There’s a scene towards the end of High Fidelity where Laura (Iben Hjejle), Rob’s (John Cusack) estranged girlfriend—and the muse for much of Rob’s angstÂ throughoutÂ the movie—finally gives into Rob’s pleas to get back with him. Naturally, Rob needs to know what caused her to make this decision.
Laura: I’m too tired not to be with you.
Rob: What, so if you had a bit more energy we’d stay split up, but things being as they are, with you being wiped out and all, you want to get back together? Is that it?
High Fidelity is one of my favorite movies, and “I’m too tired not to be with you” is one of my favorite lines. Still, I never quite got what it meant until finally meeting someone who hit me with so many reasons why I needed to be with her that I just couldn’t fight it anymore. I was too fatigued by reason. Too exhausted by realization. Too beat to continue to deny that I’d fallen in love with a woman who happened to be White.
Even now, eight months after we first met, it remains jarring to see in print. So jarring that in the last sentence of the previous paragraph, I typed “woman who happened to be White” instead of “White woman,” a linguistic device subtly minimizing the fact that her Whiteness has been and will always be very conspicuous.
It—her Whiteness—was the very first thing I noticed about her. We were introduced to each other through a mutual friend. She recently moved back Pittsburgh after living in California for a couple years, and the friend thought it would be a good idea to connect. We exchanged emails, made plans to meet each other at a nearby Panera, and I assumed she’d be not White.
I was wrong.
She is not thick for a White girl, she is not “down,” she does not look like “she could be mixed.” There’s absolutely nothing I can say that would make her seem or sound less White. Aside from the fact the she’s currently engaged to a Black man, she is, both literally and culturally, one of the Whitest women I’ve ever met.
And, after running into each other at a gallery crawl a couple weeks after first connecting—and spending the next two hours talking to, laughing with, and just generally being surprised by her—I’d found she’s one of the warmest, wittiest, silliest, and sexiest women I’ve ever met, too.
That two hour span inside of an abandoned warehouse-turned art space for untalented hipsters was the best night I’ve ever spent with a woman. Not best conversation. Best night. In any other situation, I would have left with at least a plan to see each other again. But, she was White. And, her Whiteness prevented me from pursuing, blocked me from doing anything other than (awkwardly) shaking her hand and wishing her a good night.
ThisÂ reluctanceÂ to even entertain the idea of pursuing a White woman was more due to a decades-long love of Black women than anything else. I’ve met funny, smart, cute, and cool White women before, but none of them were funny, smart, cute, and cool enough for me fathom choosing to date one instead of a woman of color, nevermind spending the rest of my life with her. I wasn’t loyal to Black woman as much as I was just unable to imagine finding someone better. Not better in general, but better for me.
Also, I do not live in a vacuum. I was not (well, at least I thought I was not) prepared or even willing to be one of those Black guys who dates White women. Whatever the Black man dating White woman burden happens to be, it just was not a burden I—a Very Smart Brotha—wanted to carry.
So, I fought off the thoughts of texting her or calling her or asking our mutual friend for her address so I could send her a letter or play my jukebox outside of her window. I downplayed the time I spent thinking about her, dismissing it as me only thinking about her just to remind myself not to think about her. I ignored how often I’d glance at my phone, and rejected the idea that I was checking for a sign from her.
After a few weeks, it began to work. I’d forced myself to remember to forget about her so often that I started toÂ legitimatelyÂ forget. Until, well…
I was standing in line at that same Panera when I heard the door close behind me. Before I could glance back to see who it was, I heard “Hey stranger”Â with the same raspy voice—and the sameÂ slightlyÂ sardonic tone—that had been on loop in my head for the previous month. (I later learned that, for that same month span, she’d go out of her way to visit that Panera a couple times a week with the hope she’d “run into” me)
We spoke and shared a table. Our first date was two days later. Our first kiss was two hours into our first date.
It’s been a little over seven months since this all happened. I won’t go into any detail about the racial hurdles we’ve faced because, well, they haven’t really existed. I’m not tooÂ myopicÂ to assume that they’ll never surface. But, aside from little, meet-cute-type shit (until she was a teen, she thought collard greens were actually called colored greens), nothing worth writing about has happened.
I proposed to her on Monday. She (obviously) accepted. (If she didn’t, I damn sure wouldn’t be writing about this today.)
I am a Black man who’s going to marry a White woman. And while I’d like to think I was too tired not to be with her, I think I was just too tired to realize that I didn’t have a choice.
—Wishing you a very happy (and very early) Happy Fools Day, Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)