My next date was with an overseas pro-basketball player. I typically don't date athletes, rappers, or anyone that still dresses/aspires to be either of the two. I'm not interested in the lifestyle these men usually lead and I'm not the type of girl that considers becoming one of the Basketball Wives a good career move. Growing up in Miami and then attending an NCAA football university exposed me to more athletes than necessary. The first things they'd say were usually the same: "I play ball" or "I just got signed to...". At this point, they'd expect my panties to drop-the typical reaction such a soul stirring revelation prompted in the ladies. Instead, I'd either lecture them on the realities of being a forty million dollar slave or promptly turn and walk away, or a combination of both.
Because I'm not necessarily looking to wife someone up so soon after my last serious relationship though, I decided to have fun and go out with this guy. We'll call him K. Besides, K's pick up line was, " You're sooo beautiful. Are you married?" LOL, what can I say, I'm a sap for corny guys.
K, an African American guy from Chicago, had been signed after college to play pro-basketball for the Arab League. He played in Iran, Syria, and now in Israel. He was in Cairo for the week signing a new contract to play in Egypt for the next 2 years. At a nicely sculpted 6"8, K easily towered over me and wasn't bad on the eye. He was dressed casually in jeans and a polo and, thankfully, no bling in sight. We met downtown and took a cab to Cairo Jazz Club. Cairo Jazz was small but nice with a dark wood and burgundy decor and a hip, young crowd to match. We sat at the bar and ordered drinks. The drink menu was considerably over-priced by Cairo standards (300LE jugs and 100 LE shots). To my surprise, K was genuinely sweet and down to earth. He opened doors, paid for the cab and our drinks, and not once did he mention his salary to me. Unlike other ball players I've met, K only mentioned his job when I asked him questions about it. As we got to know each other better through the regular first date questions, K asked me about the origins of my name. When I told him that I am Haitian, he reacted with, "Man, you Haitian girls are crazy! I've heard about ya'll." Darnit, even as far as Israel our reputation precedes us...sigh
I've heard many variations of this comment but, in my experiences, the end results are always the same so I quietly waited for K to process this new piece of information. One comedian at The Improv in Coral Gables, FL did an entire routine on his Haitian girlfriend. He said he'd somehow found himself telling her he loved her after just a week and every time he even thought of leaving her, a falling tree would barely miss his path or something. Alternatively, in undergrad, a girl who I thought was my friend was rumored to have had relations with a guy I was dating off and on. When I initially confronted her, she flat out denied it. Months later, when she became pregnant and I confronted her again, her excuse for not telling me the truth initially was: "I was scared of how you'd react cuz you know you're Haitian and all". It's worth noting that, the skank was a clear foot taller than I am and had served in Desert Storm. She also pointedly mentioned that her concern for her baby now being her top priority.
Then there is my ex's friend in the Navy reserves. When he found out I was Haitian, the buff soldier warned my Texan ex-boyfriend to to run for the hills, "They don't fear anything because they have nothing to lose. She won't be afraid to cut you if you piss her off, man! I can't deal with them... that's just too much pressure." My ex laughed it off but I noticed that any time I happened to be angry at him and cooking dinner, he'd wander into the kitchen more often than usual to casually observe what I was putting into the pot...I believe this perception is a result of general cultural misunderstandings and clashes between Haitians and other minorities in big cities. Needless to say, the alleged "craziness" of Haitian women has never deterred men from pursuing us. Not once has a guy walked away from me or stopped calling me because of it. As a matter of fact, I think some guys are turned on by it.
K, looked at me thoughtfully for a moment before saying, "I'm sure you're not crazy." He smiled and I simply smiled back reassuringly before changing the subject.
After a while, the music at Cairo Jazz became loud and unbearable. It was an unruly mash-up of funk, Motown, and pop- a drag queens dream but not conducive to a first date. K and I left and headed to one of the outdoor coffee shops downtown. The coffee shops downton were a sharp cntrast fromthe plush setting of Cairo Jazz. While Cairo Jazz was decked out in art deco furnishing and filled with a crowd of Cairo's privileged class, the quaint outdoor coffee shops on pedestrian streets downtown were lined with mix-matched chairs and folding tables. Working class men discussed the days events over tea and shisha.
We chatted about home, the places we've been, and some of our goals. He told me that his last relationship ended with the girl going Jasmin Sullivan on his car (no, she wasn't Haitian lol). Assuming he'd done something to provoke her behavior, I made a mental note of that information. Altogether, It wasn't a deep conversation but a comfortable and relaxed chat. Later on, K found himself unable to get home because one of his teammates had taken the room key and gone off to the club. I offered him my couch until his roommate got in contact with him. We ended up cuddling and talking late into the night. Once his teammates finally called him back, K left my apartment to take a cab home. A few minutes after he exited, I heard a knock on the door. He walked in and gave me a goodnight kiss on the cheek before he went home.
K returned to Israel the next morning but promised to keep in touch.
Also, a Happy Birthday to the late El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, better known as Bro. Malcolm X!
Cairo Jazz Club. 197, 26th July str, Agouza. Tel: 202-3459939