Author's Note: This blog was originally posted 5/12/11, was lost in the Blogger outage, then just recovered. Your comments will be reposted (by me) slowly, but surely.
Last night, after returning home from a much needed massage, I was finding it hard to settle myself down to study. I felt agitated and feisty and I wanted some closure.
So, I texted Josh.
“Are you awake? I’m not studying right now. Skype chat?”
He responded within a few minutes and by 10:30 p.m., we were both logged into Skype.
I had been thinking about and praying about what I would say for a couple of days. As mentioned, Josh and my paths will cross again, which complicates this situation. I would prefer to angrily hash things out and be done with it, but that’s not how these things work.
I started with the superficial questions instead.
“Are you at home now?”
Josh asked about my schedule and then started saying some nonsense (as per usual with him) about how I “go all out” and how I “don’t seem like I enjoy relaxing.”
Perhaps our definitions of “relaxing” differ, but I pointed out that his introduction to my life came on the cusp of my final exams. I told him that he doesn’t know me well enough to start voicing judgments about my life and things that he has no idea about. In response, he offered the first of what would be a half dozen apologies before our conversation was over.
Eventually, the conversation shifted to what was going on in this situation. Josh was the first to say that he wasn’t interested romantically anymore, but his explanation for why was because of our studies and the long distance between us.
If being a relationship advisor has taught me nothing else, though, I can tell when people are lying. Also, I’m pretty ballsy in calling men out on their games, especially if I’ve already lost interest and have nothing to lose.
Of course, this led me to ask Josh about his sudden and abrupt disappearance from communication, which led to more explanations and apologies on his part. But, he was still citing things that I believed to be not entirely truthful, about how he wanted to slow down and how he got busy with moving out his apartment, blah blah. Riiight.
So, I did it.
I told him that I knew that he was lying about what he was doing on Friday night and that I didn't appreciate him leaving me hanging by the phone, while he surfed the dating website until 2 a.m. I told him that I had no problem with him talking to other women. My problem was with his gross inability to communicate, as well as his predilection to dating games, and dishonesty. I told him that other women are probably not going to tell him these things in the future, but I’m not other women, and I don't take well to people wasting my precious, precious time.
I’m sure that Josh was surprised at how directly I confronted my issues with him, because the third and fourth apologies were quickly issued. It’s too bad that we weren’t video Skyping, because I would have liked to see his face.
While we were having our full disclosure conversation, though, Josh said that he needed to tell me something also. He said that ordinarily, he wouldn’t tell a woman this, but since we were laying things out, he might as well tell me what went wrong for him.
As it turns out, the moment that his views about me changed was the first time we video Skyped last week.
When we did, it was nearly midnight and I was exhausted. Still, as mentioned, I will make the time if it’s important to me, so we Skyped at midnight and I surrended an hour of sleep for it.
One of the first things that Josh said to me, though, was,
“Wow! You look like an Indian girl, but you sound like a white girl.”
I was so taken aback by his comment that I didn’t even know how to respond. I tend to pick up the accents and dialects from the places that I live, so I guarantee you that when I was living in Baltimore, working with lower income, urban kids at the psychiatric hospital, no one ever accused me of sounding “white.” In fact, I usually got complimented for my ability to relate to patients and I distinctly remember one of my co-workers telling me once that I could bring the "ghetto fabulous" to the table any day.
Also, though, what does sounding "white" even mean? What does a white girl sound like? And, what is an Indian girl supposed to sound like?
The comment sounded archaic and racially inappropriate and I was a little offended. I probably would have let it go, but Josh kept mentioning it throughout the conversation. That night, I had trouble falling asleep because I was thinking about it.
The following night, over dinner in Dupont Circle, I told my sister and brother-in-law about Josh’s “white girl” comment.
(Side note: I guess you could say that my sister and brother-in-law have an “interracial relationship,” except no one actually says that because 1. We don’t live in an isolated, back woods colony where the “coloreds” are still segregated and 2. It’s not 1982. Still, for relevance to this story, my sister is a brown-skinned, black-haired Indian girl married to a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Canadian. They are going to have beautiful, bi-racial babies.)
Both of them were seething when I told them about Josh’s comment.
My brother-in-law said that Josh was ignorant and stupid. He said that if Josh said he was from “Boston,” he must have meant “middle-of-nowhere podunk town with no culture and no sense of verbal filtration.” My sister asked if Josh knew that I was born and raised in the US and asked if he expected me to sound like a recently emigrated Indian.
Then, my brother-in-law told me to stand Josh up.
“Why don’t you send him the address of some random Panera bread,” my brother-in-law quipped. “Then, just don’t show up. Since he loves Panera so much, he won’t mind.”
I didn’t choose to share my brother-in-law’s commentary about the situation, because at the time, it was in the minority. I also didn’t know what to make of the “white girl” comment myself. But, when Josh texted on Saturday night to say that he wasn’t coming to DC anymore, my brother-in-law blurted out,
“Good! Now you don’t have to waste your time with him!”
I have no idea what Josh was trying to say with his comment, but last night, he confirmed my initial reservations by saying that although he finds me physically attractive, he can’t get over how I sound. Specifically, he said that I remind him of his sister. I think he threw in the sister part to lessen the blow, but he basically said that after our video Skype, he realized that he could never be romantically attracted to me.
If you’re worried that I was hurt by this comment, don’t be. I literally laughed out loud when Josh said this.
Not only is this a ridiculous, superficial judgment, but I assure you guys that I have a healthy amount of self-confidence when it comes to my voice. I once had a job, in which public speaking encompassed a large part of my role, and the only comments I ever heard were positive. No one has ever assigned a racial overtone to how I sound to either. If anything, I get along better with people because I emulate inflections and local vocabulary quickly and unconsciously. And, if you are wondering, Josh himself is half-Italian and half-Hispanic, so I don’t know why he’s so adamant that he can’t be with someone who sounds “white.” Maybe he wants to be with someone more…exotic? I don’t know. Let’s keep in mind that the man lives in rural Tennessee and is on a dating website for a reason.
If I didn’t have to blog anonymously, you’d better believe that I would post a video of myself talking right now, so that we could collectively analyze this and mock Josh some more. I mean, I grew up in South Florida, moved to urban Baltimore, and now live in Virginia suburb of DC. Do I sound white, black, Hispanic, Afghani, Indian, Eritrean, etc.? We could even include subheadings. For instance, do I sound like a Norwegian white girl or a South African white girl? Am I American white or British white? Southern white or Northeastern white? The possibilities are endless!
(And then, when it was all over, I could send my medical school a copy and let them choose to expel me based on either lack of professionalism or cultural insensitivity. But, it would be fun!)
Anyway, this is the last time you will hear about Josh (the internet just cheered collectively!), because we said our final goodbyes last night. Then, I added him to the list of Freaks I Have Met On That Website and fell asleep in the sweet, sweet knowledge that Josh is not only deaf, but he is also quite possibly, dumb.