My fellow Aidans and Mr. Bigs never seem to share our own stories of love, sex and city life; instead, our voices are typically relegated to the locker-room topics of politics, music and sports. “Common Sensual” breaks that silence. Listen up if you dare.
Having a partner truly in your corner is essential to any serious relationship. A lover who can provide sincere support may be as elusive as a true friend. But it’s only something you can reciprocate if they have goals and dreams of their own. A chance encounter I made outside the Brooklyn Academy of Music many years ago led to a sweaty sex connection not long forgotten (perspiration stings the eyes so good), but the bond was unglued thanks to her lack of ambition. Groupie love might turn 50 Cent on, but when you feel like your woman’s a fan who you can’t cheer back, things start to turn stale fast.
I first noticed Epiphany (not her real name) in Brooklyn leaving a show by indie soul rocker Martin Luther. The new dominance of low-rise jeans led to the prevalence of a new kind of cleavage back then; let’s just say Bonita’s applebum had nothing on Epiphany’s, and that her (intentionally?) visible thong was a deep scarlet. Her “Black Girls Rule” T-shirt looked fresh out the gift bag of a Trace fashion magazine party, and with her highlighted Afro, yoga-trained curves and sexy folded eyelids, Epiphany might’ve stepped right off of Trace’s pages. I pointed the beautiful bohemian poster child out to a friend, who swiftly swung her in my direction out of the blue for some flirting.
A week later we were on our first date at the Bronx Museum of the Arts for a showing of Hip Hop Hope. I’d lent some commentary to that documentary on post-9/11 hip hop culture; naturally I wanted to impress Epiphany. Maybe it was an ill precedent that gave the impression I liked having my ego stroked. And maybe that wasn’t far from the truth at the time. But soon, Epiphany and I were an item. Her penchant for gratuitous public displays of affection started becoming legendary in my media circle, but I was far from complaining. At least in the beginning.
She confessed her love pretty early. I felt the same for her; at 31 I finally spied marriage in my near future for the first time, and maybe I was emotionally preparing myself. Still, a lot of bonafide experts say you can often spot what will end any relationship at the beginning of it, and that wisdom was true for Epiphany and me. Our major problem from jump was that she hadn’t found her calling and I needed a woman who was a bit more settled on where she wanted to be in this world. So-called “life purpose” can be vague, but by 2003, I was super-focused on finishing my first book, chasing different writing assignments, and plotting a Baldwinesque move abroad. Epiphany—unemployed at the time—usually listened, supportive and excited, but could never offer her own plans for conquering the world.
We masked the problem with plenty of sex on the bachelor-cliché shag carpet of my home office (Epiphany demanded twice-a-day, everyday sex from her regular boyfriends, and I was no exception), and plenty of white wine. A lot of passionate downward-facing dog and plough poses (Google ’em) went on in that room, as I evaded the feeling that Epiphany was living a little vicariously through my stuff. Nine months later, I had to face reality and break things off.
I hear Epiphany eventually followed her vein of gold to become a yoga instructor. And I married my very next girlfriend; their birthdays are one day apart.
Have you ever ended a relationship due to a lack of ambition in your partner? How long could you stick it out with someone who doesn’t quite know where they want to be in life? Speak!