong, I like a nice ass. If I see an attractive dude, and I am able to sneak a subtle peek at his cakes, I will. The thing is, I won't be gushing to any guy about his butt unless we're already dating. I didn't mind that Kareem had enjoyed the view; you've got to be attracted to someone if you're going to date them! That's important. But, guys – talking to a woman about her ass before you've gotten to know her at all just might make her feel like a piece of meat.

I wanted to give him the chance to back it up a bit. "Well, Kareem, thanks," I said in a more serious tone, "but there is a little bit more to me than that." Maybe he was nervous, or just trying to make me laugh. He assured me that he wanted to get to know the rest of me, and I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. We agreed to meet at Il Gelato, one of my favorite spots on Melrose, on the following Thursday night.

At the time, I was taking a Thursday night bellydancing class at a small Melrose Ave. studio. It had become my routine to go to Il Gelato afterwards for a cup of the most delicious chocolate gelato I had ever tasted. So, that Thursday after class, I changed back into my street clothes, packed my dance bag and walked the three blocks over.

Kareem was waiting outside, dressed like he had just come from the gym; he was wearing a Gold's Gym tank top, poofy zebra-striped bodybuilder pants, and a do-rag. We hugged.

"I was really looking forward to seeing you, Ginger," he said. A good start! I was relieved. "Well, thanks for joining me, Mr. Fitness America," I joked as we headed into the cafe.

"Yeah, I just came from working out," he said. "It was my day to do my abs. My stomach feels really tight right now. Just really tight, you know? My abs are totally worked out."

"Uh huh." I have to say, dear readers, that I don't really care whether the guy I'm dating looks like Mr. Universe or not, so long as he can keep up with me. "I don't really go to the gym. I'd rather be outside, or take dance classes, but some people really love weights; that's cool." I ordered my usual chocolate gelato. "Are you going to get anything?"

"Naw." Kareem waved his hand in a "no thanks" gesture. "I just worked out so much, my abs are so tight, you know? Just so tight. I don't think I could fit any food down, my stomach is SO tight." He kept rubbing his flat belly in a circular motion.

"Yeah, you said." I was starting to realize that Kareem's obsession with body parts might be all-encompassing. "Well, let's sit down outside! It's nice out tonight." I paid for my gelato, and we grabbed a small table on the sidewalk - with Kareem, all the while, going on and on about his SUPER. TIGHT. ABS.

"So," I asked him, "what do you like to do, besides work out?"

"Well, enough about me," he said, "let's talk about that ass of yours."

"Um. Let's not," I tried to joke, desperately trying to steer the conversation elsewhere. "Everybody's got a butt, I sit on mine all day at work – it's really not that exciting."

Kareem would not be deterred. "You know, your ass is super tight. Most black men like something that I call a 'slab-ass' – it's wide and flat, and jiggly." He made hand motions to illustrate - use your imagination. "A slab ass is just gross. I like your high, firm ass."

"Uh huh. What do you do for work?" I refused to give up. There must be more to this guy! We had a Great Meeting Story! Where did Kareem go, and who was ths ass-obsessed musclehead sitting opposite me? What happened to the slightly shy, funny guy who hit on me last Saturday??

So, Kareem started talking about himself - and didn't stop, or take a breath, or let me speak for about 20 minutes. During that agonizing diatribe, I learned the following:

• It's very tough to "muscle up" from 195lbs to 205lbs. (It takes a lot of lifting and steak, in case anyone cares.)
• He trains in 3 different kinds of martial arts, just in case he winds up in "a September 11 situation". (Okay, Bruce Willis.)
• He can "take out 3 to 4 guys at a time, easy". (Well, thanks for letting me know you're a steroid abuser early on in the relationship, dude.)
• Jews are bad tippers, because the wives control their husband's money, and won't let the husbands leave good tips. Also, Jews hate black people. (Since my friends list looks like the UN roster, this is news to me.)
• He was a bouncer at a bar/restaurant in Beverly Hills, but took offense to being called a bouncer – he preferred "Head of Security". (Yeah, because when the rich, old people who eat there get rowdy, it takes a big man to throw them into the alley out back.)
• Besides my ass, he also liked my eyes, calves and smile (AGAIN with the body parts! I wouldn't have minded the eyes and smile compliments, but I was already too weirded out.)

It was a painful 20 minutes, during which I said almost nothing, ate my gelato and basically wished I were someplace, anyplace, else. To top it all off, when Kareem finally put a cork in it, he said, "So, you're shy, huh?"

!!!!

Dear readers, you may have surmised by now that I am rarely at a loss for words. I had nothing to say to Sir Ass-A-Lot because I COULDN'T GET A WORD IN EDGEWISE, and finally gave up. Finished with my gelato, I jumped ship as gracefully as I could. "Hey, Kareem, this has been really fun," I lied, "but I have a Really Important Meeting with a Really Important Client early tomorrow morning. I have to go." Kareem had not shown one shred of interest in any aspect of my life besides my ass; I just wanted to get out of there.

I told Kareem he didn't have to walk me to my car, but he insisted on it. "I'm gonna hook up with you on Saturday," he informed me. "We're gonna have a movie marathon and I'll bring over all kinds of stuff that I've cooked and we'll curl up." I couldn't believe it – he thought we'd had a great date! I was mortified.

We got to my car. He was leaning in for a kiss. Open mouth. Way open – he looked like a goldfish gasping for air. "Well, goodnight, Kareem," I said, and dodged his mouth. I was backed up against my car, so his wet lips wound up in my hairline, near my right temple. Blech! My onion and I quickly ducked into my car and drove off.

So much for my Great Meeting Story!

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17 Comments:

Blogger Leah in LA said...

The onion comment brought tears to MY eyes.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're my hero...please don't stop commenting on such things as I will turn to your page when feeling particularly annoyed by the image concious douches of this world...i like my body just fine...the question I NEVER ask is: Do you?!

Thanks, again, Leah!

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Blogger Ginger said...

Don't worry, there's a lot more where this came from!

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