One time and one time only have I ever caught myself revisiting the idea of the playing the dating game.
It was a bustling Saturday night when I decided to tag along with my friend for the weekend. She was booked to perform at a small intimate dinner party. We arrived at the venue and he immediately stood out in the room full of people.
Although the venue was small, it was packed to capacity with faces wanting to watch the show that was about to take place. My friend and I bid our goodbyes so that she could get ready for her performance and I decided to mingle.
When you've been single for as long as I have, you tend to find comfort in crowded rooms. This was major progress considering about six months ago, I found myself still feeling alone in places that were full of smiling faces. Not tonight though. Tonight, I was open to whatever vibe came cruising my way.
We locked eyes from across the room and I pretended not to notice him making his way over to me.
I was out of the dating scene, but I still vaguely remembered the rules. Within seconds, he was introducing himself. He was tall, charming, attractive, and well-spoken. I quickly found myself hanging on to his every word, and I didn't mind it at all. He told me he was single and from the town where my friend and I were visiting for the weekend. We exchanged numbers in case either of us left without saying goodbye that night and parted ways as the show started. During the performances, I found myself scanning the room and thinking of conversation starters for the tall stranger who made me swoon. No luck.
The lights were low so I pushed him out of my mind for the moment. My friend performed and the show came to a close a few more acts later. The lights come back up and I couldn't find her right away. The crowd was dispersing with everyone leaving or making their way to the bar for another drink or two. Sometime later, I found her. She walked over to me with the biggest smile on her face. I was thinking that she must have received rave reviews, after all, she did put on a spectacular performance. However, that was not the case. She was coming over to tell me about the amazing conversation she'd just had while she was trying to find me after her set.
She went on about how amazing this guy was and the things he said that matched perfectly with what she was looking for in a man. Excited for her, I asked her more questions about him. Her answers began to sound familiar to me. I asked her to point him out to me, I wanted to be sure it was who I was thinking it was in my head. Lo and behold, it was the same tall handsome stranger that made my head swoon entangled in a conversation with another woman who had a grip on his arm. It was the kind of grip that only a woman can do when she has ownership of someone.
It was the infamous "my man grip."
My friend and I exchanged a puzzled look. I pulled her to the side and as we were comparing notes, he left, careful not to make eye contact with us while with the woman who had him captive in the "my man grip." Still confused, we decided to do some investigating and later found out through the organizer of the event who was friends with us both that he had made his rounds to every woman he found attractive in the room that night and gave the same spill of bullshit.
However, the woman he left with was not his girlfriend, but a friend with benefits he met up with every time he was in his hometown. The organizer went on to further explain that he did this at every event he'd thrown. Apparently, he was so good that he took his show on the road whenever he traveled for his line of work. Leaving the event, we heard his name spill off the lips of a girl I vaguely recognized from the event. She was seemingly high off of the facade that was fed to her.
She obviously didn't see him leave with his conquest for the night.
On our drive to the hotel, my friend expressed her disgust at what just happened. I said nothing. I listened as she went on and on about it. She again regurgitated everything that he'd said to her about himself and the things he had in common with her. When I heard conflicting evidence, it all became clear to me. I finally stopped her mid-rant and said, "He's a Community Boyfriend."
She looked at me confused and I went on to explain that a Community Boyfriend is a man who is extra friendly with several women, becomes the man he thinks you want to be with, says what he thinks you want to hear, and based off of your responses, switches gears accordingly. He is never truly single because he finds a way to develop some kind of relationship with every woman who has his number. He sells these women the fantasy that they are the only woman that matters to him. You'll never ever know who he truly is underneath because at this moment in his life he has volunteered as tribute for public use.
One may think he's a butterfly, but when the lights go out, he's the moth that flies towards the light trap on your grandma's porch.
She bursts into laughter and shakes her head at me. Glad that I could break her anger for a second, I quickly let her know that I was serious about what I'd just said and that such a character was unworthy of her anyway. When we finally made it back to our hotel room, I thought she had dropped it, but she started to go again and I had to stop her.
I asked her, "Why does it bother you so much?"
She replied, "Because it's men like him that make me think good men don't exist. Everything he said was probably a lie, and for all, we know his name was probably fake. If he was that good at making every woman in the room believe that he was someone entirely different from the last, then who's to say he is even real at all? What about the women who think that they have something good with him?"
Her answer caught me off guard. She had a point, but in cases like this, you have to thank God that it was revealed to you sooner rather than later. It's always harder to break a bond with someone you've trusted enough to give your body to. I told her that the only thing I could think of at that moment, and that was to be careful with who you choose to invite into your life.
There is no way that anyone could have peeped what he was doing and had she not been with me and I with her, we both would've fallen prey to him.
Women have this beautiful thing called intuition and it's a shame when it's not put to use.
No matter how foggy the mirror is, it always clears and what's left is the truth. That's our intuition. It lets us know when the waters are murky if we choose to listen. Community Boyfriends aren't going anywhere, anytime soon, but lucky for us neither is our intuition. Unlike Community Boyfriends who had to master the skill of f-ckery, we were born with the innate gift to swerve and decipher it.
So that will always leave us one step ahead. Never forget your power.
Featured image by Giphy