The first time I ever kissed a white guy, I swore I would never do it again.
It was high school, it was my friend's brother and I'm pretty sure I was drunk. I gave him a massive hickey, which I found pretty amusing, and I figured it was just an "experience." Something I'd write about in my journal, the one with Maya Angelou's picture on the cover.
I attended a posh mostly Catholic prep school in the suburbs of Atlanta. I knew every Black person in my school. At lot of us took MARTA (the public transportation system) home. Once when it was pouring rain, one of the priests gave a couple of us Black kids a ride to the train station so we didn't have to get soaked waiting for the bus.
We joked that those rain affected our hair in such a way that it made the priest's car smell like activator. We bonded, this small circle of Black kids in a privileged white world.
Despite the fact that this was the 90s, it was still the South. So many of my classmates mocked Black culture, defended the Georgia state flag and compared slavery to the potato famine that I didn't exactly feel like interracial dating was an option. That all changed when I went to college.
I mean, how could I not eventually date a white guy? I went to a liberal arts college in Boston. Along with Sociology, it was practically a required course.
In that blissful 4 years, I hooked up, dated and fell in love without a care in the world. I moved to New York after college and continued to tear through men with abandon. It was a glorious time. I'm proud that I had a lot of not so great relationships with men of varied ethnicities and didn't become bitter and jaded.
That being said, I still ended up feeling like I was constantly defending and explaining my choices to overly enthused white women, annoyed Black men, judgmental Black women and fetishizing white men. Hopefully, this handy guide will help all of us approach the subject in a more informed and less dickish manner.
DON'T ASK ME IF WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT BLACK GUYS VS. WHITE GUYS IS REALLY TRUE. WINK WINK.
Please don't go there. Let's just say I've been surprised about how UNTRUE it is. Also, I am not some census-taking dick measurer, OK? While we can certainly generalize about the physical attributes of all races, penis size seems to be the most obsessed over. It's gross and unnecessary.
Also, you don't need to be all up in my sex life like that. I'm not the kind of chick who needs to go on and on about the size of a man's penis and those that do get an eyebrow raise from me. I had this one friend and I swear to God, every time she started dating a new guy he had the BIGGEST PENIS SHE HAD EVER SEEN. No, he didn't. Stop.
Do you really want to know if what they say is true? Sleep with a white guy, then sleep with a black guy. Better yet, invite them both over and do a side-by-side comparison. Take pictures, make a graph, email it to me and we'll meet for scones and tea to discuss it. Just kidding. Black people don't eat scones.
DON'T ASK ME IF I'VE GIVEN UP ON BLACK MEN.
There seems to be this pervasive idea that if you date a non-Black man as a Black woman, then you must hate Black men. I've had Black women say to me, "Oh, you like WHITE guys!" as if they were unlocking the secret to my personality.
Even a childhood friend remarked very flippantly, "Oh, Nia only dates white guys," when she knew very well that wasn't true.
We also seem to be living in a time when the media is very concerned for us poor Black women. You see, apparently there are "no good Black me left" so many of us are single and alone. I refuse to participate in that discussion because I don't believe that is true. I've seen too many awesome Black husbands and fathers (including my father, step-father, grandfather, uncle, etc.) to give into that line of thought. These books and TV shows that continue to perpetuate this lie, are only interested in profiting from our insecurity and we need to call them on their bullshit. It creates more of a divide when we need to keep fighting for unity.
There are certainly some issues involving the personal and professional successes of Black women versus men but to think that I have turned my back on my brothers because of who I am romantically involved with implies that I see them as one and have dismissed them all. Not true. I try to treat everyone as an individual and you should do the same. Yes, I am on my high horse, thank you very much.
DON'T ASK ME WHAT MY FAVORITE KIND OF GUY TO DATE IS.
Here's a sampling of the various types of men I've dated: Black, White (Irish, German, Italian), Jewish, Latino, and various combinations of all of the above. You want to know which were my favorites? The ones who didn't treat me like shit. The ones who cared about me.
I find that some Black women feel that a White guy will treat them better than a Black guy will. News flash, ladies: All men can be assholes. Douchebaggery isn't race specific. This need to lump everyone together instead of taking the time to learn things about the individual is so lame and lazy.
Men like to joke about this as well. Black women are difficult. White women only want to please. Asian women are subservient. It seems odd to have to remind people not to give into stereotyping but everyone from the hipster to the executive feels like they've done enough cultural studies to know everything about everybody.
DON'T GUSH TO ME ABOUT HOW PRETTY MY BABIES WILL BE
Well, maybe this is a little true. Bi-racial people of all combinations do have a tendency to be beautiful. But still! Don't put that pressure on me!
Ever since I began dating my White fiancee, people literally gasp when I talk about starting a family. They fall all over themselves envisioning our light-skinned children with their silky hair and light eyes. But what if they don't look like that? What if they look traditionally Black? Are they not as beautiful? If my daughter's hair texture is more like mine (kinky) than my fiancee's (fine), did she lose out somehow? If instead of getting her father's genes of being tall and skinny, she gets mine of being short and round, has she gotten the raw end of the deal? What if they aren't what you consider beautiful?
I mean, of course they will be, my fiancee and I are both INCREDIBLY good looking but that is always the first thing people comment on. I'm more interested in what my children will aspire to be, having creative parents. I wonder who will be the fun parent. I wonder how people will see them. I wonder if kids will mockingly ask them, "What ARE you?" I wonder, if they acknowledge both their Black AND White sides, will people insist that they choose just one. I wonder if they can have a sense of humor about it all.
But mostly, I just hope they aren't dicks.