Check Please!

I was talking to a girlfriend recently about experiences she’s had when out with her husband and she brought up a scenario that brought up some situations which were pretty similar to my own. She is black and her husband is white, same as my marriage. She expressed the comedy of errors that arises on occasion when they go out to eat and the question of “one check or two” comes up.

Now, I’m no Southern belle by any means. When I go out – even before I was married – I never had a problem reaching for and/or paying the check. I don’t like to assume someone else is going to pay my way, even if we’re dating. For some reason I feel bad. I attribute it to my father and that when I was growing up, he was very forceful in teaching us that you pay your own way in life, don’t let anyone have anything over you, don’t look for handouts, etc. So I adopted this thought through high school, college and even into my adult dating years. Guys LOVED me for it, but they still paid unless I insisted we at least go “dutch”. Again, I’m not going to allow my $25 meal beholden me to you for “favors” you think you’re now entitled to because I decided to have the steak (smirk and side eye). Ladies, you know what I’m talkin’ ’bout. I may be naive but I’m not stupid. I’ve been told I’m part “guy” (think like them, enjoy certain activities like them, etc.) but that’s not a bad thing, right? Granted now that I’m married I don’t reach for the check as much as I used to (that’s my husband’s job so he can look like the breadwinner that he is.  Well…maybe I do have a ‘touch’ of Southern belle in me after all…) but when I go out with friends, it’s still a habit that I find myself trying to restrain even before the check comes.

As a waitperson, I would think they would just assume regardless of race – one man, one woman, one check. Especially if it’s in the evening. Especially if they have wedding rings on. Especially if you see them kissing, holding hands, playing Parcheese, whatever that would make them look like they were “together”. I would rather you just assume then to potentially insult me with an act that would basically say “You two do NOT look like you belong together.”

So I made a mental note to see if this happened to everyone during a dinner out or if I was making it all up in my head. We lucked out and happened to be sitting in a restaurant that not only had another interracial couple there, but it happened to be a reverse couple (bm/ww) nearby. They were finishing their meal while we decided on ours so I was able to hear the couple ask for the check and the waiter bring the folio to them. He didn’t ask if they were together. He just assumed. – He passed. Other same race couples also asked for their checks and were not asked the question. – Another Pass.

Our waiter did not asked the question of another couple (both of the same race).  Pass.

However, upon the completion of our meal, we were asked the fateful question. – He failed.

“Will this be on the same check?”
“Yes, we’re together, “ we chimed in unison.

The briefest of looks washed across his face before he smiled and let us know he would return with our check. It’s the look of “I guess I should have known that” and “Can I take that back?” all wrapped in one. I almost feel sorry for him…Almost.

I don’t get mad or annoyed, but it is interesting who is questioned and who is not. Hopefully this is not epidemic. But as far as this waiter is concerned: My work here is done…one innocent waiter at a time, I guess 🙂

Do you have a similar experience? Does it happen often? 

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Posted in dining, interracial, marriage, mistaken identity, we're together | 4 Comments

Don’t mind me…

My husband and I really enjoy going out together whether it’s getting a frozen yogurt while window shopping, going to our favorite pub for a pint or just taking a nice drive around town while listening to NPR. We also love to people watch so on occasion we will just stroll through the mall checking out other people, couples, kids (in a non-creepy way! Although I am done having kids I still love seeing little ones!) and just window shopping.

When those trips take us into stores, it can get a little interesting as to whether or not we’ll experience the “yes, we’re together” moment or not. When we’re together with the kids, we don’t get the question as much. I guess, like a blendy pen, they see a black woman and a white man and two little caramel-colored babies and are able to put 2 and 2 together pretty quickly. But when it’s just the two of us, not so much.

Okay, okay. In their defense, I usually walk faster than my husband especially if it’s a store I’m particularly excited about and thus enter before he does (but not by much). I’m a little taller than my husband (but not by much) so I guess there is a little bit of a height bias placed on whether or not we would be together. And I’m more outgoing than my husband (…by a lot) so I guess they don’t expect someone as reserved-looking as he looks would be with someone as “non-reserved looking” as I do? Maybe I’m forcing that one a wee bit, but I’m assuming you guys know what I mean. So shopping with my husband can get interesting just because the salespeople don’t always think we’re together.

On a good day, two people will rush for us – one for my husband and one for me until we tell them we’re together. On a bad day, they just go for him to which I say, “WTF?” We’re in a women’s store. Why do you pass ME to go out of your way to greet a man?

It’s gotta be one of only a few reasons: (1) You got a little crush – to which I say, “Awww!” My husband is an attractive man. I mean, he’s no Jude Law (don’t judge me, he already knows of my Jude affinity and thinks it’s funny), but he’s a good looking fella with sexy lips, gorgeous green eyes, a smile that melts and has an extremely kind heart. I can understand some young girl tripping over herself to ‘help’ him. It’s good for his ego. I say, go for it. Thanks for helping pump him up ;)…just don’t touch.

