This column by Trevor Brookins was inspired by our story about actor Derek Luke: ‘Derek Luke Slams Instagram Trolls; Defends Interracial Marriage.”
If I wasn’t married I’m not sure where I’d go to find a date. On the one hand I’d like to say I would find happiness with someone with a church background. But then I’d have to figure out which church. Because while over three-fourths of Americans identify as Christian, some of them are Catholics, some are Baptists, some are Lutherans. Picking any of those denominations would mean limiting my dating pool and I don’t want to do that. I might even broaden my possibilities to include other faiths.
It would be cool to find someone with a lot of money or at least a stable career. But I grew up poor so economic struggle is not going to stop me from functioning. I’ve dated women before who didn’t have everything in their life completely settled and somehow the world didn’t end. Ruling out women of a certain financial background would limit my dating pool and I don’t want to do that.
Ideally she would be a liberal. On the other hand I don’t believe conservatives are crazy, just wrong about some things. I don’t hold it against someone for being wrong especially when it is difficult to institute some of the policies that I believe would benefit the country. Eliminating conservatives as possible partners would limit my dating pool and I don’t want to do that.
Perhaps I’d find a mate with ties to the northeast. My family is based in New York. On the other hand I have family in the south, and Midwest and along the east coast along with the faint possibility of moving to the southwest. Why again wouldn’t I consider women from those areas? After all I don’t want to limit my dating pool.
Newsflash: I’m black. I was raised in a black family. So naturally I would gravitate toward a black woman as my mate. But I was also raised in New York City, possibly the most eclectic place in the world. I’m sure I could find someone of another ethnicity attractive and interesting enough to spend large amounts of time with them. Looking at only black people would limit my dating pool and I don’t want to do that.
If I’m being honest with myself, I’d admit that I am fluent only in English; therefore I have to find someone who speaks English also. Or maybe not. Immerse yourself in a language and you can learn it relatively quickly. I got by in Spain after taking one Spanish course and having a Puerto Rican girlfriend for just a few months. And if I’m trying to expand my dating pool this allows me to look internationally.
I’m not being naïve. I realize that given who I am that the people I meet are most likely going to be English speaking, black, Christians from the northeast who share my political views and have a professional background. There’s nothing wrong with that. Damn if it isn’t hard trying to attract a Pakistani! But if you’re looking for a mate, from my point of view you cast the widest net possible.
I’ve crushed on Jewish women; I briefly dated an African woman when we could barely communicate because of the language barrier; I was the fling of an older and much more financially stable lady, and I paid for everything with one girlfriend. The bottom line in each instance was how they treated me and how happy they made me. All the other stuff can be worked out if you’re making each other happy.
I bring this up because of the flack people still put up with if they are in an interracial couple, or an interfaith couples, or with someone with a different political perspective, or because they moved to be with their significant other or are in a long distance relationship (not such a big deal comparatively). Everybody says they value freedom but then somehow we still see/hear/speak criticism of those who exercise freedom in this most crucial aspect of their life.
A life partner is too important job to restrict the number of applicants.
Trevor Brookins is a free lance writer in Rockland County, New York. He is currently working on a book about American culture during the Cold War. His writing has appeared in The Journal News. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @historictrev.