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    Black Girl.  Blue



    I acknowledge my idiosyncrasies.  No longer taking care to conform to the conventional, I've become comfortable with my wayward peculiarities and defiant quirks.  But, every now and then, I am startled with evidence of my own conventionality.

    Having recently ended a relationship, moved to the Big City, and gained entry to Corporate America, I did what many women do:  Adopt a cat.

    But that's where the archetypal gesture of a single, urban professional ends. 

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    Did you . . . ?

    On the couches of television hosts, between the covers of magazines, and within the walls of beauty salons, the importance of a man asking his woman how her day was has often been trumpeted.  Whether as a sign of honeyed affection, ("he always asks me what happened at work...") or as an indication that love's milk has soured, ("he doesn't even ask me how my day went anymore...") this question has often been deemed as one of the many things that a woman loves to hear

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    I can't lie:  I can be pretty damned-self conscious and my feelings are easily hurt.  While I'm usually able to quickly shake off the sting and get back in the game (while repeating that at least God and my mother love me), every so often words (inartfully phrased), or deeds (indelicately performed), linger onward.  Occasionally, these emotional wounds-no matter how superficial-create a soreness that will take longer to subside than one would think.  They're the paper cuts hidden beneath the nail.  The repeatedly bitten cheek that swells from the inside...

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    Wife(y) Swap

    Because there is a 14-year gap between my sister and I, I never had to bear the illusory insult of hand-me-downs:  The pair of jeans that, while still stylish, had already been broken in.  The blazer that, while classic, was worn at the elbows.  And although I was raised with a certain level of consciousness, I was never encouraged to recycle.  While not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, the notion of discarded wares being reinvented into treasure was not reinforced.  And yet, as I mentally rummage through the bins of men that I once dated, I wonder if the more gently used of them should be passed on to friends who may be just the right fit.  Want not, waste not...right?

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    The White List

    There are certain things that I did as a teenager that I vowed never to do again.  Fortunately, none of my regrets had an impact on either my bank account or liver (those errors weren't made until my 20s), but were more banal lapses.  At 14, while furiously and unsteadily pedaling my bike home with a bloodied lip and bruised ego, I vowed to not ever again scrap with a boy (despite the fact that I had succeeded in getting in a few licks before being knocked.the.fuck out).  At 16, as a sticky viscous fluid oozed down the back of my neck, I promised to never again listen to a hairdresser (this time I had been duped into believing that the Wave Nouveau was the Relaxer's distant cousin rather than the Jerry Curl's identical twin).  And by 18, having already had a number of boyfriends, I swore off white boys.

    It's not as if my 2 episodes of "something new" had been disastrous-just terribly uncomfortable.  Not the sort of of discomfort that portends of certain tragedy (like the trifecta of heart palpitations, sweaty skin and a sense of impending doom), but the sort of unpleasantness that results from wearing jeans 2 sizes too small:  Not only does it not feel right, but permits those who witness this violation against nature (as well as the ferocious struggle between gut and denim) to sit in judgment. 

    And yet, with each mounting disappointment (the man who said he'd call, but didn't...the man who did, but who couldn't take my very unique brand of crazy, or the relationship that soared--then crashed into magnificent flames), I sometimes wonder if my blanket policy should be foot-noted to note that limited exceptions might be made for the exceptional.  For the white boy who I'm not only profoundly attracted to (which admittedly eliminates the vast majority of this subgroup), but who also:


    1.  Is familiar with the uniqueness and variances of a black woman's hair.  A few years back, a close friend was in the throes of a passionate relationship with a white guy.  On the evening of our introduction (after a few vodka cocktails), I asked him what he knew about a black woman's hair.  Expecting him to only laugh at my question, I was stunned when he responded by asking what, specifically, I was referring to:  The value of purchasing an at-home relaxer kit vs. going to the salon, the olfactory wonder of Pink Oil, the inevitable emergence of the silk doo-rag, or the battle of weaves vs. naturals.  I couldn't help but be impressed.  While some may criticize his response by noting its simplicity and failure to give a historical framework, this white guy would have passed my own test with gusto.  After all, while knowing who C.J. Walker is would certainly be nice, I don't ever want to have to explain why, well after the wind's gust has subsided, by bangs still stand at attention.

    2.  Exhibits a demonstrable and pre-existing fondness for "thick" women.  Of course it's possible for a man to fall for a woman who, at first glance, isn't his type-but I'd be uncomfortable if his list of crushes only included women who could serve as body doubles for Cameron Diaz, Heidi Klum or Zoe Saldana.  To me, it would be akin to a person ordering Nigirizushi off the menu rather than Chicken Teriyaki--not because he likes it, but out of a desire to seem a bit more cosmopolitan.  I don't ever want to be anyone's statement piece or treasure at the end of the trail for the elusive brown nipple. (n.1)

    3.  Doesn't make the absurd attempt to obscure his whiteness by (a) trying to "ethnicize" his appearance (i.e. by getting a "ceasar", rocking Ecko Red, or by punctuating his statements with staccatoed gestures); (b) obsessively frequenting spoken word/open mic events to spit pieces about the Revolution; or (c) attempting to become certified in all things black.  Contrary to the view popularized by white back-packers, being black is much more than a state of mind.  (And, despite the desperate attempts of some of Maury Povich's white baby mamas who have birthed black children, bearing such children, getting an asymmetrical hair cut and learning to neck-roll does not magically confer blackness).  While any man that I date should be informed about black history, culture, and commit to The Struggle, this particular fellow must also be able to look his whiteness in the eye.

    4.  Is able to talk smack, fight-or, if all else fails, run with a 160+ pound woman strewn over his shoulder.  Look-the fact of the matter is that the sight of a black woman with a white man is likely to incite more than the occasional disrespectful remark and/or threatening gesture.  While some would prefer to handle the situation by repeating nom myoho renge kyo, I need a man that can tell someone to shut the fuck up and kick some ass (or at least get in at least a few good licks before getting knocked.the.fuck.out.).  


    n.1  A friend once shared that he once worked with a white man who was intrigued by the thought of being with an exotic woman-or, as he phrased it, "a woman with brown nipples." 


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