About every other day, Jameelah comes home and tells me which guys hit on her. “So I was at the gas station today and this one kid comes up and was all like, ‘Hey, you got a boyfriend?’ So I said, ‘I’m married,’ and he was like ‘What yo man gotta do with me?’”
She gets hit on a lot, everywhere: “So this one cashier at Safeway…” “So this one dude with sagging pants…” “So this Moderate Republican with a wooden leg…” I am not at all threatened because why would anyone choose ramen when they have had caviar? OK, that’s a bad analogy because we’re vegetarians and don’t eat fish eggs. Why would you choose an Otter Pop, when you got Purely Decadent Peanut Butter Zig-Zag soy ice cream, which is so good, you’d think it’s made with unicorn tears? Actually, Otter Pops are pretty good, too.
The point is, I am not too worried, since my wife can take care of herself. Women get hit on a lot more than men, and Black women seem to experience it even more frequently. Sometimes Jameelah comes home incredulous. As a married couple, we now pay little attention to our appearance outside of work and formal events. Most days, we don’t even comb our hair, and with our generally shabby clothing, we may be mistaken for Thriller reenactment zombies or Mitt Romney at the press conference after the 47 percent video came out. “You won’t believe this,” she said, “I was at Taco del Mar, and this older guy asked for my number.” “Really?” I said. “Yeah,” she said, “I looked like this.” She pointed at her hair, which was sticking up in different directions. She was wearing a faded grey sweatshirt complete with spaghetti stains, and at least one eye was twitching from lack of sleep.
“So what did you do?” I asked. Jameelah’s strategy is to be courteous, while making it very clear that she is not at all interested. This usually works. “I told him thanks but that I was married. He was very nice about it.” “Well, that’s sweet,” I said. “It takes a lot of guts to approach someone.” “Not too sweet,” she said, “as I left he said I had a nice butt.”
The real challenges are when we are together, say at a club. Despite the ubiquity of interracial relationships in Seattle, the Black Woman Asian Man (BWAM!) couples are rare, so most people do not expect Jameelah and me to be together. This can cause some misunderstandings, such as Jameelah being hit on while I am right there with her, trying to drop it low. On occasions, I’ve had to push in, one time shoving a guy out of the way and giving him the Bruce Lee Death Glare. It has led us to compensate by engaging in sometimes inappropriate dancing to let all the other dudes know we’re together. “Quick,” she said, “some guy is looking at me. Rub up on me right now.”
“What?” I said. “Just do it!” she said.
On the reverse, Jameelah makes it amply clear that she will “cut” any woman who tries to move in on her territory. This has never happened before, but it is sweet of her to tell me once in a while. Sometimes all the attention she gets makes me feel left out. The other day, she came back with another story about getting hit on. “Really?” I said, “Well, uh, me too! I was at Trader Joe’s trying to find Peanut Butter Zig-Zag ice cream, and, uh, this woman, um, was all like, ‘Hey, so, you, uh, you kinda cute, in an Asian Steve Buscemi sort of way…’ and I was like, ‘Oh hell no, my wife will cut you!’”
“I sure would,” said Jameelah, “I’d cut her bad.”
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