I can count on one hand how many non-black men I’ve dated inside the United States. But now that I’m living abroad, I might need your fingers, Clutchettes. After studying abroad in Europe, and now, living in Brasil, I’ve had the opportunity to explore my options as a single woman. In my adult years, I’ve never been closed off to dating non-black men in the United States. But I also have not been pro-active in being open to those experiences. Thanks to the romantic aura of wanderlust, plus some all-shades-of-beautiful men, it seems like living outside of America has officially made me an equal opportunity dater.
“I’ve dated interracially for years now and it’s just not a big deal for me. I find men of all colors, creeds, and walks of life attractive, and don’t limit myself to Oneika Raymond dating one particular race,” says avid traveler . “I am currently dating a white European guy, but before that was involved with a black man from the Caribbean. That being said, I have seen a lot more interracial couples outside of North America, particularly in London, where I live. I’ve seen way more black girl/white guy pairings here than anywhere else I’ve ever traveled.”
I have to admit. I found my experiences studying abroad in London to be the same, and in several other parts of Europe. Black women are enjoying relationships with men of many hues. And it seems like our interracial dating prospects are far more open. It’s one thing to be sought after as purely an exotic representation of black beauty and potential sexual commodity. But it’s another thing to be admired for our physical exquisiteness, multifaceted cultures, powerful intellect, and unique personalities. Black women are being loved as multidimensional human beings abroad and by more than just our brothas.
Jennifer Poe, who once lived in Argentina, confesses, “I notice when I’m abroad, men that are of a different race than me are more vocal and bold about approaching me. When I’m back in the States, they will check me out, but not approach me. I think dating interracially is easier abroad.”
Many black women who have traveled abroad have reported the same. In countries that we are particularly a noticeable minority, we often get more attention than in the United States. Call it coincidence or maybe just that we’re not paying close enough attention on American soil, but the flirting tends to be more apparent.
Nicole Blake adds her perspective, and reveals, “In Germany and many parts of Europe, there just aren’t that many black women here. The men that have been curious about dating interracially don’t have the same access to black women that the men in the United States have. I think this leads to a greater appreciation almost to the point of worship. It’s not to say that this lack of seeing black women doesn’t also lead to a fair amount of sexualization and being the object of one’s fetish but this distinction is one I also had to make in the States, is he interested in me for me, or do I mark off the Black girl check box?”
It’s a fair question, one that makes many black women think twice before jumping into the interracial dating arena. Of course, with any human interaction comes curiosity, but if we are indeed just a check box on a non-black man’s checklist, it’s certainly fair for us to call foul.
Blake continues, “Dating interracially can also be more complex in Europe. As Chris Rock once said when talking about black people’s relationship to White Americans, ‘we don’t got time to dice white people up into little groups.’ This is not an effective strategy for dating men abroad. In Europe, there are the French, Spaniards, Italians, Germans, Brits, Scandinavians, etc. All these men, aside from speaking various languages, exist in different cultural contexts with different dating norms. Who makes the first move, kissing, sex on the first date, the definition of what a date actually is: these vary from country to country. It takes a bit of effort in trying to sort how it all works.”
Just as black women are not monoliths, neither are our non-black male dating prospects. While non-American cultures might facilitate easier introductions and more interracial dating opportunities, those of us who are interested should be invested in exploring different dating styles that may reign in a particular country. What you may interpret through your personal cultural references may not be your potential mate’s way of thinking. But all in all, it’s important to be open while dating in general, and for those open to interracial love, perhaps leaving the country is the perfect way to fill your travel craving and find romance.
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