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He shared some of his negative experiences with African-Americans and how they treated women in the Marines and what he felt the view of white women dating black men was.
The email contained conditions for us working things out beginning with “you have to agree not to engage in this kind of behavior again” meaning that I would have to agree not to date black guys.
I’m sure my dad didn’t think he was good enough either. It felt like a fit and I was pleasantly surprised when he invited me to spend his birthday weekend with him and his family in Palm Springs. As the holidays approached, I wasn’t sure what to do. When I told Aaron this, he offered to drive out to Vegas with me at some point during our holiday break to go see them.
So here I was, 28 years old, and I had had 2 boyfriends and been on dates with a handful of others. was ever going to be in the cards for me as it seemed like it was working out for everyone else except me. Long story short, we began talking, hanging out, dating, dating exclusively, and after a pretty significant period of time, he asked me to be his girlfriend. My palms were sweating the entire time I was packing, but at the end of the weekend I kept thinking “these people are way too freaking cool”. His mom didn’t look a day over 45 (she was 60) and was super warm and welcoming. My parents had retired to Las Vegas a year or so earlier and were expected to come home for our annual Christmas Eve celebration. This only made me feel worse and as the holidays grew to a close, I felt incredibly depressed despite a pleasant experience at my Aunt’s.
My dad is tremendously funny and a phenomenal story teller. I wore the same pair of vans tennis shoes to school for 5 years straight, had long un-brushed hair, and wore oversized sweatshirts and jean shorts to school. Because I wasn’t popular and because I was picky, I didn’t go on a single date until I was almost 20 years old. I thought it best to not deal with this all in real time in hopes that my Dad would come to his senses.
I think I always had a high bar when it came to dating because my dad really had it all; he was tall, dark, and handsome, educated, successful, ethical, funny, athletic, and handy. He was a tall, blonde, surfer that ended up moving to San Diego for college and that was the end of that. My aunt, however, told me both Aaron and I were welcome over for Christmas so I jumped at the opportunity.
I’ll never forget the day I was walking to my car at work and spotted a tall, dark, and handsome guy walking towards me dressed in all black. As he got closer, I realized he was a former college classmate and coworker that I had known casually for years; Aaron. I was nervous and excited to bring Aaron over to meet my family. I’m a deceivingly outgoing introvert, but it was noticeable that I became withdrawn.
They had met him before through some work functions and he had attended one of my dance performances earlier that year, but this was long ago, and now we were an item. I spoke to my mom the next day and she said my dad had pretty much gone off the deep end and I needed to let him cool down. I thought he would trust my judgment and know that since I’ve only dated a handful of people that this person was special to me and would make the effort. I had no appetite, no interest in going out, being with friends, and definitely neglected my boyfriend in pretty much every possible way. I cried and cried and cried ahead of time both by myself and with friends hoping to ensure that I wouldn’t have a complete meltdown in front of Aaron.
And yet here he was, proposing ridiculous conditions in order for us to even be in the same room together.
How does he feel like the personification of why my Dad is not around? News reached my Dad that Aaron and I had broken up, and on the eve of my 29 birthday my Dad wrote me a lengthy email attempting to mend our relationship.
Though I was definitely willing to fight for him, I couldn’t pretend to understand what it’s like to be black or how he was interpreting any of this news. The email explained his feelings about black people as far as romantic relationships go and the culture differences from our own.
After a few hours of intense conversation he ultimately decided that this relationship was not for him.
He had real questions; What kind of support will we have? What is everyone else thinking when they see us walking down the street?