Brown guy dating white girl
Each time, he had a rebuttal that probably sounded cleverer in his head. “You better not let your parents control your life like that,” he said, with a derisive laugh. Of course, I didn’t realize I’d made that choice until I reflected back on my last year in men. But it’s the latter who always seem to require an explanation for all of the above, and also for why I lived at home as long as I did and had an early curfew, and why meeting my parents isn’t as simple as pencilling in a Friday night dinner.
“Don’t be like other brown girls.” This from a man who had opened the date by telling me he’d never been out with “a brown girl” before, so he was excited to check that off his list, as if I were an item on a sample platter. And it wasn’t entirely based on Trent; the long list of Trents, Daves and Andys who came before him contributed to my decision, too. As a Pakistani-Canadian woman in her late 20s, there’s a pressure to never move out of home, to have children, to opt for an arrangement, to maintain the “back home” quo, where dating of any kind and pre-marital sex is considered deeply taboo. Sometimes it feels like even the way these men say my name—the practiced pronunciation, and the inevitable request for definition—is a slight, and that’s not because it’s wrong to ask (it isn’t). I wouldn’t, after all, inquire about the ethnic origins of a James or a Michael. Something tells me those conversations aren’t happening in the same way with our other halves.
They don’t generalize, they ask questions, and come from a place of wanting to understand rather than assuming they’ve got it down.
But whether that effort is made or not, I find myself unable to get past why I always have to be the half carrying the heavier load simply because I was born with it, hoping I can pass without the texture of my life being used to dismiss me as not much more than “a brown girl.” I grew up feeling as though I needed to be ashamed of living outside the Western default, whether that was for hiding my “smelly” lunches in elementary school, committing to my unibrow throughout middle school or keeping my legs covered during the summer.
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I can’t count the number of times we’ve sat around a dinner table swapping stories and asking each other: When do you tell them? But in my experience, dating a white guy often leads to an automatic imbalance.
But even though I know what’s coming, the confused (at best) and condescending (at worst) responses can still hurt.
They seem to say, “I don’t know anything about your culture, but I can tell you right now what’s best for you.” Yes, some men are open, kind.
That’s why, before I go on dates with white guys, I steel myself.
It’s like I’m going over a defense strategy that I’ve built over time and perfected; I know exactly when the questions will come, what they’ll be and the looks I’ll get.