It never dawned on me that a colleague asking to come to my hotel room to borrow chapstick might be trying to get fresh, although as I read that sentence I have to wonder where my antennas were that night.
When I got the text from my colleague who was attending the same meeting as I, I thought nothing of it, as we had recently parted ways after innocently having a few drinks in the hotel lobby with mutual associates. I did acknowledge what I saw as irony at the time—that if this was a black man I would’ve known he was up to something, but because he was white, I thought nothing of it.
Innocently, I opened the door to my room, let him in, and offered him what I thought he came for. Quickly I found him seated on the foot of the bed. Small talk on his agenda, I conceded, happy to have finally befriended someone in my age range at these conferences which I typically found boring.
Casual talk about post-college years turned to questions about whether I was dating, how my last relationship ended, and when I would get married because I’m “so great,” as he put it. I sat flattered in my unsuspecting naivety.
It wasn’t until a few compliments later, a stretch out on my pillows, and an invitation to join him that I became aware of other intentions. I declined, noting that I had an early meeting, although it was suggested that I wake him in the morning.
It was a struggle for me to conceal my laughter—not at his game, but at the fact that as a grown woman, I’d found myself in a situation more befitting of a high school girl.
After a bit of give and take, I let him out of my room and texted my girlfriends immediately. “I think this white boy just tried to get fresh with me,” I said as I went over the details of the night.
The joke was clearly on me with replies like, “You think?!” “You knew better than to let him in your room in the first place,” and “How exactly did he get in your bed?”
One friend asked why I was surprised or why I didn’t suspect anything from the get-go with the lame chapstick excuse. I simply said because I’m not a white girl. I’m not bubbly or skinny and I don’t have blonde hair and blue eyes.
I was immediately scolded for what was perceived to be a very closed-minded outlook. “I don’t think it’s fair to box white men into that preference box,” my friend barked back. “Is it inconceivable that you could just be his type?”
Trying to save a little face, I said he probably just has some exotic woman complex, after all he didn’t ask me on a date, he tried to get loose on a business trip. Perhaps he bought into the myth of the hypersexual black woman.
Truthfully, I only half believed what I was saying. For me, this was the first time I’d been offered a romp in the sheets by a white boy. Part of me was intrigued, aside from the fact that I wasn’t interested in random sex and I couldn’t stop thinking about how I couldn’t be the cliché woman who goes on a business trip and lets somebody wine and dine the panties off of her.
Still, my market seemed to expand a little bit and suddenly I began to fantasize about what a roll in the hay with this sexually-foreign specimen might be like. Perhaps I’d been limiting my own dating prospects by assuming I was only attractive to a very small segment of men.
But part of me also knew that it was no mistake that I was referring to him as a boy when he was probably more of a man than any of the non-white men that I’d been involved with prior. I knew it was that semantic difference that allowed me to let someone I saw as an innocent, harmless boy into my hotel room past midnight and the same one that told me that he couldn’t bring as much to the bedroom as a black man so why go there. For however many ideas he may have had about me as a woman, and specifically a black woman, that peaked his sexual interest, I had just as many skepticisms about him and what I saw as questionable motives.
Even the next day when I’d sent a text about something meeting related and didn’t get a response, I thought, hmmm I guess somebody is mad they didn’t get any. And then the following night when I got a text at midnight from him which I believe simply read “Yo,” I could only conclude one thing: a man is a man is a man.