A few years ago, someone asked me what I had wanted to be when I grew up. It was one of those “break the ice” conversation starters. I said “Super Friend, Gangster’s Moll, Author.” I’ve always loved words, Aqua Man was hot and it was probably the only way I was going to get to meet him and I had an odd fascination with gangsters. Let me specify that I mean the type of gangsters you see in Guys and Dolls. I wanted to wear polka dotted dresses and go to a speakeasy.

They say you should be careful about what you wish for.

This is it. The post about Andrew. You may want to read this post about Ty first for chronological and background information.

As I said before, Andrew was black. This meant nothing to me. I had been brought up to believe that you never judged a person by race, religion, etc. My mom dated a black man right after she left my father (actually it was my Dad’s best friend) and I always wished she had married him. I knew I was attracted to him, he was nice to me and I needed that. I wanted to feel good about myself after my disaster relationship with Ty.

So Ty and I started dating. If you could call it that. I knew almost nothing about him, other than the fact that he had a son from a previous relationship. He lived in an apartment on the other side of Madison and I would go over there with him after work.

I remember him even less than I do Ty or Dane so I’m just going to give you bits and pieces about our time together.

The first time we were together, the first time we had sex, I remember walking from his bedroom to the living room, completely naked to get my clothes. His exact words were “Damn, woman, you move like a cat.” When I asked him what he meant, he went further to say that I strutted, that I was extremely sexy when I walked. May I just say that I was extremely flattered? The words Sexy and Dana are not often used in the same sentence.

He would get his hair done once a week and had this stuff put into it. He told me you could always tell when a black man was in love because he would be walking around with a plastic shower cap on.

He always opened his cigarette packs from the bottom and would not tell me why. When I would ask him, he would say it was “A Black Thing.” Drove me insane. When we were involved, I asked him again and he finally told me it was because if someone borrowed a cigarette, they would take the cigarette from the pack and this way, they wouldn’t touch the filters. This made sense to me and I could never figure out why he just hadn’t said that in the first place.

If you have never been to Madison, I suggest it highly. I loved living there, even though I was constantly broke. It is a capital city, just like Saint Paul, and it was as if Minneapolis and Saint Paul had merged. State Street was a lot of fun to wander down and see all of the speciality shops. We lived on what was called the politically correct side of town (predominately gay) and people were just so nice. There didn’t seem to be any hatred or crime or anything negative. I remember riding on the bus with Andrew one day and this little old lady was smiling at us. This was not something I was used to from growing up in a small town in Minnesota (now this was in the early 90’s and things have changed a lot in MN but I still remembered hearing people complain about interracial dating or classmates wanting to beat up people simply because they were black. Or gay. Or different in some way. Ah, small town life. I don’t really miss it (Although Kari and Eric are living there, in the house I grew up and driving through there was a whole bunch of Kerry signs. Maybe it’s changed)).

The same bus trip, I remember looking down and seeing a symbol that was fairly popular in Minneapolis. It was the gang symbol for the Nice Ladies (You know I love to change names. If you change the N to a V and the Ladies to their male companions, you’ll figure out who they were). Apparently, they had just started moving into Wisconsin.

The last time we were together, I had gone over to his apartment again on a Saturday night. Suddenly he looked at the clock and said he had to get to liquor store before it closed. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t have anything to drink the next day. He started pulling me out of the door and told me to stick close to him. I will never forget what he said next, this was what brought my romance to a crashing halt.

“I’m wearing my colors so if something goes down, you just step to the side,” Andrew said.

“You’re wearing your what?” I asked.

“My colors. I belong to the Nice Ladies and there could be a rumble.” Yes, he actually said rumble.

“They’re a gang,” I sputtered.

“No, they’re not. It’s just an organization.” He looked at his watch. “Baby, I got to run. You just keep to yourself, I’ll be right back.”

He took off running to the liquor store, leaving me alone in a predominately black neighborhood, after telling me that he belonged to a gang…oh, excuse me, organization. I had a sudden thought of the Sharks and Jets bursting out from all over the place, I even started humming the bars of “When You’re A Jet” to myself. He came back after the longest 15 minutes of my life, clutching his bottle of malt liquor in it’s paper bag.

I did go through a period of time in my life where I was a law breaker. I think every kid goes through a klepto stage (except quite possibly Beth and Keem), I did my share of drugs, I once egged a house. But nothing in my mind compared to the fact that I was dating a gang member. That was it. It was so over.

I remember saying to Becky the next day, as I told her why I was breaking up with Andrew, “Organization. Organization, he calls it! That’s like saying the Mafia is a men’s club.”
And that was it. It was over. The funny thing is, I don’t really remember breaking up with him. I do know that shortly after I started dating Dane, Andrew tried to talk me into going out with him again. He was not pleased to know that he had been outgunned (sorry, bad pun) by a 17 year old.

All I want is a nice, normal guy who can sing and isn’t a criminal. Is that too much to ask? Apparently, since I am still extremely single. Oh, well, tomorrow is Sunday and I can listen to good singers and watch Bobby pour water. Life is good, just a little lonely sometimes.

Previous Comments:

At 11:54 PM, brooksba said…
Dana,Organization is a funny word. One of my friends from the pool hall dated a guy who was a member of the KKK. He called it a club. I didn’t converse much with him once I found out. Gangster’s moll. It sounds so glamorous. But then the reality sets in. I’m glad you don’t date criminals anymore. Let’s get Bobby to pour you lots and lots of water tomorrow night!
At 5:30 AM, DeAnn said…
I think, actually, that IS too much to ask. At least the singing thing. Some people are nice and not criminals. But they cannot sing. So, love them anyway, girl!
At 10:00 AM, annebrev said…
Just found your blog, Dana… you’ve made me laugh, and that’s a good thing on a Monday morning. Thank you. I’m sure I’ll be back!
At 1:12 PM, Matt said…
Father,First of all let me say that you have now got that doamn song stuck in my head for the next, twenty-thirty years….”When you’re a Jet, You’re a Jet for all life..”….and now of course the video for “Beat It” form Michael “Pedophile” JAckson is stuck in my brain as well……thank you so much. Also I would like to say that
At 1:12 PM, Matt said…
Father,First of all let me say that you have now got that doamn song stuck in my head for the next, twenty-thirty years….”When you’re a Jet, You’re a Jet for all life..”….and now of course the video for “Beat It” form Michael “Pedophile” JAckson is stuck in my brain as well……thank you so much. Also I would like to say that

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