Culture Clash

First I wanted to say that I LOVE your blog....

So now I have a question...

I went on a first date with a guy...very nice, respectful, gainfully employed, intelligent, attentive but there is an issue. Ok I am lying...a few. Now normally I would just walk aware of relegate him to the friend file but I don't know if I am being too picky.

1. I am a Black American and he is African...and I KNOW people may think all black people are the same but they are not. I have had to correct him a few times on assumptions he has on black Americans...and he has always listened to me and most times he actually saw my point...but I don't know if I can always control my temper if this "thing" continues. Like he had an ignorant take on locks (which I have) that I have NEVER heard anyone of any ethnicity say...but most of his views are based on what he has seen on TV (dang BET) or just because he never knew but I mean I have the time for this?

2. Well...his shoes...the way he...musical tastes...nevermind...all of that is shallow...what's really important is

3. I laughed while we were out but it was usually because of something I said. He didn't make me laugh the entire 5 hours (ill...long date) and that is so NOT in line with my personality. I am a sarcastic New Yorker...and I work hard from I don't want to have someone that I can't laugh and relax with. I knew something wasn't right because when he called the next day I hesitated about whether I should pick up the phone or not...when normally I would be ecstatic that I got a phone call the day after.

So with that being this something I should give a second chance because I am being too critical/picky? it good to take inventory, see something isn't what you need and just cut your losses? Because to be quite honest I could care less about a free meal...boring dates are draining. lol.

Sarcastic in Harlem

GARLAND: Hey 'Sarcastic' - thanks for your complement and please accept my apology for the delay in getting this reply posted.

Do I think you're being too picky? Hell no!

I applaud you for actually stopping to ask yourself, "Am I feelin' this guy?" or "Am I having a good time with him?" So many women, in my opinion, of all races and ages, don't dwell on this long enough. I'm glad to see you taking the time to evaluate YOUR needs when it comes to dating and a relationship.

I've encountered Sisters before that have had problems clicking with African guys. I'm not saying that anything is wrong with African men per se, but I have seen an oddly high number of women that have just ended up unhappy dating some of these guys. So maybe the chemistry really isn't there. Then again, his nationality might not have played any role in the big picture.

Either way you slice it, you are putting your well being and your feelings first, and that's NEVER EVER a bad thing. You keep your magnifying glass out!

CHUCK: Sarcastic in Harlem, speaking as Really Sarcastic in DC, I know where you're coming from. Do I think you're being too picky? I don't think so. You didn't really provide as many details as I would have liked (What was his presumably insulting comment on your locks? Did he at least smile while you were joking? Was he wearing sandals with no lotion on his ashy feet?), I gather you didn't feel very compatible with him. And if that's the case, no harm, no foul.

I tease African men sometimes, but I think it's kind of bad that there seems to be this gulf of misunderstanding between American Blacks and Africans. They have their misconceptions about us, we have ours about them. Some of the differences you bring up with your friend seem to be cultural, like musical tastes and opinions about women's hairstyles. But fundamentally, it doesn't seem as though you enjoyed this guy's company all that much.

Respectful, intelligent, attentive, all good things. But it sounds as though this guy isn't giving you a spark. I don't think it's asking too much to want a spark. It's always good to take stock of someone you're seeing and decide if they've got what you're looking for. What else is dating, after all? Otherwise, you find yourself married to and pregnant by someone who was boring way back at date #3. Put this guy in the friend bin and keep on movin'.


TVDinner said...

Guys, I think your comments are absolutely right on. I just wanted to beat the drum a bit more about cultural differences. I honestly had no idea how profoundly we are molded by the culture in which we grow up until I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Central America. I had a unique opportunity to live among people who'd been raised in a very different culture, and I never felt more alone than when I was surrounded by people who had very different values and perspectives than mine, one of those values being that my humanity was somehow obviated by being a woman. In other words, I wasn't as valuable as a man, and this message manifests itself in a thousand ways and interfered with all of my personal relationships to one extent or another.

But nevermind that. The point - assuming I have one - is that the idea that you can set aside cultural differences "because we all have hearts that beat the same way" is a myth. African Americans and Africans are raised in vastly different cultures, and even if he didn't have weird ideas about her hair, either he would have to be mighty acculturated to this country and its norms, or she would have to do some serious bending of her own personality to make it work.

This is way more detail than the situation merits, and as you guys said, he didn't ring her bell, so move on regardless of the specifics.

Chuck and Garland said...


Well said. If there was one thing that I could wish for for the majority of Americans, it would be for them to travel outside of this country.

This would hopefully allow people to develop more open minds about how life is lived all over the world, and give yahoos who say, "Amurrika is the greatest country in the world," a chance to see whether they're right.

I think, as people of African descent, we should try to come to a greater accommodation with African people. But what do I expect, when we can't get it together ourselves? Oh, well.

Thanks for the comment.


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