So, I Finally Met My Boyfriend’s Black Friend*…
I’m going to do this anonymously. If some of you think hard enough, you may be able to figure out who I am. I may even show up in the comments. But the reason I won’t put my name to this officially will become clear after I explain.
My boyfriend, (we’ll call him “Honey”) talks about a really funny guy he met in a seminar once. This guy is more of an acquaintance than a close friend; one whose Facebook posts are often so hilarious, Honey shares them with me. Honey and this guy go for drinks, and party together now and again. We’ll call this friend, who happens to be black, “Homie”.
Saturday afternoon Homie calls to invite Honey out for drinks. I was like, “Cool. Have fun”. As he walked out the door I asked, “Is Homie single?”
“No. He’s married. Very happily, in fact,” he says.
“Well tell that mofo he can’t live vicariously through you!”, I joked. Honey laughed, and went out the door. I logged on, intending to catch up on back episodes of the American version of “The Voice”.
I’d barely watched 2 episodes, when Honey was back. He and Homie had run into a mutual friend (a fashion industry guy I’m quite fond of), and that friend had invited them all to a party. He left Homie in the bar to come home and ask me if I wanted to go too. “I’d like to,” I answered cautiously, “but I don’t want to mess up boys’ night. I mean, do you really want me to come?”
He rolled his eyes. I taught him well.
“Why would I come all the way back here to invite you if I didn’t want you to come?”
As I was getting ready, the doorbell rang. It was Homie. “Oh! This is the girl from New York!!,” he smiles up at me. He was…amusing. A teensy little guy with a big personality. Also, he had used that alone time in the pub to knock a few more back. “Sorry I’m so drunk,” he apologizes. In between small, get-to-know-you talk, he commented on how “clean” my locs were, and on what cute kids Honey and I would make. We laughed and accepted the compliments like you would a gift you don’t know what you’ll do with.
My first cause for alarm was in the car. “Have you read Franz Fanon?”. Homie was referencing the late writer and freedom fighter from Martinique, whose work on Algerian independence, decolonization, and the psycho-political effect racism has on blacks globally greatly inspired me as a young literature student in England. I even taught Wretched of the Earth to undergrads as a PA (professor’s assistant). “I’m offended you would even ask,” I answer, only partially joking.
Partially joking, because like so many other black race men, Fanon was married to a white woman. The only time this ever came to mind was while reading, (and re-reading, and re-reading) Black Skin, White Masks, a book largely about internalized racism. The chapter on “The Woman of Colour and the White Man” still makes me want to fight the air. For a man so brilliant, his logic in this chapter–and his intention in writing it at all–never made sense. Predictably, he alleges that black women ‘pursue’ white men (yes, because that’s what we do) because they want to be white. “It is because the black woman feels inferior that she aspires admittance to the white world,” writes Fanon, in the most obvious case of projection ever. Here was this little alcohol-soaked small fry asking me if I ever heard of Franz Fanon. Nothing good could come of this conversation. Did I mention Homie’s wife is white, too?
So, we reach the party. 90’s pop rings out in the old East German-style hall, and it feels like a high school reunion. Sweet! Except it isn’t long before Homie’s funny drunk is annoying. Honey answers my, “Where’s your friend?”, with, “I don’t care. We should stay away from him.”
If only Homie had stayed away from us. We’re dancing together, Honey and I, when someone approaches from behind, jostling him, and spilling his drink all over hands. It’s Homie. Honey, pissed, goes off to wash his hands. I’m holding both drinks, still swaying to the music. Homie is dancing near me. He leans in and says something. I don’t hear it over the music, so naturally I ask, “What’d you say?”
“I said,” he draws the words out, “If you were mine…”.
“I get white bitches for free,” he continues, like I just walk around with extra f*cks to give.
“You mean ‘white bitches’ like your wife?”
Honey comes back before he can answer. I hand Honey his drink, and cozy up under his arm. Homie slinks off. Right here, right now typing, I wish I was making this up.
An hour passes and we’re enjoying the vibes so heavy that I almost forget about the fact that I’ve been involuntarily cast as Matahari in this man’s own personal race treason spy drama. But then Honey goes off to get us fresh drinks, and I’m standing alone against the wall.
“I’m leaving soon”. Mon petite faux Fanon back. I don’t even look at him.
“Dance with me one more time”.
“Come one, just one more dance.”
“Nig–”, I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and put some bass in the next, “NO.”
He comes in close and tries to pin me against the wall with his body. No one told this fool that massive ego does not count towards body mass. I stick my elbow in his miniature chest, push, and send him stumbling backwards into a few partygoers.
“Ok,” he concedes grandly. “Goodnight.”
He walks off, and turns back seconds later to say, “You’re a good girl.” Mercifully, (for him) he goes for real this time.
Honey returns a few minutes later. “Have you seen Homie?”
I pause. Honey is a big sweetheart but goes alpha male monster over shit like this real quick. I simply say, “he left.”
That was a week ago. I still haven’t said anything. Hence the “anonymity”. I’ll have to spill these beans eventually, but I do not look forward to it. Homie was really lit. And evidently, HE HATES HIMSELF. Does he really need to get punched in the face on top of it all? His poor mixed children. And his poor wife…
I don’t know. What would you do? I mean, I have to tell Honey what happened…right?
*I should say “one of my boyfriend’s black friends”, but it isn’t as pithy.