Clearly, there is a "stupid bug" out there biting unsuspecting men and women. Case and point taken, if he was late for your first date, he will probably be late for the last. Or worse...THE WEDDING. See, too often we ignore the signs in the beginning...failing to acknowledge and more importantly, CORRECT the shit. The result? YOU'VE BEEN BIT! STUPID! By ALL definitions of the word! We expect the best houses, cars, and handbags...but why not the best RELATIONSHIPS?? The "Stupid bug" bit me about a few years back. Apparently, he bit two of my "friends" around the same time, because we were ALL sleeping with the same man and we ALL secretly knew about the other. STILL meeting for happy hour on Fridays, helping with birthday parties for our kids, and still defending the other friends to folks outside of the "circle". And although I was receiving regular updates about my man's "activities", it still wasn't enough. I was still ironing his clothes for work and sending him on his way with a kiss. I won’t lie...many mornings it was a kiss to BOTH "heads." My reasoning? He's an "excellent" provider and dad. But wait! On second thought, I DID pay half the mortgage, and whatever I couldn't do for the kids, my mother provided. So what was he REALLY contributing anyway? Am I this stupid? Settling for half, or worse, a third, instead of setting some boundaries and goals for this "relationship"? Apparently, YES! Because three years later, I was STILL indulging in the bullshit! Mediocrity had become my new wardrobe. Actually, mediocrity had become my life. I settled for sub-standard friendships, in addition to my sub-standard relationship. Time with my girls was no longer about maintaining genuine friendships. It had turned into being together as much as possible in an effort to minimize the availability they had to spend with my man. In fact, I think this was the goal amongst all of us. I realized that the companionship of a man became more important than the loyalty of friends on the night friend #2 invited me to have drinks. Friend #1 claimed to be ill and was unable to attend. I attempted to make a courtesy call to my man letting him know I was hanging out with the girls that night. Instead, I saw a text from him that read, "Jay got picked up on a DUI - gotta go by his moms, be home late." Now the "stupid bug" would have me believing that my man was a loyal and dedicated friend, but I knew DAMN well, there was more to THAT story! In the midst of curling my hair, my cell rings with Friend #1's number showing on Caller ID. I say "hello" repeatedly, with no response. Something tells me not to disconnect the call. I sat on the phone and listened for a good 60 seconds. Now, I KNEW 10 seconds into the call what the moans and groans were but I stayed on longer. Then I heard a ringtone...one I was all too familiar with...one my nine year old son and me had created for his daddy. My nine year old rapping and I singing backup. I hung up. Everything I had known and ignored was authenticated in one minute. The choice I made was to bundle up in the jacket of mediocrity I had worn so well. After all, I found comfort in knowing he would be back in my bed tonight, that's all that mattered. I stared in the mirror at the reflection of a feeble "woman's" face that was unrecognizable to me. Determined to have a much-needed night out, I made myself vodka and cran, held the cran, and finished getting dressed. After drink #2, I grabbed my clutch, fluffed my hair once more, and smacked my freshly glossed lips together, just in time for my friend's arrival. I hopped in her car with a smile on my face, never mentioning what had just occurred. "Let's do this" I said as we drove off. We arrive at "the spot." It’s crowded, bumper-to-bumper traffic. Parking is unbelievable. We jump out of her shit and immediately get into "DIVA" mode. We grab a drink and make our way through the club. We made our way to the second level and see a circle forming on the first. My friend and I were laughing and joking that it had to be some hoe on the ground "Showing her ass." It's not until we heard the DJ say, "WE HAVE A YES!!" that we move a little closer to the crowd. We were damn near blinded by the rock that sat on the ring, but what REALLY caught our attention was the man holding the ring..."KEDRAN!" Friend #2 and I scream simultaneously. But what was even more shocking was whom the ring now belonged to... Friend #1; who looked into my eyes and pretended to not even know who I was. I looked over at "my man”, with the words "I'm sorry" escaping from his lips. I turned around and walked away, ignoring Friend #2 repeatedly screaming my name.
It was at this time that I removed my jacket and left it on the table that held our drinks. The jacket of mediocrity that had once been a timeless piece was no longer in season.