It's not like I said to myself, “I'm going to date crack dealers now!” But when you meet one, you meet a lot of others. And then you start dating.
Illustration by Rob Ondzik
The source of this story, who lives in Canada, wished to remain anonymous for fairly obvious reasons.
Just last week, I was at a trap house with my ex in Cloverdale, British Columbia. The front door was covered in what looked a lot like bullet holes, but I'm not sure. There were a lot of unexplainable holes in the wall. Some of the holes were so big I could almost fit through them. The whole place smelled faintly like ammonia and dirty laundry. I was hanging out in the living room while they were all in the kitchen. On one burner they were cooking crack and on the burner next to it, they were cooking dinner. I think that's kind of funny, but I also couldn't help but wonder why I was there? I mean, it's not like I seek this shit out, or anything. I think I just attract it.
Crack dealers tend to approach me. I'm not chasing them down. It's not like I ever said to myself, “I'm going to date crack dealers now!” But when you meet one, you meet a lot of others. And then you just start dating.
I’ve met some of them through friends, some I’ve met randomly at the club, or at a bar, or on the street. I don't smoke crack. I'm not about that. I've never tried it, probably never will. I guess I date them because I like their personalities. Maybe it’s because I thought it would be exciting—but it’s actually kind of boring. They always want to chill at home. They're always so tired. They don't want to do anything. They barely have time to sleep, let alone have fun.
The first time I was approached by a crack dealer, I was 19 and at a party somewhere in East Vancouver. He was a friend of a friend. I thought he was really tough. He had muscles and he was wearing a shirt with no sleeves. I liked that. We dated for a couple of years. He was actually my last serious boyfriend. No one's held me down like that since.
He was a full-time dealer and worked on the streets, mostly around the Downtown Eastside, but it was nothing huge. Dealers can't make that much money here in Vancouver. If you want to make real money, you have to leave. You have to go to Saskatchewan. That's where the money is. I hear it's tough work. A lot of it is on foot, and you don't sleep for days. But you come back with tons and tons and tons of money. Like, you can make $10,000 or $20,000 a week, something crazy like that. The people out there have nothing to do. After work they just want to hit the pipe. I guess there’s less competition out there too, because Vancouver is a bigger place. Plus it's a port city. All the drugs come here, so there are a lot of dealers.
Illustration by Lindsay Pomerantz
I used hang with a guy who would go to Saskatchewan and sell drugs all the time. He was ballin'. He made tons of money. On our first date, he spent well over a G. He was just throwing it out like it was nothing. He was buying me anything I wanted. We rode around in a limo… It was crazy. We would go out to all these fancy-ass restaurants and all the white people would stare at us like, “Who let these hood rats in?” That was fun. He's never really in town though, so I only get to see him a few times a year. I think if I ever decide to just settle down and be a housewife, I'll marry him.
But even with him, it wasn’t all limos and fancy dinners. He was really violent. He would tell me stories about how, when he was in jail, he was talking to some guy who was a rapist or a child molester or something really horrible like that. He says he almost killed the dude. According to his story, he slit the guy’s throat with a knife. He was crazy. And he was fucking huge.
I dated another crack dealer who I liked to call “Art School Boy.” He was a sensitive thug. He wasn’t cut out for the crack dealing game. You have to have a certain personality to succeed and make a lot of money. Like, at one point he tried to break out of it and was hired to work a regular job, then he got into school, but eventually he got pulled back into dealing. I guess when you’re surrounded by other crack dealers it's hard to get out. It takes over your whole life, all your friends are doing it, and your whole lifestyle is centered around crack. If you don't know anything else, what are you going to do?
You want to get a regular job but you can't, because you have a criminal record. No one's going to hire you. So, what do you do? You go back to crack dealing. It's a cycle and it sucks. Plus, these guys are addicted to the fast money. You can’t get that same sort of satisfaction from a regular job.
Everyone always asks me about the crazy shit I must witness, but none of the really crazy shit goes on when I'm around. I've seen a lot of fights, and I also saw one guy package heroin… I suppose that was pretty crazy. He would cut up lottery tickets and fold the heroin into the makeshift envelopes. I helped him do it, actually.
Illustration by Lindsay Pomerantz
For a while, I was a driver. I would drive my man and his friends around in my mom's Toyota while they made deliveries. That was when I didn't have a lot of work. You'd be surprised who smokes crack! Most people might assume that a crackhead is generally the type to live under a bridge, but we would deliver to totally normal people who lived in really nice places. I remember one time I had nothing to do, so I helped deliver all night, and we went back to this one guy’s house like three or four times. He seemed pretty normal. He was so polite. You'd be surprised. Regular people like crack, too.
Of course, I was worried about the cops pulling us over while we were delivering, but it never happened. If they did, I knew I wouldn't be the one getting in trouble. I never had anything on me. I've never had to hold anything before. Sometimes, when the cops came around, I was passed a cellphone to put in my purse. But I don't think they would ever put me in danger by giving me drugs to hold or anything. They wouldn't do me like that.
Ultimately, none of these relationships worked out. They don’t fail simply because of the crack dealing—since that's what they were doing when I met them—but some of the other stuff that comes along with the drug trade does become an issue. Like, finding out that the guy has violent tendencies. I don't want to be with someone who is violent.
A lot of these guys don't have much time for me either, which is fine because I like my own space, but sometimes it bothers me. And I hate to say it, but if one of them went to jail I just don't think I could wait for them. I've never had to wait for someone. We break up before they get locked up.
There is this girl I used to know, her boyfriend went to jail for a year and half, and she waited for him. She was a real ride or die kind of girl. She was so devoted to him, visiting him every day. When he got out, she realized she was trapped. She was living off of him and wanted to do all these things, but he wouldn't let her. He didn't treat her very well, even though she waited for him. I heard she's an escort now. I wouldn't let that happen to myself.
I'm trying to get out of the game. I'm in school again, and I'm dating this totally normal dude right now. He's a customer service rep who listens to Drake. We're just hanging out, it's nothing serious; but it feels weird to date a normie. It's hard not to text back the old guys when they text me, and it really annoys me when dudes can't afford to take me out to nice places and buy me dinner. I guess I'm addicted to that fast cash too.
Dating a crack dealer isn't glamorous, but it used to feel that way. I used to feel like one of those girls in a rap video, a down chick, standing by my man who buys me clothes and takes me out and pays for everything. I was the kind of girl a rapper would write a song about. But I don't think it's glamorous anymore. It's dirty. I feel like I'm stuck in a myth I don't believe in anymore. The only appealing part about it all is the money. I'll never forget seeing all that money. Some guys keep their money in a sock drawer. Some guys keep their money hidden in the back of a closet. But sometimes when I saw the cash, seeing stacks of money like that, thousands of dollars, it's just like… whoa. Just being in the same room as all that money made me feel important. It made me feel like I was doing something right.