How I Fell For, Proposed To, And Will Marry A White Woman

Interracial_couple_beach

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 angst throughout 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?

Laura: Yeah.

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.

This reluctance 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 to legitimately 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” with the same raspy voice—and the same slightly 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 too myopic 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”)

 

That Awkward Moment When “I Have Principles” Means “Dammit, No More Chick-fil-A”

If you’ve ever checked out my VSB bio, you’re likely aware of my fondness for soups. More specifically (quoting myself) “soups that happen to be especially creamy.” And, although this was written over four years ago, my adoration for soup remains just as intense. I love soup more than fat crackheads love Home Depot. Seriously, if I ever got married, instead of having the guests choose between steak and chicken or some shit, I’ll have a station with soups from all over the world. (I also plan to have an omelet bar, all you can eat pancakes, and a selection of bacons made from dozens of different animals, including alligator, tiger, and shark. You’re probably laughing now, but tell me that wouldn’t be the awesomest wedding reception you’ve ever attended)

Want proof of this love? Try this. A few weeks ago, the high temperature in the Burgh reached 99 degrees. You know what I had for lunch that day? A bowl of soup. Dinner? Two bowls of soup.

Yet, despite this love affair, my infatuation with soup caused (and is still causing) a serious crisis of conscience. You see, although the Pittsburgh-area contains many different diners and obscure restaurants where you can get a good bowl of soup, sometimes it’s not really worth the search, and sometimes you just don’t feel like going to the ATM because some Yinzer greasy spoon still only accepts cash. When this happens, there’s always Panera Bread — a chain where the soups (and the bread bowls they come in) are consistently good — and this is a problem.

Why? Well…

From “Lawsuit: Bias against ‘fat, black or ugly’ at Panera franchise”

A Panera Bread franchisee had a policy of keeping “fat, black or ugly” people off of the cash registers and out of management positions, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court today that seeks class action status.

The lawsuit by Guy M. Vines, 21, of Castle Shannon, claims that Panera franchisee Covelli Enterprises discouraged managers from hiring African Americans, and then relegated them to menial, back-of-the-shop roles.

It follows a lawsuit filed in November by a former Panera Bread manager who said he was fired under pretenses after he objected to such policies. Both Mr. Vines and the former manager are represented by attorney Sam Cordes.

This was a pretty big story in the Pittsburgh-area last winter. So big that the Black community (Yes. All five of us) staged an unofficial protest of Panera Bread that, to my knowledge, is still going on today. I haven’t stepped foot in one since January.

I also never had a Panera franchise open a block away from where I live…something that is going to happen next week. Drats! Since learning this, I’ve begun crafting elaborate excuses for why I should give this protest thing a “break.” (My favorite? “So what if they didn’t allow Black people to work the register. At least they weren’t slaves. And, stop being a hypocrite, man. Slaves picked cotton, but that didn’t stop your Black ass from wearing shirts.”)

Anyway, I’m bringing this all up because of how interesting it is to me to see the mental machinations we put ourselves through when our principles aren’t necessarily convenient.

And, I said “we” because I know I’m not alone. For instance, I’m sure if I took a poll today asking people to name their favorite fast food restaurant, Chick-fil-A — the same Chick-fil-A whose president recently stated that he was a strong opponent of same-sex marriage — would win in a landslide. I’m also sure there would be quite a bit of overlap if I made a Venn diagram of “people who have eaten at Chick-fil-A in the past month” and “people who have marched in support of gay marriage.”

Yesterday’s post dealt with a man who had his “come to Jesus” moment, and ran the other way. He (obviously) failed on a pretty large scale, but I don’t think that allowing ourselves to defer our principles for a moment or two of pleasure is really all that different.

I have no doubt that, sometime within the next couple of days months, I will be craving some creamy chicken soup, and this craving will cause me to “delay” my Panera protest for a day. I will enjoy this soup, and it’s likely that I’ll enjoy this soup so much that I’ll delay the protest another couple of days. Soon, that delay will just turn into “Eh…it was a good effort,” and I will not feel bad about this at all.

The moral of this story? The judgements made by men have myriad effects, none greater than…actually, you know what? F*ck a moral. Why the hell did it have to be Chick-fil-A? I mean, why couldn’t the president of Hardee’s or Lady Foot Locker or wack-ass motherf*ckin Chipotle have said this instead???

Anyway, people of VSB.com, have you ever had a moment where you were forced to, um, “reconsider” your principles because they weren’t convenient? If so, what did you do?

Also, am I the only one willing to shank a kitten for a spicy chicken sandwich right now?

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

***If you’re in the DC area this Thursday, make sure to come out to “Myth or Maybe” — a relationship-related discussion hosted by Panama and the homie Rahiel from Urban Cusp***