I’m an African-American woman looking to date an African-American man. I’m trying to meet guys online and am on multiple sites, including Match.com. One of my girlfriends is also online dating and I’ve noticed lately that she’s been on a lot of dates with black guys … and she’s white. I know this shouldn’t annoy me, but it does. We’re both in our mid-thirties and are having a hard time finding single, nice guys to date, and I feel like there are fewer eligible brothers out there than white guys. I’ve jokingly told her to stop swimming in my pool, but every time she goes out with a black guy, it makes me a little madder. I want to say something to her, but I’m not sure what I’d say. Any suggestions?—MG, New York, New York
The Straight Man’s Perspective: Chris Kennedy
You’re in luck, MG. I found you a time machine on eBay—yes, you can find anything on eBay—so you can travel back to an era when interracial dating was highly discouraged. The most modern era I could get you to is the pre-free love 1960s, but I think you’ll enjoy the limited thinking of this time—in addition to the cheap gas prices and sock hops.
I’ll forewarn you, though, that you’ll have a tougher time meeting your eligible brothers “online”… since public Internet use won’t be around for another thirty or so years. Okay, so that’s not such a great option. Scratch that. Here’s the real solution: get over it!
Interracial dating happens. If you choose to limit yourself to black men only, that’s your choice and it’s perfectly okay. Some may call you a racist for that. I don’t agree; you like what you like. Fine. We ALL have the freedom to date whomever we want. Your white girl friend can date black guys and black guys can date her. The problem lies with you thinking you have the right to tell another person what race you’d feel more comfortable with her dating. In case I’m not clear, you CANNOT say a word to your friend about this or you risk losing her as a friend. The fact is, there’s nothing you can do about black men who prefer white women. Your match is going to be with a black man who prefers black women, so why do you care?
Also, your white friend is not married or in an exclusive relationship so she hasn’t removed one single black man from the dating pool you want to swim in. Don’t blame her because you’re standing there dipping your toe in the pool asking for the perfect conditions to jump in. The pool’s open to everyone. Enter at your own risk.
The Straight Woman’s Perspective: Rebecca Brown
My friends D, A, and I have a little game we play. When a celebrity’s name is mentioned in conversation—let’s say, George Clooney, for example—one of us yells out, “MINE!” It’s all in good fun, of course, though there have been a few “fights” over who “gets” someone. (George, Clive Owen, and Paul Rudd are so mine.) But, if we ran into George at Starbucks or, say, the Lombard Heights Nail Salon (you never know, George might need a buff-out) and he expressed an interest in one of them instead of me, I’d be thrilled for either of them (after silently being devastated on the inside). Why? Because they’re my friends and I want them to find someone who makes them happy. And also, that’s just good dating karma.
My point is, you can’t call dibs on an entire race, religion, or genre of celebrities. That’s just not cool. But I suspect the objection to your friend swimming in your dating pool is not about skin color at all, but more about supply and demand and the fear that there aren’t enough men to go around. Believe me, I feel your pain on the shortage of available guys, but all’s fair in love and Match.com; if you were interested in any of the men your friend is going out with, you should’ve acted on it and pinged them with either a wink or an email. And even if you did do that, who’s to say they would’ve been interested in you? Attraction is a mysterious thing. Since there’s no logic in who’s attracted to whom, stop focusing on that because it’s out of your control. What you can control is the method to the madness known as online dating. In other words, if you want to find the guy, you’ve gotta do the work. How many emails do you send to men you’re interested in each day? Each week? I can’t promise that you’ll magically meet Mr. Right even if you send one hundred emails a day, but eventually, your effort will pay off in the form of a few good options.
In the meantime, stop trying to control who your friend goes out with, and for God’s sake, no!, don’t impose a moratorium on her dating black men. You’ll look petty and pathetic and she might just take you up on that command to start swimming in a different pool—only it might be your friendship pool she leaves instead of the dating pool.
The Gay Man’s Perspective: Darren Maddox
You seriously have to get over it. Look, you’re both single and you’re both looking to find someone you can settle down with; your paths may cross. What are you planning to do? Tell her you like black guys and she should only date white guys? You think she’d go for that? I’m guessing no. If she wants to go out with someone, she’ll go out with him. Why wouldn’t she? Don’t get bitter. Find out if the guys she goes out with have friends you could go out with. Look at this as an opportunity to find a whole new dating pool. She can scout for you while you’re scouting on your own. No harm no foul.
How long have you been friends? How long has she been seeing someone you might have been interested in if you had met him first? How long do you think it will last before she moves on and meets someone else? Is it worth wasting a friendship by limiting her options? Move on. You cannot claim an entire race as your own and ask others to back off as a result.
The Gay Woman’s Perspective: Jody Fischer
I’m glad you wrote to us. I have one very important question to ask you. When you talk to your girlfriend, what do you want to accomplish? Do you just want to express how you feel or do you want her to stop dating African-American men? Your next step really depends on how you answer this question. If you really want her to stop dating African-American men, you have to ask yourself why. Will she steal away the one that was meant for you? And what about bi-racial men, or black men whose proud ancestry does not hail from the African continent … are they off limits for her too? Because if you’re picking your men exclusively on what continent they come from, you need to expand your boundaries. If you want to date African-American men, that’s great, but friends can’t legislate who their friends date. That’s the law. Okay, so it may be an unwritten law, but it still stands. And again, I beg the question, why do you want to express your anger to her?
If you simply want to share with a friend how you feel, I suggest you spend time on your own really looking at why you feel the way you do. Sounds to me like you feel hurt and frustrated that you haven’t found that super nice guy yet that you’re ready to find. This is a painful present reality. But, MG, it does not have to be your future reality. One thing I’ve learned is that coming from a place of anger does not get me any closer to my goal. So lose the anger and focus on your goal—to find the man that’s right for you. I wish this for both you and your friend.