You know that confident, sexy, black woman who exudes fearlessness as she sashays into the room, entrancing everyone with the sway of her hips and that “I came to Slay” smile? Yeah, that woman is not me. I’m the one hiding in the corner, with my frizzy hair and glasses, wishing that I could be that woman. You see, I suffer from an affliction known as Weird Black Girl disease, or W.B.G., for short. I can manage my sickness just fine when I’m hiding behind a computer screen, for example, but the dating world is a completely different story. While other women can master the coy smile or the hair flip, I’m lucky if I can get through a date without tripping over my feet or somehow traumatizing my partner with my weirdness.
I have never been comfortable with the opposite sex. Don’t get it twisted, I’ve never been afraid of boys, but I’ve always regarded males with a bit of confusion, much like a snake looking at a high-heeled shoe–“It looks pretty, but just what the hell am I supposed to do with it?” My first experience interacting with boys was in kindergarten. I was playing with this quiet boy named Vince. It’s always been hard for me to make friends and I was so excited that anyone was willing to play with me that I remember exclaiming “I’m going to marry you when I grow up!” I didn’t really want to marry him. I was just so happy to have a friend that it only made sense in my 5-year-old brain to marry him so I could keep him around. Isn’t that how it works? Anyway, my declaration didn’t go over too well. The entire class erupted in laughter. “Ew, Vince, that girl likes you!” “She so weird! Y’all are gonna have ugly babies!” Kids are great, aren’t they? Well, needless to say, Vince avoided me for the rest of the year.
Throughout my remaining younger years, I tended to avoid boys. I just had no earthly idea how to interact with them. I never could find that sweet spot between flirtation and normal interaction. I was either obnoxiously flirtatious or exceedingly cautious. Maybe a guy would let me borrow a pencil and I would immediately use this as an opening to a pickup line: “I see you like pencils. I, too, like to write things down with graphite. Wanna grab a milk later?” Meanwhile, if another guy smiled and told me how cute my cheerleading uniform looked, I would mumble a thank you, avert my eyes, and run away.
Lately, it seems too difficult trying to figure out what was acceptable and what was not. What am I supposed to say to a guy? What if they don’t like me? What if I’m too weird? While other women are mastering soft flirty giggles, I’m here, laughing at random statements like a crazed Billy goat. (“Haw, haw! It’s so funny how you ask where the bathroom is!”) In the midst of this, I end up asking myself “What is wrong with me? Why can’t I be like everyone else?” Whether anyone admits it or not, part of dating is finding a way to be accepted by someone else. Yes, we want to be ourselves and we can scream from the mountaintops about how this is who we are and you can take it or leave it, but part of us is still worried about being liked by others.
It’s hard to find a place with someone else when you haven’t accepted that strange light within yourself. I frequently compare myself to other women who seem to have it together and the result is a feeling of inadequacy that follows me wherever I go. If I haven’t become one with my strangeness so it’s difficult to imagine others being able to accept it. But, there comes a point where you can no longer worry about how you appear to others. Despite sometimes feeling inadequate, my weirdness has not stopped me from finding dates. Believe it or not, some people are willing to take a chance on all of this. At the end of the day, being kooky doesn’t keep me from being loved by my friends or family, it hasn’t kept me out of law school, it hasn’t kept me from expressing myself, and it hasn’t kept me from a myriad of amazing experiences with new people.
After years of trying to be accepted, I’ve come to the conclusion that I am just too strange to change. As a thirty-something year old woman, I would rather focus on having new experiences with good people than on how I’m perceived. I’m awkward. I’m a weirdo. I’m not sexy or sassy or mysterious. And I guess I’m okay with that.