I’m sure my dad didn’t think he was good enough either. It felt like a fit and I was pleasantly surprised when he invited me to spend his birthday weekend with him and his family in Palm Springs. As the holidays approached, I wasn’t sure what to do. When I told Aaron this, he offered to drive out to Vegas with me at some point during our holiday break to go see them.
So here I was, 28 years old, and I had had 2 boyfriends and been on dates with a handful of others. was ever going to be in the cards for me as it seemed like it was working out for everyone else except me. Long story short, we began talking, hanging out, dating, dating exclusively, and after a pretty significant period of time, he asked me to be his girlfriend. My palms were sweating the entire time I was packing, but at the end of the weekend I kept thinking “these people are way too freaking cool”. His mom didn’t look a day over 45 (she was 60) and was super warm and welcoming. My parents had retired to Las Vegas a year or so earlier and were expected to come home for our annual Christmas Eve celebration. This only made me feel worse and as the holidays grew to a close, I felt incredibly depressed despite a pleasant experience at my Aunt’s.
My dad is tremendously funny and a phenomenal story teller. I wore the same pair of vans tennis shoes to school for 5 years straight, had long un-brushed hair, and wore oversized sweatshirts and jean shorts to school. Because I wasn’t popular and because I was picky, I didn’t go on a single date until I was almost 20 years old. I thought it best to not deal with this all in real time in hopes that my Dad would come to his senses.
I think I always had a high bar when it came to dating because my dad really had it all; he was tall, dark, and handsome, educated, successful, ethical, funny, athletic, and handy. He was a tall, blonde, surfer that ended up moving to San Diego for college and that was the end of that. My aunt, however, told me both Aaron and I were welcome over for Christmas so I jumped at the opportunity.
He shared some of his negative experiences with African-Americans and how they treated women in the Marines and what he felt the view of white women dating black men was.
The email contained conditions for us working things out beginning with “you have to agree not to engage in this kind of behavior again” meaning that I would have to agree not to date black guys.
My mom began studying for her Bachelor’s degree when I was 2 so I spent most of my free time watching WWF and eating Doritos with my Dad for nearly a decade.Aside from the occasional comment on the freeway my dad never said anything about race. He responded saying and there was no point in trying to correspond with him. There was a pause, followed by “I wish you wouldn’t have told me that so I would still think the world is a cool place”.More awkward silence, lack of eye contact, blank face.He had every right to be sad, angry, pissed off, frustrated, or just instantly “over it”.The conversation quickly fizzled and I walked away knowing my pain was now his too and there was nothing I could do to fix it.Some shrugged it off as being a typical reaction and just part of the everyday racism they experience as a people.Others said Aaron and I should have known what we were getting into.I called my Dad in early to December to break the news- I was bringing a guy home for the holidays. He told me that was not acceptable to him, he was disappointed in me, and there was no way I was bringing Aaron over. A week later my dad sent me a text saying he was opting out of my life. Here I was in an interracial relationship living naively (I guess) to the world and even my own family. Maybe this had to do with his North Carolina upbringing, his time spent in the Marines, or something in his life pre-Ashley? I was emotionally drained and therefore emotionally unavailable and I think it became obvious I wasn’t being honest. My legs were shaking under the table and my teeth were chattering as I explained everything.As I told him about Aaron and I, the phone was silent; a pause on the other end of the line, “Is that that black kid? I was not to call him anymore, I had 2 weeks to get all of my items out of our family home, he had removed me from his will, and Christmas was cancelled. My dad wasn’t one of those crazy racist confederate flag people, right? My Dad’s birthday was in January so I decided to reach out and try to get a conversation going, even if it was awkward. All I can say is that I got through it only by the grace of God and I have no recollection of my words.I grew up in a wonderful and loving home in Southern California.I had an older brother and sister 12 and 15 years my senior respectively, parents who were happy together, and my aunt and cousins lived one street over.