I seem to have struck something last week — whether it was a nerve or a cord, something resonated with people when they read my column, "Dating Outside My Race." I knew before writing it that I was onto something, because the topic of the lack of eligible Black men is, one way or another, a constant source of conversation. My point was and still is: If you want to expand your options, you have to expand your dating pool...
Expanding your dating pool means dating outside the circle in which you previously confined yourself. For most of us, that means expanding our dating pool beyond Black American men. Most of the comments that I received on the column spoke to women's hesitance to date White men. But dating outside the race involves more than dating White men. This is a vast and varied world, so you aren't really maximizing your options if you limit that expansion solely to White men.
Dating outside your race should ideally include being open to dating all "eligible" men outside your cultural and ethnic circle. This includes White men, Jewish men, Hispanic men, Asian men, European men, African men. When you think like that, then just like "that," you have infinitely more options and voila, you have expanded your pool.
I spoke last week of dipping your toe in the new dating pool, so if you're still only open to dating Black men, then certainly be open to dating a Black man of another culture or from another country.
The important thing to keep in mind when dating a Black man from a different culture is that although we may share the same hue, they, like their melanin-challenged brethren of other cultures, have different mentalities about women, about life, and just about everything, because they are socialized according to their culture. You have to bridge that cultural divide in order to get to know that someone. So you start off with a different exchange from the normal "What do you do?" or other banal questions that usually kickoff a conversation.
When dating a man of another culture, race or ethnicity, take that time to relish in the new experiences and perspectives. Don't be judgmental. Rather, be open to the new, and try to appreciate the differences in culture, food, language and overall views. This is an easy and fun way of expanding your view of the world through travel and conversation.
Another benefit of dating someone of a different culture or background is your opportunity to expose someone to your world or culture through your eyes. When a friend or family member comes to visit, I expose them to things I regularly do, then scour the Times or the web to discover the latest exhibit, show or restaurant. This is also beneficial to me because of my hectic schedule, I may not otherwise have carved out the time on any given day to venture to that new spot. It's like a mini-getaway in my own city.
I have lived overseas, and have a penchant for travel, so I have always met men of other cultures. I've met Black European men, White European men, European Jewish men, Brazilian men, African men, Greek men; you name it. I sat and chatted with them. I relished the novelty of each new situation and background, from our differences in thought to their beautiful accents. I have found that the allure in cross-cultural dating is the man's different sensibility and appreciation for women.
At this time in my life, dating isn't my main focus, it's a bonus to the other things going on in my life. But whether I'm at home or traveling overseas, I am always open to meeting different types of people. I don't look at each conversation as a potential date, and often it doesn't turn out that way; that's not what is important. Just take time to appreciate the conversation. If you both have that spark, don't automatically shut it down because of differences in language, culture or distance issues; just go with it. That always works for me. I always think back to my grandfather's advice to me: "You never know!"
And you don't.