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Sometimes we are ashamed of the men we date. It could be because he’s nothing like your papa, or because he’s exactly like your father. Or maybe you were raised by your mother and you know that she wouldn’t approve of him at all.

Or even more than that, men that we don’t even want to be seen in public with. We all have our make or break lists. Some of those things may include not dating men who wear Jordan’s or Docksiders, wife beaters or ankle beaters. Some of us would be ashamed to bring home a man covered in tattoos, while to some of our families who have stepped into the 21st century, tattooed men and women are perfectly acceptable.

I’m somewhat afraid to confess that I once dated someone who wasn’t in college. As I was in college at the time, I felt iffy about dating someone who wasn’t in school because college boys represented my safety net. The schools had already done background checks and weeded out anyone who had no hope of even pretending to be intellectual. I have since then learned that most anything I learned in school as an English major, dance and fine arts minor, I could’ve learned outside of college. But to add more disgrace to the whole situation, about three months into the relationship, I was informed that this unnamed man had also not graduated from high school. High school. A free education in America and he hadn’t completed it? This would be totally unacceptable. How could i, as a well-educated african american, bring home an ignorant black man to meet my upstanding, law-abiding educated parents? I could not. And so, living in New York at the time, it was easy to avoid bringing home this man who deceived me into believing he was more intelligent than he actually was because my parents lived so far away in Tennessee.

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In fact, my parents have not had the misfortune of meeting any of the men I’ve dated since college. This has by far been the b biggest perk of going to school over 1,000 miles away. As another unfortunate boyfriend happened to be atheist, which was fine with me, but with my parents, this was the complete opposite of acceptable. Not that I cared as I don’t let my parents’ beliefs dictate who I date and believe that people should have the freedom to worship whomever they please as long as they aren’t harming anyone else. But he, on the other hand, had no respect for religion at all and thought that religious people were intellectually inferior and “can’t think for themselves” for using religion as a life guide.

I believe that most anything can be a religion. Some of us worship the gods of fashion, it’s all of us bleed on the pages of books, well even some people love food, or we die for liquor or drugs so how can we judge others for their own beliefs?

I’m sure there are probably a lot of people who also think that religion is distasteful as there are some people who do not believe in fashion or who do not like to read or think of people who drink or do drugs as equally inferior as the religious, but under no circumstances do I think it’s acceptable to disrespect someone for their belief system. So how could I take home someone with such an open disdain for Christianity? I couldn’t.

I could not in confidence stand beside anyone who is not at least as open minded as I am. So one day when I was conversing with my boyfriend at the time, who was telling me about his day, and said that he was at some event where he bumped into a “fag”, I was immediately shocked and appalled by his usage of such derogatory language. It takes a lot to shocked and appall me, As I am extremely profane on a regular basis. But as I do have several friends in the gay community, I have learned from them in the course of our friendship that there are certain things that they do not like to be called either. And on top of all of this, my best friend is a lesbian and if this guy is homophobic, how could I trust that he would treat her with the respect that she deserves? If he wasn’t going to pass the best friend test, there was no way that my parents or my family would ever give him the stamp of approval. And though my parents believe that I am the strangest child I have ever had, they love me and accept that I am more or less a good person. So, I trust their judgment. And if I cannot bring this man around certain friends, I could never bring him around family.


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Maple Summers

Believes in freedom. Helping to bring openness to a sexually repressed country. Eradicating slut-shaming. Defending women of all walks. Encouraging explorative and healthy dating and relationships.

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Dating In the Dark: Don’t Take Him Home To Mama

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