I’ve got this one friend, James, who makes it a point to cast his dating life like a United Colors of Benetton ad. “I just like women,” he told me once when I made it a point to call him out as a black man who doesn’t date black chicks. (But then again, we used to date, so obviously that’s not true. Because, despite having probably more in common with white people which is how another friend of mine described the post-bourgie black professional experience, I am black.)
Not too long ago, James met a white girl in a bar who he thought was hot. “It was me and 10 other attorneys in tuxedos, and we’re all getting bottles, which gives off the appearance that we’re doing big things,” he explained to me after a pause, “Which we are.”
(This is how he talks.) James, being a man of much bravado—as evidenced in the aforementioned quote—gets bartender girl’s number. The two planned to meet up the next day for cocktails and a Cowboys game.
“Then I showed up in my regular gear, which on this day happened to be a pair of skinny ass Marc Jacobs jeans,” he said, going on to describe his outfit as gay hipster-inspired. “It was a complete 180-degree change, and I wasn’t really into football, which I think she was really disappointed with. When she saw me in my tuxedo, she really had no idea what kind of guy I was, but she knew that she liked black guys, and I guess she just assumed I was your stereotypical black guy who’s into white girls.” (Despite having made a date with a football game as its news peg, James thought it would be on in the background not that he’d have to back up his blackness by actually knowing the players’ names.)
As everyone knows, stereotypes save time. But do they also squander opportunities?
Knowing James is hilarious and super awesome, I’d like to think the stereotypical black guy who’s into white girls is a myth I don’t buy into. But I know that’s not true. Just like I know meeting a white guy in a reggae club on a gentrified stretch of street packed with too many people flailing about desperately gives me the willies. Will I get over that someday? Perhaps. In the meantime, Spencer got married to a girl he said reminded him a lot of me. And no, she isn’t black.
Helena Andrews is a regular contributor to The Root. Her book, Bitch Is The New Black, will be released this summer. Follow her on Twitter.