The Main Course: Dripped in Mango Butter, B*!

So I told you all how I spent my 30th birthday in Charlotte, getting to the bag. What I failed to mention was how the weekend ended. I had another one of those life-altering moments happen, but there was no bodysuit involved this time. (IYKYK) I made it back to the DMV and had a fabulous brunch with some good friends. It was probably one of the best Sunday Funday’s I’ve had in quite some time. That was until I met a man I nicknamed Diamond Powers.

After brunch, we headed over to Thurst Lounge. It’s DC’s first black-owned LGBTQ+ lounge. I actually remember when the news broke about it. I felt a sense of pride knowing that there was a curated space for us in the nation’s capital. Talk about a flex! Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted, and it immediately felt like home. By home, I mean a space that felt safe. For most black gay men, those spaces are few and far between. I was inebriated by this point but somehow still functional. I have to say that because I’ve learned my lesson about being too drunk in public, and that’s not how I’m doing things in my thirties. So we grabbed a few drinks, secured a table, and were real-life “fucking the club up.” *in Nicki Minaj’s voice* As I was doing my signature auntie two-step dance, I was bumped by a stranger, and my night would take a drastic turn.

I turned around and was greeted by a very apologetic chocolate fella. He’d then introduce me to his two friends. It was giving Destiny’s Child vibes, and the guy that bumped me was definitely Michelle. Michelle would then tell me that, from afar, his crew had actually been checking me out, and they all agreed that I was handsome. This would remain a pleasant exchange for another 60 seconds until Diamond Powers opened his mouth. You’re probably wondering why I’m calling this man that. Well, he was a mix between Tyler Lepley (Diamond from P-Valley) and Keith Powers. Yes, he was handsome, but not the brightest crayon in the box. After an additional exchange of pleasantries, Diamond Powers would then tell me that I sounded like a woman. Yes, a whole woman. In fact, he said that he was surprised that my voice was so “high-pitched.” I don’t sound like Morgan Freeman by any means, but I sat there for a few seconds in disbelief that those were the first words this man chose to utter to me. Oh, but it didn’t stop there.

I continued on with the conversation, which I now blame on those damn mimosas. In typical DC parlance, we started discussing what we did for a living, where we went to school, and the zip codes we lived in. Chile, DMV men want to know what degrees and accolades you have, and getting your name, which some find important, is an afterthought for them. I indulged because this young man (myself) from a small town in Arkansas has accomplished a lot in his thirty years of living. But just as he was on the verge of redeeming himself, Mr. Powers put the nail in the coffin, and his chances of ever getting a dose were now nonexistent. I had on a cute docker cap, which gave me the appearance of what some would call a butch queen. Diamond Powers then proceeded to ask me if I was bald. Actually, he took it a step further and asked me to remove my hat in fear that he was being “hat-fished.” I obliged him to not only prove him wrong but for him to see just what he’d never have.

I’m sure the big question now is, why did I even give him all that energy? Well, I’ve already discussed how I’ve been a recurring victim of “fem-shaming,” but I really haven’t talked much about my insecurities. Growing up, I was always teased for having a big head. Over the years, I’ve definitely grown into my noggin, but I still hide behind hats for a sense of comfort. I actually call them my wigs. *inserts laughing emoji* At one point, it got so bad that I started buying hats in damn near every color just so I’d never have to walk out of the house bald. I had to face this head-on (no pun intended) in therapy, and I’ve come to love my big ass head. My imperfections are what make me who I am. So me removing my hat wasn’t for him; it was actually for me. To prove to myself that I’m beautiful. Now I’ve paid good money for my wigs, so they’ll continue to get some good use, but I’m no longer reliant on them. What I’d find out later is that I unlocked a new level of bad bitchness that day. I’d discover the secret ingredient in Durand Bernarr’s mango butter: self-love.