Seeking John Preston

If there is a single fictional man who best represents what could bring me out of romantic retirement, it is John “Big” Preston.

I can already hear the stampede of anti-Big arguments rushing toward me. But I am here in defense of the roguish commitmentphobe who doesn’t let either of your relationships with other people impede your on-and-off-but-honestly-never-really-off affair.

I won’t list the Anti-Big arguments here. For one, they bore me and for two, you can find them in think pieces, Twitter threads, and memes across the galaxy.

There is a bevy of reasons why Big is my type of hype. Obviously, being tall, objectively handsome, charming, rich, and good in bed is an excellent starting point. There’s his self-sufficiency (Other than a disastrous attempt at fondue, did you ever see Carrie cook for him? No. You saw her posted at his counter, sipping wine and being clever while he whipped up pasta sauce). And his desired separation between church and state (As an agnostic non-churchgoer who has mostly dated black men, I would be overjoyed to hear I could skip a church outing with my paramour’s mother).

While all the above rates highly for me, what puts Big off the charts is that no matter who he or Carrie dated, he remained a phone call away.

It’s a relationship status that my friend Mari coined as “fuxwitchu.”

What Carrie never quite appreciated was that at any point in her and Big’s pre-marriage relationship, she could have made a phone call for just about anything. I get it. She was a romantic who believed in all-consuming, boundary-defying love.

I, however, am not.

So Big’s steadfast concern for Carrie’s well-being when they weren’t actively dating always jumps out for me. When she called, he answered. When she needed a down payment to buy her apartment, he offered without blinking. She didn’t take it, but her reaction is beside the point. She needed it; he was more than willing to provide it without question or stipulation.

If I’m to ever have a love life again (and the way I feel about the opposite sex lately, that’s not likely), it will look something like that. A little open-ended and hard to clearly define. Steeped in an enduring mutual affection that expresses itself with one, simple question…

“You good?”

don’t invite me to dinner

I’m not the girl who wants to meet your family.

I don’t want to bring a dish. I don’t want to sit in a kitchen pretending I care about your mom’s dressing recipe or how to shred cheese.

I don’t want to risk my outfit around your rowdy little cousins or hold your sister’s baby and have anyone making longing glances at me with an infant.

I want to bring the wine and watch the football games until dinner is ready. I don’t want your dad, brothers, or uncles mansplaining sports to me.

I don’t want to bow my head and pretend I pray while your aunt recites a 12-minute blessing. I don’t want to avoid the gazes of those who’ll judge me for not fixing your plate. I don’t want to answer questions about my parents, or my three half-siblings with three different mothers, where I went to school, what I studied, where I go to church. I want these people to stop talking to me so we sneak away from the table for a bathroom quickie.

I’m the girl you call at 9:00 PM on Thanksgiving evening with promises of leftovers and kitchen sex.

I want to slip on one of your T-shirts and sip whiskey and hear the story of your uncles’ fight over the Spades table while we stand at the counter eating my mother’s roasted duck and your mom’s macaroni and cheese that you know I’ll never perfect but you don’t care because that’s what your mother’s for.

Funny. Who knew I wanted anything at all?