In the middle of a humdrum ordinary day, my phone rang. “Admin, this is Jordan.”
A female voice said, “Hey, Jordan!”
I said, “Hi, Faith.”
“You hard at work, or can you talk for a second?”
Dryly, I said, “I think I can talk for a second. What’s cooking?”
“Well. I know you’re not exactly a big fan of blind dates, but, I also know you’ve been wanting to go to that big spoken word thing this Friday.”
“Yes, to both. So?”
“So, I happen to know a very nice man, about your age, who has two tickets and wants to take someone.”
I hated blind dates, and for a good reason. Someday I’ll tell you about some of them. My reasons, not the dates. Although I suppose my reasons have a lot to do with the dates.
But my desire to go to the spoken word event won out. “Okay. What’s this “nice man’s” name?”
I grinned as I made air quotes with my fingers.
“His name is Robby Jackson. And he’s white, believe it or not. I hope that doesn’t bother you.”
All the things my family would say and have said about interracial dating flicked through my mind.
But I said, “No. That doesn’t bother me.”
“Are you sure? Cause the reason I ask is, I know your family is Blacker than Black.”
I laughed, despite myself. “No, it doesn’t bother me! So give me his digits.”
“Oh, no, I don’t work like that. Just say the word, and I’ll give him your digits. Come on, Jordan, the clock is ticking. I gotta get back to him.”
“Faith, come on. Really?”
“Jordan, sweetheart, you’re my girl, but I know for a fact that if I give you this poor man’s digits, you will never call him. This phone number will sit and sit on your desk, and by the time you remember, it will be too late.”
This was why Faith was my girl. She knew me better than I did.
So I said, “Alright, fine, give him my digits, but just my office number. I’ll decide whether or not to give him my personal number.”
“Office number only. You have my word, as a woman of God.”
“Okay. Hey, I gotta go. Work is calling. I got a meeting.”
“Ok! Bye, boo.”
* * * * * *
I had been back at my desk from the meeting for maybe five minutes when my phone rang.
“Admin, Jordan speaking.”
A male voice said, “Hi, can I speak to Jordan Webb?”
Oh, damn, I just got weak in the knees. I took a deep breath. “Yes, this is Jordan Webb. Is this Robby?”
“Yes, this is Robby. Faith gave me your office number.”
“Yes, Faith told me about you. She said you have an extra ticket for the spoken word show?”
“Yes, indeed, I do. I was kind of hoping not to go by myself. This kind of thing is best experienced with someone to come with you.”
“I know, right! Have you asked anyone else?”
“No, actually, I haven’t. Not yet.”
“What do you mean, ‘not yet?’”
“Faith said she could fix me up with someone.”
“What? You didn’t believe her?”
“Well, I’ll admit I had some reservations. I’ve been fixed up before, just not by Faith.”
I wanted to melt. But instead, I said, “Well then, I hope you don’t mind if we meet down at the bookstore. I’ve been fixed up before, too. And let’s just say it didn’t go too well.”
“And you want to be able to get away, in case I’m an asshole or if I’m disrespectful, or you just don’t like me. Stop me anytime.”
I felt sympathy for him. “I promise, I won’t just bail on you. Okay?”
“Okay. Sounds good. So do you want to exchange cell phone numbers? I would like to be able to see what you look like.”
I giggled. “Sure. Let’s do that. When does this show start, anyway?”
“Eight o’clock, Friday night. And don’t be late. Once the show starts, they don’t let anyone in.”
“They call me Miss Punctual for a reason.”
“See you then?”
“Yes, I’ll see you then. I’m at work right now, so it might be a while before I send you a picture. Okay?”
“Yeah, that’s fine. I’m at work, too. Talk to you later?”
“Yes. I’ll talk to you later. Work is calling.”
“Try not to work too hard.”
“I won’t. You, either.”
“Me neither. Bye.”
* * * * * *
It wasn’t every day that the bookstore looked like a concert hall. But, as I got out of my car, that’s what the bookstore looked like, with a huge sign in front and everything.
The night promised to be an exciting one.
I stood up and turned around to make sure my car was locked. As I did so, I caught a look at myself in the glass. I was 5 feet and 4 inches of sexy chocolate. My eyes were a shade or two darker than my skin, and the curls in my jet black natural hair were popping.
As soon as I had gotten out of my car and closed the door, my phone rang. I looked at the screen, and, with a sinking feeling, tapped the green button. “Hello?”
A male voice said, “Hey.”
I also said, “Hey. Robby?”
“Where are you?”
I did. Robby stood nearby his own car, holding his phone, and waving to me. I waved back. “You had me scared for a minute.”
“Sorry. I was having trouble spotting you, so I figured I’d just call you.”
I grinned. “Good idea.”
“Get yourself over here.”
I heard a chuckle. “Coming.”
A minute later, he came over to me. I gave him a hug.
He said, “How was your day?”
“Considering it’s Friday, not too bad. What about yours?”
“About the same. You ready to go inside?”
“Yeah, just about. What about you? Got the tickets?”
“Yep. Got’em right here. By the way, you look nice.”
“Thanks!” I said, pleased.
Since it was Friday, and a work day, I’d had to dress both for work and for my date. I couldn’t wear anything too sexy. That meant no plunging necklines. No hemlines more than four inches above the knee. And no bare backs. At least according to the guidelines issued by Human Resources. Besides, when I agreed to Faith’s request, it was only for a first date – and a blind one at that. No sense in wasting full-on glam on someone I’d never met.
