Skin Deep

by Jhori Barksdale

With time and experience, Iíve learned many important life-changing lessons. One of my most favorites is, NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITíS COVER. This one goes out to all the good brothas out there who want to love, respect and protect their black women. I love you.

Never once have I had the chance encounter of meeting a woman who wanted to know me from the inside out. It has always been my greenish brown eyes, hard lean basketball playing physique and heavily cream coffee color skinned with the right cheek dimple that makes them want me. The funny part is that here I am wanting something deep and meaningful while all I ever come across are women who are only looking for someone who will bang them out one good time and then be through with it. Iíve been hit and ran on so many times that I really started to question my skills.

A few months back, for the first time in my life I actually stroked my little man just so I could whip out the tape measure to see if perhaps I was shall I say, falling short. Happily endowed with 8 inches versus the norm of 6, I found relief in the fact that I was not lacking in the measurement department. Then I began to question if maybe my technique was the problem. Was I not gentle enough? Was 30 minutes of foreplay not enough for a woman? Should I extend the time to 45 minutes? Even an hour maybe? Or perhaps my sip and lick tongue motion needed some improving when it came to going ďdowntownĒ. Was I fooling myself when women would claw the bed in pleasurable pain after I dropped to my knees and made like Professor Clump at a 24 hour all you can eat buffet? Was all the wetness running down my chin as well as their lushes round bottom-leaving a huge stain on the sheets, all coming from my mouth and not from the juices that flowed like a stream from those beautiful pink folds of femininity? And each time that they reached that pinnacle of pure surreal bliss, were they only faking when theyíd claw my skin leaving red welts upon my back, shoulders and ass? Was I one of those men that really did not know how to please a sista and so she wiggled around on the bed moaning and thrashing about just to encourage me to hurry and get it over with not wanting to bruise my ego? Yeah, I constantly have women flirting and coming on to me but once we go out, it seems like we arenít 30 minutes into the date before theyíre throwing the pussy at me. Shit for a minute there I was questioning my own sexuality. I mean, I know that I am 100% all man, but I can honestly say that I want more from a sista than what lays between her legs. I want to fuck her from the inside out. Find out what is going on inside that head of hers. All that other stuff is extracurricular in my book. There is nothing sexier than a woman that I can relate to and can relate to me on all levels. THAT is what gets my dick hard.

Iíve even had a woman ask me if I was gay because I turned her advances down. We rolled up in front of her house and I got out of the car to walk her to her door and I be damn if she did not grab my ass. Said sheíd been wanting to do it all evening and that now that she finally had, she would not be satisfied until she got a better squeeze with me naked. I told her that I wanted to get to know her better before we went to that level and I swear the sistaís head nearly popped off her neck before she finished reading me. She said she should have figured my pretty ass to be gay and that I needed to stop playing with women and come out of the closet so they would not be wasting their time. She didnít even give me the chance to get one word in because the whole time she was cussing me out she was trying to get the door open and once she finished she slammed it in my face---but not before she called me a pretty red sissy ass mutha fucker. Now I ainít got anything against a gay man. Just like everybody else, I have a few in my family including my uncle/aunt Robert/Rosa. But I am not gay so it really does piss me off when I am called that.

Whatever happened to wanting to take the time to get to know a person? Find out where their head is? Women are always complaining that all we men want is sex and yet Iíve had to practically fight off the last three dates Iíve had. I asked my best girlfriend and roommate Alisha to expound upon what the problem is. How is it that a so-called nice looking brother with a decent job and his own house can be so damn lonely?

Her explanation was rather intriguing to say the least. Her first hypothesis was that women expect me to only want the coochie and so they do the reverse psychology thing by beating me to the punch therefore they will feel like the one in control. Her second reasoning for the hit and runs is that women do that so they wonít be disappointed when you donít call. In their mind, they convince themselves that they made the decision not to see you so once again, they have the upper hand.

Well, while all these women are out there being SUPERWOMAN, a brotha like me is lonely as hell. And then there are my boys who say that I am truly making it look bad for them because a good looking man with women coming out his ears is suppose to take advantage of his status and not be a sucka for love. Iím sorry, I canít help it. Growing up with my Grandmama since the age of 7, I was raised to love, respect and protect my black women. Too bad, they donít want to be love, respected and protected. I guess if my name was Tyrone Iíd be getting treated like a King.

