I was folding laundry and watching Basketball Wives (don’t judge me) when I felt my phone vibrate.
I don’t even have to glance at the top of the screen. I know who it is.
Leopard isn’t his real name, but it is the name he has in my phone. In fact, he’s had the same name in the last two phones I’ve had. Leopard is the litmus test; the lens through which all new men are viewed.
Leopard is not a bad man. He is my type, both physically and intellectually. He is as sarcastic as I am. If I type LOL in a text message conversation with him, I mean it. He is not intimidated by me at all. On the contrary, he doesn’t allow me to get away with a one-word explanation or a dismissive brush-off. If I had a checklist for potential, he’d meet most of the criteria. Except for one:
He doesn’t want a relationship with me.
Well, he does not want a relationship with anyone. That’s what he says. And I accepted it because…it sounded so different, such a millennial way to approach this male-female interaction. At the time, I was not in the mood for the late twenties melodrama that seemed to be engulfing my friends’ relationships. I had just gotten over one of those Toni Braxton heartbreaks myself (read: EPIC). I just wanted to hang out with someone every once in a while and have a good time.
And we did.
Eventually, I realized I had all the demands of a relationship and none of the perks.
If my car is making a funny noise, I still call my dad or a mechanic.
If I have a cold, he’s not bringing me orange juice.
When I have an aggravating day at work, I can’t get a reassuring hug from him.
I can’t let down my guard around him.
I’m sort of dating someone now.
Six words I agonized over; two seconds to press send and begin to untangle a web of complex emotions stirring within me. I worried he’d make a scene. I thought he might call and demand more answers than I really have. But he was cool.
No all caps rants. Only one exclamation point.
Even when I told him I was going to blog about this, he gave permission with but one caveat: I couldn’t use his real name. That’s fine. In my eyes, he will always be Leopard.
And a Leopard never changes its spots.