My boyfriend was a tall, dark and handsome man. Let me amend that: really dark. Let me amend that again: like African-American. My mother freaked. “Do you have any idea how difficult your life will be?” Mom knew firsthand racism and prejudice due to her chocolate skin, black hair and eyes. That didn’t stop me. Larry was my dream come true: worldly, sophisticated, intelligent and gorgeous. I was smitten! Everything was about Larry.
Black and white couples in 1977 even in chic Manhattan were rare. People stared at us. Unaware the true reason, I preened because we were adorable: young, good-looking, happy and polar opposites in skin color. Through Larry, I realized my embedded racism after I called Famous Amos cookies, a hit at the time, Amos & Andy cookies. He fell off the bed shouting, “WHAT THE HELL? THAT’S RACIST!”
Still, in this relationship I had the upper hand with two strikes against me, white and Jewish, as opposed to his one. Several days later, he entered his bedroom where I holed up, studying. “My friends’re coming over. Wanted to let you know we speak different while together.” He meant without any white people around. Instead of studying, I eavesdropped. After his friends left, I said, “What’re you talking about? You guys speak exactly the same as among your white friends.”
He muttered, “They knew you’re here.”
“If they did, they wouldn’t have had the conversations they had.”
To the relief of both sets of parents we broke up soon after. Over the decades, we kept in touch. He recently said, “I should’ve married you then.” We never would’ve lasted. It wasn’t race or religion; it was our personalities. As he said, “Frivolous is too mild a word.”
It’s fine with me. Go ahead.
There. Shortest advice column ever.
The hard part about dating is finding someone that you get along with and who makes you feel good about yourself and your relationship (whether serious or temporary). Race should not stop you from exploring a possibility with someone you are interested in. Get over it. As the Red Hot Chili Peppers once suggested, “…mix it up until there are no pedigrees.”
Look at my picture. I’m a tall and handsome man… but I’m a bit on the brown side of the spectrum. Most of the time I get approached by people asking if I’m Egyptian, Persian, Greek, Hispanic or sometimes they guess right. I’m ethnically ambiguous and I’m fine with it. People can’t tell where my blood came from and it makes me smile. I’ll admit I’m lucky to have never experienced any racism on the dating front. Women probably think I’m well-tanned. Perhaps it’s my charisma and strikingly good looks, or maybe women can smell my pheromones from 5 city blocks away… but I’ve never been turned down (as far as I know) based on my skin.
In fact… it has probably opened doors (figuratively and literally). I’ve dated women of every color, shade, and hue (except green… green women are disgusting). It’s the ’90s and it’s important to have an open mind and judge people based on how they present themselves and how they speak rather than where they land on the brightness level in photoshop.
People say there is more to interracial dating than skin tone. There are cultural differences that come with dating outside of your own race that you may or may not like. Many of us find it amusing to sit in a setting that is unlike anything we are used to. Going to a friend’s house who is very Italian is different from having dinner with an Irish family. In my family it’s all about the punchline. Wit and intellect rule. Whomever creates the most laughter… wins. There’s no prize. It just feels good. Sometimes we get loud or low-brow. Someone who is from a quiet, reserved family background might feel strange and/or uncomfortable there.
… but it doesn’t matter what other people think. They are not dating this person. They are not sleeping with this person. They are not learning and growing with this person. The only thing that matters is how you feel. If you’re attracted to someone and they treat you right, then I say go for it. Find someone who makes you feel good about who you are and make the most of it.