AFRICANGLOBE – Patiently waiting, sipping on a cool drink, enjoying the sunny sky, I sat on the patio of my favorite restaurant. It was a perfect day for people watching. My date had been running late. His name was Eric, we originally met through mutual friends.
He was attractive and tall. His slicked-back, tar-colored hair showcased his olive skin and dark features brilliantly. The thought of us getting to know each other better produced a wildfire of excitement in the pit of my stomach. He had a great career, cheery personality and a confidence that bordered on arrogance. It was sexy. My thoughts became one of an optimistic, adolescent girl. I began to daydream about the unstoppable Power Couple we would be. Him, the focused, driven man that made it a habit of getting what he wanted. Me, his independent, savvy equal. Pulling myself out of this bizarre fantasy, I made it a point to remember that expectations might be the worst thing to place on a person.
As promised he arrived ten minutes late. Our conversation started out casual and flirty. He asked all the usual questions: where did you grow-up, any siblings, what do you like to do when you’re not working? Simple, superficial questions are the staple of so many first dates, I became bored. Yes, light conversation on a first date can be safe. Nevertheless, I wanted to turn it up a notch.
After replying to his questions, I asked if he had a deep regret, what was his favorite childhood memory, and whether he had dated a Black woman before. He answered each one quickly, he regretted not being closer with his dad before his unexpected death, his tenth birthday when he went sail boating, and that yes, now he only dates Black women. Feeling complete with his other answers, he begins to clarify the last one. Eric went on to say that after his divorce, to a White woman, he’s only been interested in Black women. They had become his preference.
After growing up in a town that had a small population of minorities, it took me awhile to embrace my skin color. However, once I did, it became a powerful, beautiful shield. I could understand why Black women excited him. Our seductive strength, velvety skin, and swagger is enough to drive most men crazy. With all that understood, something didn’t sit right with me. Was he on a date with me because of my ambition, wit, sense of humor…or was he just looking for his next Hershey kiss?
For days, after our date, I reflected on his answer “Now, I only date Black women”. I had to understand why this comment resonated with me. Could his ex-wife have turned him off of White women that much? Possibly, but he didn’t have an interest in Asian or Latin women either. Maybe the first Black girl that he dated, after his wife, had turned him out and the saying “once you go Black, you never go back”, was his reality. Were Black women his fetish?…did I want to be a fetish? If he was a Black man that only dated Black women, it wouldn’t have been a problem, right?
India Arie, said it best:
I am not my hair I am not this skinI am not your expectations no noI am not my hair I am not this skinI am a soul that lives within
I am that soul that lives within. Would he realize that? Only one way to know! I continued dating Eric. In the end our relationship didn’t work out for many reasons. The biggest being that his attraction for Black women was a blatant fetish.
I thought, wow, being liked just for my skin color conjures up a lot of the same feelings as being hated for it.