Planning a 12-day European trip was no easy feat. Usually I find the planning phase exciting but this was almost overwhelming. Possibly because I was coordinating the budget, dates and desires of 3 other individuals. Getting four-opinionated women to agree on something of this magnitude was no walk in the park.
This might sound a bit “bougie” but personally, I’m not the biggest fan of repeating foreign countries unless I’ll be visiting different sites or cities. So the first hurdle was deciding on which countries/cities we’d visit.
I had visited England and France before but for the sake of the group I agreed to make that trip again. Partially because I have several friends and family in England and lodging would be free. AND since I wasn’t thoroughly impressed with Paris during my previous trip, and felt that most Parisian sites could be seen in one day, we agreed to spend the least amount of time in France.
So where to next…
Amsterdam! I’m excited about this city and have heard great things. And finally Spain, well sorta–when I think of ‘vacation’ I think of blue water and sandy beaches and for all the money I’m spending I definitely had to hit a beach. And after all of the city/country hopping, what better place to relax and end this trip than the gorgeous beaches of IBIZA off the coast of Spain!!!!
Ibiza is the city I’m most looking forward to visiting.
Stay tuned for details on booking this and trip details.
So I get a call from Nicola, the Serbian here in Frankfurt. He asks if we can meet and I oblige. We meet close to downtown at a popular cafe chain. We talk more about the car I want to purchase and he provides me some information on dealerships etc. I ordered sweet potato fries and water because I was starving and he order ginger ale. We stay and chat for about an hour before he walks me across the street to the U-bahn station.
As we’re about to depart he confides that he wanted to be honest with me. He asks what I thought about him, adding that he was curious to know how I felt about men seducing me. Confused, I asked what he meant by seducing me. He stammered a bit before sharing that in this context he was referring to having sex. He went on to say that he’s attracted to me, and that he think’s it a huge curiosity for European men to want to be with an African or African-American women, in particular, because the European women that the European men tend to date are physically much different. Black women have big butts and boobs and it’s enticing for him and other men like him to want to know what it’s like to be with a black women.
He asked me how men in America approach me or other women with the same intention. I said honestly, they’re usually not very upfront about their sexual intentions and will date a girl as long as it takes to get sex out of it. It’s not always the case but it can be many times. He asked me what my thoughts were on all of what he had asked and shared, hoping I wasn’t offended.
I assured him that I wasn’t offended, mainly because he was respectful, and I could understand his curiosity. But I let him know that I wasn’t interested in being his science project or open to charity sex. Maybe if I was 5 years younger I may have been down to test the waters. But at this point I’d rather not waste my time entertaining someone who has no intention of getting to know me or any intentions of building a real relationship.
We talked a bit more and I learned that ultimately he wanted to marry a woman like him, Serbian. I completely understood that. While I don’t know what my future holds I typically picture my husband to be a reflection of me. In the sense that he’ll look like me and we’ll share the same understanding of what it means to be an African American. So I understood his desire to marry a Serbian woman. For many minorities, I think it not only is easier to date and marry someone with the same ethnic background, but it many cases is just who you happened to be most attracted to. The same goes for religious affiliation.
We ultimately agreed that we’d likely not see each other again but I was happy to have met him and understand his perspective of interracial dating, and curiosity about black women. Luckily he was respectful about it, as I’m sure that is not always the case with other people I may meet.
- Iyanla Vanzant says black women are ‘out of order’ (thegrio.com)
- White Boyz With Problems (freethoughtblogs.com)
- Back to Basics (fashionasculturalenergy.wordpress.com)
- The Beauty Beat: Why Do We Contour our Noses to Make Them Thinner? (essence.com)
- Watch: ‘Living Thinkers’ A Documentary About Black Women ‘In the Ivory Tower’ (clutchmagonline.com)
- Lee Daniels, Kevin Hart, and Black Power is for Black Men (missvpage.com)
- “Your Skin is Not Like Mine”, Says the Serbian (justicelivingoutloud.com)
One day last week I stopped at a nearby travel agency. I wanted to see if they could find me a good deal for my upcoming trip to Italy. I walked in and sat down in front of the other available agent as there was a gentleman occupying the other agent’s desk. I explained to the agent what I was looking for.
