I Love You New York, But I’m Over Your Men (Essay)

Photo by Rae Witte.

Words by Rae Witte.

It took a man with no ego for me to drop mine. It took a man saying, honestly and eagerly, “I want to see you, but tonight doesn’t work; tomorrow does.”

Detaching from one’s ego is a concept I personally adhere to, but I’ve learned I can’t expect others to; it was nice to finally have someone on the same page.

It took a man that always texted back and called. (Is this still 2016 and not ’07?) It took a man that laughed and looked at me crazy like, “What type of men do you deal with?”

I’ve always dealt with “right man, wrong time” men. I’ve dealt with “you make me want to be better, but I’m not ready to be better right now” men. I’ve dealt with “you read me so well it scares me” men. I’ve dealt with “I don’t make plans” men, “I’m so spontaneous” men. I’ve dealt with men who always keep in touch, but never choose me.

It took a man that wasn’t jaded by New York City, a man that was re-building his self-worth because of his own insecurities and whatever woman who came before me. A modest, humble man that was more impressed with my hustling New York girlfriends rather than any of his own, albeit impressive, accomplishments.

I was fearful though. I feared he’d take with him what I showed him–of his worth–and take it back to her. “See baby. I am worth this. She saw it and now you will.”

It took a man six years younger than me for me to ask him to walk me out of a bar and give me his number.

It took a man that told me he missed me when I didn’t see him for four days (because my mom was in town) to drop my pride. A man that missed me, and I genuinely missed back, even though I’d seen him less than 48 hours ago.

So comfortable, I had no problem texting first, always complimenting his actions, looks, and work–even after the texts started to be fewer and far between. Because regardless of where it goes, right now I know I admire him and want him to know it.

It took a man that wasn’t scared to tell me about his past, joke about his drinking, and admit how much he likes to fight. A man that I now think was simply trying to scare me by sharing those things, because when it comes down to it, he still can’t believe how much I want to be around him.

It took a man that texted me when the new Jeremih album dropped and asked if we could put it on and make out. A #relationshipgoals meme in real life.

That same man though didn’t respond to my similar text when PARTYNEXTDOOR dropped his album. He wasn’t in New York City anymore. Out of sight, out of mind presumably.

It took a man that I knew was leaving from the day I met him, to forget about if we were spending “too much” time together. A man that I openly acknowledged may leave and never come back, but still obliged when I asked him to come over.

A man that held me tighter in his sleep than when he was awake, had tears streaming down my face when I watched him leave because I convinced myself even under the slightest chance he does come back, it might not be the same.

I’m sad, but I’m grateful because I realized that the multiple New York City men before him didn’t really matter. I didn’t feel sad when things ended with them. Instead, I was mad. They hurt my pride. They bruised my ego. I was offended. They won’t make time for me? Their loss. I was annoyed. It wasn’t a coping mechanism like my girlfriends believed. It was the truth. Perfect he’s not, but I learned from him, a man not from New York City, about how easy it should be to tell someone you care, when you know their pride won’t get in the way of them saying it back.

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