Dating Diversity: I’m Not As Tolerant As I Probably Should Be
This is a race post. I’m warning you now. These are my observations and opinions.
So, I came to a very interesting revelation last night.
After going out with a co-worker last night, I realized how fun it is to flirt with men outside of my race as long as all parties are interested in the flirting and don’t have any real expectations.
Maybe Olivia Pope and President Fitz of the hit T.V. show “Scandal” are changing hearts and minds and finally making interracial voyeurs finally come out and be open. Maybe I’m one of them.
I am a black woman. I love black men. I prefer dating black men. I haven’t really ever gone out on dates with men of other races. Either guys I’ve dated may be mixed with black or they may have been Latino. All of my serious relationships have been with men who identify as black.
I often tend to feel that way because usually black men are the majority of men who approach me or try to ask me out. There have been a few occasions where I was in a conversation with a white man and I was completely oblivious to the fact that he may have been flirting or interested, because I honestly assume I’m not their type and I assume that there’s no way they’d be interested.
And even if I sense it, I have a tendency to also unfairly assume that white men see me as some exotic fruit. Remnants of American history and the relationship between white slave masters and black women upset me. A sign goes off in my head that says they see me and think, “good for freaky crazy, fetish sex only.” It makes me nervous and uncomfortable. There are some white women who may be afraid of a group of black men and that they’ll rape them. I get nervous if I’m in a room filled with really drunk, white men. Will they feel like they have the right to rape or disrespect me? I’ve had male friends who would say, “Let’s leave before they all want to start hanging us.” Or “Let’s leave when they start talking about Obama. It can only go downhill from here.” And we’d laugh, but it’s a real thought. It was not that long ago, that things like that happened in this country and on a regular basis.
Inhumanity, wrapped in revelry was a serious American pastime for a long time. Lynchings were celebratory events. People took photos, had smiling children and took pieces of the corpses home as souvenirs. So yeah, I don’t want to lump people in with folks a few generations ago, but the history does not completely elude me. It guides how I feel I am viewed by white men.
We are all more alike than we know. I think we are all curious about each other. They want to know if black women are really freaky, are our butts really that big? What do our private parts look like? And hell, behind closed doors me and my friends have wondered how big are they, are they pink? Like piglet pink? Do they perform oral sex better and like it way more than black men?
I just really believe that for whatever reason, they just aren’t attracted to me. So if someone else points it out, I’ll be like, for real? Wow. Cool, I’m crossing demographics.
Well in addition to chatting up some white guys who were interested, I want to include a caveat in this story.
The white men who make it known they are interested in me tend to be working class, not usually college-educated guys who are exceptional at various specialized, blue-collar trades. They tend to have grown up in diverse areas, they may have a child or two and are conversant in slang. I’ve yet to date, what I call a regular 100 percent white guy. The kind of white guy who shops at Hollister, knows how to make his own beer, was in a fraternity, who did not grow up around black people or tries to imitate hip hop culture. (I already know there is no such thing as my idea of the 100 percent stereotypical white guy, but it’s what I tend to imagine.) Those white guys never seem to approach me and I feel like I’d have more in common or share the same values with them than the ones who go out of their way to quote rap lyrics, or wear gold chains or drive tricked-out impalas. I don’t even mesh with a majority of black men who fit that description.
I’m amused, because these men shatter stereotypes across cultures and remind me, people are indeed people and that black people do not have a monopoly on trifling behavior.
More on trifling behavior in a moment. This story is going to get good.
These two men convinced me and my friend to join them at a Mexican bar and restaurant because one of them wanted to prove that he could do a mean Bachata for “a white guy.”
So fine, we didn’t pass this up.
One guy is very interested in my friend. My friend is Latina. He didn’t have any cash and managed to sweet talk one of the waitresses into giving him $5 so he can hit up the jukebox and find the proper tune. The other friend, who was the “self-proclaimed” wing man, mentioned this restaurant wasn’t his scene, but he was taking the L for his boy. After trying to get my number earlier and it not working out, we simply chatted about stuff and the more he drank, the more sad and frustrated he was.
He basically said, he’s been through a lot and I’m a classy lady. It’s not that he wasn’t interested in me, or that I wasn’t attractive, but he’s going through a lot and, well I’m a classy lady. He emphasized that I was classy. I rubbed his arm and I told him, “It’s really ok. Really.”
But on the other side of me at the bar was a latino man speaking to me in Spanish. I guess he noticed things weren’t going so hot with the guy I was originally talking to and that he’d go for it. I stumbled through the conversation, apologizing for messing up the language, while others at the bar chimed in to fill in words for me. Everyone was amused. Everyone wanted to help me communicate or tell me which word was missing. They seemed pleased that I knew what I did, and that I actually tried. When I answered one of their questions by saying, “Yo no se, estoy baracha” (I don’t know, I’m drunk) the bar erupted in laughter. Two men asked me to dance about two different times and I obliged.
My earlier male companion egged me on to dance, since I was not interested and he got the hint, and so I danced, twirled and laughed and spoke mangled Spanish.
In Spanish, I thanked my dance partners for their patience with me and for being such good teachers.
They were tickled by this and their appreciation and approval showed prominently in their pants. Men.
I was mildly grossed out, but not really, because I was tipsy, but at the same time, I felt like I was an ambassador for Black women. I was getting my Susan Rice on.
We all aren’t always angry, or mad or loud like most of the black women on t.v. Sometimes we want to branch out and try new things and test our Spanish if someone is willing to listen. We want to laugh and flirt, and have someone lead us off our bar stool, by the hand and be spun awhile. We want to listen to other kinds of music. We want men of all backgrounds to find us genuinely beautiful and attractive and interesting.
I was glad to swap stories with two white guys who I would never normally talk to. Maybe they got to see something different from what they are used to, and to me that’s cool.
So in some convoluted way, I’ve talked about a lot of things here, I want to shout out the men I talked to in English and Spanish last night who helped me have a fun night, but didn’t act all pissy because I didn’t want to hang out with them again. Everyone just appreciated the moment, a dance was a dance. A conversation was a conversation.
But back to trifling behavior. The guys we originally showed up with, well the one I was talking to showed me a ridiculous switch blade he carried in case someone tried to steal his diamond chain (he likes the bling) I was suddenly chillin with Paul Wall. And I nodded and kept cool and said, hey, “I guess you got to do what you got to do sometimes.” He smiled proudly and took a sip of his drink.
I cashed out with the bartender and made sure he knew in English and Spanish that I was only paying for my drinks. Frick and Frack had a couple of beers and a shot of patron each.
At the previous bar, those two offered us a drink, but we said we were good and they said, well at least stay longer and have half a drink (they bought one drink, had the waitress put it in two glasses).
After hearing one of them talk about how he hadn’t paid a gas bill and that he still had one more notice before it was cut off, I had a feeling these guys were shady and I didn’t think either one of them was going to spring for my $8 tab.
So, me and my home girl headed to the bathroom at the Mexican bar, and when we returned, Frick and Frack were gone. They kept making jokes about skipping out on the bill, before they left and it appears that’s what they did. The bartender looked confused, and a bit annoyed as my friend settled her tab, only paying for her drinks and explaining she was only paying for her drinks.
Frick and Frack rode off into the night in their tricked-out Lincoln.
We were hysterical in laughter.
People are people. Gente son gente.