It was 1995, Drea McClain had just finished her first year at Spelman College and wasn’t happy about having to return to her small South Carolina hometown. She wanted to stay in Atlanta, get a job and go to summer school. Anything to avoid going home where there was a curfew and endless days of boredom.
“So,” her mother, Aretha McClain, asked as they rode down I-20, “how was school?”
“It was amazing,” she replied with a smile.
Aretha nodded. “I can tell, so proud of that 3.5 GPA. But I know you were having a good time in between studying.”
Drea shrugged; definitely not ready to tell her mother about her clubbing adventures, her fling with the captain of the Morehouse College football team and her flirtation with alcohol. “Kind of,” she finally said.
Aretha snorted. “All I have to say is be careful. Atlanta is a big city and I’m sure the people there would love to take advantage of you. But, you’ve always made smart decisions. You do use a condom every time you have sex, right?”
“Yeah. I mean, huh?”
Aretha glanced at her daughter briefly then returned to watching the road ahead. “Honey, I was 19 once. Be smart about who you give your heart and body to. Are you serious with him?”
“No. He was a senior at Morehouse and he graduated already,” she replied without the hint of sadness. Honestly, she thought. He was a waste of her time. The sex was whack; he wanted oral sex but didn’t want to return the favor. Sex was something she could do without. So far, her two experiences had been nothing like the romance novels she read and the stories her friends told. In her mind, she was still a virgin with a modicum of experience.
“You don’t seem too broken up about it, so I guess that means you didn’t love him?”
“Absolutely not! I’m all about graduating and building my career in journalism. Love can wait.”
“Aren’t you lucky that your dad and I didn’t feel like that?” Aretha said with a laugh.
Love is for suckers, she thought but simply nodded in mock agreement with her mother.