August 7, 2001
Nicole and Malik in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G? Well, not quite, dearies. While it's true that the flirting between the two lonelyhearts has been going on since the casting special, nothing has come of it yet. They spend a lot of time hanging around the breakfast bar, talking about how much they love black culture, black women, black men who love black women. The stalemate is almost broken when Rachel spills the beans, "You said you were looking for sex today, Nicole." But no action is taken. After all, even though they have a lot to talk about, Malik admits that he doesn't really know Nicole and vice versa.
Alas, mes amis, this budding relationship will only going to fall into the crapper from here. By the end of this twenty-odd minutes, Nicole and Malik will be giving each other the silent treatment. The catalyst for this rift is interracial dating. Nicole is against it, for cultural and personal reasons. Malik doesn't have a problem with equal opportunity dating; as a matter of fact he's had several girlfriends of other races. He can't go anywhere without blonde girlies fondling his wispy 'do.
At this, Nicole cries foul. First, she questions Malik's motives for seeing white women- is it status? Is he objectifying them? Malik replies, "I know my queen is a black woman," but by this time Coral has joined the fray and all hopes for a calm discussion are utterly lost. Then, the two women are aghast that Malik wears Marcus Garvey t-shirts and listens to reggae all the time and yet he hasn't ever slept with a black woman. To them, he's all show and no action.
At these accusations, Malik looks weary and cowed. Everyone else in the house is of the "date-whoever-and-whatever-you-want" school, so the argument is completely irrelevant to them. Kevin, in particular, objects to Nicole's demands upon his new best friend. Kevin says that Nicole's bias against interracial dating contradicts her claim to open-mindedness. Do I sense a power struggle over the mind and soul of milquetoast Malik?
Every time Nicole and Malik try to hash this mess out, they get stuck at the same point. Malik is betraying his culture. Nicole is prejudiced. Sure, Nicole tells Malik that she only criticizes him because she expects so much from him. And Malik regards Nicole as family and doesn't want this issue to separate them. Nicole merely asks Malik to come to her if he has anything he to say to her, but all those late-night chats in the boys' room do not bode well for her.
One day, Kevin, Malik and Mike attempt to be extras in a rap video. The video doesn't happen, but Kevin and Mike both gawk with glee as the rappers begin to freestyle; it's exactly like what they've seen on television, for heaven's sake! Malik invites the whole group back to Bunim-Murray manor, despite the fact that Mike will probably put his big fat foot in his mouth before the evening's over.
Darlings, forget the division between black and white this season. In the current Real World house, the divide is much deeper between the guys and the gals. When Malik brings his guests home, the females all cluster together, practically circling the wagons. They barely greet the guys and when they do say something, it's dismissive. They guys take umbrage at this and accuse the girls of having a bad attitude. At this point in the season, there just isn't much cross-gender socializing, unless it involves yelling. It's dreary beyond belief, my sweets.
Let me amend that. Socializing across genders in the Real World house includes both yelling and vigorous finger-pointing. One day, Kevin brings up Nicole's beef with Malik. Not only is Malik is confiding in a Dubya-esque frat boy behind Nicole's back, but now this same rich white kid is calling her a hypocrite. Then, Kevin tries to head off the conflict by telling her, "I don't like the way you argue." It's enough to drive Nicole apoplectic, and she starts yelling and waving her hands in the patented double-finger pistol point method. Bang! Bang!
Later, Nicole will regret her blustery temper. She blames her confrontational argument style on her upbringing and says that she was just hurt by Malik's confidence in Kevin. She asks Malik not to tell Kevin about their arguments, but he considers the demand unfair since Kevin is a friend. Malik's becoming resigned to the idea of being cut off from Nicole, "So be it," he sighs.
Nevertheless, Malik and Nicole go on one more walk, to try to clear the air and reach some sort of accord. They're only blocks away from home when the discussion degenerates into more yelling and wild flailing of limbs. "I don't like you anymore!" Nicole exclaims. The only time the yelling stops is when Malik calls Nicole "holier than thou." She's just too shocked to speak.
So, Malik feels like there's nothing he can do to make Nicole like him. Nicole feels like a failure for becoming what she has spoken against- a judgmental angry black woman. Everyone's miserable, including those of us who watched the show. I'd better self-medicate with some bonbons, dearies. I recommend you all do the same.
Who's Shirtless: Never expose bare flesh when your housemates are throwing hissy fits. That's some good advice, followed by all the Real Worlders this week.
Who Cries: Nicole cries twice: once for her difficult past, once for her bleak, Malik-less future.
Most Annoying: Kevin says he refuses to get involved in Nicole and Malik's arguments and then proceeds to tell each and every soul in Manhattan that Nicole is close-minded and a hypocrite.
Best Quote: To Nicole, Malik's dating habits are "like wearing a Ku Klux Klan shirt and dating Patti LaBelle." I don't know which accoutrement would be more bizarre!
Next Week: Songbird Lori shows us how much she cares
about music by deafening her entire household.