Unexpected Love For The Unexpecting

Without a doubt, I’ll be referring to my BF (boyfriend) in this blog; so I figured I would dedicate a post to him. In some ways I think it’s premature, but in other ways, I do feel like I should introduce him.

First of all, I have no issues admitting that before meeting my BF, I would have never thought things could have worked out between us. Not on paper anyway. The fact that he is White and I’m Black is actually a non-issue (I’ve dated White men before, he’s only really attracted to Black women). The bigger issues is that he’s 10 years, 4 months younger than me; has a young daughter (1 y/o) and ongoing baby momma issues (although I’m hoping they’ll improve with time…seems that way anyway); and is way more into the “Black urban lifestyle” (is that a term?) than I’ll ever be. So what gives?

Well the #1 issue is that he accepts me. Not only does he accept me, but he thinks I’m the coolest thing since sliced bread. It’s not a creepy admiration either…where he emulates and agrees with everything I do. But it is complete respect. It’s also shared understanding. On the surface, we are an “interracial” couple; but we are also a testament to how irrelevant concepts like “race” can really be. We both are products of the Mon Valley; he’s from Braddock, and I’m from Clairton. We both grew up in older houses that have seen better days (although I later moved into the housing projects) in neighborhoods with a large proportion of Black residents. We both were/are close to our grandparents. We both have significant age differences between us and our siblings (well half siblings in my case); so essentially we grew up as “only children”.

We are both painfully camera shy too. Although here’s his picture…it’s only fair. And I’m not too likely to post pictures of him all that often:

(I love the incredibly adorable look on his face! & is it just me, or is that shirt like something straight out of 1987 😀 ?)

So why is it that love has been so elusive for me? Trust me, I grew up thinking that it was all pretty straightforward. You graduated from high school, you went to college, you met “the one” somewhere along there, and ‘Boom!’ by 25 you are married, gainfully employed, and preparing to procreate. However the only aspect of the aforementioned that worked out for me is the schooling part. I never dated in high school, and “dating” in college was more of a game of trying to sample and compare different personality types (jocks, vs. hipsters, vs. ravers, vs. frat boys,…etc.). My mid to late 20s were painful years of entering into relationships with men who were on completely different pages in regards to what the expectations were (sadly, many of them just wanted to “experience & experiment”…not look at me as spouse material).

So by the time I reached 30, I just threw up my hands. My dating pool had becoming minuscule…due to a combination of my age and of my conversion to Judaism. Although the shidduch system works for the majority of Orthodox Jews, I had a very hard time embracing it for myself. Most Orthodox Jews didn’t understand me at all..I wouldn’t trust them to buy a suitable birthday present, much less a spouse for me. To be fair, this is more my fault than anyone else’s. I hold some pretty “out there” views, and I’m not into sharing them. Also I’m very tolerant, so I don’t rustle too many feathers…because ultimately I believe that everyone is fully entitled to their own opinion. But that doesn’t mean I accept it; or that I can even live with it.

Back to my BF, he came along when my life was in turmoil. I had been talking to a couple of guys who were suggested to be by shadchanim, but I was just blown away at how little they connected (one even remarked that he was shocked that I ever experienced racism from Jews; in that Orthodox Jews are commanded to be loving of all Jews. Really buddy?). I was on the brink of relocating to Florida. So I was hoping to enjoy Pittsburgh…have some fun, for the remainder of my time here. And that’s when I hit up Craigslist (insert “ominous organ music” here).

Yes my motivations were wrong. I wanted to hang out with a guy and feel that sexual tension that makes doing things all the more fun. I didn’t care if the guy was Jewish or not. I wasn’t looking for a relationship. In fact, I had some job interviews in FL already. I don’t remember my BF’s ad verbatim…but it was very short. It basically stated his age, that he was a White man looking for a BBW Black woman. I simply responded that I fit 1 of the requests, and since I was so much older, I probably wasn’t his speed. But since we didn’t live so far from one another, we decided to meet.

I was immediately struck by who easy going he was; at how obviously impressed he was by me. In our first meeting he had no qualms with remarking on my beauty, my intelligence and how kind I was. It was such a drastic difference from the dating experience with Jewish men, where they approach me with trepidation and while they don’t always say it, the nervousness and concern just raises to their faces. Yes, I definitely know not all Jewish men are like this. It just didn’t seem that I could meet any Jewish men who regard me the way my BF does; like an amazing prize that he has had the privilege of winning.

And that is the key really; knowing that love and finding “the one” is a gift. It isn’t a given or a guarantee. You can’t control how others feel about you, and you can’t make them love you. You can’t even make them attempt to try to love you. That desire has to come from them; they have to have the desire to want to love you.

My wonderful BF has that desire…and G-d knows that I’m ever thankful of that. 😀