Thereís this one sista at work that Iíve wanted to get next to since she started working there three months ago. Sherry Quinn. Fine ass chocolate thang. Most of my boys are so shallow they wouldnít really look twice at her because she isnít light bright and damn nearÖwell you know. Hell, Iíve dated all shapes, forms and fashion so I am not too choosy, but their small mind assís are still stuck on the trophy woman issue. She has to pass certain tests to qualify, while with me; she can look like a pit bull as long as her words sing beautiful music to my mind and ears.

But Sherry ainít ugly by no means. Like I said, she is one fine ass sista whom you can tell by simply passing her on the street that she has her shit together. She isnít arrogant or flamboyant, just very confident and outgoing, yet down to earth. Weíve had a few chance encounters on the elevator and in the break room but Iíve never said more than a few words to her. Hell, I all but get tongue tied ever time she comes around.

Sheís one of those people where she would be beautiful even if she was ugly. Her presence is rather overwhelming and I even sometimes catch the white guys at work sweating her on the sly. Especially when she waltzes up in there in her cream short skirt suit with the cream-colored silk stockings and shoes to match. All that cream against that dark chocolate skin makes her look like an angel waiting her turn in line at the pearly gates. Hell, every time she smiles at me, I feel like Iím right there with her waiting to get too.

The time last week when she rushed onto the crowded elevator with her close cropped hair laying wet and curly against her little head and then had to squeeze in front of me, I nearly lost it hoping no one else would get on forcing her to back against my non cooperating little friend hiding behind my zipper. I had to walk through the open area and back to my office with my laptop bag swung in front of my pants to hide what both of my heads had been t hinking. As much pussy as I have thrown at me on the regular, not one of them did for me what Sherry could do just from merely knowing she is somewhere in the same vicinity as I am. Today Iíve finally gotten up the nerve to at least ask her out to lunch. Man, if she tells me no Iím just going to have to play sick and go home for the day. Since itís Friday Iíll have the whole weekend to recover my manhood. Catching her coming out of the refrigerator with a bottle of spring water I fear fumbling over my words, but give it a shot anyway. ďAh, Sherry, youíve been here three months and we really havenít had the chance to talk. I was wondering if you would like to go to lunch today?Ē

She gives me one of those heart stopping smiles but what comes out of her mouth more like breaks my poor heart instead of stopping it. ďI really would like to but I promised Chuck in accounting that weíd go to Houlihans today since I wasnít able to go to his birthday luncheon last week. Of course, youíre more than welcome to come along.Ē Great! Just what I need. To be a third wheel. And I hope Chuck ainít trying to push up on Sherry because he takes being a Que dog to a whole nother level. Every other word out of his mouth is a bark.

ďNo, Iíll pass. Just let me know when you would like to go. Itís an open invitation.Ē I say quickly turning to leave and praying like hell my face isnít a nice crimson red already. The last thing I need is for that little vein in the middle of my forehead to pop out making me look like one of those things on Star Trek.

ďHow about tomorrow?Ē She catches me off guard just as I reach for the door handle.

Turning back around to be rewarded with a smile sends my emotions into orbit and makes me change my mind about leaving early for the day.

ďOk. Iíll let you pick the restaurant.Ē

Before leaving work we set a time for me to pick her up the next day around 2. Iím so excited that I even cancel my every Friday upstanding date with Alisha, which consists of hanging out in Buckhead until both of us are in no condition to drive, let alone walk the three miles to our house.

After raking me over the coals for an hour, she finally gives up and leaves me at home to enjoy my thoughts of seeing Sherry tomorrow afternoon. Feeling like a kid on Christmas Eve, I know there is no chance of me getting my full 8 hours of sleep so I decide to put on a little Coltrane and chill on the patio. Around 2 oíclock I get up and go to bed but am back up at 7 in the morning washing my car and cleaning the interior.

