The Sweetest Taboo Part XI
Sweetest Taboo part XI:
Stop objectifying women of colour:
My love and I were invited to a friend’s barbecue. We had been together for about 6 years already. Our circle of friends was small, not because I am unfriendly but because I guard my personal spaces with the vigour a lioness does to her cubs.
You’ll probably find that most interracial couples are particular about their circle of friends. I know sometimes it comes across as aloof or snobbish, but I didn’t care. Being in this taught me to protect my mental health and our union. There were people out there that would actively seek to destroy it.
A friend from work had a pool at their home. I am dressed in a swimsuit and denim (the kind with the holes in them). I’m dressed like every other woman at the party, except I am the only one who isn’t white. I hate this because I knew people would stare and mutter stupid things or ask inappropriate questions, but on occasions like these, my sense of humour saved me.
Arriving causes a stir:
It’s a 50th birthday celebration, and I am looking forward to doing nothing but enjoying a day of sunshine and some good food and conversation.
The place is jam-packed with people- primarily men- hanging around the makeshift dance floor and bar they set up next to the pool. Suddenly I feel all eyes on us, and I turn to my love, who doesn’t notice my nervousness but is intent on dragging me to the bar. This is done because he is “thirsty.” Lord, preserve me from men whose thirst can only magically be quenched by beer…
And there goes the love of my life, holding a beer and happily talking to my friends’ husbands.
I hate that women hang around in the kitchen while men seem to “have all the fun.”
My feet are sweating in the 6-inch heels I chose to wear instead of flip-flops or tackies. I make my way closer to the bar, carefully pulling my legs up one at a time- each time, the heels pierce the grass. I’m sure I looked like one of the Lipizzaner horses, lifting their legs high as they parade on show day. The difference is they have grace!
I’m nearly close to the bar where I saw my friend, and I am dying to kick off the heels and feel the grass under my feet. I see an empty bar stool and hurriedly make my way towards it.
The music stops and the frustrated, inexperienced DJ, who probably played his last gig at high school, changes the tune.
My feet are killing me, and I slip off one shoe. I was beyond caring about what it would look like.
Was that a clap?
I dismiss it and remove the other shoe.
That was a cheer, and now “what’s love got to do with it” by Tina Turner is playing.
Suddenly several eyes are on me. Waiting! Watching!
I make my way across the floor, valiantly attempting to be as inconspicuous as possible. Big fail!
Finally, I sit down and see men patting my friend and thanking her.
I hear the words; “great party,” “having fun,” and “stripper.”
I listen enough to finally understand that they are thanking her for the party and hiring a stripper. There’s nothing wrong with stripping if that’s your thing, but I am generally shy, and though I looked like I could dance, I couldn’t. Not well enough to make money from it.
Women were moving from the kitchen to the outside, and suddenly it occurred to me that the white women were dressed similarly to me. So why was I the only “stripper” there?
I didn’t know Black women’s bodies were fetishized until it happened to me.
Yes, my love set the record straight and stayed close to me the entire time, but that never stopped the men from gawking.
I know what it feels like to be naked when you’re fully clothed.
My love was my superhero that night, and we slept over once the rowdy bunch at the bar went home.
There are so many instances, and this could go on forever. A few, such as the ones already mentioned, stand out to me as if they happened yesterday.
This June, we will be together for 30 years. I see his grey hair, wrinkles, and changes, and he sees mine. I have had health issues these past two years that nearly took me away from my family, and I worry about our children, our grandchild, and him.
For now, I am grateful to have loved and been loved despite so many wanting us apart.
The beauty about all of this is love can and does survive, and it does “pave a way” for a deeper level of love where we still enjoy each other’s company even if all we hear from our children is, “Eew, “when we kiss, they know the story of us.