Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fyi, We're not misfits

my husband is white. and while i see no color, i know everyone else does (well, MOSTLY everyone else). in my single days, i was one of those people who'd see a woman with her husband and think "what is wrong with her letting him dress like a slob in public? (oh, yeah.) can't she get him to look GQ since she looks so good?"

There's some naivete for you. so, fast forward 12 years or so, and i know better. i cant tell you how many times i've gone out and bought my husband something really GQ-ish and he may like it, but not enough to wear it. and we'd get ready to leave the house and he had on a t-shirt and some funky ol' jeans. when i'd nag him about changing clothes, he'd say nevermind and go watch TV.

But i digress.

actually, i think i'm a little more anal about it because we're interracial. i feel like, when we go out, we already stand out, and i always feel a little self conscious that we look like a couple of misfits who attracted each other. that sounds silly but people always want to see the perfect couple. you know, they're both beautiful, they both have the same skin color, they're both stylish and similar. but my husband and i are about as opposite looking as you can get. i'm short and brown, while he's tall and white.

i at least want to look good together so even if people think we look like opposites, we don't look like freak misfits. when we go out together, i'm always conscious about how we look. for the black people we see, i want him to look somewhat prosperous and clean cut (heaven forbid i marry a cornball white guy with no money and no style,what sense is that?) . and for the white people, i want to look clean, assimilated, and goody-goody (heaven forbid this handsome white man marry some raggedy, slang talkin', big bootied black girl from the ghetto). I always assume that people are thinking these things about interracial couples, even though they're not true in my case.

i'm insecure about that. i know. and even after 12 years, i'm still lots better than i was 12 years ago. we'd go to malls in a mainly white area, and i'd be running out of there in tears. white people seemed the give the dirtiest looks at us. at the black malls, black people would give us a curious look, like, how did that happen? which, the black looks were still better than the cold evil what-would-a-white-man-see-in-you stare. now, i know better than to go out to places like Washington Square Mall (aka white city). it's not that i can't handle it, because i can. i'd just rather not subject myself to it if i dont have to.


Funky Mariama said...

Are you serious? I sincerely hope this entire blog is a joke. If it isn't, you should really seek therapy, if not for your sake, than the sake of your children.

Anonymous said...

I am a 37 year old white woman, married to a 37 year old dark skinned black man. We have been together for 12 years, and have seen our share of racism and other unfriendly situations. But, most of the racism is what others push on us from the outside. We are not looking for it. When we're not looking for it, we hardly see it or feel it. It sounds like you spend a lot of time thinking about it and looking for it. And you do that long and hard enough...low and behold it will exist.

My husband and I are very open with one another and we rarely have thoughts like you are having. My husband would tell me if he was having the same sort of worries and problems with white people. He prefers to live about the racism, and finds it rarely exists, in his world. As for me, I don't care how he dresses, or how he "looks" to my "white" friends. I don't care what they think because he makes ME happy and treats me right. They aren't going home with him at night, I am. If they don't like his shirt or shoes or whatever, that's their problem, not mine. It sounds like you are making it YOUR problem if some stranger or family member doesn't "approve". As for my husband's family, his sister has tried to treat me like shit, but he won't take that from her for one second. When she tried it for a second time a few summers ago, he had her running out of her mother's house, in tears. He won't stand for it. My white family has never treated him with anything but love and respect. He and my brother went to Europe together, last summer, and my dad calls him "son", in the loving father-son sort of way. (My husband's dad left the family when he was 9 years old, and never looked back - so he sees himself as without a dad), He loves that my dad has reached out to him. Now, his black family has had more trouble accepting me...but what's not to accept? I have a masters degree, lots of friends, everyone says I'm really nice, I teach young children, and am the bread winner. What on earth can they dislike, other than my color? I am talking about this because of your references about the looks you get from white people, when you're with your husband.

Let me tell you this...almost anywhere I go in America, the black WOMEN hate me, when I am with my husband. They give me horrible looks, and it pisses my husband off. When we go to the "white" malls, people give us looks, but mostly ignore us. In the city, folks hardly care about us at all, but out in the suburbs, we're unusual and I don't think those folks approve of us. We're city folks anyway, so what do we care about the country bumpkins! When I am out in public, do I care on bit what some strangers think about us? No way.

To be honest, when I read your blog, I thought to myself, she's not really opening her eyes to life. She's living in a small, limited world that she created for herself. She must be really young to be having these thoughts and worries. But,you're thirty something. Remove those limitations, and spread your wings. It helps me when I think about what other women go through around the world, matter what happens to us in America, we have it made. Watch Oprah sometime! :) For example, knowing young girls are raped daily in S. Africa, makes worrying about your husband's wardrobe seem so small and unimportant. Think globally.

