According to most modern-day publications that help women with dating and lifestyle issues, I should be open to dating every kind of man by now: white men, Asian men, Indian men, Hispanic men and so on and so forth. I should have a rainbow coalition in my little black book (aka, the iPhone). And while I’ve only dated black men (aside from the white boy I went steady with in kindergarten), I haven’t necessarily been against the concept of dating outside of my race. I would just say that I haven’t really been “open” per say. I have more of a thing for black men because that’s who I’ve been around, gone to school with, had crushes on and most importantly, been approached by. So whenever I’m approached by a guy of the non-black persuasion (as I like to say), my flirtation signal is pretty much dead. If he’s not coming straight out and saying, “I like you, let’s hang out sometime,” I’ll have no idea what’s going. And at second thought, that’s kind of pitiful.
Case in point: Almost two years ago I was working in the Midwest for a company that most consumers like, but that I hated as an employee. The maturity level in that joint was on some junior high stuff, as people were walking around with no shoes on, and playing favorites with no intentions of trying to be low-key with it. In the midst of all that foolishness, I had a few colleagues that I enjoyed spending lunchtime complaining with, and there was one guy in my team who hated working there as much as I did, and we hit it off pretty well. He was a tall Asian dude with a cute smile and a random appreciation for all things Wu-Tang. I would give him a fake name, but I don’t want to pull out some stereotypical ish, so let’s just proceed. He could spit every member’s lyrics from the track “Triumph,” and his sense of humor was a nice mix of sarcasm and an appreciation for the silly, just like me. For a while there, I thought he was kind of cute, but that’s pretty much all I thought at the time when it came to this fella.
Or maybe I felt something else for the guy, because when I walked to his desk one day after lunch for s**ts and giggles, I was pretty saddened to hear that after only five or six months with the company, he hated it so much that he decided over a bottle of Gatorade (which the company had a fridge full of) that THAT particular day was going to be his last. As he typed it on his computer so other people couldn’t hear his secret, I felt my stomach drop.”But why?” I asked, not realizing I had wanted to do the same thing for months already, and in response, he laughed and said, “Because I hate this place. This job isn’t for me.” The difference between this guy and I was that while I could quit my job, I would be unemployed for a hot minute while he could go home and do accounting work for his mother and father’s grocery store. Homeboy definitely had options, that’s probably why he decided to be in a rock band on the side. He smiled and said that we would keep in touch as he gave me his number, and when he text me later in the day telling me he was out, he said that I should come to one of his band’s shows one day, and since he didn’t drink, we could chat over glasses of orange juice. While I took that as him having interest, I just sent an emoticon smiley face and left it at that. Was he really feeling me?? Naaaaaaaaah….
As I walked by his desk where there sat an unplugged keyboard and phone for a week before another white boy came in and took his place, I was sad. But a lot more confused when I realized all the signs and flirtations that had been sent my way over those last few months I had unknowingly ignored according to my friends at work. From G-chatting me hilarious jokes on the regular, to invitations to his shows, asking me to go to happy hour so he could have someone to chat with (I still said no) and the fact that he’d gone out of his way to find me before he left the epic company Christmas party (which I of course arrived at using CP Time) by yelling from across the room and waving like a little kid, to even the random decision to track me down on Facebook just so we could chat about his new life and job, I had missed my chance.
Ah well. While I could easily have done something about it, I pulled one of his moves and quit a few months later, moved to New York City and haven’t seen him since. Once I got here I decided that though he was a great dude, it wasn’t worth it to pull something out of a movie and spill my feelings to him, which really weren’t that deep or movie-worthy anyway, but rather surface: “You’re cute and have a good sense of humor, let’s go out for orange juice!” But what I did take from the whole scenario was that I shouldn’t be super confused or suspicious if an Asian man, white man, green man or whoever digs me, because many people aren’t worried about background and skin color difference in the dating game anymore. And maybe next time something like this happens, though I’m currently happily enamored with a man of the black persuasion, I can recognize the signs and actually do something about them. But hey, you live and you learn. That’s the dating mantra, right?