I’ve never been on a real date with a white man. Once, during my brief time on OK Cupid – a free online dating website – I went bowling with a white man. But he was Greek. Super Greek. He talked about his mama je’e as if she were Athena herself. He adored Baklava, a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup, and spoke of the affects of The Evil Eye in excruciating detail. I could only imagine the appearance of his New Jersey home. Wide, tall columns. Greek statues adorning his front yard, just like a scene from my Big Fat Greek Wedding. Besides, we went bowling. No drinks. No dinner. No more than 2-3 hours spent together at Lucky Strike Lanes.
A real date it was not.
With Raymudo, the date would be official. A day after breaking up with Luke, I stepped outside and dialed Raymundo’s office number. One ring. Two rings. Three rings, then voicemail. It was noon, lunchtime, and so I didn’t expect an answer. A strategic move on my part, really. A way to give him some control since I was the one who jotted down his number. If he called back, it meant he was really interested; it wasn’t just the nights liquid courage. If he didn’t call back, no time was wasted. No sweat.
An hour later, lunchtime was over for millions of Americans, including Raymundo. At 1:03pm, my iPhone sang its upbeat tune as I sat in a black swivel chair in front of a computer. I picked up the phone from the long, metal desk that holds 4 bulky computers, looked at my phones screen, reading Raymundo’s first and last night silently, eager to begin anew romantically. I pressed ‘Answer’ as I walked away from my workplace’s computer area, the service there always unreliable, and said “Hello” once outside.
“Hello, this is Raymundo. Someone called me from this number,” he said, his tone professional, and oh so gringo.
“Hey, it’s Sujeiry. We met a week ago at APT.78. I left a message when I called,” I replied, also very put together, as if handling a financial transaction.
“Oh! Hi!” Raymundo answered. He seemed shocked. Pleasantly surprised, even. “How are you?” He queried, his nerves calming.
“I’m well. At work,” I replied, unsure of what else to say. I had never spoken on the phone with a white man. The dynamic seemed…different.
“OK…well…I’d love to take you out sometime. What are you doing Friday?” Raymundo asked. Straight to the chase. My eyes widened, as I was the one who was surprised. His boldness contradicted the often told tale of The White Man Who Fears the Woman of Color.
“I can’t Friday. I have plans with a friend.” I said, remembering my date with Christina. Besides, what does The Rules say about first dates? Don’t agree to a date if he gives you less than 5 days notice? It was already Thursday.
“How about Tuesday?” I asked, calculating the number of days till then in my head. 5 exactly. Because I am a traditional woman who wants to be courted. Plus, I wanted to do things differently this time.
He agreed to Tuesday, after 7pm as we both work late. Altus Cafe was his suggested location, a trendy restaurant/lounge in Washington Heights, not too far from APT. 78. I agreed, pleased that a white man would not only live in a predominately Dominican neighborhood, but also spend time and money in a Dominican owned and run establishment with a Dominican date.
“I’ll call you on Monday to confirm,” he said. I nodded, suppressing my excitement to date a man who actually confirms. If dating a white man consisted of punctuality and planning, I was all for this new experience. I would know soon enough, as Raymundo and I had a real date in 5 days.
5 days till my real date with a white man.