“The Ball is in Your Court”
Guest Writer: R. L. Norman
Not too long ago, I was reminiscing about this guy I dated years ago. It was a cool night in November: the breeze was rather inviting, and it wasn’t too cold or too hot.
Actually, it was just right as we sat at our dinner table on the restaurant’s rooftop overlooking the skyline of Baltimore. The restaurant was named the Circle because the roof slowly revolves so that you get a panoramic view of the entire skyline of Baltimore.
It was our first date, and I was having such a splendid time that my mind and heart were slowly being drawn to him! Our conversation flowed with ease. My “first date jitters” slowly disappeared.
You see, I didn’t meet him on line or even through a friend. I met him in Home Depot, of all places. (The best place to meet men, ‘cause all the manly men go to Home Depot! LOL.) I was there looking for some supplies to erect my fish tank, which actually looks like an oversized picture that hangs on the wall. Until this day, people still don’t believe it actually contains real fish! (Smile).
As I was trying to find the best supplies to purchase, I spied a tall, brown-skinned, bald-headed man at the other end of the aisle! His tight-fitting jeans covered his round, plump ass.
As well, those jeans gave the distinct impression that his manhood was a very nice size—very nice, indeed! And, his muscle shirt exposed his manly arms and hairy chest. And as a bonus, his Timberland boots completed his construction worker outfit.
As he moved in closer to me, I suddenly turned into a “dumb blond” and said, “Excuse me, Sir. Uhhhm, can you help me? I don’t know which screws I should get, or hammer to use to hang something on my wall.”
At first, confusion filled his face! But then, he started grinning.
I assumed he was trying to decide if I were for real.
He finally responded, “Let me help you,” and proceeded to show me different types of screws. Then, he asked me several burning questions–one of which was my phone number!
And by telling me his name, he answered one of those burning questions. His name was Baldwin! What a rich, manly-sounding name, which complimented his deep, masculine voice—not to mention his plump, kissable lips that uttered that very name.
After a few phone conversations, he did the first of two things that was very surprising to me! Something that rarely happens these days.
During one of our late night calls, Baldwin said, “I’d like to ask you out to dinner and a museum.”
And before I could answer, he inserted, “And this is NOT a booty call! Sex is easy. Friendship and love are what’s are hard to find! (Pause.) Are you up for the challenge to get to know me as I get to know you?”
For a moment, I was taken aback! Baldwin was actually asking me out on a date–and not for sex. He made that perfectly clear, even though my clothes would simply fall off if he were to ask me to go to bed with him!
And that got me to thinking:
Whatever happened to the days when we would actually ask someone for a date face-to-face; or a least on the telephone? Whatever happened to the days when if someone asked you out, your first thought was NOT sex–but actually getting to know that person? And, whatever happened to the days before the computer and cell phone when our voice was our main form of communication?
These days, too many people don’t know how to communicate without the computer or cell phone! There are a lot of lonely people in the world because they hide behind their computer screens or use text messages to communicate. And to temporarily fill that empty void in their lives and hearts, they perceive sex as the basis of a “relationship.”
I, like everyone else, don’t like rejection. And of course, by hiding behind a computer screen, it’s easier to take rejection. But maybe we all should try to come “out of the closet” at least once. So, step away from that computer screen or text message, and directly communicate–just like Baldwin did.
Instead, let people see the real you.
The second surprising thing that Baldwin did was to pose a question after we’d left the piano bar that first night after dinner. Along with other patrons, we’d just finished singing songs…
Suddenly, he stopped dead in his tracks, in the middle of the sidewalk.
Then, he turned towards me.
Next, his firm, warm hands grasped mine. As Baldwin gazed deeply and almost lovingly in my eyes, he inquired, “May I court you?”
Now, for those of you who don’t know what courting is, allow me to clue you in. It means dating/focusing on just one person. You can date lots of folk, but you can only court one special person—the one you really want to get to know.
Obviously, the ball was in my court! Patiently, Baldwin waited for my answer.
So, without saying a word, I leaned over and kissed him…passionately! As you can tell, my answer definitely was NOT a “No!” LOL.
And trust me, our first date–and the dates thereafter–were very special because he courted me with words and actions.
Not words on a screen.
So, come out from behind that computer screen and show your true colors! You may find that those colors are a welcoming sight. And, you might also discover that your time of loneliness will slowly melt away. That’s if you communicate with words and deeds. So call someone up or ask that person for that face-to-face date.
The ball is in your court!
Now, will you hit it back?
