Question of the Week: “Do You Have Any Advice for Age-Differences Swirlers?”

Dear Chris,

I have been lurking on yoru site and I have been reading it a few times each wee. I love it and I love the face that it is a safe haven where black women can discuss interracial relationships without being ridiculed. I am 21 and pretty much new to dating and romance in general, I am a non-traditional student at a local college. I have loved older men for as long as I can remember, my preference is strange to most of my acquaintances because I grew up with both my parents (they have been married over 30 years)and I have no “daddy issues” to speak of. While my classmates were crushing on Justin Timberlake I was insanely jealous of Catherine Zeta Jones and her marriage to Michael Douglass (OK that is an exaggeration, but it sums things up). I have been approached by several older men, and I have been on casual coffee dates with a few (it was nice having a decent conversation and they even covered the bill), the problem is that I do not know how to take things further. I am afraid that my parents will reject my date not because of race, but because of age. My younger sister already told me that she would be disgusted if I brought home a 35-45 year old man. I also don’t know how to deal with the societies perception and criticisms. These past few months have been my introduction into immature childish regarding black (or partially black) women in interracial relationships. On one occasion a youn black man actually interrupted my conversation to ask why I was speaking with an old, “racist whitey” (luckily my date ripped him a new one). I have also gotten nasty stares and backhanded comments from older white women,. One asked if I was looking for a new “baby daddy.” I have no children I was offended and she said it was “just a joke.” I would love to actually being dating one of these men but I don’t want my own hang-ups and insecurities to get in the way, I know that I need to focus less on comment from other, but it is easier said that done. I have finally decided that my preferences are just fine, it’s dealing with the reaction of others, I am quiety and introverted, and like to avoid confrontation. I really don’t have anyone to discuss this with. What is your take on this, and do you have any advice for age difference swirlers? Should I just take it easy, focus on my studies, and worry about dating later? Or should I igore the criticism and just continue to get my swirl on?

Dear “R,”

Whoa…there’s a lot of ground to cover. Let me start by addressing you last question, and work backward. Ignoring criticism from outsiders is indeed daunting at the tender age of 21. It sounds like you’re getting it from both sides–some black folks are offended because they think you’re doing Mr. Charlie the slave foreman, and old white ladies are threatened by the potential of you encroaching on their turf. But let me ask you a question: Would you want to date a man who obviously has no home training and might have been raised by a wolf pack, or be friends with a woman so jealous, petty and passive aggressive that she wants to turn you into a walking, talking stereotype just to make pathetic self feel superior to you? No? Then, why do you even care what they think? The key with forging support for unconventional relationships is to surround yourself with loving and supportive friends and family. It’s hard to go it alone when your preferences and attraction go against the grain, but your preference is yours, and if you are attracted to older, more distinguished white dudes who are trying their best to resuscitate chivalry, then own it, chica! There’s a BB&W Crew member by the name of Jess Valet who is happily married to a rainbeau who is old enough to be her father, and they are quite happy. They have had to make some adjustments when it comes to minimizing their exposure to unsupportive friends and family, but they make it work. My father was 17 years older than my mother when they married, and they stayed married successfully for 45 years and only parted upon my dear dad’s death in 2009. They’re relationship was sometimes cray, but one thing’s for sure–they loved each other deeply.

By the way, it’s notes like that I get constantly that leave me shaking my head when I read criticism about why a book like SWIRLING is necessary, or that push back about black women dating interracially is non-existent hysteria. This is the new, new gaslighting tactic, ladies. Take note and be on  guard. More on this later.