To be fair, I usually only ever get negative reactions from white men when approaching a white couple. And it's really aggravating, because I only want to honestly steal a man's girlfriend about 10% of the time. I spend the other 90% of my time enduring the soup/salad/sandwich that is NYC's subway system, doing my best to avoid the eyes of performers and the “unfortunate” (you can never tell with 100% certainty whom are desperate or just desperate for some grownup juice or vein syrup or booger sugar); keeping my mouth closed so I don't smell and taste the Chinese food and blue cheese the guy next to me just gassed me with; and remaining vigilant in the event that the robotic man with the mechanical face directly in front of me—the one who keeps yelling “Jesus wasn't a dinosaur!”—decides to wield a hidden knife and/or Glock.
I'm a veteran, and we tend to be neurotic.
So, no, most of the time I'm too concerned with the train ride to grab up a guy's girlfriend, rip both of our clothes off (in one sweeping motion) and tongue her up, down, and sideways, all while singlehandedly incapacitating him in his seat.
But white guys seem to not understand this.
I'll get on the train, or just be walking by a couple in a coffee shop, and the man will reach his arm around his girlfriend, squeezing tightly enough to pop her collarbone in two. A dude will grab his girlfriend's hand and cross the street quickly, I mean quicker than a Ronda Rousey knockout—quick!
I usually get a very positive or warm response from the other half of the couple: the woman. My least favorite reaction, though, is when the guy is suddenly enamored with his girlfriend as if this is his very first time experiencing her body, kissing, rubbing, and (I would assume) finger-blasting the poor woman's vagina into a million little pieces. Ten seconds earlier, before the guy even noticed me, he was on his cellphone, oblivious, mumbling words to his significant other with the same enthusiasm as one shows while reading War and Peace, probably texting his side-chick.
Now, I know what you're thinking: “Alex, you're paranoid, and you're black, so why not complain about police brutality?”
OK, maybe you're not thinking that, and hopefully you're not a raging, foaming-at-the-mouth kind of racist with Civil War-era Confederate bucks in your backyard, hoping upon all hopes that what you have is actually worth something, so that once the South rises again, you'll be a billionaire. I am certain, however, that this isn't just in my imagination. In addition to my own experiences, walking the streets of New York (a city that I was certain was above this shit), I also have white friends—gasp!
As it turns out, white people are very honest when you get them drunk. On various occasions, and through various conversations, I've heard my friends, and almost all of my ex-girlfriends, being honest about it: No matter how liberal a home they come from, there's always that fear of the other. That's nothing new, right? Frankenstein unleashes his monster and now the whole town wants to fuck up his whole day. And everyone has always feared darkness. I think the Bible says something about what is done in the dark will come to the light? Why's it gotta be the dark to light, huh? Why the black man gotta be the wrong one? Too soon!
I usually get a very positive or warm response from the other half of the couple: the woman. She'll likely be the first one to acknowledge me, smile, and offer me a seat next to her. There's, on rare occasions, the white woman who thinks I must be from the Blue Lagoon, but it's very, very, extremely rare. You see, I'm a dark chocolate-complexioned man, with a pleasing face, and big muscles, so I can understand why I get that response. I'm not gonna lie, I work out—therefore, I'm sexy and I know it.
Now and again, a woman will flirt openly with me, while her boyfriend looks on. Extremely…extremely…uncomfortable. In that instance, yeah, I would get slightly defensive and a bit protective. Probably put some real thought into getting a new companion. Under normal circumstances, I do think it's slightly too much to wrap your entire body around your girlfriend for fear that a brother will whisk her away, and even more ridiculous to assume she'd willingly leave your dumbfounded ass behind, while the two of them go on a naked joyride through Manhattan via black stallion. But only slightly.
And, of course, there's always the positive aspects of my encounters with white couples. I estimate I get these about 35% of the time. We usually have heated arguments about the gentrification of Brooklyn. No, no, I'm just joshing. Usually people are just happy to talk about themselves and what they're doing. Facebook. In real life. These conversations really help to soothe me, as well. I very frequently find myself assuming that male whites will assess me as a threat and swallow their girlfriends whole—no soup for you! This assumption is wrong on my part, obviously, because that man may or may not be returning the same negative energy.
So, what I've learned, and what I'm trying my hardest to do, is to remember that people are people. You can never expect too much. You can never expect too little. Well, what does that mean? I know what it doesn't mean. It doesn't mean that I should smack a guy in the face and run off with his girlfriend, climb Empire State, and swing wildly at airplanes dumping .50 caliber rounds into my chest. And that, my friends, is one of the worst analogies a black man can make.
What I'm trying to say is that I've got to keep an open mind, to the best of my ability, even when insecure white guys don't. Easier said than done. Yet, extremely easy to write.