Tuesday, May 18, 2010

If I Was Your Man Part 1


I have a confession to make! I've been holding something back from you guys: I've started dating again! Initially, it felt strange to be out with anyone other than my ex but I'm now at the point where I'm ready to jump back in to the casual dating scene. Living abroad, returning to the dating scene can prove overwhelming and/or challenging depending on where you live. Sometimes one must tweak your partner-preferences to what is realistically available.

Of course, I can't discuss black women (and black men) dating abroad without the topic of interracial (and inter-ethnic) darting coming up. The black expat community is small and, in some places, non-existent. Thus, if mingling with the locals is not an appealing option, realistically, that only leaves you with the largely white expat community in most foreign countries in which to find a partner. Although my parents raised me with a strong sense of black nationalism, they made no pretenses about adhering to simplistic notions of racially purity. I've always been free to date whomever I liked in melting pot Miami. Some may find a contradiction in this statement. However, I've always upheld that my blackness is not defined by the pigmentation of my partner. Personally, I have no issues with interracial dating and refuse to define my relationships- or anyone else's- based on race or complexion. I love black men but I am not the type to pass on a good man just because he isn't black.

Understandably, some black women may fear being rejected by non-black men but most black globetrotters will tell you that you get more play just for being black abroad than you know what to do with! It's like Mike Jones said:They used to love to me diss me, now they rush to hug and kiss me now
They telling all they friends when I leave how they miss me now

Because of the popularity of black athletes, entertainers, and music, black people are assumed to be hyper-sex(y)(ual) and hyper-talented. I've found these perceptions to be a double edged sword. On one hand, it can lead to unprovoked flattery and admiration. In Rome, for example, I couldn't go anywhere without Italian men confessing their undying love and asking for my hand in marriage. When a group of Korean students visiting DC and met my ex-boyfriend and I, I had to keep my ex away from the giggling, fawning women. They wanted to know all about him, what sports he played, and asked if he could teach them some dance moves. Unfortunately for them, although he towered over them, my ex was only a Capitol Hill staffer with no incredible moves on the dance floor or the basketball court.

On the other hand, these perceptions can lead to negative stereotypes and fetishes. While black people can be seen as more sexually and physically appealing and talented, we are not necessarily considered to be equally as intelligent as other races. One of my classmates, for example, always assumes I want to break out in dance but was surprised to learn that I've seen many Shakespeare plays and enjoyed classical literature. "I thought black people don't do Shakespeare", she said. My friend's cousin, an educated black woman studying in Israel, complains that she is routinely asked if she can make her "ass clap" and other moves made popular by rap video...vixens. The bottom line is that just because someone is willing to sleep with you, does not mean they value you as a human being. Even avid racists like Strom Thurmond and Thomas Jefferson had black mistresses and children. It's important not to mistake a fetish for affection. Consequently, both abroad and in the U.S., I've learned to filter out men who simply have "jungle fever" fantasies and no real attraction to me beyond what women of my race are purportedly skilled at and others who are genuinely interested in me as a person.

With that being said, now on to my 1st date: My very first date as a newly single woman was about a month ago... and a complete a dud. The guy, who we'll call A, was the son of a Libyan diplomat. I'd met A at a gathering at L'Aubergines. He had dark hair pulled back into a pony tail and big brown eyes. He took me horseback riding at the outskirts of the pyramids of Giza. A arrived for our date slightly tipsy and several hours late. He'd blown all his money at the bar and asked me to put in for gas and for the horseback ride (strike one). On the way to Giza, his car suddenly sputtered and overheated! WE had to pull over to the side of the road and wait until it cooled off. Trying to be understanding, I didn't hold this against him. After all, it is hot in Cairo...

When we arrived at the stables, I reminded A that I'd never ridden any horse short of a Ferrari or a Mustang. Instead of helping me along, he rode ahead much of the time, leaving me in on the dark path with the guide (strike two). The guide kept trying to cop a feel under the pretenses of helping me ride the horse. By the time we got to the top, I was so annoyed with having to continuously push his hand away while trying to maneuver the wild animal (the horse, not the guide) that I barely glanced at the midnight view of the pyramids and Cairo lit up below.

