It’s late February 2020—a pre-COVID-19 world. I was attending a Black tech entrepreneur mixer being held at my office that I didn’t really want to go to, but I decided at the last minute to drop in. I walked in and was instantly enamored by the number of beautiful Black individuals in the room. It was inspiring to see a crowd of successful Black professionals since my professional life is 99.9% white (welcome to Boston). I put my networking face on, and about an hour later, I met K, a 25-year-old “hacker.” During our brief interaction, K stared at me for a solid three minutes without saying a word. I thought he was weird and left.
I attended the conference the next day, and as fate would have it, I happened to sit in the row right behind K. I noticed him checking me out from the corner of his eye, and after being in the same conference room for an entire day, I realized that K was pretty attractive. At some point during a break, K and I started talking. I learned that he was a co-founder of a startup, we had similar tastes in music, and he wanted me to show him my favorite spots in Boston after the day was over.
Fast forward—K and I end up hanging out the entire conference weekend. We bar hopped, went dancing, and had great banter. After the conference was over, K wanted to keep things going, and I was open to it. For about two weeks, things were good. K and I talked every day, had a great dinner date at one of my favorite local spots, and I started to see potential in something with him. Not necessarily a relationship—but something worth exploring. Then, the disaster called COVID-19 hit. K went to stay in New York City with his family, and I was alone in my apartment. Throughout the beginning of the pandemic in March, we stayed in touch every day through facetime. Despite the distance, I couldn’t deny the chemistry between us.
Then came April. One of my grandmothers passed away and my world came crashing down. I didn’t know what to do after speaking with my family so, I called K.
At first, K thought I was laughing on the phone at a joke I told, but then he realized I was crying. Within an instant, K said he was coming to Boston because he didn’t want me to be alone. I thought he was playing, but he literally flew to Boston from New York City that same night to support me while I grieved the death of my grandmother. I just wanted someone to hug me. Little did I know what hell would take place when he arrived in my apartment.
The first weekend after he arrived was great. He cleaned my bedroom for me, cooked us bougie meals, we drank wine and cocktails, played video games, cuddled, and watched a ton of movies. Despite my apprehension about sharing my apartment with another human, I felt like he was caring for me like a potential partner, which was a huge step forward for me when compared to my previous situationships.
However, Monday came along, and I started to notice a few red flags:
- For a co-founder of a startup, he never had a lot of work to do. I know we’re in a pandemic, but he had way too much time to play on his Xbox.
- He typically didn’t wake up until about 12-1 pm in the afternoon and was always hungover.
- His credit card was regularly declined.
- And worst of all, he consistently made subtle yet alarming “grown man-child” comments.
According to the gospel of K, he is a “self-made, independent Black man.” Yet, he would never make his own lunch. Whether I was working or trying to practice some much needed self-care, he would interrupt what I was doing and ask, “Hey, babe, can you make me a sandwich?”
I was shook the first time I heard it. When it happened, he was in my room playing Xbox. I walked in and told him he knew where the food was, and that he could make it himself.
“Well, I’m used to my mom making my lunch whenever I’m hungry, and you remind me of my mom,” he responded. My jaw dropped. I don’t know if he meant that as a compliment, but I thought this man was here to support me emotionally, not to have me babysit him. I didn’t make the sandwich, and about 30 minutes later he ended up making it himself. He then proceeded to be petty to me for the rest of the day.
The sandwich comments recurred throughout the week. By Thursday, I was starting to feel major uncertainty about how much longer I could have him around.
Then, Saturday hit, and I wanted him out of the house.
K was hungover, again, after drinking 5-6 glasses of tequila on ice the previous night. We went to buy groceries, and K offered to cover the costs once we got in line to pay. But, his credit card was declined–again. We had to go to another grocery store and I ended up paying for the candles, paper towels, and cleaning supplies that he originally was supposed to buy.
After loading the car, K asked if we could mail some cleaning supplies to his mother in New York. I agreed and drove up the street to the post office. I parked across the street and told him I would wait inside the car while he went inside to mail the package. After two minutes of sitting in the car watching him be consumed by a Youtube video, I asked him if he was going to move.
K looked at me and responded, with all seriousness and nonchalance, “I don’t know how to mail a package.”
I lost my shit. How does a 25-year-old “self-made man” not know how to mail a package via the United States Postal Service? Words were exchanged and shade was delivered. After my WTF moment, I ran across the street and mailed the package within less than 10 minutes.
I returned to the car, and we drove back to my apartment in silence. Hours later, and K and I didn’t speak—he was obnoxiously yelling while playing on his Xbox, and I was in my living room watching Real Housewives. Eventually, K came around to apologize for his annoying behavior and we decided to watch a movie.
Late into the night, things seemed to be better even though I continued to observe K drink out of my tequila bottle. He started to get lit throughout the night while I slowly sipped on wine. At some point, he went to the kitchen to grab a snack, and when he came back to the living room I asked him to recycle the wine bottle. He ignored me and sat back down. So, I decided to be the mature adult and get rid of the bottle myself. After doing so, K exploded and said I was being a b*tch. I immediately went to bed because I was heated and so over his bullshit.
When I woke up the next morning, I went for a walk to clear my head while K slept in after another night of him copious drinking. I knew that I needed him gone because I couldn’t deal with his immaturity on top of me grappling with my grief. I decided to talk to him about how I wanted him to treat me with more respect. When I got back, K was awake and I finally told him that I didn’t appreciate his behavior. He went off. We said terrible and disrespectful words to each other, and I was emotionally done.
“Get the fuck out of my house!” I screamed.
He ended up leaving the next day, leaving me with a completely empty bottle of tequila but also a huge sense of relief. I was so content with having my space that I literally felt a weight lifted off my shoulders when he shut my apartment door behind him. I saged my apartment after he left and was at peace.
- Never let a rando stay in your house for an extended period of time, especially during a pandemic.
- You are not your man’s babysitter, even if he stays in your space.
- Unless you’re committed to each other, never make a man a sandwich.
Natalie Cantave is a marketing and communications professional by day, and writer exposing grown-man-children by night. You can follow her on Twitter.