Or: (2) You work on commission and think he has the money. Just read an article today about how the economy has further affected the already wide gap between the white household financial worth and the black/hispanic household worth. It has done nothing but made the struggling middle class and poor even more poor. This topic makes me mad, so that’s all I will say about that.

Or, maybe it’s lucky #3: You think he’s an undercover agent with super-secret information regarding a Russian plot to take down the ASPCA that is imperative to be downloaded as soon as possible. The only way you can make sure to save the local PETCO and all the souls within it is to push past the browsing black woman in the same aisle at all costs to intercept the operative and save the day!

If I had to put my money on anything, I’d place it on the latter. Simply because I feel this is what BETTER be happening if I’m going to be so blatantly ignored upon entering (and spending money in) a store. Puppies and kittens better be in danger. Malls of the world better be in danger. And Captain Salesperson of the Month better be on a mission.

I mean, it’s really the only reasonable thing that makes sense.

Posted in interracial, race | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

What the What?!

I can’t believe it’s been four months since my last post! What the what??! I promise I will be better but life has just gotten the better of me (I’ve even for the most part been absent from my other blog).

In my defense, I’ve been trying to figure out a better drawing style for my blog because my current style just takes so much time that it just becomes time and work I just don’t have the energy for right now. So I will probably find web images (and when I can’t find what I want, I will just sketch it) that represent what I want to talk about because I still have many stories I want to share and need to make it a priority to express them.

So if you’re reading this – thanks for hanging in there! I appreciate your readership and will be making it worth your while more in the future 😉

 

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What?…Not sexy?

When you first date someone, you try to look the best you possibly can at all times. You’re shaving every day (just in case), brushing teeth every time you take a breath and constantly tending to your hair, praying to the God of Hair Follicles for more good hair days than bad. As a woman, this is probably one of the biggest things considerations (outside of our weight) that we tend to get pretty aggressive about. As a black woman, it’s even more so.

It’s no secret we black women tend to spend a good amount of time on our tresses. Regardless whether you’re long or short, natural or relaxed, braided or weaved – there are particular…rituals that are paramount to us in making sure that our “next day” hair is just right. One of those things, is wrapping our hair at night and covering it with a scarf or custom wrap band.

Hair wrapping protects straight styles from getting messy or matted while sleeping and allows for easy styling in the morning. Many woman do it so that they do not have to use a heat every day to achieve the same effect as constant heat, as we all know, is damaging. It is also used occasionally to protect the style of the hair during exercise, showers or from the elements outdoors; humidity and curls? Fageddaboutit!

Although most men regardless of race are not privy to all hair rituals kept by women, Black men in particular are probably more versed in this area than any other. They’ve seen their girlfriends, sisters and mothers scamper to bed with silk scarves tied to their heads. Have seen the time it takes if one was not used or have seen the pissed disappointed faces of women who’ve spent $70 or more at the salon one day to have their hair messed up the next by a night of wild sleep (or other wild night activities). They know the hair rules and they know this is serious business.

Serious – but, like going to bed in a t-shirt and sweats – NOT the most SEXY thing to see in bed. Like I said, when we first start dating, you want to look the best you possibly can at all times. You want to maintain the illusion of “This is all natural beauty. I go to bed and wake up this way! (God, please don’t let me snore like a bear tonight!)”. So, if you’re a black women and are dating or married to a man of another race who has not been conditioned to see head wraps join him in bed, when is the right time to spring it on him? You’re not going to pull out the scarf the first time you go to bed with each other; well, assuming you WOULD like to see him again. So when?

Before my husband and I married, he’d never seen me with a scarf until after we moved in with each other, two years into our relationship. Before then, during times that he either slept over at my place or I slept at his, I normally just went to bed with my hair out or in a ponytail –  after all, I was still trying to look cute. Luckily, I’m not a wild sleeper so I rarely woke up looking like Don King…rarely.

Now when it came to us making the decision we were in this for the long haul and were moving in together, I must say…I got nervous. He didn’t know all the behind-the-scenes prep I went through. I couldn’t have him seeing me not perfect! What about my occasional face masks during bedtime? Or my favorite house booties I like to wear to bed in the cold weather months? Or the teeth whitening strips or tweezing of eyebrows?…GASP – What about MY HAIR???

