He had sat across from me after ordering a soy milk vanilla latte with an extra shot of espresso. Peter looked longingly at his vanilla latte, suddenly making me wish I was the warm paper cup that sat in front of him.As he pulled off his gloves he said, “Your hair is very cool.” At the time, I was rocking a high-top fade. I hesitated, not because I had thought the question was offensive or inappropriate but because I had painstakingly molded it with my hands only ten minutes before to make sure it was symmetrical. I had wanted to please him; my reservations melted away instantly.Their stories reveal the difficulties and frustrations of dating in an environment that often tokenizes and ignores them.
I was horrified to later find out that he was an Africana Studies major.
There are many men who don’t hypersexualize me or find me unattractive because I’m Black.
It takes time to be able to figure out who to stay away from and accept that sometimes people just won’t message or answer you, but once you do, it makes life and dating much more manageable. I remember once, in a moment of naïve desperation, meeting up with a man who expressed interest in me, mainly due to my Blackness.
With low voices they say, “You know, I’ve never hooked up with a Black guy,” as if they were boasting a generous trust fund or declaring their revolutionary work to tackle childhood malnutrition.
The first few times it happened, I had laughed, trying to take it as the compliment these men thought they were giving.