Bad Boys Are Like French Fries: Yummy but Bad for You!

Bad boy syndromeI met him back when I was a college kid sitting in my faithful Honda Civic at an intersection in some little, no-frills outskirt of Philly, the kind where people try extra hard to compensate for not being from the city proper. I was scarfing down a bag of pretzels when my peripheral caught someone mocking me from the street corner.

“Damn!” he shouted. “You puttin’ a hurting on them. Can you share?”

I laughed, because for some reason when I’m in my car, I do eat like an inmate on the yard worried about somebody snatching my food. So I held the bag out the window and asked him if he wanted one. He smiled an adorable, sheepish grin and said no thanks, but he did ask for my number. I most certainly pulled over to give it to him.

Turns out he was a hustler. You know (in my whispery voice) ... a drug dealer. The bad boy to end all bad boys, as far as I was concerned. 


All I knew from the very beginning: his swagger was off the meter. He had edgy attitude seeping from his pores. I could feel that before I even got to the spot where he was leaning. Shoot, it was part of the reason I got out of the car in the first place.

To draw me in even more, he was a big guy who towered his thick, 6’2” frame over my 5’4” one as soon as I stood next to him. He had a gorgeous copper-colored complexion that I found out was attributed to his family being from Antigua. And — another weakness — he was from New York. His accent was like the silent song of sexiness, and it swirled around me like the Pied Piper’s notes every time he said something. It didn’t even have to be anything intentionally seductive. When he said “pretzels,” I was ready to melt.

I love New York guys. I did when I lived there, I did when I was in college, and I still think they’ve got more flavor than any dudes anywhere else in the States. Just sexy for no reason, they are.  

Back then, me and this particular one I had snagged on the street corner talked for a few minutes and hit it off immediately.

As a born and bred church girl, I should’ve turned my nose up in disgust, doused him with a travel-sized bottle of holy water, and hightailed it back to the Civic, no more questions asked. Not that he made an outright confession right then and there that he was a street pharmacist. Not that I picked up on it, either. It took a few weeks for me and my naïve self to figure out that somebody who sleeps during the day and is up all night, has an ongoing love affair with a Ruger he keeps tucked into his back waistband, and carries around a wad of money thicker than a deck of playing cards was probably not a guy working the graveyard shift at the 7-Eleven.

During the time before he came clean about his profession, we hung out at his apartment and talked plenty of those long, deep, philosophical talks into the wee hours of the morning. He was intelligent and funny, but he also had an amazing life story that helped me understand how he ended up doing what he did. There wasn’t an excuse for the choices that he made, but there were reasons that put him on the trajectory leading to the fast life.

Me and my schmaltzy tail ended up being thisclose to falling in love. I was there. The one thing that kept me from going all the way in? Knowing full well that I could never, ever take that dude home to my mother and grandmother and expect them not to smell the streets wafting off of him.

My mom, who is liable to haul off and say just about anything that’s on her mind, would detect that right from the giddy-up. We were from two completely different backgrounds — my family, the overprotective, hardworking Christians against his drug-addicted parents dying of AIDS and most of his adolescence spent in and out of foster care. But all my mom would see was a drug dealer.

That was my only hustler, but it wasn’t my last bad boy. My best friend calls them my wounded birds, guys I try to “fix” and help lead to the light. Some have been worse than others, but my success rate has nonetheless been mighty low. I always had a hard time resisting that good girl-not-so-good guy attraction.

Do you have a thing for bad boys, too?  


Image via diongillard/Flickr

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