One thing is for certain: if you’ve never seen an Ashy Larry, you know for sure what one is when you meet him. Originally, the trifling character of Ashy Larry featured on Chappelle’s Show. But I never knew what #AshyLarry the hashtag was before I got on Twitter this year. Per its originator, blogger Auntie Peebz of dirtyPrettythangs.com:
…I came to regard all things bad, unattractive, base, ignorant and flat-out undesirable as “ashy.” Ashy is not about how you look. No, not necessarily. It is a state of being.
With that definition, allow me to introduce you to the ashy candidate I met one fateful evening at Pappadeaux in north metro Atlanta. By all rights, it should have been a perfect night; I gussied myself to wish a friend well on her move. Isis and I sat in the balmy summer air people watching and talking, waiting for the hostess to call our party.
A tallish guy with locs twisted down his back strolled into our view. We nodded politely but he stopped in front of us and introduced himself as Andre*. His black shirt, appropriately thin for the August humidity, stretched schmedium against his biceps. Fishing in his pocket, he handed us each a laminated business card that proclaimed him a seller of weaves. I dropped the card into my purse carelessly. I don’t do Yaky.
I will out myself as a social noob here. The ink was barely dry on the mini-business cards I’d bought to market myself as a freelance writer, and I was excited. Too excited, maybe, to realize that my cell number was on the card. I’m not naturally self-promoting, so I challenged myself to exchange business contact information with everyone who initiated it. I grinned and told him, “Let’s trade!” and introduced my hustle like he did his. He took my card, wished us a good evening, and went on his way.
Isis and I decided to sit at the bar and sip drinks while we waited for the other ladies. Engrossed in our conversation, I was oblivious to everything around me until the familiar two-toned dings sounded from my cell phone. I checked the message, surprised to find an unknown number.
UNKNOWN: It’s Andre
The last message startled me. Who tells you to smile when they aren’t looking at you? My head popped up and swiveled left to right. Across from the bar sat Andre-the-seller-of-weaves, sitting at a booth with his phone in his hands. The woman sitting across from him was a pretty chocolate brown lady with a pixie haircut. A thin line of a smile flashed across my face then disappeared. I did my best to turn my back to him.
“Girl,” I whispered to Isis. “That dude. He’s across from us. Texting me. While on a date. With another girl! GIRL!!!”
“Who does that?!” she said.
Who does that? Ashy Larry, that’s who. Even if I gave him the benefit of the doubt and assumed he didn’t see my wedding ring, what kind of man flirt texts a woman he just met while he’s on a date?
We ignored Andre-the-seller-of-weaves (and his lovely date) and were seated at our table in the back of the restaurant with the other ladies. The drinks were flowing, the laughter bubbling, when my cell phone dinged.
UNKNOWN: Where did you go?
UNKNOWN: Where are you sitting?
I rolled my eyes, flabbergasted. I refused to text him a response, afraid of somehow encouraging more bad behavior. I felt bad for the lady at his booth waiting for him to stop texting. Maybe it was his sister or cousin, I reasoned. I hoped.
If anything, this incident taught me to be careful passing out my business card to any old seller of weaves who hands me their hustle flyer. I never considered the potential for unwanted messages or phone calls.
I will admit that I’ve been out of the dating game for the better part of a decade, and I’ve never dated in Atlanta, which is notorious for shenanigans.
But is this common practice? Was this my fault? Do people mack (I’m showing my age) other people while their dates are sitting across from them? Help me out here, ya’ll.
*Andre’s name was changed to protect the ashy.