The Funny Thing About Dating a Black Guy

 

The funny thing about dating a black guy is telling your mom you’re dating a black guy. I suggest telling her somewhere overcrowded, perhaps a Macy’s during a One Day Saturday Sale or maybe somewhere very quiet, like a movie theater in the middle of the scene when Rose lets Jack’s hand go. Because the more people around, the better and the more awkward you can make it for her, the better. For example, I chose terminal D, baggage claim carousel 6 of JFK International Airport in New York City, New York, USA. But when she finds out he’s black and she’s uncomfortable with that, she’ll want to save the blow up for home. So wait until you drive the hour in silence over the George Washington Bridge and down 287. The funny thing about dating a black guy is that when your mom sits at the dinner table and tells you she “doesn’t want black grandbabies,” you get to call her a racist.

The funny thing about dating a black guy is when people ask you if you’re dating him just to piss off your parents.

But it’s really fun when your mom tells you he’ll leave you for a black girl. And then a few months later, before the two of you make your relationship exclusive, he sleeps with a black girl and you’re left to figure out if your mom is right or not. And if your mom’s a racist, and we are our parents, you’re probably a racist, too. Right?

The funny thing about dating a black guy is walking into the grocery store with him. You can stand by the strawberries together and maybe you’ll notice a fuzzy in his beard and pick it out for him. And then when you look up, you can see the disgusted, disapproving looks on older white men in flannels and suspenders, but you’ll see the looks on other faces, too. Watch for the brow furrow—it’s universal. You should try pulling your boyfriend’s body closer to yours sometime and maybe you’ll see some people shake their heads. Give ‘em a wink.

Another fun thing about dating a black guy is when you go to the movies and the cashier, a young black man, gives you your soda and popcorn, and looks at your boyfriend and then at you. Then he’ll ask your boyfriend, “you seen ‘Get Out’ yet?” And you think, No, he hasn’t seen “Get Out” ‘cause he’s already living it. I already hypnotized him. How else do you think I trapped such a fine man?

The funny thing about dating a black guy is when someone says you should choose a different race, any other race, because black men have aggression problems and it would be a shame to see you caught up in a domestic violence situation. Silly you, white men can’t punch a wall in because they were never strong enough to pick cotton in fields. White men never knew rage because they weren’t owned, sold and traded by other men.

The funny thing about dating a black guy is when your friends ask if the size stereotypes are true and you get to pity them, their white boyfriends and their sex lives.

It’s fun when you’re with your boyfriend and you meet a black man he’s working with. The black man will look you up and down funny because you’re whiter than snow and he’s blacker than night. And you’ll wonder why his eyebrow is arched and his eyes are stretched wide and he’s hesitant to welcome you into his home. It’s funny because then you realize you’re an ignorant and naïve girl on top of being a little white girl. And dating white girls is a stigma in the black community. And you realize out of all the outcomes you poured over, a lack of acceptance from the black community because you’re white, though obvious, wasn’t one that crossed your mind.

The funny thing about dating a black guy is when you visit your white suburban hometown and a friend tells you your boyfriend has rubbed off on you because you’re “acting too black.” Okay, Kaylynn Ann-Marie Smith, and your scarf is the size of a small child, your obsession with Kylie Jenner has become concerning and your sorority letters are peeling off the back of the new Jeep your daddy bought you, but I won’t say anything.

And what’s really fun when it comes to dating a black guy is when you hold his hand in public, you can tell who voted for Trump by their horrified expressions. Start talking about making a mixed baby in front of them and maybe you’ll get them to regurgitate their overpriced seafood dinner along with their Republican views. There’s only one way to find out.

Another funny thing about dating a black guy is when you’re at your friend’s birthday dinner and the girl sitting across from you guesses your boyfriend is black because of his name. Because then, over risotto and grilled shrimp, she’ll show you an Instagram picture of that one black guy she hooked up with when she was 18 and she’ll ask you if you think every black man who walks into the restaurant is cute. Obviously you’re dating a black guy simply because he’s black. Why didn’t you realize that sooner? Somewhere along the line you must’ve gotten sick of white dudes and you thought, what’s the opposite of white? So you moseyed on over to the black side of town and picked up a new man, and here you are, dating your black guy.

The funniest thing about dating a black guy is when his mom asks him when he’s going to get over this phase of dating you because she “never thought he would be with a white girl,” and “dating a white girl is disrespectful to black women.” But we’ll all be beige by the year 3000 so treat your man right and she’ll call you her daughter-in-law soon enough.

The fun part about dating a black guy is when your boyfriend says he likes that the two of you are different races because “it’s like a big fuck you to everyone,” to your mom, to his mom, to the black man he works with, to the grody old men in Kroger, to the dumb girl who turned dating black men into a fetish.

The funny thing about dating a black guy is that you don’t care that his skin is black and yours is white, and neither does he.

©2017

 
 
 

under consideration with Brevity Magazine

Behind 15 Hannah Road,

the neighbor’s boy Adam showed me the fire he built outside, in the woods behind my pretty little, blue colonial home with the green lawn and the red maple tree while Mama was in the kitchen making dinner, chopping onions by the window that overlooked those woods. So he led me back there, pulling me by the hand, pulling my 5-year-old, 40-pound body like it was nothing, like I was nothing because he was bigger and older and therefore, stronger. Behind the shed, he had made a little ring of pebbles in the dirt, maybe a foot and a half in diameter, there was kindling and a little bit of smoke left over, but it was a sad fire, no more than 6 inches in height, twigs and saplings stacked in a teepee formation. His Boy Scout training had so obviously failed him and I thought it was pathetic and so he threatened to light it again and I figured he’d burn the woods down along with our homes and the whole town; it hadn’t rained in a week and there were dry leaves caking the forest’s floor, the kind that splintered if you stepped on them, crunching under every footstep, the kind that gave your whereabouts away during hide and seek, I loved those leaves. I imagined everything going up in flames and melting down into the little pile of ash in Adam’s ring of rocks, as he bent down and flicked his lighter open, drawing the flame closer to the twigs, I yelled at him, even if it was a sad fire, I thought he could burn himself on his own time, but he wasn’t going to do it while I was there with him. I grabbed his shoulders and yanked him up and he stood up, facing me and pushed me backwards, unzipping my pants, shoving his hands between my thighs, I think he dropped his lighter before he yanked my jeans down my legs, pulling the elastic band of my underwear from my stomach, my hands clawed and pushed at his gut until my hips were free and I wiggled my jeans back up around my waist and when I looked down to button them, I staggered backwards, if I had looked to the left then, I could’ve seen Mama through the window of the kitchen, putting the noodles in to boil, but Adam was too quick for me to look away, he lifted my pink t-shirt, his fingers staining, burning my skin and I stood there, stiff, and losing feeling in my limbs, my mind floated far, skipping over the tree tops, finding the blue jay that lived somewhere around here, the one that often came to Mama’s birdfeeder underneath the deck, I wondered what it would be like to fly or how it felt to glide through the endless blue, I wanted to ask the blue jay for a ride on his back, just for a little while, so I could feel like him, and I was thinking I could ask the blue jay for help when Adam forced his tongue in between my lips, I think I jerked my head back and that’s why he let go of my body and grabbed my face and I smacked the top of his head, palm open and I think that surprised him because I think that’s when I pulled my shirt down and left, but I don’t really remember how it ended, but I remember that I saw Adam the next day and that my brother still played with him because he was our neighbor and that his father fixed our garage door and I’d still see Adam every day, really, and he’d tease me about the woods, his voice ricocheting off maple trunks, slick with his intentions.

©2017