I can’t even pretend to be an expert on this subject. As many of you know, I didn’t have much luck dating in New York. And in searching for who is ideally the black man of my dreams, I left Oakland and Brooklyn for Amsterdam. Not necessarily the decision of an expert, or a logical person for that matter, if we’re making these types of judgments. But whatever. Here I am. A single, black woman living in Amsterdam. Figuring things out as I go – mainly what I’m looking for, and if anyone is looking for me.
First let me be clear that I don’t plan to turn this into a dating blog. I feel really uncomfortable with the idea of broadcasting the details of what could be a genuine source of anxiety or unhappiness for me. I can deal with the conversation only if we’re talking in hypotheticals and theory. Then it’s totally fine.
Going back a bit, when I decided to leave New York, it was for a number of reasons. It wasn’t where I could see myself long-term, only partially because I didn’t feel like I had a potential partnership there. A loner in Brooklyn would remain so. Amsterdam was likely a place where I could be, at least for some kind of term, regardless of whether or not the life partner question was answered. I figured if I’m going to be alone, I may as well be alone in a dope city while I figure everything else out. Hell yeah. And I would make the same decision in every lifetime I had to.
Rising above being single, while living and loving the life I created, was the plan. Easier intended than done. It’s impossible to place it completely out of mind. Once I figured out how to open a bank account and where my classes were located, I was thinking, “where are the cute boys?” There was no way I was going to be here for all of this time and not date at all. Oh my goodness, I hope not. So assuming I was looking for someone in the range of cuteness…where might he be located?
I asked around quite a bit. In the beginning I was pretty clear about my preference for black men. In addition to education and sense of humor, blackness has always been on my list. This has social, political, personal, and shallow reasons behind it – all of which are another subject. So most people referred me to de Bijlmer. “If he’s black, he probably lives in de Bijlmer.”
If only it could be as simple as a short ride on the metro. In addition to mapping the location of potentially cute boys, I’ve gotten plenty of opinions on the plight of the single foreigner in Amsterdam – and a disturbing plight it is. “Dating in Amsterdam? Hmph!” Straight women and gay men seem to agree that the process of courtship is passive at best, seeming to lack the fun part. As I mentioned recently, men don’t typically make a first move. They may be receptive when approached. But if you’re the type of person who prefers to be pursued, you may just want to think about moving. Could it really be all Dutch men? It can’t be true. Trouble is…it kinda seems like it’s true.
So that means I need to work on stepping up my game. Acting oblivious (one of my previous moves) clearly isn’t going to cut it in these circumstances. But it’s still not so simple. The question then becomes who is pursued? The guy I want? Or the guy who wants me? Which brings me to another common response I get: “you’re looking for a black man? Well, good luck. [or, ha!]”
Initially I thought my unlikelihood of finding a black man in Amsterdam was simply due to poor odds. White people are more common around here. And the black men who are around are usually in relationships. That would make sense. And it seems to be somewhat true. But a number of sources tell me that if I wanted a black man around here, I might just have to be a little whiter…or just white. And if I want to be with someone who is attracted to me, I should consider a guy who is…well, white. A few black men have expressed some sort of interest in me. But for the most part, I don’t get so much as a glance in my direction. Could that be true? Is it possible that I’m not as attractive as I think I am? (Seinfeld reference, sorry.)
So a white guy? It’s not my ideal scenario. But, though it’s likely a surprise for many, I’m open to dating a man who isn’t black. Life’s too short for me to hold onto that one. And anyway, Dutch men are a pretty good-looking group, which eases the pain of being rejected by the black men. So perhaps I should be practicing making flirty eyes with white men, and coming up with my opening line – probably something like, “soooo, how do feel about zwarte piet?”
Of course I’m not limited to white Dutch guys. Amsterdam is an international city. Anything can happen as long as attractive men are acquiring passports. So I’m going to stay positive, blocking out the numerous voices of Amsterdam’s perpetually single. I’ve been learning a lot from them. But I don’t want to be in their damn club.