“And then [s]he stepped off the stage and took a piece of my heart,” or “do they still call it ‘tha swirl’?”


I don’t know if I date white men anymore.

I never made a conscious decision to or not to. I merely began, one day.

I never dated white men exclusively.

I never even dated them frequently.

Just the same, it is with some measure of resignation, and a growing degree of conviction that I surmise, I don’t know if I date white men anymore.

It was against the backdrop of an ice-encapsulated city, beset by tumultuous wind, besieged by murderous snow pellets, that I turned this thought over and over in my head. I’d attempted to focus on anything and everything to distract from the frostbite I was certain ate away at my weather-beaten face.

I looked at the empty streets and reflected on my decision to forego a two-hour cab wait in the cozy warmth of my office. Fuck this job. Fuck this job. Fuck this job. Fuck this job. Fuck—this—job.

Walking towards the metro station where cabs generally teemed the curbsides like so many willing dandelion-colored whores, I noted a group of strangers huddled together under a battered awning.

“Are y’all waiting for cabs?” I asked.

The intense cold precluded formal responses, but they all nodded furiously, attempting to communicate in something other than the unintelligible, guttural moans limited spacing between mouth and woolen scarf would have otherwise gurgled out. Fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me. After that, fuck this job ten more times.

Defeated, I turned, once more in the direction of my office. Willing myself not to fall (again)–for my cherished Uggs offered sublime warmth, but granted little by way of traction when confronted with the polar bear shitfest that was the current weather predicament–I resumed my thoughts.

I don’t know if I date white men anymore.

Unless said white men owned a Hummer with a set of shovels in the trunk. Shovels, and sherpa-laden galoshes. Shovels, sherpa-laden galoshes, and all the maraschino and bourbon fixings for a really strong Manhattan. Cause then I’d date them. I’d date them all. Then I’d do ungodly things to them with my brazen, wanton, black body.

I was doing my best desperate hobo imitation when out of the darkness, looming before me like a celestial gift, there it was—a lone, yellow cab. I extended my bag burdened arms with all the grace of a woman in burning building, crying out into the night, “Taxi!!!” And when it stopped and took notice of me, my overwrought heart stopped as well.

The cabbie asked where I was going, and I told him. He seemed to deliberate in the darkness, momentarily, before shouting, “Come, come! Get in!”

I almost wept as I clumsily made my way to the golden chariot. Climbing in, frazzled as fuck, but overcome with gratitude, I prepared to offer my warmest, dimpled smile to the driver.

“I couldn’t bear the thought of you dying of hypothermia out there,” my seatmate said.

“Oh!” I said, startled. I hadn’t seen him there at all.

The cabbie piped in, “You ought to thank him. He made me stop.”

I again turned my attentions to the man beside me. Clad in a Steelers skull cap and leather bomber, his voice hardly matched the man who was apparently my savior. His words had hit me with blunt force impact, as they were encased in the most beautiful brogue I’d ever heard. Sonofabitch. This man is from Scotland! I immediately removed my hat and tended to my mussed hair.

“Oh, wow. Thank you so much! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. I was dying out there,” I rushed, all at once.

“No, problem at all. How are you liking the weather?” Although I understood his words, clear as day, I couldn’t help but translate them to the language of the romance novels that lined the bookshelves of my home. They were, after all, my only legitimate experience with Scotsmen (bearing in mind, of course, that I was using “legitimate” in the most generous of contexts). The fact remained that this man was attempting to have adult conversation with me, and I persisted in changing his speech to lines of Robert Burns poetry.

“I’m afraid I hate it,” I casually replied. I was getting him so naked in my mind. I was objectifying the shit out of this complete stranger, picturing his translucent, alabaster skin strewn provocatively across bear skinned rugs near fireside hearths. I don’t date white men anymore, my ass.

“I’ve lived here for 12 years and I’ve never seen anything like it.”  Translation: “I’ve tendered these moors for nigh on 12 years. Inna’ me fortnights, I swear to it, lass, I’ve never seen the likes of it. Nor ye’. My God, but ye’ are a comely wench.”

I didn’t trust myself to speak, immediately, so I merely nodded mutedly, grinning broadly like some shiny-toothed idiot.

Seemingly enjoying the company, he continued. “I’d been locked up in the house for days. I just needed to get out, you know? A fat lot of good it did. Everything’s closed, it seems.” Translation: “I’d been a captive for over a fortnight, lass. I tore through the streets like a wee, mad banshee. Ye’ve ignited a fire in my blood, lass. It canna’ be helped. I’m wild for ye’, lass. My God, but ye’ are a comely wench.”

“Are you always this quiet?” he asked. Translation: “Speak, lass. Let us care not for the treachery that abounds. I yearn to hear the sweet words that fall from ye’s honeyed lips.”

“Oh, no. I’m just so tired. It’s been a long day. I was thinking about the fact that this weather wasn’t exactly what I bargained for when I moved here,” I answered. Why can’t this monkey ass cabbie climb up out of this car and give us some damned privacy?

“It’s not so bad. In Scotland we have weather like this all of the time.” Read as: “Come away with me. I’ll (somehow) intertwine heather in your (coarse, Negro) hair, and lay your body against the lush green of the moors. And we’ll make love. Aye, lass. Love we’ll make.”

“Please don’t say that. Don’t mar my fantasies of Scotland with weather like this. I can’t bear the thought of me busting my ass in Scotland,” I said.

My companion laughed heartily, and I just knew that my insides would surely melt. The smile that he offered belied the quiet intensity (I’m taking a little literary license here. Fuck you. You weren’t there.) in his eyes, when he asked, “So you’ve fantasized about Scotland, then?”


Sadly, this story doesn’t end with me showing a sexy Scotsman my own little America in the back of a cab on a windswept, snowy night. He didn’t kiss the cold from my cheeks, or show me his pulsating, throbbing haggis. In fact, he ultimately mentioned something about a wife waiting for him at his apartment, or some such nonsense. That’s probably the part where I stopped listening.

The point is, I learned a little bit about myself, last night. Who one chooses to date or not date shouldn’t hinge on such an arbitrary consideration as race. It’s small-minded, it’s petty, and it’s limiting. And in 2010, we as a society, as a unified, progressive collective, should be bigger than that.

Rather, we ought turn our attentions to the greater question of what regional accent a person has. And how, upon discernment of one such accent, a fellow sojourner can turn a stranger encounter into a wild night of unexpected, but unbridled passion.

That’s the America I want to live in.


1 Response to ““And then [s]he stepped off the stage and took a piece of my heart,” or “do they still call it ‘tha swirl’?””

  1. 1 Kam
    February 11, 2010 at 3:08 am

    Oh..I would’ve translated his words too….love love love an accent…..

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February 2010
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a history of my meanderings….


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