Debra Dickerson

Debra Dickerson

A weeklong electronic journal.
March 4 1997 3:30 AM

Debra Dickerson

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       Reader, I slept with him.
       Coming back from the ladies' room at Dali, a trendy Spanish joint here in Cambridge, I steady myself with a hand on his shoulder to squeeze back onto my bar stool. Which is all it takes to decide.
       I'd realized that dating a professional athlete (he's not famous--let it go) meant I'd be spending more time outdoors, that I might have to learn to interpret the sports page, that I'd meet people different from the asthmatic pointyheads I usually date. What I hadn't realized was what that might mean in terms of musculature.
       "You lose something?" "Tim" asks. He's amused.
       No, smart ass. I found something. Smart, funny, educated, gentlemanly, close to his family, successful, well-traveled, multilingual, and best of all, not a neurotic, angst-ridden East Coast egghead. No résumé envy, no constant need for external validation. No using words like "problematic" when "screwed up" is meant. And did I mention that incredible body?
       OK, then. It's decided: Debra has sex before the new millennium. But this is problematic. Having spent so long waiting militantly for the right man, I've developed protective booby traps. Like not cleaning my apartment before a date, or not shaving for several days preceding, or wearing big, comfy Socialist-Realist panties that nearly reach my Afro'd armpits. I take mental inventory: Apartment? Neat. Armpits? Check. Legs? Thank God, yes. Drawers? None.
       Back at my place, he toys with me. He aims for an armchair, I toss our coats on it. He asks to read my clips, I pretend not to know where they are. He keeps his hands to himself and makes conversation a Boy Scout could be proud of. No double-entendres, no sweet talk. Just a knowing smirk. Just like Mr. Three and a Half Years Ago, he makes me do all the work. Then, I'd ended up climbing into the guy's lap and asking what a girl had to do to get laid around here. I have no intention of being that subtle again.

Debra Dickerson is a contributing editor to U.S. News & World Report.