Once upon a time I was a copy editor for my college daily newspaper. On occasion, I would write opinion columns on various topics like culturally offensive college mascots and the KKK adopting highways in Missouri. I also reviewed music. One night, the entertainment department offered me free tickets to cover a live event featuring a popular hip hop group and other affiliated acts. I was a fan, but certainly didn’t know everything there was to know about the east coast-based band. However, I had a dear friend called Camille who did. I invited her along.
If anyone had asked me that day where I’d end up that night, I never would have said the Belly Up Tavern in Solano Beach, but there I was fist-pumping and getting contact highs along with the crowd. That was the first night I heard Dead Prez’s ‘Mind Sex,’ and it immediately became one of my sex soundtrack classics. After the concert, Camille wanted to hang around. The main act was her favorite band, and the venue was so intimate (as was the main act at the time), that she was sure they’d stick around to meet fans post show. They did.
Dead Prez came out as well as the lead of the main act. I’ll call him Balou. Balou was humble. Cool. Everyone else in the act was going out. He was not. Going out wasn’t his thing. He invited Camille and me back to his hotel room. At the time, I was in a very committed relationship. My partner was a huge, huge fan of his. I told this to Balou.
At the hotel, the three of us talked about music. There was a new artist who had just released an amazing album that everyone was raving about. They had collaborated on a few songs together on his albums, and he was now featured on some of the tracks on hers. She is now a very successful songstress and actor now too. We had a pretty mild night. He smoked his pot with Camille. We drank and watched Me, Myself and Irene. It was like three old friends sharing a good time. At one point, I was lying on my stomach across the bed. He rested his head and very thick, muscular torso on my back as his legs hung off the side of the foot of the bed. He fell asleep. He was heavy, but I was too polite to move him. I finally got relief when I got up to go to the restroom. Camille and I woke up the next morning to go home. Before I left, Balou and I exchanged numbers. We said we’d keep in touch. We sent a few texts and communication eventually fell off.
Three years later, I moved to L.A. I was a bigger fan than ever. I was also single. I learned that Balou and band were going to be at the Santa Barbara Bowl. I decided to go. Talib Kweli had just released his debut solo album, and he was also going to be there. I went with a friend. I stuck around post show because I wanted to say hello to Balou. Since we hadn’t kept in touch, I wondered if he remembered me. When he came out, he made it clear he remembered. We hugged did a quick catch up, and I told him that I was living in L.A. We exchanged new numbers again and said we’d keep in touch.
A few months later, I got a message from him. He was coming to L.A. for a show and wanted to see me. I wanted to see him too. However, I was sleeping with someone I thought I should be with. It was the DJ, the same guy who I was hung up on when I had a shot at The Actor and Country Singer aka The Sex That Got Away #4. I told the DJ about my friendship with Balou. His reaction is irrelevant, but I will say this. In his mind, it only reiterated to him how out of his league he already had told me I was. He was one of those you’re-too-good-for-me kind of lovers who’ll sleep with you anyway because, fuck it, you’re letting him. He was right about me being too good. I have believed every man who has said it since. Yes, I believe them now. Yes, there have been a few. Yes, I have worked on this. Anyway…
It was a Friday night, and the next morning I was leaving town to go to a family reunion in Seattle. I really wanted to see the DJ. I knew he’d be getting off around 3 am. He told me he’d call when he got off. Balou texted me all evening. I knew if I went to him, something might happen between us, and I wouldn’t see the DJ. I blew him off holding out for the DJ. I waited till about 5 am before I went to bed. He never called. I caught my flight early that morning.
During my time with the DJ, I learned a lot about what a relationship wasn’t. Two important things learned: 1) Just because we’re screwing, doesn’t mean he’s my man. 2) If, when I do see the man I’m screwing, it’s always after 3 am, he isn’t going to start dating me.
Over the years, I’ve watched Balou and Band explode in popularity. I don’t consider Balou someone I could have been with forever. Far from it. But I definitely think about his upper body pressed against mine in ways other than just to rest his head and heavy torso.