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Before Facebook memes about women making a plate for their man and Dr. Umar Johnson took the interwebs by storm, I was quite uninitiated to the world of the Hotep. I knew guys like Shazza Zulu from A Different World existed but I never thought I was the kind of dame to have one stumble into my life. And I certainly never thought I’d come this close to falling head over heels for one. Here’s my story.

We met on a commuter train during rush hour. We were both wearing Vibrim Five Fingers sneakers. Unironically. He sidled up to me and hit me with a good old-fashioned, “Excuse me, Miss. What’s your name, where are you from…” and it was evident from the door that the man had done this before. He had shoulder-length locs and chocolate-brown skin with well-kept facial hair. He dressed like a backpack rapper. Little did I know that backpack was filled with sage bundles and shea butter. He smelled like incense. Not the good lemongrass incense your bougie ass gets from Love and Hip Hop pilates with Cardi B after paleo brunch in Williamsburg, either. He smelled like the kind of incense you have to travel to the headshops for. The kind that comes in scents like Egyptian Musk and Babodyrock Obama. He asked for my number. The ask was subtly fuckboi-ish (don't ask me to explain), so I instinctively put my fake number in his phone. He flashed me a smile. I’ll admit, it was a great smile.

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You know what, that’s actually my work line. Let me give you my personal number,” I blurted out. Nailed it.

Our first date was a picnic in Philadelphia’s famous Love Park. He forgot the sandwiches so we were basically just hanging out in the park watching pedestrians and the oldheads play chess near the fountain. He said he wanted to get to know me better. I told him I had returned to college as an adult for a degree in communications. I asked him about his background. He was born in Jamaica but grew up in the area. We talked about everything under the sun, y’all. We talked about our favorite black art, argued if David Allen Grier was a secret Wayans brother and Wyclef’s performance in Shottas. We talked about urryting.

The conversation turned to religion. I admitted to growing up in a religious household but standing out as somewhat of a black-sheep of the family for rejecting organized religion (and later in life all religion). He told me he was raised Muslim but had moved away from those beliefs a long time ago. He referred to me as “Sister.” A lot. “My sister” this and “Look, sister” that. I assumed he did this from growing up in the Nation of Islam. I was pretty much open to anyone’s ideology unless that person happens to be a Sea Org member so I pressed further. Why, oh why, did I press further?

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“You see, my Nubian Queen, my beliefs are complicated. It’s not just a belief system but a completely different way of seeing the world. Once you’ve had your mind opened to it, you will never see the world the same way again!” he told me.

“That’s cool. I’m, like, really into Lost mythology right now (#whereiswalt?) so I can probably get jiggy with some metaphysical analysis,” I claimed.

He wanted to know if I had ever read the Farmer’s Almanac. I joked that I hadn’t been a sharecropper in many a moon, shout-out to the Bordelon’s n’ them. He seemed very disappointed. I brushed it off. That smile, y’all. We ended up staying at the park until nightfall to watch the fireflies while I recreated scenes from Love Jones in my mind. Before we parted ways, he stopped at a local newsstand and purchased a copy of that year’s almanac.

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“Make sure you read it. We’ll talk soon,” he said as he handed me the newly-purchased copy and escorted me to a taxi.

Good people of VSB, that thing stayed on my nightstand for 525,600 minutes. I meant to read it. But things got busy with work and school and we were just about to find out the origin of the Smoke Monster on the island. On our second date he took me to a quaint tea house. I thought it was so romantic! In hindsight I think he was just broke AF! He asked if he could read my lifelines and as I stuck out my hand and looked deep into his eyes I realized this is how chicks end up pregnant with some maybe-baby. I needed to regain my composure. I offered to read his tea leaves and for-run-told-dat he would have a long and prosperous life. He made a joke about my third-eye needing Lens Crafters and I black-girl blushed.

Things were going well until he asked me had I been keeping up with my almanac studies. Studying what? How much rain fitna fall? I told him I had skipped the assignment on account of me having a life and that little thing called the 13th Amendment. His demeanor seemed really cold all of a sudden. He was giving me bad vibes. My chakras were all out of alignment. I knew I had offended him but my social awkwardness left me at a loss for what to say to smooth things over. He made some excuse for needing to end date two early and he agreed to make plans with me soon.

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Three weeks went by and I hadn’t heard from him. No calls. No texts. Not even a “wyd?” message on gchat. (For the youths out there, “gchat” is where women of the aughts went to get unsolicited and poorly-lit dick pics before Snapchat was invented.) I had decided it was best to move on when out of the blue he called me.

“Good Morning my beautiful Nubian Queen. How is life?” he exclaimed.

“Hey {through bites of Popeye’s biscuit} “Me? Life is great! How are things on your end my…um…Onyx…uh…Sith Lord,” I retorted.

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We did the small talk thing for a few minutes and then decided to go on date number three later that week. This time a real King James version-arsed date complete with dinner, drinks and dancing afterwards at Philly’s now-defunct Club Fluid. I showed up wearing an outfit that I thought screamed, “I’m auditioning to be an extra in the Beyonce’s "Diva" video but I do read books on occasion.” He came wearing a black ninja shirt and and culottes that looked to be made out of hemp and no “ninja” is not a euphemism for the n-word. This nigga was really dressed like we were going to fight Cobra-Kai in a poppy field somewhere. I was so confused. Here I was under the impression we were on a date and this dude was gearing up to fight Sub-Zero.

I waved off these red flags and warning signs yet again because bitches gotta eat but I made a mental note to remember the time he came dressed for dinner and drinks like everybody was kung-fu fighting. Over dim sum and miso soups he grilled me on that damn almanac. He explained to me that all matter and meaning in life can be predicted from the annual almanac. It honestly wasn’t the weirdest thing I’d ever heard anyone say so I proceeded to order rock shrimp and a vodka tonic. He then went on to tell me that he was able to predict the future. Mmmkay. But not just him. All black men. He had obviously never watched a paternity episode of Maury.

“You see my sister, that’s the problem. You watching that tell-lie-vision and the signals from the white man are recalibrating your ovarian energy with their curses and spells. You’d know this if you were studying your almanac,” he elucidated.

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Pause.

What did he just say about the energy of my ovaries?!

He was getting less and less attractive to me by the second so I ordered another vodka tonic. When the waiter came he mentioned to me in a voice way too loud to ever be confused for a whisper that Asian people were actually an alien species that had been sent to Earth by the white man to seduce the black man with their docile yet sensual wiminz. He must have noticed my dismay and he thought he’d placate me by assuring me as a black man it was his duty to fertilize the planet with his black seed and that each black man required a concubine of every “race” but that the black woman was his one true queen who was worthy to sit by his side. So romantic, y’all.

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I took my drink to the head and excused myself to use the powder room. From there I took a moment to give myself a pep talk. I needed to make some changes, y’all. Like, immediately. So I cold dashed and ran around the block, finding my way to a cab. I called my best friend on the way back home and well, I’ll just let her response be the moral to this story.

“Oh, girl. He wasn’t nothing but one of them damn Hoteps. You never go full Hotep,” she cackled.

Now I know.

Jordan Kauwling is an early thirties Philadelphian but she tells everyone she's in her late thirties because she doesn't understand how math works. When she's not busy writing, singing, eating all the falafel or unsuccessfully finishing another craft project you can catch her talking junk on Twitter.