Why Choosing a Mate is Not the Same As a Trip to Starbucks
Martin introduces us to "the swirl."
Reading this site, you'll quickly discover my love for The Monique Show. Ms. Monique is a fellow Marylander and I love supporting hometown folks as much as possible. The show airs past my bedtime so I usually record all the episodes and have a personal viewing party on Fridays to catch up. So a few weeks ago I snuggled up on my couch with a glass of red wine and enjoyed an episode featuring actor and fellow Bostonian Brian White, singer/actor Tank (initially, I had no idea who he was, but as soon as he came out I was like "Yo! That's the mean dude from Preachers Kid!") and relationship expert/life coach/author Dr. Michelle Callahan.
During the show's last segment, Dr. Michelle gives three single ladies relationship advice. The first two questions are pretty benign like "How do I know if he's 'the one'?" and "How do I get guys to approach me?" But the last question from Ms. Dominique made my put down my glass and let out "Wowwwww":
Ms. Dominique: "Ok, Dr. Michelle I need you to follow me on this one. I've always taken my coffee black. How do I know...if I want to add a little cream...and if I like the taste?
Dr. Michelle: "You know what? Black coffee is good but you could add half-and-half, you could add hazelnut, you could add dulche de leche to it you know? There's nothing wrong with trying different varieties of things. You might always still come back to that black coffee, but you're not really sure unless you taste these other things. And a taste is really just a friendship. A taste is just a friendship, is all I mean. You know, you get to know people. You don't have to limit what you do to just one thing cause you'd be surprised what you might like."
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm still scarred from a panhandler yelling out: "HEY CHOCOLATE! CHOCOLATE! HEY! CHOCOLATE!" as I walked by on my way to a Red Sox game. And whatever food, beverage, or candy-related nicknames you and your mate have for each other (tasty cake, chili pepper, cream puff, tootsie roll, truffle oil, texas pete, whatever), in the privacy of your home and bedroom are your business; if it keeps that fire burning, more power to you. But it struck me as a little odd to hear a conversation about interracial dating reduced down to such a least common denominator. Even as a younger, single woman, I find it hard to believe that me and two of my closest friends--let's call them "Bomi" and "Rachel"--would have serious conversations about dating men, of any race, in terms of how we take our coffee:
Me: "Where can I find a good cup of coffee?! I mean, all I want is a tall, non-fat, caramel macchiato, extra hot, extra foam, extra caramel. Is that too much to ask?"
Rachel: "Well I did meet this venti, soy, white chocolate mocha at bible study last night, but girl do you know he had the nerve to have extra whip?! And ya'll know I'm lactose intolerant!"
Bomi: "Ugh. Hate it when that happens. I'm so fed up with coffee. I need to broaden my horizons and try some Green Tea and Chai Lattes."
Me: "Bring home a Green Tea or Chai Latte?! Girl, what would your family say?!"
In terms of complexity, I can't think of anything that interracial dating and ordering coffee have in common. If I want to grab a cup of coffee while I'm out, I'll usually go to Starbucks where I know the coffee is always strong. But just because I enjoy hanging out with "Sam" doesn't neccesarily mean and I'll hit off with every man who happens to have the same complexion. This may come as a shock to some, but the primary purpose of this site isn't the promotion of a "pro-interracial marriage" message. I don't believe that every woman must date outside of her race or culture at some point to make an "informed decision" about choosing a mate and if she fails to do so, she's somehow selling herself short. I mean what's the point of making yourself date or even marry someone you don't even find physically desirable? No one should enter an interracial relationship--or any relationship for that matter--merely out of a sense of desperation, lonliness or because they want a booty call. And no one secure enough in their own relationship needs to deman or vilify entire people groups (i.e., white women, asian men, west indians, etc.) to justify themselves. In any relationship, you have to judge each person in front of you for who they are in his or her entirety and like Dr. Michelle said: you may be surprised at what you might like.