I recently realized that I might be non-binary-romantic. That’s the term I’m currently using to describe my disinterest in romantic relationships with cisgender men. Every romantic relationship I’ve had in my four years of dating has utterly failed due to a controlling spirit: being uncomfortable with my seeing other people while seeing them; expecting me to bottom for them and refusing to accept almost anything from me beyond a blowjob; wanting to financially provide for me and declining reciprocity (unless you’re rich, my broke ass won’t argue with you).
None of my romantic relationships thus far have survived beyond three months. My first boyfriend, right out of high school, is, I believe, incapable of honesty and emotionality and has a penchant for playing sexual mind games that I, four years later, find impossible to solve. If I ever catch him in these streets (I hear he’s moved to NY now), I’m not sure what I’d do. It probably won’t involve fighting because he’s an ex-fireman with a gorgeous body that would likely put me in the hospital but let’s just say I hate him.
The next exes were never assigned neat titles but are ex-somethings nonetheless. #2 makes me want to never again date another person who shares my sun sign (two Geminis in one bed only equates screaming matches). #3 was white, old enough to be my father, thinks that non-binary identity is stupid and unnecessary, and thought (and likely still thinks) that his smorgasbord of Black friends and history as a house music DJ rendered him incapable of racial bias. (Note to self: never allow yourself to have sympathy sex again.) #4 was very sweet, took me on fine dates, made me feel beautiful and precious, and has the loveliest uncut dick I’ve ever seen. We ended on a sour note — when I returned to school in NY, he didn’t like that I was still entertaining other men on Tinder — but he’s the first ex I call my friend. He sent me money when I was dead broke and has a brilliant mind that will positively change the world. #6, my second official boyfriend, you can read about in previous posts. We broke up on horrible terms but are good friends now. He’ll change the world, too, with spaceship designs and a warm heart. But his dick, emotions, and patriarchy will never touch me again.
There are only two people with whom I’ve had anything resembling successful romanticism. One is another non-binary person (#5) with whom I deeply, deeply connect spiritually and I plan to have a multi-partner household and four children. The other is a person who, the last time I checked, identifies as cis but is unafraid of emotional vulnerability, is an extraordinarily talented and poignant writer, and has a heart like absolutely no other. Both also have amazing, flourishing hair.
In my almost two years of knowing each of these beloved individuals, I can’t recall a time I’ve ever had a serious argument or had to stop myself from punching them in the face. The former, I dated for a few months. We met on Tinder while I was home on break from school and hit it off talking about our mutual adoration for Queen Janet Jackson. We lost contact but it (this person’s gender pronouns) called me out of the blue while I was back home on winter break two months later and made plans to hang later that week. Our second date was at a local comedy show where it held my hand. In it’s car after the show, it introduced me to British pop/soul powerhouse Gallant, kissed me, and talked for hours about the universal connections of life. Around this time, my mom had given up on assigning me a curfew. It used to bring me to it’s house, telling it’s grandmother that I was helping it with an anthropology project. We stayed in it’s room for hours where my tongue and lips blessed the smoothest, most beautiful bottom in all the world, a portal into a sacred place that I, to this day, only dream of exploring in-depth. When I returned to school a few weeks later, I promised it, in the backseat of it’s car, that I would tell it if I slept with anyone while away.
In March the following year, it broke up with me. Our last phone conversation as a couple took place while I was at the Black Solidarity Conference at Yale. I was a tad tipsy at the closing party where I ducked into the lavish hotel hallway. I could barely hear it over the blaring music; it was clear that our distant connection was waning and that it was growing uneasy. A few weeks later, at a conference at Williams, I dipped into the hallway next to the hotel room I was sharing with a friend. Minutes later, I returned and announced, with an ear-to-ear smile frozen on my face, “[It] broke up with me!” and declined my friend’s emotional support. That was the first time I realized long distance romantic relationships will never work for me and that I’m (almost) perfectly happy alone, free to fuck. These days, we’re both exploring our bisexuality; as I wait for my first experience, it tells me that pussy is pretty cool.
While dating it, I had developed (almost detrimentally) strong emotions for my cis friend, whom I met at a conference in California. He told me, after we landed on the same flight back to the east coast, that he thought I was cute and was watching me the duration of the weekend but was afraid to approach me. I said that the reluctant esteem was mutual. During Thanksgiving break, I took the train an hour out of NYC to pick him up from his aunt’s house and took him back to Midtown where I convinced him to let me kiss him on a bench in Central Park. My lips had never before enjoyed something so soft and sweet. I was in some sense in love. A while later, I picked him up from his aunt’s house again. It was too late to go all the way back to the city, as I had to respect his curfew, so we grabbed smoothies and walked around the quaint town, basking in the quietude of the night. We eventually hid in a tall stone staircase where he gave me the blowjob of my life, my dick dripping with the nectar of his petals, my head spinning from unrequited satisfaction. The white woman who had almost caught our Black asses on top of that dark staircase, however, was not amused. He walked me to my train back to the city and, before leaving the platform, courageously kissed me once more.
We still talk every now and again and adorn one another in terms of endearment, but not like we used to video chat into the wee hours of the night until one of us was dozing off. Yet I know that our physical paths will cross again as our mutual ecstasy is endless. We will exchange writing — his poetry and my essays. We will free ourselves of homonormativity and white standards embedded in our Black families. We will see the world. We will love.
I sometimes wonder if there is any use in searching for love beyond these two people. Cis men will likely frustrate me until the end of the world, totally inept of understanding my body, my mind, my sense of universality. So, as for now, they shall remain eye candy on Pinterest boards or something to fill me up when a dildo isn’t enough. As Beyoncé says, I know that I will never disappoint myself, so why seek a love that only seeks to control, that which is forever fleeting?