It’s been such a long time since I finally decided to wear the scarf for the first time, I cannot remember his initial reaction – you know, that flash across his face that would tell me what he REALLY thought of it? I do remember, however, my attempt to soften the blow by warning telling him about it for a few days before actually pulling out the scarf for bed. I remember being so nervous and uncomfortable. I think I was more phased by it than he was. My J, being the sweet man that he is, was able to look past it… I half expected to find him cowering in a corner somewhere rocking himself for comfort from the site of it all. But he didn’t.

After all these years, of course it’s a non issue although there are times he’s expressed his preference for leaving my hair out (his subtle way of saying, “It’s not really sexy or conducive to spur of the moment romance”. Gotta love him. So, more times than not unless it’s days when I just KNOW it’s not happening (although it’s never been a good deterrent…LOL), I just go to bed with whatever style hair or ponytail I had all day. He cares less than I do at this point…but we all have to take one for the team every once in a while, right? What’s a few extra minutes in the morning?

Now…let’s talk about those sweats….

So, do you have any bedtime or hair stories that were “new” to your different race partner that you’d like share?

Posted in black women, dating, fun, hair, interracial, race | 5 Comments

The “N”-word

“Are you the Nanny?”

Not quite the “N” word you expected, huh? Go ahead, you can breathe now. Un-bristle your neck hairs and unclench your teeth. This is not that kind of blog!

I know I’m not the only person who’s ever been asked this question. You’re sitting peacefully with your child, playing, cooing, or just watching him/her sleep while you mind your own business. A stranger approaches curiously.  At first ‘oohing and ahhing’ at your little one disarming you with kindness while you beam with pride. You puff out your chest – such a proud Momma Hen before – BLAMO!  The “N” word – the dreaded “Nanny”.

It’s one of those conversations which can both stun and anger the one being questioned in 0 to 6 seconds flat. I think it’s more because they sucker you in with all the sweet words and look of pink puffy hearts and bunny rabbits in their eyes.  You’re relaxed, comfortable – ready to gush about all the loveliness that is your child just in case they ask. Ready to pull out your phone with all the pictures of cuteness overload you think you’ll be allowed to get away with and then like lightening, they turn the table and the conversation is less about the baby and more an inquisition into what YOUR connection IS to the baby.

For me, when it happens, the first thing I wonder is: Do they think someone so adorable as this couldn’t possibly be mine?  What do I look like? Shrek? Then it’s, Why go straight to the Nanny question? Do I look THAT different from my children?

After the shock has ebbed and I am clear enough to finally respond – I’ve often been quizzed additionally with “Did you carry him/her? Did you give birth to him?” Smile.  I get it. You still don’t believe.

“Yes, Miss or Sir, he DID come out of my vajay-jay. Wait! Wanna see the pictures?” Shuffling around in my purse, “I think I may have them right here – ”

What? Too much?

I guess all I want to do with this post is to protect the innocent. Protect mothers who are fragile from being hurt by such inconsiderate questioning of strangers and to protect others from an accidental butt whooping. I know from experience some mothers are not as kind as I am and any insinuation by a stranger that she is not who she says she is could result in someone being…well…getting their own feelings hurt to put it nicely.

SO, today’s advice:
Lesson #1 – NEVER assume Nanny right off the bat. It’s demeaning and just plain rude. I KNOW your mother taught you better than that.

Lesson #2 – Don’t argue the point. If you hear something you didn’t expect to, unless you have true DNA or other legal proof – let it go. Don’t look sideways, don’t smirk, don’t start a game of 20 questions.

And if you don’t follow lessons 1 or 2, my advice to you –
Lesson #3 – Be quick on your feet. You may find a quick getaway useful. Again, not all mothers are so forgiving of ignorance, even if it’s innocent. 😉

After all the questions, pictures, explanations and pie charts to prove that I am biologically my childrens’ mother, I look at them and would do it 10x over. In the grand scheme of things who really cares what anyone else thinks? I know they’re mine, they know I’m theirs.

And that’s all that matters.

 

Posted in babies, children, family, fun, interracial, mistaken identity | 6 Comments

Mistaken Identity

 

Mistaken Identity

My mother, like my father, is the oldest of six children. Both of my parent’s and their siblings range the gamut on the color scale from extremely fair to deep brown.
As I am a lover of the genetic dice game, it’s always intrigued me that, although both of my mother’s parents were more of a caramel/cappuccino coloring, my mother received the rich shade of her maternal grandfather who was a Hershey-esque chocolate.
My father, who is biracial, although not as dark as my mother, was also gifted the darker complexion of his Black father.

So knowing the rainbow of shades which run in our immediate family, there  was only a mild of the physical appearance of my brother when he was born. He was very fair skinned with a head full of thick black hair and looked more Asian than Black.

My mother told me when the nurse brought him in to hear for a late night feeding, the nurse looked at my mother. Looked at my brother. Looked at his tag. Checked my mother’s tag. Hesitated yet again before my mother, who had by this time grown extremely irritated by this woman’s disbelief shouted – “Just give me my baby!”