We chatted briefly before she got up to find a brochure. I smiled at the gentleman sitting who was being helped by the other agent, and said “Hi”. But he turned his head without responding. I started to get indignant because I was frustrated that Germans rarely speak back, after I greet them. I had been told and forewarned about their temperament but thought surely they can’t all be that snobbish to not speak when spoken to. I wanted to say hello to him again in an even louder voice than before just to ensure that he had heard me. Surely he would respond this time.
My agent returned and I ultimately decided to ignore him. He left about 5 minutes later. And I left about 10 minutes later. As I’m crossing the street I see him approaching me on his bicycle. He stops me and asks if I speak German. I replied “ein bisschen” “only a little”. Then he asks if I spoke English, when he clearly heard me speaking English to the travel agent. But I responded positively. So he proceeded to ask me if I had time to talk over coffee.
In my mind I’m thinking “Is this the same guy who just snubbed me 20 minutes ago?” Clearly, I was confused. So I agreed to go to the cafe across the street. As he locked up his bike he begins with the questions…Him: Are you African? Me: No Him: Are you Haitian? Me: No Him: Are you Brazilian? Me: No Him: Dominican? Me: I’m American Him: Afro… American?
With every negative response I supplied him, he grew more and more confused. We sat down and I explained to him that I’m American, yes, African-American. He then asks where my parents are from. I said America so he proceeds to ask about my grandparents. Yup they’re American too. I explained that at least 4 or 5 generations of my parents are all American. But of course he follows that with “So where in Africa is your family originally from” I said to be honest I couldn’t tell you. (I spared him the details of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, a little to heavy for me after work and over coffee at the cafe.)
Finally, it was my turn to ask the questions. I found out that he was a Serbian living in Germany named Nicola. (It sounds really sexy when says it, compared to how it looks on the screen. ) Then I asked why he ignored me when I greeted him in the travel agency. His response was that it is atypical for Germans to speak to people they don’t know. “But you’re not German”, I say. And he gives me a sly smile. He went on about how he doesn’t like German women, because they’re “hearts are cold” and his people i.e. the Serbs (is that even politically correct –the Serbs) are not like that.
I ordered a cappuccino and he ordered water. And then we start talking about race, and color, and interracial relationships. He said it was an uncommon thing in Germany, but I disagree. I see a lot of black, mostly African, women with white, European men. Additionally, Germany has a huge U.S. military population and a great percentage of military families are biracial especially ones living overseas. So I see a lot of biracial couples and children here in Germany. I have only seen one biracial couple where the woman was black here in Germany and the man was white.
I asked him if he had ever dated a black girl or an African girls to which he replied that he hadn’t but would like to. Adding that it’s not easy to meet them. I said for starters you can speak back, if they speak to you. He attempted to gauge my interest in dating white guys, I told him that I don’t discriminate.
He noticed the tattoo on my arm and touched it, asking if I had only one. Then he rubbed my arm and hand, stating that “It’s so nice…your skin is beautiful, not like mine”. As he’s rubbing his skin and rubbing mine trying to compare, I assure him that there really is no difference. But he rubbing, turned into a petting, so I removed my hand from the table. I’m nobody’s pet!
After paying for our beverages we left and began walking. He looked older but not too old, so I asked him his age. His response was, “How old do I look?” Everyone knows that that response really means “I’m older than I think you’ll care to entertain” OR “I’m younger than I want to share with you”. I knew it was the former and he finally told me that he was 40-years old. I told him my age, right before telling him that we needed to part ways. (I didn’t want him knowing where I lived, so I didn’t want to get too close to my house/neighborhood). He asked for my number and I obliged but giving him the spelling of my name was a chore. I spelled it in English AND in German and finally he got it right but not before pointing to signs that contained the letters in my name. I guess I shouldn’t complain his English was way better than my German.
Of course he sent me a good morning text the following day, but managed to spell my name wrong. I’ll never understand why people insist on spelling your name wrong when they send you a Facebook message or an email at work when my name is clearly in the address. It’s annoying as hell.
Subscribe to my blog and click here for Part II, the follow-up meeting with the Serbian.
- Stuff white men say to black women (abagond.wordpress.com)
- Germans, 10 Things You Should Never Say to a Black Woman (blackgirlinberlin.com)
- The African identity (theiink.wordpress.com)
- The Largest Ancestry Groups In The United States (businessinsider.com)
- Raising biracial kids in 2013: The challenges and the opportunities for the African-American community (thegrio.com)
- Black Like Me: My Trip to Serbia (archive.oaklandlocal.com)