Why Do Italian Men Love Black Women?

Race Manners: This seems to be a real thing. But if you enjoy the attention, you don't have to explain it to anyone.

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No one wants to be just part of a pattern.

So maybe that’s where the tension is coming up in your conversations with your male friends. Here's a theory: Implicit in your comments "Oh my God, Italian men loved me so much. I'd never seen anything like it. It was the best thing ever! So much better than here!" is the idea that "American men like you can't compare. What's wrong with you?"

Cue the "I don't want to feel like a stereotype" defensiveness on their part. (And on that note, you are going to be forever frustrated if you make it your mission to convince large swaths of people to change their preferences or the way they express them, so probably just give up that bit now.)

My best guess is that this defensiveness is what you and your buddies are really bumping heads over. (Another thought that's just a gut feeling: Maybe one of them likes you and hasn't been able to express it and is frustrated that you only picked up on attention abroad?) So I don't think there's any reason that you have to get your male friends on board as huge cheerleaders for the experience you had in Italy. But if you really want to talk about it, I would try to do it in a way that doesn't have undertones of accusation and doesn't emphasize that people in their demographic have fallen down on the flirting job by comparison.

If they still can't believe what you're saying, just move on (in the conversation, but also maybe to Italy -- don't rule that out!). A true friend isn't going to react with stubborn disbelief to the idea that you made romantic connections, even if they were connections with people from another culture or on another continent.

The Root's staff writer, Jenée Desmond-Harris, covers the intersection of race with news, politics and culture. She wants to talk about the complicated ways in which ethnicity, color and identity arise in your personal life -- and provide perspective on the ethics and etiquette surrounding race in a changing America. Follow her on Twitter.

Need race-related advice? Send your questions to racemanners@theroot.com.

Previously in Race Manners: "What Makes White People Feel Invisible?"

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