I still laugh at this story.

Can you imagine the conversation going on in her head?

Nurse: “Oh what an adorable little Asian baby. We don’t get many of those here in Oklahoma. Love all that jet black hair!”

[checks baby’s tag]

“Okay, Baby T. Better find your Mommy. …Room 325. Here we go…”

[sees young black woman reclining in the bed of 325]

“This can’t be right. Someone must have typed in the information wrong.”

“Good morning! Can I check your tag, please?”

[Reading] “Baby T. Ms T.”

[checks tags again. Baby. Mother…]

“I…uh…” Hesitating….

Should I leave this baby with her? It’s obvious there’s been some kind of mista-

Mom: “Woman, if you don’t give me my baby…!!”

Nurse: Better give up the baby and ask questions later!…Wonder if security is on duty on this floor yet…

[hands over baby with apprehension]

Aaaand…SCENE!

At least this is the way it plays over and over in my head. Knowing my mother, that nurse almost got herself an accidental butt whoopin’ ☺

Have you ever had any instances like this while in the hospital or soon after your child was born? What did you say or how did you react?

Posted in babies, family, interracial, mistaken identity | 7 Comments

Well…it’s about time!

So if I’ve learned anything from last year it’s don’t try to start something new anytime after Halloween.

If you’re viewing this site and meeting for the first time, WELCOME!and I’m glad you’re hear. If you’ve followed me from my other blog A-Musing, I’m so glad you’re here as well and I hope you will continue to visit me both there and here!

As some will recall, I wanted this blog to launch about two months ago. Between the household getting sick a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, planning for my in-law’s Thanksgiving visit (the prep, the planning, the cleaning, getting the house together) while also wrapping my head around taking the reigns of my husband’s – now MY – business and then rolling right into Christmas and New Years – it just didn’t happen.

But it’s a new year and I don’t have the stresses on me that I had during the last couple of months of 2010, so here I am. Finally! What better way to start the new year (and check off one of my goals for 2011) than to introduce to you my new forum?
I wanted to start this new blog to focus on interracial families and relationships (particularly those of white men and black women and primarily based on my experiences with my family) as well as the dichotomy of mixed marriage with children and blended families. These, of course, are topics that are near and dear to me. I love visiting other sites which also focus on interracial families, love perusing through pictures and sharing experiences and thoughts with like and some not-so-like minds. It reminds me of how far we’ve come. When once a mixed relationship was not legally allowed and could be the genesis of race riots, to the point where it’s generally accepted and embraced.
Now, I am not totally blind to the fact that racism still exists and that there will always be people who have a problem with races or cultures mixing, but I am hopeful in the fact that our numbers are growing and one day soon – to be a part of a mixed marriage (or even a same sex marriage) – will be nothing to bat an eye at. So that’s my premise.
Now I’m sure you’re thinking – “Been there, done that, got the T-shirt”. But I’m hoping mine will be a little different. From my many travels across the blogosphere I’ve come across some incredible sites where the topic of race has always seemed to run a little more ‘heavy’. By heavy I mean, the focus always seems to turn to how to deal with the negative consequences one may face that is unique to an interracial relationship. Not a problem. I got it. These types of discussions are NECESSARY. But all I want to do is inject a bit of humor into what can sometimes be a very sensitive subject. Anyone who knows me, knows I am someone who LOVES to laugh and I am not afraid to make fun of myself (or my family. You should hear the stories I’ll tell later about my four as well as my own childhood!). I just don’t take myself too seriously and thus don’t want to make my blog subject too serious. I have many friends and blog friends who are also in the same type of relationship as I, and I also hope to draw off of their comments, experiences and just try to have fun with it all.
I will also be trying to include drawings of mine which will serve as an introduction to the topic I will be discussing. Notice how I said “trying”. Drawings take a time to put together and my goal is to post something to this site at least twice a week if not more, so a drawing every time may or may not happen. This inclusion of artwork is another thing that will help check off my goals for the year (see #5 of “Let’s not and say we did” for my not-so-resolutions).
So that’s it. Oh, and another reason why the blog took forever to get up was that I was not happy with many of the layouts I had to choose from and I just didn’t feel like messing with it any longer. I’m sure the layout will change later, but for now, the current will have to do.
So I’m excited about the new blog. I look forward to feedback, meeting new people, hearing about your own experiences, and hearing about topics you’d like to discuss (I’ll talk about anything but death…remember, wanna keep it light) and just have a few good laughs. Hence the name…
“The Upside to Madness”
…it’s a crazy world we live in, I’m just trying to find the silver lining.

Hope you enjoy!

Posted in A-musing, blogging, family, fun, interracial | 10 Comments