One night in 1998, my best friend Montclair and I were leaving a party at Chelsea Piers when we both stopped, turned 2/3 of the way around and looked a man over from head-to-toe, like he was a brontosaurus burger and we were Fred Flintstone. Goddamn, she said. Goddamn, I answered.
Montclair and I had never engaged in behavior like this before (or since) that night. But it was Leon, Brother from Another Planet, Waiting to Exhale, you-know-I’m-still-fine-even-with-this-Detroit Red-conk. And as cute as I ever thought he looked on screen, he looked fucking delectable that night.
Which brings me to this moment, when Leon’s conk-less self is sitting across from me on the 2 train reading what appears to be a magazine about rims and big butts. The cheekbones still look like they were chiselled by Rodin, the skin smooth and rich as dark chocolate, his outfit passably un-corny. And yet, even with traces of the margarita I had at an office party making me giddy, I’m not moved.
Is Leon such a 90s throwback that there’s no room for him in my lusting of this millenium? Will TI one day just be that short rapper who bought some machine guns before the BET awards? Lord, let’s hope not.