R. L. Norman is a writer, performer and author of the popular series of novels entitled, “Honey Let Me Tell You.” The fourth and latest installment is “Love Is Complicated.” Currently, R. L. is finishing the sequel. As well, he performs “Norman’s One Night Stand,” a one-man show he conceived and wrote, showcasing the main character of his series. R. L. also iswriting a play based on “Honey Let Me Tell You.” All of these endeavors are part of the production company he’s forming. You may reach R. L. at his on line home, www.rlnorman1.wix.com/
Well so many wont to jump in the bed they don’t know how to date I mis those days
well RL ,I must agree everything that you pretty much have said is the truth ,that social media has taking over and texting. instead of talking you lose that speaking communicating experience ,for example the way a person sounds how you proceed if you or the person is interested .we do need to step out from behind the computer and see a person face to face, at least give them a chance and not be so judgmental or so superficial about how a person look, or what a person has , there are too many of us black men that are single and unhappy for the most part it’s because we don’t take the time to give someone a chance we tend to look at the physical part of a person instead of trying to get to know a person overall. so with that being said I think we all need to look at ourselves , and communicate in a different way, and go back to the times when we used to meet people , get to know them , and possibly date them ..that is if you’re interested. I feel like there is too many in mature men you are old enough to want more out of a relationship or a person instead of just sex . I find that I run across a lot of men not interested in committing ,but just interested in sex, after the sex ,what do you have? another lonely night repeating itself. we need to try a different approach.
Ok it was getting good. Honestly you’re right individuals don’t court anymore it’s all about sex. I want to know what happens next. I love it so far.
RL, you hit the ball squarely on this one. Finding someone who is not attached to text messages, emails, and the omnipresent smart phone is like being on a treasure hunt. It’s a generational I would say. Courting also requires one to be willing to make themselves emotionally vulnerable by saying I’m investing my time right now in you and only you..
Courting has become rare art and if we don’t start doing more of it then we may loose it forever. My rule of thumb is two months minimum before sex, we talk a lot, go out a lot and see if there really is something in our individual characters that we can build upon to make the friendship stronger and let it evolve into what I hope to be a genuine love affair.
Mr. RL Norman, you hit right on time, kudos for your thoughtfulness on this subject.
I feel you, I started out dating and “courting” and it is now 13 years together.
Although, I am old school I do not exactly remember “dating or courting” once I entered the GAY world. My first experience was a sleezy bar in New York.(Keller’s I think was the name of the pick-up club) I flew into New York for a conference, I learned of this place on the “home” phone and by Word of Mouth (figuratively) from a friend who was a “ho” and told me about it. The mystical adventures of being in a “Gay” bar for the first time was liberating but scary for a southern man. After a few drinks, excuse me many drinks (they were so cheap in the day) and observing many attractive “men” I was all in. The protected sex was great and the one night stands started. I was now a veteran and started to understand the game… fuck ’em and leave ’em, just always use a rubber and poppers. The most interesting thing especially in the late 70’s and 80’s was everyone had a partner. However, everyone was secretly fucking everyone’s partner. Bruthas, who now happily say I have been with my friend for 20+ years had to survive and endure many years of infidelity. I always say these now happy couples won by default: their asses got old and now no one wants them. I dated and courted women back in the day but the gay life for me was never about dating and courting. I hope for some of you that “selective memory or fairy-tales’ has not inserted itself in your minds. We all want to be champions of “not me” and when you truly reflect your asses was hitting it back in the day without condoms. The spread of Aids/HIV did not occur from just dating and courting back in the day.
COURTING?…courting?….RL you must be OLD! LOL. I haven’t heard that word used in ages. But you hit the NAIL right on the HEAD! Social media (FB, Twitter, Instagram, Chat Rooms., etc……and let’s not forget TEXTING) have made us BOLD, BRAVE and COURAGEOUS. Step out from behind the computer or smartphone and let me see who your REALLY are. COURTING?……courting?…..is truly a LOST ART!
COURTING?…courting?….RL you must be OLD! LOL. I haven’t heard that word used in ages. But you hit the NAIL right on the HEAD! Social media (FB, Twitter, Instagram, Chat Rooms., etc……and let’s not forget TEXTING) have made us BOLD, BRAVE and COURAGEOUS. Step out from behind the computer or smartphone and let me see who you REALLY are. COURTING?……courting?…..is truly a LOST ART!
Courting is so cool and I think so many people miss out on a great way to get to know someone before you hit the sheets. Thank you for a well written defense of a lost art form. I hope more people take the chance and mingle in person. It’s so much fun to enjoy each other’s company in real time.
Easy to read and left me wanting more.
You’re so old fashioned. LOL. But I understand what you mean. A tete-a-tete is much better than a coded algorithm any day.
Awesome blog. So many of us including heterosexuals should go back to respecting others as well as respecting ourelves. Looking forward to the next blog.
Mannnnn this story would be a Great sell , no doubt riviting and most entertaining … ….. Keep on being creating writing your stories . I look fwd to more ……