The Color of Love
February in the United States is synonymous with two things: Black History Month and love. Instead of playing the conscientious Black woman and writing about Black History Month, I'm going to write about the topic that has perplexed and consumed me for the better part of my 20s and now 30s...love. Or, as the French say, "la-mooohr" (l'amour). Speaking of the French, dare I say I've finally found real love - you know, that earthy, romantic, silly, and maturing love - with none other than a Frenchman, whom I affectionately and with an embarrassing lack of originality had dubbed "Frenchie" shortly after meeting him in the office. And yes, you read correctly, like so many others have done and years after more than one failed and messy office romance that led me to swear them off altogether, I found real love at work. And while I won't bore you with the intimacies of our now-transatlantic courtship, at least humor me, an admitted novice when it comes to long-term relationships, while I impart a few lessons from one of life's greatest teachers. And should you think me too naive, please know, as my closest confidants can attest, that I have spent more than a decade failing at love, dating, and relationships to know when the real thing happens, even if it's been mere months.
In brief, what I learned through my relationship with Frenchie are the most cliche of love lessons, the same ones on which I'd been repeatedly lectured by my sister, parents, and other close confidants: love finds you and it does so in its own time and often when you least expect it. Such was the case with me and Frenchie. I was so busy fielding online dates in a quest to find "the one" that I was oblivious to his advances and actually invited an online date to what was ultimately the first date for Frenchie and me. Luckily, it took place in a group setting at a festival and my online date was a bore and left early, easing the awkwardness of it all and paving the way for Frenchie to make his advance and for me to reciprocate. And now, four months later and three transatlantic trips between us, we are still going strong, more committed than ever, and plotting our next rendezvous, hopefully somewhere sun-drenched.
And there's one more love lesson that I'd be remiss not to mention; that is, love knows no color. Having written a Facebook post on interracial dating a few years back during grad school that went somewhat viral and sparked intense back-and-forth exchanges on my Facebook wall, as well as debate in the classroom, I now find myself in an interracial relationship, as Frenchie is not Black. In the post, I raised concerns and questions around the rates of Black men dating and marrying interracially as compared to Black women, out of concern for what it signaled to Black women like me. Fast-forward a few years and I had since grown more comfortable in my own skin and opened up my world of romantic possibilities to more than Black men. In doing so, I made room for a love that, for the first time, inspires me to be an all-around better person, sees and appreciates me for who I truly am, and shares my values and outlook on life, not to mention makes me the most wicked pasta dishes, charcuterie boards, and double margaritas. And for this lesson above all, I am most grateful and humbled.
Photo Credit: Fabrizio Verrecchia