So, I wore a very simple sleeveless, knee-length white dress, with a waist-cinching black leather belt, and matching black suede stiletto pumps. Red lipstick. Red nails. Black clutch purse. Not full-on glam, but still very nice.
Robby chuckled. “How do I look?”
My date for the evening had decided to wear a navy blazer with a white shirt, tucked into khaki trousers, which were just the right length, covering his black shoes.
“Very handsome, of course.”
He extended his arm to me. “Shall we go inside?”
“Yes, let’s get inside. The show should be just about to start.”
* * * * *
We had a good time. A very good time. All the poetry was stirring, the poets themselves passionate in their delivery.
The only wrinkle in the entire evening was this couple, sitting nearby where we were, who would stare at us a lot, in a highly disapproving manner. I couldn’t tell who it was staring at us, the man or the woman, but I could feel their disapproval. I didn’t care, and wouldn’t care, except that it was another interracial couple – a white woman with a black man.
The black man was quite dark-skinned, darker than I was, tall and thin as a reed, with short curly black hair on his head. The woman was very pale, her hair a pale blonde like spun gold, wearing classic red lipstick, a very short black dress so tight it was a wonder she could even breathe in it, and sky-high black leather peep toe pumps. I guess she needed them to be able to reach him. My suede pumps were high, sure, but not that high.
Ooooh, I wanted to call them out on their hypocrisy so bad, neither of them would show their faces around here for ten years. But I was also on a date, the first date I’d gone on in several months, if we’re being honest here, and I wanted it to be as drama-free as possible, for Robby’s sake as much as mine.
So I decided to be a good girl and not do what I so badly wanted to do. For now, anyway. If either of them said so much as syllable to Robby or I, all bets were off.
I’m sorry, but double standards do not make the least amount of sense to me, and this one worst of all. I do not get why it’s okay for black men to date a white woman, but put the shoe on the other foot, have a black woman go out with a white man, and you might as well call 9-1-1.
Seriously! This friend of mine was dating a white man one time, and I remember seeing grown-ass black men practically have a heart attack at the very sight of them together.
I could honestly say, however, that I had no idea how the white girl felt. I’ve never bothered to find out how white women felt about the whole interracial dating thing. Although, I remembered reading some nonsense about how black men felt less threatened by white women. That to me, meant that white girls were more inclined to go with their BS and not call them on it, like a black woman would.
I did not get it at all. At the time, I promised myself I would not date outside my race, if only to avoid all the unnecessary drama. But now, I’m starting to change my outlook. Being on a date with a nice man was probably the reason.
I certainly wasn’t falling in love, but the man deserved not to be the target of hate, when his only “crime” was stepping out with a black woman on his arm. And I will date whoever I want, dammit.
Fortunately, the evening was almost over, and the couple had not said a word.
As we left the bookstore, Robby and I were both talking and laughing, as I sipped from an iced coffee drink. It was enough caffeine to keep me up till midnight, but I didn’t care.
I said, “Well, thank you for taking me to the show.”
“You’re welcome. I guess you need to be going?”
“Yeah, I need to be going.”
Robby said, “Let me walk you out to your car. Mine’s nearby, anyway.”
“You don’t have to do that!”
“I just want to make sure you get to your car. Please, indulge me.”
Blushing, I slipped my arm through his, and we started walking.
Then a catty female voice said, “Don’t you look pretty on the white man’s arm.”
We turned around. There was that couple – a black man, with his date, girlfriend, whoever or whatever she was.
I said, “What’s up, girlfriend?”
“You finally decided to catch flies with honey?”
I said, “What are you talking about?”
“Well, you go around emasculating your men, so it’s not hard to guess why black men like white women.”
I thought it was because white women were easy, according to that article I read. That they would spread their legs for anyone.
But instead, I said, “Hey, my bad. You should have said something earlier. Then we could have swapped dates and we both wouldn’t be swirling. So next time let me know and we can make it all better, okay?”
Robby and the black man both laughed at that.
Then the black man said, “Come on, babe, let it go. Besides, we have reservations, remember?”
They walked off. I could tell an argument was in store for later, judging by the stony look on that man’s face.
Robby turned to me and said, “I’m impressed. That took skills.”
I laughed. “Thanks. Nobody’s ever said that before.”
“I’m glad to be the first.”
We kept walking across the parking lot until we were back at my car. I turned to him and said, “Well, thank you again, Robby. It’s been a nice evening.”
“You’re welcome. I’m hoping we can do this again.”
“You mean go out? Together?”
He grinned a lopsided grin. “Well, yeah. I think that’s how dating works.”
I laughed out loud. “I’d like that! Give me a call, but wait till next week, cause this weekend is going to be a busy one.”
“Okay. So I guess this is goodnight.”
“Yes. I’m afraid so.”
“Nah, don’t sweat it. It’s been a long day for me.”
Under the cone of light from a nearby street lamp, we kissed goodnight.
Giving him a look, the look, the one that said I did want to see him again, he saw me to my car and made sure I was inside and my door was locked. Then I returned the favor and watched him get into his car.
As I turned the key in the ignition, my phone rang. Faith. “Hello, Faith.”
With a sly tone, she said, “So, how did your date go? I hope I’m not interrupting anything…”
I laughed. “No, you’re not. But it did go very well…”
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