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I love Black love unapologetically. I know that any kind of love is beautiful and rare; you would be a fool if you passed it up just because someone was of a certain skin tone. Still, if I had to choose the perfect guy, I'd pick a tall, dark chocolate Black man for a number reasons.
That's not to say that I haven’t dated outside of my ethnicity before, though. Considering I was always one of the few — if not the only — Black people in my classes up until college, I was probably bound to do it at some point.
So far, it's happened only twice. The first relationship was almost too fleeting to even count or describe. He just wasn't my fit (though he was a cutie). The second one involved a guy who worked at one of my favorite stores in a mall I always went to. He'll remain nameless, but feel free to mentally refer to him by any cliché rich white guy name you like.
He just flirted at first, but he was slick enough that over time, I felt more comfortable with him and popped by the store he worked at more and more often. Over the course of a few months, we got closer to the point of becoming friends — not besties, but really cool and communicative with each other. One day, seemingly out of the blue, he asked me out.
I was flattered and attracted. But because I had never really dated a white guy before — and the ones I personally knew tended to hypersexualize Black women — I also felt really awkward, especially once we started talking about politics, culture, and religion. We weren't just people of two different races interacting with each other; it was like we were trying to merge our two separate worldviews.
Still, he respected where I was coming from and I returned the favor, so we considered ourselves at the second emotional (not sexual) base of seeing each other for several months. We’d have lunch. We’d talk on the phone. It was all good.
I should note that since we were dating in a pre-cell phone era and he often stayed at his parents' place on the weekends, his mom or dad would occasionally pick up the phone when I called to chat with him. I never talked about anything deep with them; always light conversation. Things were still all good.
Then one day, he asked me if I would come to his parents' house for dinner. Since they seemed so warm on the phone during our brief conversations — especially his mom — I was like, "No problem."
About a week later, everything did a total about-face.
“Hey, would you be OK if we didn’t do the whole dinner thing?” he asked me randomly when we'd gotten together.
After a confused pause, I told him: “Sure… is there a problem?”
He looked down and tried to dodge the question. “Umm, not really. It’s just … not a good time.”
“But your mom seemed really excited about it," I pointed out.
Then he told me: “Yeah, well … she’s the reason why we can’t do it. She didn’t know you were Black.”
(Oh, to be a fly on the wall during their conversation where that tidbit came out. Like, did she ask? Did he offer up the info? To this day, I still have so many questions.)
You’re probably wondering if I was shocked by what he'd told me, and to answer your question: No. (With a name like “Shellie,” a pretty decent vocabulary, and no social media presence to speak of, you’d be amazed how many people — potential employers included — have assumed that I’m not Black.) Still, it was weird.
After he and I had that conversation, things were never the same between us. It was probably a combination of him assuming that there was nowhere else for us to go romantically, and me thinking he was a coward to let his mother's racism influence him.
Am I bitter about the ordeal? No. It’s his loss. Besides, it gave me another life experience to write about (and get paid for!) all these years later.
But if you're reading this and you happen to be the dude in question, tell your mom "thanks" for me. Thanks for being racist. Her narrow-mindedness will pay next month's water bill or something.
In the end, it's all good.