Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Guess Who'd Be Coming to Dinner, if I Could Bear to Subject Him to It

When I was a senior in high school, with a promising college career ahead of me, I had to sit my parents down at the kitchen table, and like so many girls before me, break some harsh news to them. I was going to the senior prom with a black guy. I also suspected that he was gay, but I didn't want to overwhelm them all at once.

I was prepared for them going wall to wall ABC Afterschool Special on me, where they would become hysterical, ask themselves what they'd done wrong, forbid me, and maybe, in my wildest fantasies reveal that they were Klan members, and I, through patience and wisdom, would show them that love triumphs over skin color and invite them to join me and Jamal in a chorus of "We are the World" with a few chords from "Ebony and Ivory" thrown in for good measure. Because I anticipated that this would take a long time, I scheduled The Talk for Monday night, so that I wouldn't have to miss any important television, like Family Ties and Dallas. (Scientists hadn't invented the Tivo yet).

"Mama. Papa," I started with a dramatic sigh, "Tyrik and I are going to the prom together. As you know, he is my black friend. Please do not do anything to stop us. We already reserved the limo."
My parents surprised me. In that they didn't require immediate medical treatment.
"Are you in the love?" mama asked.
"What? No. We are going as friends. Bi-racial friends."
"You go with the Rashid why then?" papa asked.
"Because he was the only one who asked," I told my parents. I mean, others may have asked, but not while I was within their earshot.
"The only one, but you have face and personality that is pleasant at times!" my lioness of a mother leaped to my defense.
"She is too tall," papa said. "Boys scared of Amazon, Darnell basketball player, not scared."
And that was that. No hysteria, no threats, nothing. How was I supposed to get all Rosa Parks on them if they didn't cooperate?

One day I hope to forgive them for depriving me of this opportunity to educate them.

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30 Comments:

Blogger *Akilah Sakai* said...

LMAO at how he kept changing your date's name throughout the convo.

April 15, 2009 at 11:29 AM  
Blogger WA said...

It was RuPaul, wasn't it?

April 15, 2009 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

The tears streaming from my eyes are prompted both by my laughter at this post and my jealousy that you got asked to prom and I suffered the dreaded "girl dates." Also, now that I think about it, I'm also crying that my parents didn't stop to question whether I might have been a lesbian since I went to prom with girls. Huh.

I'm wrecked now. Damn.

April 15, 2009 at 11:34 AM  
Blogger Frau said...

OMG too funny!

April 15, 2009 at 11:35 AM  
Blogger Amy @ Milk Breath and Margaritas said...

OMG -- "Darnell basketball player, not scared."

Your dad is killing me - he's too funny.

"pleasant at times" is also quite good though.

Bless your heart.

April 15, 2009 at 12:04 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Don't quote me on this, but I'm pretty sure Jews can't be Klan members.

April 15, 2009 at 12:10 PM  
Blogger Domestic Goddess (In Training) said...

Maybe you should have gotten knocked up instead of a limo. Maybe then your convo could have gone differently.

April 15, 2009 at 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Kristine said...

That went much better than my conversation with my parents when I did that....actually I guess we were dating though - so kind of different.

April 15, 2009 at 12:38 PM  
Blogger Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

Jamal, Tyrik, Darnell and Rashid! Wow! You got to go with 4 guys!! Amazing!!

April 15, 2009 at 12:48 PM  
Blogger Carolyn...Online said...

You seriously need to start an "Ask Papa" advice column.

April 15, 2009 at 12:59 PM  
Blogger mo.stoneskin said...

And to think you could have got the chat over with before your *cough cough* quality TV shows and enjoyed them even more.

April 15, 2009 at 1:12 PM  
Blogger ingrid said...

:)

my parents make pretty shocking comments often. i wish i had less opportunity to educate them.

April 15, 2009 at 2:03 PM  
Blogger Liza said...

"I was prepared for them going wall to wall ABC Afterschool Special on me, where they would become hysterical, ask themselves what they'd done wrong, forbid me, and maybe, in my wildest fantasies reveal that they were Klan members, and I, through patience and wisdom, would show them that love triumphs over skin color and invite them to join me and Jamal in a chorus of "We are the World" with a few chords from "Ebony and Ivory" thrown in for good measure. "

I haven't laughed that hard in weeks. Thank you - I so needed that! LOL

April 15, 2009 at 2:25 PM  
Anonymous peajaye said...

did jamal get to have an after-school moment w/his parents about taking the atheist-commie-jew-whore to the prom?

April 15, 2009 at 3:17 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

I never get tired of your stories about your parents. Ever. Hysterical.

April 15, 2009 at 4:00 PM  
Blogger Ann's Rants said...

Guess you probably didn't have to worry about cute undies.

April 15, 2009 at 4:26 PM  
Blogger Anna See said...

Oh my goodness! Line of the week: "Darnell basketball player, not scared."

April 15, 2009 at 4:33 PM  
Blogger Erin G said...

I've been reading for a while now and I just had to comment this time. this post is TOO FUNNY.

My husband suggested Woodrow, Jose, and Reginald for our child. I'm not sure he got the memo that the baby was going to be white. :)

(We went with Nathan.)

April 15, 2009 at 4:55 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

"The only one, but you have face and personality that is pleasant at times!" This the greatest thing that any person has ever said about another. I am going to go and embroider this on a pillow for my daughter.

April 15, 2009 at 5:15 PM  
Blogger HoodChick said...

Why am I thinking "that is pleasant at times" wasn't a result of broken english.

April 15, 2009 at 6:08 PM  
Blogger Comedy Goddess said...

If it was happening in today's world, they could see the whole thing after the fact on Facebook.

April 15, 2009 at 7:04 PM  
Blogger Elaine A. said...

My old school Granny freaked a little when I had a dance partner in a musical in High School that was black. But after the show she was like, "Hmmm, he was pretty good!"

Sorry you got robbed of the shocked reaction... ; )

April 15, 2009 at 8:37 PM  
Blogger blognut said...

I'm telling you that you didn't miss out on anything fun. I got to have that conversation with my mom on several occasions, and she did go ABC Afterschool Special on me and said all kinds of things that are forever burned into my memory.

Yeah, I totally did it anyway and it was great!

April 15, 2009 at 9:43 PM  
Blogger the mama bird diaries said...

It's awesome that you took a gay guy to prom.

April 15, 2009 at 11:18 PM  
Blogger Kirsten said...

This post is not nearly as funny as peajaye's comment. I can't stop laughing.

April 15, 2009 at 11:36 PM  
Blogger Pamela Kramer said...

Hilarious! Now did you have a good time?

April 16, 2009 at 1:46 AM  
Blogger CSY said...

Now how come I didn't realize you were an atheist-commie-jew-whore! I'm nothing THAT fancy...just plain white trash! I wanna be you when I grow up! You help SO many people!

April 16, 2009 at 9:22 AM  
Blogger Cookie said...

Post the prom pic. please.

April 16, 2009 at 1:05 PM  
OpenID ohiowagirl said...

I love this post. I am facing sitting my parents down for the same talk about me "seeing" a black man. Knowing what I already know, it's not going to go as smooth as your convo did. But, they need to know.

April 20, 2009 at 3:07 PM  
Anonymous Clare said...

Oh I laughed at this post - I save up your blog and then read and read and read it in one big evening of entertainment. I only remember to comment when I really laugh hard - I think the last one was the post about your mother and her comments about lice.

Thank you for sharing! My evening is much better now.

Ok back to being lost in the wonderful words of your blog...

June 26, 2009 at 7:19 AM  

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