I’ve had issues with race and dating close to my whole life. It’s never been a blatant, direct, in your face, specific, Asian men make me break out in hives type problem but more of the good old fashion, subconscious bullshit people of any and all colors deal with at one point or another if they veer outside of their racial lane. Hell, most times the problems are pretty overt but that hasn’t been my experience.
In a nutshell, I grew up in predominantly white areas as a child, resulting in countless crushes on cute little white boys. One, because I’ve been boy crazy my whole life and two, they were usually my only option. I was a happy tot spewing out copious amounts of love to Michael, Ian, Chris, Riley, Joseph, and probably tons more that I just can’t remember. The love was usually unrequited but I never thought much of that because well, I was a child, a smart child, I knew unrequited love was like a basic childhood requirement. Plus, if any of these crushes actually liked me back I wouldn’t know what the hell to do about that.
Then…there was Chad. Chad and I were best friends throughout middle school. An odd, boy/girl pair, but best friends none the less. We would argue religion on a twelve year old level. My Christian self would tell him Jesus was the bomb and his Jewish self would tell me Moses was better than Jesus. Then I’d tell him to talk to the hand. It was a close bond. Aaaaaaaaaaaaanyway. Long, kinda-on-topic, story short… we reached high school, he knew I was in love with him, I didn’t know how to hide it (still haven’t acquired that skill) and he had had enough. He sent a messenger to tell me that I needed to stop acting all in love with him or else we couldn’t be friends. Heart broken. But beyond the heartbreak, the dissolved “love affair” planted a very crucial seed in me. This may be completely accurate or a grand, projecting delusion but I always thought the friendship had to end not because I was a crazy girl doting over him, but because I was a crazy BLACK girl doting over him. We were in high school and being cool was suddenly top priority. And in my specific high school, being Black wasn’t exactly a selling point at the cool table, unless you played football. So, whether it be based in fact or fiction I had this thought in my mind that white men just were out of the question. My theory was supported by the countless black guys that hit on me throughout high school and beyond and the grand total of one white guy who flirted with me in college. The message I received seemed to be pretty damn accurate.
So that’s the abridged version of my subconscious, psychological, race issues. Never felt wanted by white men, never felt good enough. That is until a few months ago when I felt head over heels for a white guy for the first time in about… thirteen years. I discussed him here. It didn’t work out. Sigh. But! It got me back on the white boy train! I’ve been dating a loooot of white men over the past few months having a grand ol’ time.
Now a lot of the white men I’ve been dating inform me that they actually prefer to date black women, usually for purely physical reasons. They say they like dark features. I say, “Cool, whatever, take your clothes off.” No, I’m kidding. Well… anyway.
So, the point of this post is upon us! Wahoo!!!! The other day I’m at work speaking with two co-workers (two white women) about my latest date and I’m telling them how the guy seems really, really, really into me. They ask if he’s white (because they know of my recent trend) and I inform them of the affirmative. They seem shocked. Not that I’m dating a white guy but that the white guy is so into me. They’re as shocked as I was a few months ago when this whole thing with white men started. Now I know I’m not the only one socially conditioned to think white men generally aren’t interested in black women. I know it’s this little subconscious, or maybe very damn conscious stereotype that we’re all aware of so their shock probably shouldn’t have surprised me but it did…and it bothered me. Maybe I was bothered at their lack of attempt to hide it. Don’t you just love when people are being offensive and they don’t even realize it? Me too. I was even more bothered when co-worker 1 proceeds to say:
“I just don’t get white guys that only date black girls…”
They both pause and stare at me.
Me: Well, he doesn’t only date black women. He just prefers black women.
Co-worker 2: Yeah, that’s weird.
Me: Why’s that weird?
Co-worker 2: I don’t know. It just is.
Co-worker 1: So I’m guessing he wouldn’t be interested in (Gestures to her freckled face and red hair)
Me: (Nervous, annoyed laughter) Probably Not.
Co-worker 1: Yeah, that’s weird.
Co-worker 2: Yeah.
Me: Walks the fuck away. I’m at work and probably the best thing to do at the time, given the venue.
I go back to my desk and think the whole exchange over. I understand the shock, the tilt of the head when I tell people I have white men falling over themselves because of me. We don’t see it often. Black women haven’t exactly been put on a pedestal in this country (We’ll talk about Kerry Washington next week…maybe), so it’s different, I get it, but come on! Is it that absurd for a white man to be attracted to black women over his “own”? I don’t see why he can’t. I’m damn beautiful after all. And we all have physical preferences, why can’t black be a preference for a white man? Hmph!
A week before this incident co-worker 2 was telling me how she’s just not attracted to black men. Did I cause a fuss? Of course not. You like what you like. You don’t like what you don’t like. I’m sure her refusal to date black men goes beyond a lack of physical attraction and I say this only because of…how she is, but that’s neither here nor there. She can love whom she pleases. But to say you’re not attracted to black men and then be so puzzled to hear of a white man that prefers black women just sounds like some downright racist shit to me.
Above all, these two white woman seemed taken aback that a black woman was in a higher ranking of sorts, than them, even if it was just situational. All women, all people, have to deal with not being desired at one point or another but I’m sure it’s a rare thing for a white woman to have to deal with perceived rejection because of her race. They looked like the popular cheerleaders that lost the prom queen race to an over-weight, band geek. Their world was suddenly out of order and they didn’t know how to handle that. And hell, go ahead and be overwhelmed by it but I don’t want to hear about how weird it is that white men are attracted to me you dumb… let me stop.
Am I wrong? Should I not be surprised by their reaction? IS it weird for a white guy to prefer black women? Talk to me.