Once upon a time, Gail, a 21-year-old woman, found herself romantically pursued by “Marcus,” a 23-year-old man.
Now Gail did not date much. She focused on her senior year of college. Dating/relationships were low on her list of things to accomplish.
Gail and Marcus knew one another through mutual friends. Marcus seemed a decent guy. He was handsome. He was a smooth talker and a classy dresser.
But Marcus had one life habit that completely turned Gail off. Marcus was, as they say in the vernacular, a “playa.” Big time. Huge. He had lots of young woman lining up to “socialize” with him. Now Gail was no prude, and this was before AIDS and other STDs became today’s nightmares. Still, a wantonly promiscuous man was unattractive to her.
So when Marcus set his sights on dating Gail, she said to herself, “Yuck. No way. He’s asking for a casual date but all he wants is casual sex. He’s only interested in carving another ‘notch on his headboard.’ Nope. Not with this girl. Ain’t happening. No sense dating and wasting his time…or mine.”
Marcus kept pursuing…not offensively so…just persistently. Finally, Gail decided to give him a chance. He asked for a date—she would go out with him. She realized she was only responsible for the choice to respond yes or no to his request for a date. Whatever further expectations he had, well, that was on him.
Wouldn’t ya know it? This guy was loads of fun! He was a gentleman, witty, knew and loved Shakespeare’s plays. (You’re kidding me, right?) Gail had the best time with him and agreed to see him again.
They dated off and on for several months. It’s funny, but any potential sexual stuff was never even discussed. Marcus seemed to know that it wasn’t going to happen. Even so, he kept calling and they kept going out and having a wonderful time together.
After about three months, Marcus’s calls stopped. Gail went about her life; she assumed Marcus did the same. Four months later, Marcus called and their dating resumed. Gail never asked him about the four-month hiatus. Why would she? He owed her no explanation. He was not her boyfriend; they were free agents.
This pattern—approximately three months on/four months off—continued over the next year and a half. Not a single sexual encounter passed between Gail and Marcus. None.
One day, Marcus called. “I have a wonderful opportunity. My uncle has several successful businesses in Atlanta. He has no children and he wants an heir-apparent. He’s asked me to join him, help him run the businesses, and eventually inherit them.”
“That’s wonderful news, Marcus. I’m happy for you!” And Gail truly meant those words. “When do you leave?”
“My family is throwing me a party this Saturday night. I leave for Atlanta on Tuesday. Would you attend the going away party with me?”
“Certainly, I will.”
The party was extravagant, lovely, loving. Afterward, Marcus and Gail sat in his car in the parking lot. He was quiet. She assumed he was sad about leaving home and family. He turned and took her hand in his.
“I’d love it if you would move to Atlanta with me.”
HUH? Gail stared at him. “You mean move to Atlanta permanently, as in—live together, you have a job so I get a job, we get an apartment, we are boyfriend and girlfriend or even husband and wife? Like THAT?
“Yes. Whichever one suits you. If you say you will only go if you have an engagement ring on your finger, I will have you a diamond ring by close of business tomorrow.”
Gail got ready to throw back her head and laugh. That’s a very silly joke, Marcus. But she didn’t laugh–she didn’t speak. She looked into his face. He was serious as a heart attack.
From that night in Marcus’s car, to this very day, Gail has never again spoken to nor laid eyes on Marcus. He did join his uncle in Atlanta. Whatever further path his life has taken, Gail knows nothing about it.
Of course she did not accept his proposal. She believes she spoke thoughtfully and sensitively as she let him down. That is her recollection, at least.
Yes, the Gail in the story is Gail Roddy. Over the years, while I’ve thought of this experience from time to time, the recent release of the movie, Act like a lady, think like a man and Steve Harvey’s 90 day rule, brought it to the forefront of my mind again and made me ask the following questions:
- Why did Marcus continue to date me, months at a time, even with no sexual contact between us?
- Did he keep coming back because he thought I was the ultimate challenge?
- Did he think he would eventually “break me down?”
- Why did Marcus want to marry me? It was no secret that I was a very young woman just having fun. I wasn’t in love…with him or anyone else.
- He was young too. He clearly liked women and loved having sex with them. He didn’t need to marry. He could go to Atlanta and have an entire new cadre of beautiful, willing young women to woo. Why marry?
- Did he have negative intentions? Get me to Atlanta away from my support system, marry me, then continue his ‘playa’ life style?
If you say, “Gail, perhaps he was just in love with you.” Then that brings up my biggest questions:
- How could he be in love with me, want to marry me, when we never had sex?
- I thought a man couldn’t be in love with a woman if there’s no sexual contact?
- Isn’t it true that for men, expressing romantic love is impossible without having sex?
I know you men reading this can’t possibly know exactly what Marcus was thinking. But since you are men, do you have an educated guess? Please comment and help me lay this puzzle to rest.
Thanks. I appreciate it!