Conversations often pop up ’round these parts about online dating disasters. Many bemoan that the only non-black men who answer their Match.com or E-Harmony profiles are older white men. A few of you have been quick to assume (you know who you are, girls!) that these 40+ men are just trolling for some black jungle booty that they weren’t allowed to get when they were young and fabulous.
You’re only half right.
I interviewed Jessica and Paul Vallet, a swirl couple with about a two-decade age difference. Paul, who is 52, was married previously to a white woman and has two grown sons. At the time of his marriage, around 1970-ish, integration was just happening in Louisiana, where the couple resides. So marrying a black woman was completely out of the question, even though looking back, he had always had an affinity for black women. About 10 years ago, Paul realized that he could no longer deny his yen for black women and for the first time in his life, felt free to pursue his own happiness on his own terms.
He met Jessica by way of her mother, who both worked for Georgia Pacific. She was having some car trouble and he (eagerly) ran over to her aid, then walked away. His buddies teased him about not asking her out, so he ran back and did. Eight months later they got married in an impromptu wedding organized by friends. When he told his mother that he was going to marry Jess, she quickly replied, “I don’t approve!” Paul stood his ground. He said in his Southern drawl, “You misunderstand. I’m not asking for your approval, I’m telling you what’s fixin’ to happen.”
You can tell by the picture that she was feeling some kinda way.
Paul and Jess have recently celebrated their first anniversary, and are planning to have a child. Both of them will be in the book, and you guys will get some really good insight into how they navigate through all the race, cultural, and age differences–and dealing with the mother-in-law.