Why dating within your race and class might be preferable if you have an actual race or class

Zoe Zuniga
Jan 20, 2019 · 6 min read

By the time I was in my late 30s I had started internet dating because I was tired of dating random people I had nothing in common with.

I thought maybe I could find someone who had similar interests this way, a larger pool of partners and all.

One of the first guys I talked to on the phone said “Why do people always want to find “like-minded people” to date? I’m so sick of that phrase: like-minded,” he groaned. “Why do we have to think the same things in order to date? Why can’t we just be open to new things?”

I rolled my eyes and got off the phone shortly after that because I had tried being open-minded my whole life and that leads to misery, frustration, and misunderstanding. At least that was my experience.

If you do not share fundamental values or understand each other’s backgrounds you just end up in conflict all the time, and who wants to be frustrated and disappointed constantly.

I started out as a sweet, romantic person. I wasn’t always a bitter disappointed old hag! I always thought that if you loved someone you should just accept them the way they were, and all would be well.

I never really dated anyone with my background because it was difficult to find another mixed-race person with a similar add-mixture who had been raised communist-hippy-radical-feminist and grown up all over the country and came from an upper-middle-class Jewish background but had been raised on welfare.

Sure, it can be fun to play around for a few months with someone who is totally different from you. But in the long run, if you want to be happy and have a lasting relationship it is easier to get along with someone who shares some of your values and understands where you are coming from, at least to some extent.

I dated a guy in his 40s when I was age 18 to 20. It was frustrating, of course. We never quite connected. He was a language scholar and had a whole library filled with Icelandic and Chinese books. He muttered to himself in Icelandic quite a bit and would not tell me what he was saying.

When I started to get frustrated over our lack of connection, he told me I was cranky because I just needed to have a baby, that biologically that was what women my age wanted.

I just gawked at him and did not bother to say anything at all. Having a child was the farthest thing from my mind. I knew I did not want children ever and if he had known me he would have understood this.

I was a budding modern dancer and the thought of ruining not only my body but my dance career with a child was the farthest thing from my mind. After a year and a half together, I realized it just wasn’t going to go anywhere.

My mom came to visit and we took a road trip, and since they were the same age he flirted with her and threatened to have sex with her. They both laughed wickedly while I sat in the back seat of the car like a child, shocked and disgusted by the seeming nuclear family tableau we made with the two of them sitting up front giggling together.

My Foray into the Boston Bramin Nest

When I was 22 I was engaged to the son of an Episcopal minister. I was invited along to church and Sunday dinners. This was a lovely family of WASPs. Boston Bramins and proud of it. With a mom straight from Scottland with a full on British accent and home made fruitcake at christmas with a special carmelized sauce that actually wasn’t bad.

At first, I was turned on by his exotic family heritage. His mom and dad were so welcoming and open-minded toward me. they knew better than to lose a son by disapproving of his fiancée.

They lived in the rectory next to the church, It was a charming 18th-century gothic revival building with a lovely garden in the back and a broad lawn. His father had a genuine dusty old study full of books just like in a Dickens novel. I felt like I was living in a Jane Austen novel and had found my Mr. Darcey.

Hamish’s mom made big traditional Scottish meals, cooking for hours in their big old kitchen. Christmas with them was magical. I got to stay with the family on Christmas eve, in separate rooms of course. I was delighted to go waltzing at a traditional Brahmin gathering and the men in traditional kilts were all so dashing and exotic.

The men all wore kilts on special occasions and were super-over-the-top proud of their heritage. I was actually proposed to by a guy in a kilt who’s name was Hamish. It was so romantic!

We were a little like Charlotte and Trey from Sex and the City

Pretty amazing right?

But by the second year of going to the Harvard Hasty Pudding stupid waspy festival with the family, I was fed up with the provincialism. The whole Boston Brahmin thing made me want to barf in a sporran, (that’s the name of the little pouch that men wear with their kilt). I’ll be happy if I never see another man in a kilt with one of those little skin bags hanging in front of his crotch with those plaid socks pulled up to his knobby knees.

Hamish and I had been dumb enough to move in together after the engagement and he gradually began spending less and less time at home. He wanted to go out and hang with other people including other women alone in cars after evening dance class instead of coming home and hanging out with me.

He missed my birthday completely.

He would not even meet my own mother when she came to visit. I had explained how insane she was. But still, this did not bode well when he was obviously so close to his own family.

My Latin Lover Extraviganza

When I got into salsa dancing seriously I began teaching an hanging out in night clubs. I developed quite a fetish for Latin and Asian males. I dated a guy I met Salsa dancing. We even taught salsa classes together. But it was the only thing we had in common. We were from totally different backgrounds.

My Salsa buddy and me taking promo shots for teaching 2000

He liked to drink and smoke and did not exercise when I was a vegan dedicated to eating clean and healthy and being a fitness trainer.

We were like Ricky Ricardo and Lucille Ball, and we all know how that ended up.

One awkward date we went to this dive bar and had a couple of drinks As we got sloshed he lamented how this was the kind of thing he wanted us to do together. I was thinking: what a waste of time it was to spend time this way when we could be at a yoga class.

Early in our relationship, I took him to yoga class. it was the vigorous hot yoga style in a room full of sweating people. He thought I was crazy and never tried yoga again.

I come from a radical feminist background where communism was our religion while this guy was Catholic and Mexican and did not know what feminism was.

I mean, we had fun. The problem was we tried to make it work long term which was like a tortoise and a starfish trying to date or something.

Back then I was like the guy on the phone who wanted to throw out “like-minded” partners, I used to like dating people from really different backgrounds. I thought it “expanded my horizons”. In reality, it was frustrating most of the time.

It was hard for me to find anyone to date with my background there really was no exact counterpart but still, it would have been more logical to have at least gotten engaged to a left-leaning, non-religious guy who was into holistic health or at least had a few values that I held.

Over to you. Do you think viva la difference and look for exotic partners? Or do you like to find people who understand where you are coming from without having to do a lot of explaining?

Zoe Zuniga

Written by

Holistic Health Writer at MindBodyClarity.com plant-based nutrition and MindfulJoyful.com: Creativity Without Poverty

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