Alisha comes to stick her head out the door not too much longer afterward, saying that she doesnít know who the female is but she hopes the pussy is worth her being awakened at 8 in the morning to DMX singing about how heís going to lose his mind, go all out and act a fool up in here. Up in here.

At 1:57 PM, Iím rolling up to the security gate at her complex and then begin getting paranoid when the phone rings for the third time without her answering. Then she picks up and her sweet voice says hello. Once she knows itís me she hits the button to let me in and the gates open. Man, Iím not even sure if Iím riding on tires or floating on air when I pull in front of her apartment building. She comes bouncing down the steps in some low slung but tight hip hugger Levis and I almost believe ďIĒ am DMX sing about losing my mind when I catch a quick glimpse of her little waist accented with a chain and enhanced by a navel ring. Damn. At work, baby girl doesnít even come off as being the ghetto fabulous type.

I open the door for her to get in and weíre off. From the moment the gates open and we exit her complex itís nothing but smooth sailing and great conversation. None of that superficial bullshit that Iím use to. Baby graduated with honors from Hampton and with every word that comes out of her mouth you can tell she took in every drop of knowledge her brain could absorb. I like a woman that knows how to straddle the fence and work Corporate America to the fullest without selling out.

Our conversation ranges from why she believes Bush really did bring drugs into the country specifically to plant in the black community to AIDS being a man made disease invented for the genocidal use of destroying the Blackman and not the gay community as so many believe. And then once we get to Cafť TuTu Tango and she goes into her views on the book, Behold a Pale Horse, well shit; a brother was damn near on his way up to the corner to check out Bailey Banks and Biddle to see what they had in a size 7 platinum ring.

By this time, Iím starting to get inside my comfort zone with her and take a chance and ask if she would like to go up to the ESPN Zone to hang out for a while and play some games. Can you say, mind blowing? Not only does she laugh and say yes, she also promises to whip my ass in interactive basketball and golf. Iíve got to be dreaming and am expecting to wake up any moment in my bedroom at the house with a cold compress on my forehead because baby has blindsided me from every which way possible.

The sad part about it is that she doesnít beat me once and not even twice. She woman gives me the beat down four times. After the 2nd game we have such a large crowd surrounding us that security comes over thinking that something like another Ray Lewis situation might be going on.

Staying around long enough to watch Shaq miss 8 of 10 free throws, the Buckhead night scene begins to come alive. We bar hop until a little after 12 and then decide to call it a night.

Back in the car, I drive slowly home, not wanting the night to end but in of my mind, hoping and praying that this wonít be another night of my saying no and being called unmanly names because I want something more than a quick lick, hit and split.

At her door, we stand there for a few minutes laughing and joking, especially about the scene she created back at ESPN Zone. Then she says something that really blows my mind and Iím almost positive will be remember for years to come. She goes on to tell me that sheís admired me ever since the first day that she began work at the company but always thought I was probably a pretty boy and stuck on myself, especially judging by how the other women in the office would talk about me and what they would love to do if given the chance.

She assumed I had whorish ways and would bed any and every thing that came my way. But as time went on and she observed me more and more, she noticed that she I was always nice and respectful and she would never catch me up in anyoneís face trying to, as she says, put the mack down. She said sheís often overheard how the guys talk so offensively about all the women but she would never once hear anything derogatory come from my mouth and this caused her to take a second look and want to know what laid beneath the surface. Friday when Iíd asked her out she had already made up her mind to ask me first, but I had beaten her to the punch.

Her words sent chills up and down my body. Finally, someone who wanted to take the time to get to know the real me. Before I could say the words, she said them for me.

ďI guess the sayings, ĎNever judge a book but its coverí and beauty is only skin deepí, is tried and true, huh? Had I not taken the time to find out whom the real Neal Stephenson is, I would not have had the fun that Iíve had today. Thank you for showing me that there are some good brothers out there.Ē

Then she kissed me on my cheek and went inside, sending me bouncing down the steps like a rubber ball. I wasnít even out the gates yet when my cell-phone rang and her sweet voice was on the other end asking if we could have a picnic tomorrow in Chastain Park. See thatís the kind of shit Iím talking bout.

Skin Deep by Jhori Barksdale

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