by Gina B.
There are a lot of shady people in this world.
One of my girlfriends once told me about a man that she'd recently met. She described him as "mysterious." I was curious about her description and probed further.
She said that after their first conversation, she realized that she had done most of the talking, and he had divulged a limited amount of information. In fact, in retrospect, she recalled that he had been oddly elusive and never directly answered her questions.
She had no information about where he lived, worked, his hometown, if he had a girlfriend, or if there was anyone who thought she was his girlfriend (two very different things). All she knew was that he was cute and seemingly interested in her.
I suggested that she stop referring to him as mysterious, and call a shade a shade.
Unfortunately, I know shady when I see it. I met my first shady monster several years ago. I'm an open person, and Shady Boy took me by surprise. He and I met at a party, and after three hours of shameless flirting in a dark corner, he decided to lay down the "ground rules." He was the type of guy who likes to keep his business "on the low."
Red flags waved violently.
I asked if he had a girlfriend. Shady Boy retorted: "Why? Do you want to be my girlfriend?" He never answered my question, but went on to explain that he didn't like to air his relationships in public. He was a private person, he said, and often misunderstood.
I understood him completely. He was shady as hell.
I declined his tempting offer for a undercover quasi relationship. It was a good thing I followed my gut. Months later I learned that he had a live-in girlfriend, and a few clandestine relationships with women in the same social circle.
When I met my second shady monster, I was prepared. He asked me out, and I casually mentioned it to one of our mutual friends. My shady suspicions were confirmed when he confronted me one day, upset that I had shared the story.
I heard the familiar spiel -- "I don't like having my business in the streets." I cut him off during his speech. I told him that I couldn't care less about his desire for secrecy, and suggested that he simplify his life. He slunk away, like a ghoul in the night.
While ruminating over the behavior of the shady boys that I've known, I realized the logic -- their approach has obviously worked in the past, otherwise they wouldn't continue.
There are countless women who find shady boys intriguing and mysterious, and happily play along within the parameters of their rules. They're flattered by the attention, and proceed without understanding the consequences.
For the record, shady is not a sex-linked trait. I've known a few shady women, and their habits are equally infuriating.
So . . . if you're tired of shady behavior, stop pointing fingers at shady people themselves, and start blaming the willing participants. Shady people need partners, and if you refuse to play, the game will stop.
If you've ever encountered your own shady monster, write a comment below and let us know, or comment on my Facebook page. If you want to have this conversation with us live, come out to our panel discussion at Black Women's Expo in Chicago on August 7th at 5:00 pm.