By Angela T. Jones, Official SBC Correspondent
One date from hell I had several years ago was with a man who just couldn't get ready to go. I've blocked his name from my memory, so for this purpose, let's call him Jamal.
Jamal approached me and asked for my phone number while I was out and about, minding my own business, as usual. He was tall, dark and handsome--a little too thin for my preference--but during that time, I wasn't looking to marry anyone. I was just dating like a single woman should.
He was charming and we talked on the phone for about a week. During that time, Jamal asked if he could take me out to dinner that weekend. I accepted the invitation.
Date night comes. I get cute. Jamal calls and asks if I'm ready. I say "yes" and he says "Do you mind driving tonight? I'm having car trouble and it's not fixed yet, but I still want to see you." Me, "Okay. Fine. I'll drive. What's your address?" Jamal gives me his address and I tell him I'm on my way.
I arrived at his house and he was outside talking to his homies. However, he didn't at all look like he was dressed to impress or ready to leave the house. Here I was, looking cute and he was in a nylon jogging suit, in the summer. He gets in my passenger seat and we say our hellos. Then he asked where I wanted to go for dinner. That is one of my pet peeves. I reminded him that the date was his idea so I was expecting him to decide.
He says, "Okay, well...let's make a run real quick." He directed me to a nearby gas station, asked me to pull in, then went inside. I was wondering why we were there because the gas station didn't appear to have a restaurant.
A few minutes later Jamal comes out, with small bags of snacks and drinks. He then walks to a car that's parked across from me at the gas station, that had two small children in the backseat and a woman driving. I picked up my phone, with Bluetooth in ear, and called my friend, who I had previously informed about my date for safety.
She answered. I said "girl, Jamal had his baby mama and his kids meet him at the gas station while he's supposed to be taking me to dinner!" My friend replied, "I know you're lying!"
As she and I talked, I watched him give the children the snacks, then he said something to the woman, turned around and walked to my car. Jamal apparently didn't realize that I saw what had just occurred, because when I asked him "is everything okay?", he seemed surprised and said "yeah, that's my cousin."
Strike 2: Lying for no reason. I waited until I saw the woman pull off, then I asked him if he was going to change his clothes so we could go to dinner. He said that he would, so I drove back to his house.
I pulled in front, instead of in the driveway, where I saw a BMW parked that had a jack under one tire and the hood partially open. He asked if I wanted to come in and I said no, and that I'd wait for him in my car.
I kept my car running and my friend was still on the phone, in the event of anymore shenanigans.
After about 10 minutes passed, I was about to pull off when I saw a dog run out of his house, followed by him. He was running around with the dog like he didn't have someone waiting for him. He stopped and came to the car, tapped on the passenger window, which I let down and he said "I need to let the dog out real quick." I let the window up and said to my friend, who was still on the phone, "Jamal still isn't dressed." Her response was "but he has time to take his dog out."
Jamal goes back inside with the dog.
Just then a car approaches really slow, and as it gets closer to me, I recognized the driver. It's his baby mama/cousin.
I tell my friend "what the… girl, now his baby mama is driving past the house." My friend asked if I needed her to come to his address and if I had anything in my car that I could use as a weapon just in case baby mama was crazy. No and yes.
I was watching her in my driver side mirror and was about to pull off as she went around the corner. Then Jamal came bouncing out of the house wearing jeans, a shirt and a jacket (still, in the summer), and got in the car. Now Jamal was ready to go, even though he still hadn't picked a restaurant.
Over an hour had passed and I really needed a drink after all of that. Since Jamal would probably pick his baby mama/cousin's favorite restaurant, I made the decision to drive us to a well lit, heavily populated, location that serves alcohol, where police would respond quickly, if called: The nearby Chili's in Dearborn.
One the way to Chili's, we're talking and after answering Jamal's question about my career, I asked him what he does for a living. "I hustle," he said.
For context, I'm from Detroit. There's a plethora of available hustles, both legal and illegal, that one could choose to partake in, so his unwillingness to answer directly and obvious attempt at being incog-negro, was an indicator of even more shenanigans. Was Jamal a drug dealer, scammer, booster, multi-level marketing representative, hood mechanic, male escort, or what?
I wanted to know but I figured I get a drink first because we had arrived at my selected destination.
We walked into Chili's and while we waited for waitstaff, Jamal talked all out of the side of his neck. I blocked most of it out after all these years, but I recall it being numerous examples of why I should've been anywhere else, instead of with him.
When the waitress came, Jamal ordered first; chicken strips and fries. Another strike, and I had honestly lost count by that time. I ordered a Presidente margarita with a shot of Grand Marnier on the side, my meal and I instructed the waitress to have a second identical margarita ready for me when the meal came.
Jamal continued with his fabrications and falsehoods, while I drank.
Under the table, I texted my friend to let her know I needed an emergency call to escape. Then I sat my phone on the table. She called me and earned an Oscar nomination that garnered my freedom, as I told Jamal that we needed to leave because I had to go.
Right after the food came, and the waitress with my second drink, so I asked for boxes and the bill. I sucked down my second drink, while Jamal looked for his money. He didn't tip, so I did. I barely waited for him to box his food up. He followed me out to my car. I drove with haste and with the radio up so Jamal couldn't talk to me. When we got to his house, I stopped long enough for him to get out and close the car door. He turned to either say something or wave, I don't know which, because I sped off. I got home and blocked his number.
Then I called my friend to thank her for her assistance and to let her know I made it home safely.
I never saw Jamal again. And that was for the best.
Angela T. Jones