This was a well written glimpse into the struggles Black women can experience when dating, period. I wish I could add my relevant experiences, but I have precious few. I’m ace/aro and though I was AFAB, I’m also agender. Back when I tried to date — it was awful and uncomfortable and ridiculous-feeling . . . I can’t believe I didn’t buy a handful of clues far sooner —I was still very female presenting, and I mostly dated women. The majority of the people I’ve dated period were white. And I never dated any of them long enough to get comfortable enough to have those discussions or share those truths. My intimacy issues were and are deep, and even if I’d dated anyone for longer than three or four months, even three or four years down the line wouldn’t have made me more likely to share. Nature or nurture, I’m not wired that way.

As for battling Beckys and Chads at work or in public/social settings . . . most realize pretty quickly that I’m not the one to pull ANYTHING with. I tend to finish “fights” people start with me quickly and mercilessly. Whether it’s a microaggression or an argument — whatever. I finish it brutally. And I make it obvious that I’m more than willing to scorch earth and cut off noses to spite faces.

There aren’t often repeat-contenders. (Including the elderly white man at my job — which involves intensive writing — who insisted three times that I didn’t know what a double negative was. Until I chirpily demonstrated that I did, ad nauseam. And he swanned off in a huff.)

But . . . that’s how I am with EVERYONE, regardless of race, who shows their ass because they think I’ll be an easy target. I’m just harsher and more determined when that ass-showing feels kinda . . . misogynoir-y.

I don’t know if it’d help with dating, but it helps me, in general, to walk through life with an attitude of: “I’m being polite now, but if you try to mess with me, I will verbally take you apart in front of Jeebus and this entire place without even frowning, raising my voice, swearing, or name-calling. I’ve earned this attitude from dealing with endless idiots like you, and you will not out-think, out-argue, or out-spite me.”

But discretion is always called for with that sort of attitude. It’s not a useful one with cops or folks who seem like they’d Stand Their Ground when they Fear For Their Lives because a Black person said words to/around them.

Luckily, like code-switching, I can go from rhetoric-and-reason BOSS to vapid, harmless space-cadet in a snap. I do it with everyone, but far more often with white people, even if just to get them to go away. There’s a beetle-mask for every occasion and Caucasian.

Like a lot of Black women/female-presenting folks, I’ve had far too many opportunities to get good at masks, this world and nation being what they are. I can’t imagine how much heavier that would be if dating was something I’d actually been interested in, rather than doing simply because it was expected.

You seem like a kind, funny, intelligent, and decent person. A catch, if you will. I wish you luck in love. We all of us need every bit of luck we can get when it comes to that, it seems.

. . . just a beetle with opinions and an internet connection. You’ve been warned.

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