Interracial First Date Questions That Stunned Me
I’ve dated interracially for 20 years, but it wasn’t until I met two African American women after my divorce that I heard first date questions that stunned me.
No one had ever asked these types of questions on any other dates in my entire life. Maybe it’s because I am a cisgender middle-class white man who lives in the United States. Maybe not. I honestly don’t know.
Of course, general first date questions are common.
I’m never surprised when I’m asked, “What do you like to do?”, “What are you looking for?”, or even “What happened in your last relationship?”
Every once in a while, I’d come across unique questions like, “What’s your secret talent that always surprises people?” or “What’s your favorite memory from childhood?”
By the way, my answers are juggling and hiking through German forests with my dad.
I always expect first dates to be full of first date questions.
However, the three questions that stunned me were completely different than any others. They related to race, revealed underlying interracial concerns, and forced me to see ugly truths about dating.
The questions that stunned me
I met both of these women online through dating apps. Nothing out of the ordinary about that these days.
We swiped right, introduced ourselves, and chatted back and forth a few times to get to know each other. That initial stage of dating can be fun but it’s also rather odd, as the two of you try to spot any glaring red flags or signs of incompatibility.
In both cases, everything seemed great. So we set the first date.
As usual, I prepared to answer the expected first date questions about hobbies, family, and career. No sweat. I was ready.
But nothing could have prepared me for the three race-related questions they would ask.
Do you like black girls?
Shortly after arriving at our table for drinks, my date looked right at me and asked, “Do you like black girls?”
I was speechless. Here I am on a date with her, a black woman, and yet she still feels the need to ask me if I’m attracted to the color of her skin.
I’ve been on dates with women of different cultures, nationalities, and skin colors before, but none of them — zero — felt the need to ask this question.
I assumed she knew. I assumed because, to get to this question, we swiped right, we chatted, we set a date. We showed up.
Yet, there she was across the table, waiting for my response.
“Do you like black girls?”
“Yes,” I said, “I do.”
But her question triggered an avalanche of additional questions for me. Do people go through all of those hoops even though they don’t find the race of the other person attractive?
Do people really swipe right, show up for the date, and act surprised about the color of someone’s skin?
Has anyone ever answered “No” to her question?
If so, then what? We eat and go home and ponder the crazy, messed-up world? I can’t imagine it, but I suppose some people must do all of those things — at least one other person at some point in her life.
Why else would she ask the question?
Have you dated black girls before?
On another first date at a pizza place, another girl followed up a few routine questions with this one: “Have you dated black girls before?”
It’s an honest question. I can certainly understand the reason for it. She might have wondered if I was an interracial virgin, or if I understood the sometimes tricky waters of multi-cultural dating in America.
In other words, can I handle it?
Yet, once again, no other woman from any other race had ever asked this question. I’ve never been asked, “Have you dated Asian girls before?” or “Have you dated Brazilian girls before?”
The thought of anyone asking me, “Have you ever dated white girls before?” is laughable.
Why? I suppose it’s cultural norms, expectations, and unconscious assumptions. But also, it points to racial inequalities.
The question presupposes underlying concern.
I found myself answering this question similar to the first one about my attraction to skin colors. “Yes,” I said, “I have.”
Do you have a black girl fetish?
The same girl that asked me if I had dated black girls before also asked me, only half-jokingly, “Do you have a black girl fetish?”
She smiled playfully, but I could tell from her body language and tone that she actually wanted to know.
Once again, I found myself dumbstruck.
Is that a thing? Do people actually go on dates with other people just to “see what it’s like”? I guess it must be something that happens. Why else would she ask?
As you might guess, I kept my answer simple this time, too. “No,” I said. “I don’t.”
Questions I didn’t get asked
There were also questions I didn’t specifically get asked, but that relate to the questions that stunned me.
None of my dates asked me if my friends and family would accept an interracial relationship. But I think the subtext of this inquiry is embedded in the question, “Have you dated a black girl before?”
Consequently, the answer to both questions is “yes,” without hesitation.
“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” — Mother Theresa
I also didn’t get asked about George Floyd or my political leanings. I didn’t get asked about Black Lives Matter, my activism, or my thoughts on interracial marriage.
At least not on any of my first dates.
I am currently in a wonderful and loving long-term relationship with a beautiful black woman. We have discussed all of these issues, and more.
I think honest and respectful conversations about race are more important now than ever.
My dating experiences, triggered by a few simple yet profound questions, forced me to pause and reevaluate what I thought I knew about dating and race.
What I learned most from these first date questions is a deeper appreciation for differences and a deeper understanding of the issues black women often face in the modern dating world (I’m sure that what I now know still barely scratches the surface).
Melissa and Lewis, an interracial couple interviewed by SELF, explained what I believe is a wonderful approach to relationships:
Rather than navigating them, we happily celebrate our cultural differences…I think that part of what initially attracted us to each other and what has sustained us through all of these years is our shared fundamental core values and the similar lenses through which we see the world.
I couldn’t agree more.
It is through joyfully celebrating each other that we transcend our misconceptions and flaws, and reach toward the true intimacy of authentic love.