Easy like Sunday morning:
Fast forward two years and too many incidences where people, complete strangers felt they could give their unsolicited opinion or advice regarding my relationship. I’ve often felt that this was done because we were an interracial couple. I say this confidently because I have witnessed it too often over the 28 years we have been together.
I wanted to talk about the misconception that white men have that women of colour will drop their panties for them simply because they are white or that woman of colour think about sex every single moment. So I am having to become accustomed to men of colour saying things like, “Come with me, I will show you a good time” or “How could you betray us like that sister by going for a white man?” Let’s clear this up again I never “went” for a white man as if I go to the store to buy bread. I never intentionally decided “he’s white let me have him,” but I did what most people do, I simply fell in love. Love did not see the color of his skin or his height or weight, love saw his heart and that’s how we connected. No sinister plot, no witchcraft, and no coercion were required for him to love me. He saw me and eventually fell in love.
Back in Johannesburg and my love and I started work at the same company. The one employer, let’s name him John, I immediately became wary of him. Maybe it was the manner in which he would look at my body, objectifying me. I always felt “dirty” with just a look he threw my way.
Unfortunately, my love absolutely admired John and would spend countless hours in his office or having a drink together on a Friday afternoon.
“I don’t like John. I don’t like the way he undresses me with his eyes.” I finally say to my love while we are having a quiet evening at home.
“He’s a great guy,” he argues, “You’re just fussy!”
“He is sleazy and inappropriate” I counter, “I’m sure he wouldn’t say no if I came onto him no matter how “close” you are to him.”
“John?” He says surprisingly “There is no way John will go for you!” He is adamant and firm in his stance.
“How can you say that,” I argue, “he is formal with me only in company but shows a different side when I am alone with him.”
My love smiles and shakes his head almost sympathetically and says “You’re not his type!”
“Trust me on this one” he denies.
“You don’t know what he is like” I insist.
Finally, my love steps forward, holds my shoulders and has a pitying look in his eyes as he reluctantly voices ” He told me I can get so much better than you and a white woman and wanted to know why I would settle for a woman of colour, so trust me he will never go for you, now do you understand?”
He hugs me and lets me know he never wanted to hurt my feelings but John has been telling him every time they hang out.
“How can you be so oblivious to the undertones and remarks he makes” I replied angrily.
“He is joking, it’s called a sense of humour,” he says attempting to placate me.
I am upset and after 30 more minutes spent arguing about John, I decided to go to bed.
I was livid but calmed down because I reminded myself that the truth has a way of getting out and hopefully it will get out sooner rather than later.
That Friday at work was a birthday celebration so we finished work early, closed the office and started celebrating. I never joined them because John called them into his office and all I could hear was laughter and cheers. I put my head down and continued working. As luck would have it, one of my loyal customers placed a big order with me.
“Commission for me” I smiled happily.
Unfortunately, the order was urgent and so it was back to work for John while he sourced the quantity my customer required. My love and I were over the moon as the extra money meant we could buy the furniture we needed for the house we had just bought.
“Thesna, could you come to my office for a moment” John announces.
“Do I have to?” I think.
I hesitate for a moment and he says “We need to discuss your order!” He commands in a serious tone.
“Oh goodness, now I have to go!” I thought. But his office isn’t far from the sales office so I will be fine.
John never touched me inappropriately; I just hated the way he looked at me.
I’m in his office and he congratulates me on the order and proceeds to tell me about the implementation of it.
“Maybe, my love was right and I misconstrued his look,” I thought with relief when I heard his business tone.
“Ok, that’s done now we need to discuss your commission. I don’t want the other salespeople to hear this so can you please close the door” he asks.
I jump up and close his door because I am eager to hear about ths the commission I have earned. I console myself with the fact that there’s a desk between us and that he has done or said nothing untoward.
The office now seems eerily quiet as he looks at me.
“So Thesna, why is it that you’re having sex with a white guy but you won’t have sex with me? “I am white too!” He confidently states.
“And here we go!” My brain telling me I was correct in trusting my instincts.
“Because I love him” I calmly reply as I slowly rise from the chair.
“So you’re playing hard to get when everyone knows women of colour are easy” he sneers.
I am not going to reply and as I’m about to walk to the door, he is there between me and the door and puts his hand out as if to touch my breast.
I’m galvanized into action and I say loudly and firmly “John if you dare touch my breast or any part of me, I will not only scream the place down but I will also tell your wife what you did and file sexual harassment charges against you and the company”
I am shaking from anger and raise my voice further ” Touch me, I dare you and let’s see who will be worse off after that? I think you’re disgusting to pretend to everyone that you’re so racist and would never dream of having sex with a woman of colour but in your mind, you are fetishing over my black body, so try” I goad him further as his hand slowly drops to his side.
“And for your information being black doesn’t equate to easy, nor does it give you any rights over my body!” I angrily carry on.
“Now move away from the door and in future, stay away from me because I am not a doormat!” I shout as I leave his office.
I went to the bathroom to calm myself down and couldn’t wait to get home to tell my love what had transpired.
That entire weekend was spent with me explaining what some white men think about women of colour and their bodies and my love kept apologizing for doubting me.
“I love you, it will never happen again” he promised.
I believed him. John never bothered me again nor looked my way and I left there 6 months later.
My love and I had reached a new understanding, or so I thought.
To be continued.