Sorry this is so long. You're brave to put your "stuff" "out there", and know people can comment on it. I am not saying you are insecure or crazy or weird...but, I do hope you find more inner happiness & peace within yourself and your family - just the way you all are (whether you look good, funky, or trashy). What the outsiders are thinking doesn't matter (unless you're at a gas station in the back woods of the deep south...but that's a whole 'nother blog...believe me, I know, I'm from Georgia!)

Take Care - Peace and Love, Brooke

Anonymous said...

So it does happen to other people. It finally has been said. I have at least five Black girlfriends married to white guys and two white girlfriends married to Black men. It is always interesting to hear the different perspectives on the “getting stared at” matter.

Of course my sistas have said what you have said many, many times over the years. And yes, the concern you have about how you both look when you go out is real. Like you pointed out, if he looks “bummy” (for the lack of a better word) people wonder what the heck is she doing with him – it must be money [the Black folks thinking]. If, on the he is dressed up and you look “tacky” they think what the heck is wrong with him – it must be that she is good in bed [the White folks thinking].

On a personal note, I have dated white in the past and have had some of the same experiences (perhaps that is why I finally decided I would rather be single than go through that all my life). I’m not as strong as you, nor any of my girls, to deal with the covert crap put out there by society.

Bless you for acknowledging how you feel and speaking what so many others do (but are afraid to say)…

AB said...

I noticed blacks, and to some extent other minorities, dress better than whites in similar situations (work, shopping, church, etc). I suspect it is a way to fight class based discrimination, but I don't have any real evidence.....

mindy said...

Very true, AB, very true.

Here's the spend too much time worrying about how to impress others. Instead of simply being yourself. Looking good and fitting in is important to an extent b/c it shows self-respect. Does it matter to you that much? You know your husband loves you to death so what's the problem here? Other people's feelings about your being the black half of an interracial couple should be irrelevant.

It doesn't matter what you wear b/c truly racist people will only see you as a black woman. And yes, I have seen plenty of good-looking white men with loud, big-bootied ghetto black women. Classy people don't have to fake it and they don't have to prove anything to anyone. This sounds like an insecurity issue. I'm not judging you, BTW, because I've been there too.

I'm mixed. I'm whiter-looking than most white women. My ex-boyfriend's mom (a black women) had issues with me because of this. So did literally every black or Hispanic female I encountered in my life. Walking out in public with him brought out the worst in anyone no matter what race. People assumed I was a white woman with a black man and treated me with utter disrespect. One incident stood out in my mind. I remember being in tears, too, because of comments that were said and looks that were thrown my way. That relationship opened my eyes. People look for reasons to hate me, to dislike me, and to belittle me all the time...whether it is the color of my skin, my hair, my body type, my clothes, my voice, or the way I walk.

I've learned not to give a shit because these people aren't out spending money on my food or clothes. Nor do they finance my tuition or help with my car insurance. They're simply trying to lower my self-esteem b/c theirs is low. My thoughts? Look nice because YOU want to and because you like to see your husband looking nice. Don't do it because you're insecure, needy, and feel like the world's eyes are on you guys because you're an interracial couple. Don't do it because you're worried about what other people will say: "Oh, what's he doing with HER?" it for yourself because you're a confident black woman who enjoys life.

D said...

i don't know if this has anything to do with it or not, but if your husband noticed that other women besides you found him attractive, would this bother you?

i get a LOT more attention from females (married and single, friends and strangers) when i dress up. i don't dress up all the time, but i appreciate the attention i get when i do. i've had conversations with women about this, and they have pretty consistently admitted they like a well-dressed guy. and when i find the love of my life, i don't plan to start dressing down, and i'll still notice and appreciate when i get a reaction... but i obviously won't use that to start something inappropriate. it's a choice, and i have willpower.

i'm guessing that either he doesn't value that attention, or that you somehow stifle or disapprove of it.

your motives (appearances for others and not just simply appreciating it only because he looks good for you) may also put a damper on his appreciation of looking good... maybe it makes him feel like he's posing, modeling, or pretending to be paraded around. if i were him, i'd tell you to stop treating me kind of like a trophy to be displayed, then i would dress up for ME, and for you. best of both worlds.

don't know for sure, obviously, if this relates to your hubby... but in my experience, the appreciation of women for how a guy dresses is a pretty consistent trend i would think most guys would appreciate once they see how big it is.

send your husband to stay with me for a week, i'll hook him up : )