Thursday, November 17, 2011

Black, and Apparently Scary!

Hey Grey Peeps!

            I’m coming to you today with more tales from my personal life. This one I just have to share and get your opinions on, because nobody has ever come out and said it before, and it presents an interesting question.

            So, I’m going on a date tonight, with a woman I met online. Online dating is totally popular right now, and since my only dating prospects include my closeted gay sister (which, contrary to what Dan Savage’s caller in episode 265 of the Savage Lovecast says, is fucking gross—cousins and siblings are a no-no!) and my best friend (who is crazy. I love her, and we’re both crazy in the same way, but I’m still allowed to think my crazy is better than hers), I decided to branch out from the not-so-big town I live in, and take the plunge. I’m going to skip all of the fun awkardness that goes along with the online scene, and cut straight to the chase. I met a girl.

            She seems great. We sent a couple of messages back and forth, then moved to texting and Facebook, and shortly after, made our way to phone conversations. We talk for an hour or two everyday, and she’s hilarious! She’s intelligent and witty—good things all around. We have been doing this thing where we ask each other questions. Mostly they are questions about past relationships, preferences, et cetera. I ask her if she gets jealous easily, she asks me if I’ve ever cheated—that sort of thing. It’s very entertaining. So, the other night, we’re talking on the phone, and I, on a whim, ask her if she has ever dated a black girl. There are all of these comical stereotypes about black women being sassy and amazing in bed, and I guess I just wanted to see if she what she might be thinking, what sorts of experiences she’s had, et cetera. She says that she was seeing a black girl for a while, but they never really dated. She then admits that, she likes me, but is intimidated by the fact that I’m black! When I ask her what she means, she says that it’s because she just doesn’t have a lot of experience with black women. I am not easily offended—I have spent my life as the token, and have become accustomed to being a sort of ambassador in my circles, explaining how you can tell if a girl’s hair is her own, what certain terms mean, and all that jazz. For some reason, this I have never heard.

            The first thought that I had was “Well, would you be intimidated if you dated a Christian girl? A girl from the south? An overweight girl? A rich or poor girl?” These are all things that can constitute disparate cultural experiences, and can greatly inform the people we become. And yet I got the sense that there was something in particular about my being a black woman that caused her to feel anxious. I told her that it didn’t phase me, and that I’m always happy to answer questions about my culture, and we moved on, but I couldn’t really let it go. So I guess I’m asking for your input. Non-black women: is it a black thing? Is there something in particular about black women that is unnerving? And black women: have you gotten this before? Are we really that scary? I also want to ask a third group. Other minorities (racial and otherwise: Hispanic women, religious women, wealthy women, and anyone I have left out): have you experienced this? Do people from other cultural walks of life express nervousness at the prospect of dating you? I know that there’s a general phenomenon of dating one’s own kind, but is this fear, this apprehension, is it more than that?

My date is tonight, and I am excited about it, but I must admit that when I was thinking about what I’m going to wear, I wondered if there was something I could wear that would make me seem less scary. I quickly gave up on that, and I have decided to just be my cute (black) self :)

Peace and Love and Bugs Named Doug,


  1. I have never dated outside of my race, so I can't say that I have run across this issue. But, I have friends who have, and I have never heard of such. I am very interested in seeing what other women have to say in response to this question.

  2. That's wild, but I think that's just people being people. We all have our apprehensions and fears. If our experiences with certain people aren't pleasant, it makes sense that we will be cautious the next time around.

    I wouldn't make too big of a fuss from what was said to you. You'll know how deep the fear or intimidation runs after you all meet up. You should reserve how you respond until after you two have had a face-to-face encounter.

    I wish you the best on your date. Have fun...and don't let stop you from having a good time.

  3. Us Black folks seem to have this mystique about us that either fascinates non-Blacks... or totally unnerves them because, like for you, your date probably only knows about the irate and vindictive sista you can see on TV and in some movies, you know, she gets angry about something - then her head starts spinning around like an exorcist is needed now.

    Or, it could be the quiet power that they sense and that can be picked up, even over the phone. Black women have an intensity about them and, well, it's pretty damned sexy and sensual... and the stereotype is that if you've got a Black woman in your bed, you've got a tigress by the tail so you best be ready.

    I agree with Up - don't sweat the small stuff, go on your date, have fun, and I hope you get laid and it's good for the both of you.

  4. Thanks for the advice everyone! I do agree that it's not that big of a deal. Went on the date; wasn't feeling it, and race had nothing to do with that part! Oh, well. Onward and upward.

  5. I have never dated outside of my race.. Not opposed to it, just haven't had the chance yet. What happened on the date? And why weren't you feeling it?

  6. Javania, the short version is that we just didn't click. She was okay looking, but I wasn't terribly attracted to her. Also, I'm most attracted to a woman's mind, and, to put it plainly, she wasn't smart enough. She didn't seem to be very engaged in the world around her, and she didn't care about anything in particular. I really enjoy world news, I like to read blogs, the NYTimes, tweets, et cetera--I like to know what's going on around me, in a larger sense. I would ideally like my partner to share in some of that so that we can talk about it, you know? That just wasn't a priority in her life. I made a joke about Michele Bachmann, and she had no idea who I was talking about. She works with special needs children, but doesn't know much about their actual disorders. I'm not faulting her for any of this, just saying that I'm attracted to people who are as curious and engaged as I am. So there you have it. I just started seeing someone, though, and so far she's wonderful :-) Thanks for asking!