The way back down was much of the same as A galloped ahead of me and barely glanced back. When we got back in the car, it was almost 2 am and I told A I hungry and cold. A asked what I wanted to eat and, giving him a chance to redeem himself, I said pizza. Blasting heavy metal music the whole way (Heavy metal, that has to be another 3 strikes)and making conversation i mpossible, he finally pulled up to Pizza King in Mohandissen and stopped the car. I looked over at him to see what we were going to do next and he had the nerve to tell me to go buy the pizza while he waited in the car (strike six). When I got back in the car, he had the audacity to try to reach over and grab a slice of the pizza he didn't pay for or labor to get! I was done after that! When I wasn't cursing the date gods, I spent a significant part of the evening thinking ,"Ex would never do that" or "Ex always did this or that because it's the gentlemanly thing to do"...ugh! I asked him to take me home where I shared my pizza with my roommates. Needless to say, I don't bother answering his phone calls.

Be on the look out for part 2 tomorrow. To be continued....


Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your blog. I'm looking forward to Part 2.

Frenchie said...

Thank you and welcome!

programmer craig said...

Well, I hope part 2 has a happier ending :)

Fly Brother said...

Damn, that fool still calls after a clearly disastrous first date? Pressed much?

Sorry bout ya girl in Israel, but I did have to laugh at the fact that someone would actually pose the question about "ass clapping." I mean, the word choice alone is hilarious.

Ah, the boxes we find ourselves climbing out of. And people wonder why I hate Flava Flav.

Frenchie said...

Calls, texts, FB message! I try to be polite but there's no way I'm putting myself through another repeat of that!
The stereotypes are frustrating but we aren't the only ones that face them. I often wonder if white American women are aware of how they are perceived so negatively abroad.

@Craig, you'll just have to wait and see ;)

Nikita said...

Ohmigosh!! How ridiculous and embarrassing for him. Trifling men are all over the world, apparently. LOL

Matt said...

Ha. Ha HA. HA HA HA HA HA! Sorry, but that was awesome. I know that you want to be sensitive to cultural relativity and all that jazz... but pony tail pretty much means sleeze in any country anywhere. Not a concrete rule but definitely a safe bet.

programmer craig said...


I often wonder if white American women are aware of how they are perceived so negatively abroad.

I think it's women in general who have the most trouble when being immersed in a foreign culture. I'm not sure why that is, but as an American white guy the only problems I had overseas with negative stereotypes was with the British(men) in Hong Kong. And even then, British women there seemed to like American guys just fine from what i could see :)

@Craig, you'll just have to wait and see ;)

I think it must have or you wouldn't be blogging about it :p

You're a very good story teller, by the way! I'm glad I found your blog.

Frenchie said...

@Craig, I agree that women in general have to deal with a myriad of stereotypes. Men seem to be able to ease in and out of many different environments and cultures with greater ease. Regarding tomorrow's post, he had all the odds stacked up against him but...;)
I'm really happy you are enjoying my blog! Writing has been really therapeutic and entertaining for me.

@Matt ...You just may be right about men wit ponytails lol

Anonymous said...

"It's important not to mistake a fetish for affection."

Real talk right there. I often wonder what people are REALLY thinking when they are excited to see me.

VegasSeven said...

This has been my experience in dating the local culture when abroad: The foreigner is novelty because he or she is different and receives much more attention from the opposite sex than when he or she would in their own country. I dated models in Asia and earning 10 times the income of the local person also helped a lot.

Depending on the country, dating may be incredible easy but long term relationships may be challenging due to cultural differences.

I can't believe you called Thomas Jefferson a racist. So few people have the guts to say that. Yes, he was a racist!!! And so was Abraham Lincoln!!! If he had his way, he would have kicked all the slaves and blacks out of the country!!!! For this and many other reasons he was a racist.

african girl said...

How pathetic A was! If I were in your situation I will feel the same thing! It was a very bad experience dating someone like him. However, it's a good news that interracial relationship nowadays have changed dramatically, for me I don't care if I date a black men or a white men or an asian men as long as we click then let it be!

11th Hour Service said...

Most people's dating histories are homogeneous because we live in a segregated society, a fact some of us retroactively justify by pretending we actually know enough people from other backgrounds to pass that kind of judgment made above. And an element of living in segregated worlds is that we look for partners that possess the kind of social capital we're looking for, whether its wavy light-skinned girls or whatever.

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