We had been dating well over a year when my boyfriend asked me if I wanted to go to an informal gathering of his college friends.
“Uh huh, sure. Can I finish this chapter?”
“It’s later this month.”
It wasn’t until he asked me for the fourth time if I was absolutely sure I wanted to go because he could just give the whole thing a skip that I realized I would be the only white person there.
Now, I had noticed my boyfriend was black and knew he had gone to one of the well respected Historically Black Colleges in Mississippi, but usually we hung out with groups of mostly white people, or mixed groups, and I just didn’t think it through. I had never actually met his family, but of course I was up for a college reunion. The fact that I was at first unprepared just speaks to the comfort level of our relationship, right? Or because sometimes, as he liked to say, I’m just really really white. I am pretty sure this was a nice way of saying “oblivious.”
“Of course I’ll go,” I tell him. “What would it say about our relationship if I wouldn’t do this for you? Really, I’m insulted. Of course I can do this.”
“I don’t think I can do this,” I say to myself standing in front of the restaurant with my boyfriend and a classmate. Due to some massive misunderstanding, the three of us were half an hour early. We’d already been standing there for 20 really awkward minutes. She wouldn’t look me in the eye, and despite my boyfriend’s best efforts to include me in conversations, she managed to pretend I wasn’t there. The hostility burned the air and made it stink of ozone. This is what microaggressions are, I think. She is punishing me for hundreds of years of white supremacy. Should I tell her my people were sharecroppers? No, maybe not. This is what she feels like all the time. Ignored, looked over. She’s making me pay for the sins of my ancestors. Well, this is going to be a long night.
Finally, she mercifully excused herself to go to the restroom. It’s too bad, I think, that we didn’t hit it off. She has great taste in clothes. I would totally wear that. If we were besties, we could share a whole wardrobe. We’re not just the same size, we actually have the same exact body which is odd–heyyyyy
“Heyyyyyy,” I said to my boyfriend, whacking him in the arm and hissing in his ear.
“Did you sleep with her?”
“Oh my God, how did you know? I’m sorry. I should have told you. Shit. How did you know?”
“Oh, it’s ok,” I said relieved.
“You’re mad? It was right before we started dating, and….”
“I’m just glad she doesn’t hate me because I’m white.”
Fortunately, college friends my boyfriend had not slept with started to arrive, and the evening improved drastically. His best friend from college turned out to be this 90 pound (not his type) drop dead gorgeous lawyer who worked in DC. She ordered the chicken and waffles.
If you have never had chicken and waffles, you must. If you are a vegetarian, you should try it with fake chicken and let me know how that works out or real chicken and I will never tell. Fried chicken served on top of a waffle is a synergistic gastronomic experience of orgasmic proportions. It glows from some magic source created by the combination itself with golden light you can smell. And then you put syrup on it. After grilling the waiter on the proper techniques of creating such a masterpiece, she looked at him very seriously and asked, “Does that come with fries?
Then she turned to me and laughed.
“I am so black,” she says.
I love her.
I ditch my fish tacos and go with the chicken and waffles. No fries. I know my limitations.
We had a great time. We went to her Dad’s place and watched TV. There was beer. No one else treated me like I’d slept with her man. Or like I was a white person.