The Distinct Charm of the Straight Up White Guy
Dedicated to all the lovely, professional but single women of colour in Ottawa, my friends in particular.
I remember once being told by a professional man of colour how great Ottawa was because there were so many beautiful, intelligent, well educated, professional and desperately single women of colour to choose from!
Why? Well, considering that the main employer here in Ottawa is the Federal Government and that corporation is overwhelmingly populated by women of colour the competition for the few men of colour in this city is pretty high.
Now, you might suggest that the other main employer in the city, the High Tech Industry, overwhelmingly populated by men of colour, would make up for this. But have you met the guys of colour who work in High Tech? If these guys are interested in an animate object with whom to spend their lives with they have probably asked Mommy and Daddy to import her from back home already*.
Unless someone writes a memo to Harper convincing him to hire more eligible men of colour for the public service because sexually frustrated female employees of colour have been scientifically proven to be less productive, the gender gap in this city isn’t likely to change any time soon.
So, what’s a single women of colour stuck in Ottawa supposed to do: Consider Something New.
When the film Something New, in which a Black professional woman hooks up with a White working-class man came out Oprah dedicated a whole show to the issue of Black women dating White men. Although many of the Black men interviewed lamented that seeing a Black woman end up with a White man was like “losing a sister” the sad conclusion was that considering that Black women were doing much better professionally than Black men and often the Black men that were professionally successful were marrying White women there just weren’t enough brothers to go around.
In other communities of colour, with the prevalence of importing wives from back home*, particularly in the Arab and South Asian communities, even women from communities where men and women might be equally successful professionally are finding it hard to find a man. Added to this that often in these communities daughters come with marriageablity expiry dates, the pressure on these women to bring home a good boy from the community as soon as possible can push some over the edge.
Many of my wonderful, professional and single female friends of colour complain about being lonely, horny, and fed-up with their mothers and aunties asking them when they are going to get married.
All I have to say to my desperate sisters of colour is this: There are perfectly eligible White men out there ready and willing to fulfill your needs.
Yes, I said it, WHITE MEN!
I think that you should all consider dating White men.
Or at least, don’t write-off the idea of dating a White man if a nice enough one comes along and seems interested in you.
The majority of men in this city who are professionals are White and you are just going to have to accept the fact that you might end up with one of them as tragic as that may seem.
I know, I know, you have many objections to this suggestion.
Let’s explore some of these, shall we?
A White Man Can’t Understand Me, My Culture, My Experiences of Racism, The Struggle of My People, etc.
Yes, you are right. A White man will never get what it is to be a person of colour.
He will have to begin to challenge his White Privilege if he hasn’t started doing this already.
You might have to teach him how to use chopsticks and discover the joys of chicken feet. You might have to teach him how to properly pronounce “Jaan”.
You’ll have a lot of history to teach him and maybe a few new languages to boot.
But if he is serious about being with you he will be willing to learn.
Besides, are you really guaranteed by being with a man from your own community that you will be understood? Although, your cultural context is deeply integral to your development as an individual so are many other things that a man may not understand just because he’s from the same community. And I don’t think a White man is any less able to understand these things about you, particularly if it’s these things that attracted him to you in the first place.
My Parents Want Me To Bring Home A Good (Add Ethnicity Here) Boy
I understand that you want your parents to approve of your future spouse if you wish to stay close to your families but after a certain time (particularly if you end up passing your marriageablity expiry date) your parents will probably just be happy that you are getting married and aren’t going to end up alone and not giving them any grandchildren.
You also might want to disabuse your parents of the idea that there are actually that many “Good (Add Ethnicity Here) Boys” out there. Parents really need to become more aware of the nastiness these boys are getting up to. I’m often amused by the persistent idea that White men are drug addled, lazy, sex maniacs whereas boys of colour are sober, hard-working virgins. I’d take a drug-addled, lazy, sexually maniacal White boy over his counterpart of colour any day. At least the White boy doesn’t lie to his mother’s face about what he was really doing on Saturday night!
