Compatible

Years ago, when I first began dating my fiancé, I took him to meet one of my closest friends for dinner. The friend arrived right on time, but we didn’t notice her sitting in the corner of the restaurant. When I pointed her out, we moved in sync to walk to the table, bumping into one another. We opened our mouths and the same causal “Hey” came out at the exact same time. We reached for the same water glass.

The friend pushed chopsticks through the very last tidbits of her thai food after sitting and talking and eating with us for over an hour, and suddenly came out with, “You two are perfect for each other.”

It made me beam, and I squeezed Brandon’s bony knee underneath the table. “Aw, I guess we’re alright. I mean, sure, we’re compatible.”

At the sound of the word “compatible” this friend gave us a quick update on how her own love life was shaping up nicely, all thanks to a chance she took on an online dating site. She had been very much against the idea at the beginning, but after having several nice dates, she seemed more convinced than she originally thought possible. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of finding someone online so I asked her quite a few questions about the selection process. The secret, she had concluded, was all in the questionnaire you fill out at the beginning. She has been brutally honest about her lifestyle and all its imperfections, and she was closer than ever to finding love.

“You two should do it,” she said after taking a sip of her drink. I laughed, thinking she was kidding, but then she repeated herself. “I’m serious,” she said, “you two should do it and see if you’re paired together.”

“We should! We should do it!” I said excitedly, turning to Brandon and grabbing one of his hands. “We could prove that this stuff really works! We’re obviously meant for each other. What a great idea.” I sat forward with a huge smile on my face.

“That,” said Brandon, “is a terrible idea and we’re not doing it.” My mouth fell open slightly and I looked at him, wondering why he would say such a thing. He shook his head no. The three of us went round and round on the pros and cons. Brandon wouldn’t budge. He thought it was a sure way to get into an argument, and thought the fight we might have if we weren’t paired together would be disastrous.

“Oh, I know who he’ll get paired with,” I said, starting to slip from a giggle to a more serious tone. “White women. They love Brandon. They love him. Like a moth to a flame.”

“That’s enough Janet Jackson,” he said, making reference to her hit song “That’s the Way Love Goes” and the catch-phrase that, yes, I learned from singing along. “Like a moth to a flame,” I said again, leaning forward to my friend.

She took me seriously and nodded. Then she sat back and asked us what we were doing for the rest of the night. That was the way she was. She was so single she had no idea that she’d set off a bomb in our world. I mean, yeah, I don’t think I dropped the Match.com debate for weeks. “What’s the worst that could happen?” I’d ask wildly.

Well – well – this weekend I finally had my chance to play a game of dating Risk. We started our pre-marital counseling sessions. Technically the first one is just a 3-hour period where you answer questions about your relationship. But I’m telling you, it’s a mind sore all the same. It asks you all types of questions: what would you change about your mate, what do you think your mate wants to change about you, have you been sexually active with this person, how many peppers did Peter Piper pick?

I might have made that last question up. But you get where I’m going with this. It’s personal, and forces you to really think and it scared me –

And we’re in a fight now.

I mean, we’re in a fight for a much larger reason, but I’m doubly concerned – notice I didn’t say angry, because when you’re planning a wedding there’s no time to actually be angry – about my answers at this point. And I’m right. Man, I’m so right. Now those of you who have been reading this blog for almost a year know that I don’t discuss the details of our ups or downs. I just needed something to do besides bite my fingernails.

People fight. We’ll get over it. I’ll get over it. I just wish we could have taken the questionnaire with a mediator and some thai food, that’s all I’m saying. And like my friend Paul once said, “Nothing goes better with Thai food than ginger ale.”

One of my other friends was using a dating site, and she was hoping to find a handsome black man. Instead, the website kept setting her up with Asian men who thought they were Black. I saw of the profile pictures, and remember that there was a cop named Officer Chan who was having such a Denzel Washington moment from “Training Day” that it was shocking. I had really hoped Officer Chan and the friend would work out, but no luck. I wonder who he wound up with.

I’m heading South for a week. Directionally, south. But I’m heading north where my mind, emotions, and physical strength are concerned. I’m headed way, way up.

‘Cause baby, I’m too light to stay weighed down.

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