Chile, as intellectual as I’d like to think me and my friends are, if I’m honest (and ya’ll know Aunt Randi always is) half of our conversations are about men. Now I love my girls, but I’m getting too old for dis shit. I thought by now we’d be chillin’ with our boo-thangs, takin’ cruises and going to the movies ever now and again, but naw—Viagra done messed up the game. Playas now got an extended battery, so my gurls goin through the same mess they was goin’ through when we was in school together. You know what’s sadder than a young girl waitin’ all day for a phone call she ain’t gonna get –an old woman waitin’ on a text she ain’t gonna get.
So, I’ma take some time to give eeeerbody one of my very best pieces of dating advice. You may not believe it but I used to be a bit of a playa myself back in the day when my tits were closer to my shoulders than they are to my knees.
I want you to imagine that you are walking down the street—any street. The street lights are on, the temperature is perfect and you’ve had yo-self a good dinner with friends (lobster tails were on special). You are carrying your “doggy bag” in your left hand and your purse in your right. When you are almost at your car, a cat walks up and starts meowing at you—like he knows you or somethin’. You ain’t really a cat person (they’ve always seemed a little sneaky) but this cat has a way about it (or maybe the movie Black Panther got you a lil bit more open to felines). Either way, you open up your carry-out styrofoam box, bend down, and give the cat a dollop of your leftover mac and cheese (you sure ain’t giving him none of your lobster. You ain’t THAT nice). The cat devours it—and begins repeatedly doing figure eights around your legs in appreciation.
To make a long story short, you end up taking the cat home (you can’t explain it, but you felt a connection with this stray). You name him Felix, buy him all the cat supplies at Pet Smart the next day, and announce to your friends that you are now a pet-owner. For the first three nights, Felix sleeps cozied up to your feet. You didn’t even know you was lonely until you got Felix, as his purring late into the evening actually gives you a bit of comfort and company.
After about two weeks, you come home dog-tired from work, juggling two bags of groceries and open the door – and that dang cat shoots past your feet and out of the door, down the steps and across the street until you can’t even see where he went. You yell his name, but the damn-thang keeps running (what cat comes when you call it anyway?).
Three days pass. You can barely get any shut eye and are losin’ yo focus at work because you are so worried about Felix. Is he eating? Will he starve? Will a dog eat him? Plus, you have quickly become accustomed to the weight of him at your feet as you both sleep. Will he ever come home? You miss him. Just when you are about to give up on em’, Felix pops back up, aggressively meowing at the door – almost like he’s pissed at you and you were the one who put him out. “Crazy-ass cat,” you think. “I should take his ass right back to the street I got him from –worrying me like that.” But, just like the first night you met him, he does figure eights in and through your legs as if to say, “I’m sorry.”
That night you sleep better than you have in days—with him purring by your feet. Two days, later, however, you come home and see dat the damn rat has taken a dump in middle of your living room on yo cream carpet. “Oh, hell-to-the naw!” You snatch Felix’s ass up and put his ass out of your house. Felix betta recognize, you ain’t one of these “save the whales, every-life-is-equal type of chicks.” You work too hard for yo stuff to have anything messin it up.
About the time, you start to feel guilty for putting Felix out — he shows up again meowing at your front door. Ya’ll go back to your regular pattern, he sleeps by your feet every night, you fill his bowl with Fancy Feast (premium seafood entrée) every day—until you find another one of Felix’s turds in your hallway, and then another in the guest bathroom, and another by your bed. That danged varmit is dropping turds around your house like the Easter bunny drops eggs. Every few days, you come home to a stanky-surprise from Felix.
Also, every now and then, he dashes out the door and stays out in the streets for days at a time.
You reason with yourself: Felix must just be going through somethin’. But then you notice that Felix has been using your curtains and your furniture as scratching posts. What in the feline-hell?! Yo’ girlfriend told you that cats are the easiest pets to have (lyin’ heffer!)
How are you gonna now tell yo friends that you had to give Felix away cause you couldn’t manage a damn cat. Hell, some of yo friends have damn zoos at dey house and seem to have no issues. You wonder: what is wrong with me? Why won’t his cat act like a normal cat? You google articles to help improve your techniques with the cat. Here you done brought Felix off the street into yo nice townhouse, provided him with cat toys, gourmet cat food and cat toys and he wants to act like some damn wild cat on National Geographic.
But that’s the thing – Felix is wild. Felix is an alley cat. He has been living in the streets for six years. The streets are in him. He was raised on survival, not love. For his food, he caught mice, ate birds, and begged from sweet-hearted people like you. He sharpened his nails on the trees and pooped wherever he wanted. Just because you provided him with a better environment didn’t mean that Felix was prepared to live in it.
Are you pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down, Honey? Many of these men that ya’ll try to domesticate are alley-damn-cats. It’s not that they may not like/love you or recognize that you have provided them with a nice home—nicer than even their family provided. And that’s the problem: they are used to doing what they do: scratchin’, poopin’, runnin’ and huntin’ whenever and wherever they want. Instinct, habit and patterns drive them. Don’t allow his behavior to affect your self-esteem. His behavior has nothin’ to do with you, baby girl. It is who he is. It is who he was way long before you got him and brought him home.
Now, you is a grown ass woman. Aunt Randi don’t tell folks what to do in dey love life—ain’t no point –yall do what you want anyway when the heart or de other beating organ is involved. Do what works for you. Take that alley cat back to the alley or keep him in yo’ home. Either way, just know that regardless of what you do, Felix is going to be the same damn alley cat he has always been.
p.s. Men this advice is applicable to you too. There are male and female alley cats.
My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more