I Don’t Want to Be Exotified by Some Pervy White Dude
Sections of the Porn Industry are exclusively dedicated to fulfilling White guys racist sexual fantasies about women of colour.
I remember when dating in high school this was a particular problem for me as a Black woman. I’d start dating some seemingly innocuous White boy and all of a sudden I’d discover that he expected me to be a sex-crazed jungle cat ready to shake my booty in his face and call him Big Papa.
But the sad reality is that many of you are just as likely to be exotified by perves in your own communities.
As a lighter-skinned Black woman, I’m always a bit freaked out if a Black guy can’t stop making comments about how light I am (I can usually get him to cool it by elaborating on how short and nappy my hair is). My Desi friends who are lighter-skinned have attracted Desi boys particularly desperate for a “fair-skinned” bride. Or the opposite happens, a light-skinned Black or Desi boy seems totally into you because you are darker than him and he hopes hooking up with you will alleviate his anxieties about his own authenticity as a man of colour.
If you feel you are being exotified than just tell that White dude that you have no intention of being his Geisha or reenacting the Kama Sutra with him and that he should just download some porn because no real life woman of colour is going to want anything to do with him.
I’m Hindu, Sikh, Muslim etc. My Religion is Important To Me and I Want to Raise My Children In It
I’m not sure about all religious communities but most communities allow for conversion.
Now getting your White Boy to convert is another story. Try to make sure that you don’t date a guy who is a total atheist (No disrespect to atheists, some of my best friends are atheists, but you must admit you people are hard to convert). So, if he at least has some belief in some abstract higher power just start trying to convince him that this higher power he’s describing sounds an awful lot like your particular deity.
Hindus and Buddhists will have less trouble doing this because your religions are associated with positive spiritual values here in the West like peace and tranquility. Who wouldn’t want to aspire to the selflessness of the Buddha? Who wouldn’t want to put pictures of the adorable Baby Krishna up around their house?
If you are Muslim, however, your job is much harder. Islam is certainly not the most popular religion and your average White guy doesn’t want to risk ending up on the no-fly list just for a woman. But there are some White guys who would and if a White guy is willing to risk ending up on the no-fly list for you, you know he’s the one.
We Muslims, we love to convert people. So dating a non-Muslim White Guy isn’t even dating-It’s Dawah!!! If your parents or community members give you a hard time ask them: Are You Against the Spreading of Islam? Of course they’re not.
In order to get your White boy to start warming up to Islam get him to read a lot of Rumi.
Also, talk a lot about how in Islam sex between married people is a totally guilt-free spiritual act. Dig up all those Muslim marriage manuals that advocate fulfilling a wife’s sexual desires. You’re teaching him about Islam and ensuring that you have a satisfying sex life all at the same time! Try to bring up sex as often as possible in the context of your religion. This way you are associating Islam with positive, warm, fuzzy things as opposed to all those negative images of bloodthirsty terrorists blowing up school children and flying planes into tall buildings. These are desperate times and, as they say, they call for desperate measures. Besides, if you yourself are committed to remaining chaste until your wedding night and you want this White boy to wait for you, you’ll need some way of channeling all the pent up sexual energy otherwise something will explode and it won’t be a suicide bomber.
Okay, Okay I’ll Consider A Guy Who’s Not of Colour But I Don’t Want Some Straight Up White Guy!
Fine, there are non-Straight Up White Guys available to you: Jews, Armenians, Portuguese, Italians, Greeks, and a wide variety of Latin Americans.
But remember, this is Ottawa and there aren’t many of these men to go around.
Seeing as they are so much hotter than your average Straight Up White Guy, they are in very high demand.
So, you go girl, but keep your eye on the Straight Up White Guy!
* In this essay I don’t mean to offend any woman who has been chosen by her husband or his family from a foreign country. Actually, I admire your bravery because moving to an entirely new country to be with a man requires a great deal of strength and fortitude and is a risk I would never be capable of taking.