The Sweetest Taboo Part VII:
Easy like Sunday morning:
Fast forward two years and too many incidences where people strangers felt they could give their unsolicited opinion or advice regarding my relationship. I've often thought this was done because we were an interracial couple. I say this confidently now because I have witnessed it too often over the 28 years we have been together.
I wanted to write about the misconception that some white men have that Black and Brown women will "drop their panties" for them simply because they are white; or that we think about sex every single moment. So I am having to become accustomed to men of colour saying things like, "Come with me, I will show you a good time" or "How could you betray us like that sister by going for a white man?"
Let's clear this up again; I never "went" for a white man as if I went to the store to buy bread. I never intentionally decided "he's white let me have him," but I did what most people do; I simply fell in love. Love did not see the colour of his skin or his height or weight, love saw his heart, and that's how we connected. No sinister plot, no witchcraft, or coercion was required for him to love me. He saw me and eventually fell in love.
Back in Johannesburg, my love and I had started work at the same company. The one employer, let's name him, John; I immediately became wary of him. Maybe it was how he would look at my body, objectifying me. I always felt "dirty" with just a look he threw my way.
Unfortunately, my love absolutely admired John and would spend countless hours in his office or having a drink together on a Friday afternoon.
"I don't like John. I don't like the way he undresses me with his eyes." I finally say to my love, while we are having a quiet evening at home.
"He's a great guy," he argues, "You're just fussy!"
"He is sleazy and inappropriate," I counter, "I'm sure he wouldn't say no if I came onto him no matter how "close" you are to him." Yes, I did the inverted commas actions. I wasn't feeling too accomodating.
"John," He says surprisingly, "There is no way John will go for you!" He is adamant and firm in his stance.
"How can you say that," I argue, "he is formal with me only in the company but shows a different side when I am alone with him?"
My love smiles, shake his head almost sympathetically and says, "You're not his type!"
"Trust me on this one," he denies.
"You don't know what he is like," I insist.
Finally, my love steps forward, holds my shoulders, and has a pitying look in his eyes as he reluctantly voices, "He told me I can do so much better than you with a white woman and wanted to know why I would settle for you." "Trust me, he will never go for you, now do you understand?"
He hugs me and says he never wanted to hurt my feelings, but John has been telling him every time they hang out.
"How can you be so oblivious to the undertones and remarks he makes" I replied angrily.
"He is joking!" "It’s called a sense of humour," he says, attempting to
I'm upset, and after 30 more minutes spent arguing about John, I decided to go to bed.
I was livid but calmed down because I reminded myself that the "truth" has a way of coming out, and, hopefully, it will get out sooner rather than later.
The Truth, and nothing but the Truth:
One particular Friday at work, we celebrated someone's birthday, so we finished work early, closed the office, and started enjoying ourselves. I never joined them because John called them into his office, and all I could hear was laughter and cheers. I put my head down and continued working. As luck would have it, one of my loyal customers placed a big order with me.
"Commission for me" I smiled happily.
Unfortunately, the order was urgent, and so it was back to work for John while he sourced the quantity my customer required. My love and I were over the moon as the extra money meant we could buy the furniture we needed for the house we had just bought.
"Thesna, could you come to my office for a moment" John announces.
"Do I have to?" I think.
I hesitate for a moment, and he says, "We need to discuss your order!" He commands in an autocratic tone.
"Oh goodness, now I have to go!" I thought. But his office isn't far from the sales office, so I will be fine.
John never touched me inappropriately, but I hated how he looked at me.
I'm in his office, where he congratulates me on the sale, then proceeds to tell me about the implementation of it.
"Maybe, my love was right, and I misconstrued his look," I thought with relief when I heard his business tone.
"Ok, that's done, now we need to discuss your commission. I don't want the other salespeople to hear this, so could you please close the door" he asks.
I jump up and close his door because I am eager to hear about the commission I have earned. I don't want to get too close and console myself with the fact that there's a desk between us and that he has done or said nothing untoward.
Maybe, I misjudged him?
The office now seems eerily quiet as he looks at me.
"So Thesna, why is it that you're having sex with a white guy, but you won't have sex with me?” “I am white too!" He confidently states.
"And here we go!" My brain told me I was correct in trusting my instincts.
I am shocked and can't believe how blatantly creepy he is. "Because I love him," I calmly reply as I slowly rise from the chair.
"So you're playing hard to get when everyone knows you women are easy," he sneers. (I need this job!) The same sentence kept replaying in my mind.
I am not going to reply, but as I'm about to walk to the door, he is there first and puts his hand out as if to touch my breast.
I'm galvanized into action, and I say loudly and firmly, "John, if you dare touch my breast or any part of me, I will not only scream the place down and kick you where it hurts the most, but I will also tell your wife what you did and file sexual harassment charges against you and the company."
I am shaking with anger but raise my voice further, "Touch Me, I dare you and let's see who will be worse off after that? I think you're disgusting to pretend to everyone that you're so racist and would never dream of having sex with me, but in your mind, you are fetishizing over my Black body, so try," I goad him further as his hand slowly drops to his side.
"And for your information, being Black doesn't equate to easy, nor does it give you any rights over my body!" I angrily carry on.
"Now move away from the door, and in future, stay away from me because I won't take this lying down, nor will I allow you or anyone to touch me! I shout as I leave his office.
I went to the bathroom to calm myself down and couldn't wait to get home to tell my love what had transpired.
That entire weekend was spent with me explaining what some white men think about Black and Brown women and their bodies, and my love kept apologizing for doubting me.
"I love you, and I will never doubt you again," he promised.
I don't know what he said or did, but John never bothered me again, and after a meeting with him, they stopped having drinks. He never even glanced my way, thank goodness, and six months later, I had enough money saved to leave that company.
My love and I had reached a new understanding, or so I thought.
To be continued.