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It was the summer of ‘08. I was nineteen and down South attending this academic conference where minority students from all over the country came to be all smart and shit. We finished our conference-related obligations for the day. So, after about an hour of bullshitting with the homies in the hotel lobby, I went back to my room to change and get ready for the rest of the night. So, now I’m upstairs minding my business when I hear the slide-buzzzz-click of my room’s electronic lock. And the only other person with a key to my room was my roommate, so I thought nothing of it.
The door swings open and, without looking back, I said, Yooo, what’s good, bro?
But the voice that responded back to me was sultry, and warm, and definitely not male. Oh, I’m a bro now? When I realized who it was, my soul left my body for a split-second. It was *Tiffany. We met the summer before and were really into each other but, admittedly, our situation was a little f*cked. Not only were we both from different cities, but we also went to school in different parts of the country. So, we only got to see each other that one week every summer, which, as you’d imagine, made it somewhat difficult to forge any semblance of a relationship, and put pressure on the time we did have together.
She leaned back against the door looking like the finest of snacks – flawless, mahogany skin poppin,’ box braids loosely tied up, sweats that hugged her ever so gently, and a mug in her hand. She had that look in her eyes— she was there for a reason. And it didn’t take long to realize what that reason was (and that there was more than juice in that mug).
Now, for context, it’s worth noting that I was quite the late-bloomer. I was a virgin at the time and that, among other things, was a huge source of insecurity for me. So, what other dudes might have seen as the ideal situation—the girl you like keying into your hotel room unannounced, where there was nothing but space and opportunity—was more anxiety-inducing than anything.
What brings you up here? I tried to sound nonchalant, but I was shook. And as she started in my direction, my heart rate took off. She hits me with…I want you.
As she got closer, all the thoughts ran through my mind. Damn, she looks good as f*ck. Is she for real, or is this the liquor talking? Shit, I need a drink. Does my roommate have any condoms? Wait, how did she even get in here? (It turns out my roommate gave *Tiffany his key in an attempt to “help a brotha out.”) One thing was clear, she wasn’t there to look at me think, or to talk.
Finally, we were face to face. And for the first time, we kissed. Her lips felt like velvety pillows from God’s master bedroom but tasted like Bacardi Razz. Talk about bittersweet. Nervous as fuck, I offered some “resistance,” but she persisted. And lowkey, the shit was hot. Just knowing she wanted me on such a primal, carnal level made me feel things.But the more we fumbled through this interaction, the more I realized just how drunk she was. I mean, I knew she liked me but she had never been this aggressive. And as much as I wanted it, I knew this wasn’t right. So, I shut it down and sent her on her way.
In the moments after she left, I was all types of conflicted. On one hand, there was the issue of consent. According to law, and what every “concerned adult” drilled in my head, one cannot consent while intoxicated. So to me, there was no other option but to turn her down. I respected her agency and inability to consent way more than the aching I now felt in my True Religions.
But on the other hand, there was the issue of my manhood. After all, I was a virgin who had a beautiful girl in my room, ready and willing to do whatever, and I passed. The fuck? As a man, I had completely shit the bed and I had society to reinforce that notion. From birth, men are positioned as predators and women as prey (some women buy into this, too— she was definitely miffed when I politely shut shit down). So, failing to close the deal made me feel like less of a man for a long time thereafter. I told my close boys the truth, but I used the old “we didn’t have a condom” line, which was technically the truth, to the other guys who didn’t know what was up.
Fortunately, ten years and a lot of life have given me more than enough perspective on the matter. To date, this may be one of the manliest decisions I’ve ever made and I’m proud of that, especially now. I chose to act in line with my values. I chose to honor a woman and her body instead of taking advantage to serve my own masculine self-interests. With consent and how murky it can be, I’m still not sure that if she was fully able to say what she wanted. But I definitely feel I acted with her— and our— best interests at heart. For me, the measure of a man isn’t in his body count or sexual prowess. It’s in his integrity and sense of responsibility when it comes to shit like this.
So yeah, I turned down some ass. But, it beats living with regret for the rest of my life, right? And, in case you’re wondering, I did try to shoot my shot later that week, but her Aunt Flo was in town.
Malcolm Spaulding is a freelance writer for CASSIUS.