See transcription below:
This project is a collection of thoughts transcribed and dictated by ivana renee and informed by the honest experiences of various homegirls in the city. In this project, “I” is for all of us.
Today, a woman sat next to me on a bench in Union Square Park. She smiled and told me that I had good energy before introducing herself as a clairvoyant. She continued and said that for $50 I could come to her apartment for a “reading”.
It’s a no for me on the house calls, but I could use some insights on my future.
When I was 8, this boy I liked asked me to be his girlfriend. I really liked him, but I was so bashful that I acted like I didn’t hear him and responded “huh”. He promptly responded, “never mind”, and a week later, he popped the question to my best homegirl at the time. They lived happily ever after for the next three weeks.
It’s been slow ever since.
In high school, they told me that college was going to be my time.
“The boys in my high school just aren’t on my level.”
In college, they told me post-graduation was definitely where it was going to happen for me.
“Guys aren’t really ready for anything real in college. You know they don’t mature as quickly as women.”
Fast-forward, I’m 20-something and still recounting the 3rd grade lover that got away.
Niggas have been ruining my plans since the early 2000s.
In these years after graduation, I’ve had to reset my expectations on what post-college relationship building looks like. I thought relationships after college were about commitment and longevity, maybe even building towards marriage.
This is fake news.
Dating has been about text message dialogue, social media engagement, and the occasional weekday happy hour.
“He liked 3 pictures from 47 weeks ago and slid into my Instagram DMs. We exchanged numbers, and we’re supposed to get drinks next Tuesday”.
Ever wonder how we end up with nigga problems and no nigga?
Sometimes, yes, niggas are dollar store garbage bags who are unintentional, inconsistent, and ashy. There’s nothing we can do about that but sometimes…
Congratulations, we played ourselves.
There are a variety of ways in which we do this.
Sometimes, we get caught up with “going with the flow” but really just end up going with someone else’s flow.
“I’m not looking for anything serious right now”, they say or show.
“Oh yeah? Me either, you know me I’m just ‘going with the flow’”, we follow.
Sometimes, that’s our truth. Sometimes, we’re just being dusty.
“Sis, you lying”.
A few months back, I was at a day party (per usual), and I met a guy through the guy my homegirl was talking to at the time.
He was fine, I guess, but he was lowkey an asshole. He was one of those guys who try to flex on shorties to bag them. Everything was about money.
“He did buy my homegirls and I two rounds of $16 Henny pineapples though.
The whole “can I buy you a drink?” narrative is pretty exclusive to 90s movies these days, so I wasn’t necessarily mad at that”.
But outside of his bar tab, he was kind of a jerk. And I was setting the stage for the humble curve at the end of the night.
But my homegirl reminded me:
“Bitch, you ain’t got nothing else to do.”
So the night ends, and we exchange numbers.
We meet up one day after work for drinks but no tangible plans after that. For the next three-ish weeks, we have sporadic and dry text conversations. He hits me with a few late night “wyd” texts that I “miss”, until one night.
He comes through.
This is where it gets embarrassing.
We’re sitting on my bed, and he leans in to kiss me. His lips are wet, but not in a “Jupiter Love” Trey Songz kind of way. It was like a slug dropped from the sky and landed directly on his face, wet. He inserts his tongue in my mouth, and it has these super weird ridges in it. His tongue itself was even slightly chilly too. It was fucking gross.
I guess I kissed him back. But within seconds, I knew I didn’t want this man’s tongue in my mouth. I didn’t even want to be around him anymore.
While it’s happening, I’m thinking, “How am I a pseudo-grown woman kissing niggas with reptile tongues and personality disorders in exchange for Henny pineapples?”
I was embarrassed with myself.
On top off all of that, he posts his Woman Crush Wednesday later that week.
If I’d get too silent in my own mind, I’d re-imagine that situation and get embarrassed all over again.
I was playing myself, and maybe him too. But mostly myself, and I regretted it.
We don’t kick it again after that night. I see him out a few months later, and he hits me with the “what you doing after this?”
“Niggas really think they don’t expire, but that’s a story for another day.”
If I went to a bodega for a breakfast sandwich and all they were selling were jars of mayonnaise, I’d figure something else out. Under no circumstances would I eat mayonnaise out the jar. Times just aren’t that hard.
But that’s exactly what I was doing with Reptile Tongue. I was eating mayonnaise out the jar with a spoon. I was indulging in what was most easily available to me, knowing it wasn’t what I needed or even wanted. Shit, it wasn’t even my own jar, and I regretted it, immediately.
This is for homegirls girls who played ourselves when minding our business was enough, for homegirls who acknowledge their own bullshit to make room for new hot shit (and hot niggas, shoutout Bobby).
Let the group chat say, “heard ju”.
This is a collection of stories from homegirls who are honest with themselves, each other, and the world. In this project, “I” is for all of us.