I just wanted to sell my TV and get on with my life.
A large-boned super-dark South Indian man in his late 30s came over to my apartment to check the TV out. The first time we talked over the phone, he didn't realise I was Indian until I told him so. When he came over, it's like his eyes popped out as he scanned me from the top of my head to the tips of my toes, ever so often pausing in the vicinty of my chest. Then he developed verbal diarrhea for the next hour which I quietly entertained with my arms crossed over my chest because I really wanted my TV gone. I present to you an itemised list of the highlights of that conversation, quoted in his own words:
1. He had recently moved to the US with his wife and children after having lived in places like Dubai and the Far East.
2. If he had met me before he met his wife, he would have married me.
3. Sex is very important and all problems in life arise from 'the bed'.
4. Women must tell their husbands what they want in bed.
5. Everybody needs sex.
6. The first thing people see in each other when they meet is sexual attraction. He tried to explain this point to me by saying that 'for example, if I meet you, something about you' - at which point his hands were outstretched in the general direction of my chest and so were his eyes as he babbled along as if he had just seen a porn magazine for the first time - 'will have some attraction for me'. Of course he knew all about these things because he had a PhD in Human Studies or something from Malaysia where he studied the basic needs of human beings down to the cellular level.
7. Women must get married early because everybody has needs. Time is running out for me because he thought I was 32. When I corrected him saying that I was 27, he said, that's right, you're almost 30.
8. He said I won't have too much of a problem getting married because my 'skin colour was good'. Somewhere around this point I felt like a prize dog being felt-up at a dog show.
10. After firmly disagreeing with his ignorant views on certain topics, such as how I shouldn't think about taking care of my parents because one day they will die and I will be left alone, he tells me that I need to sound less intelligent otherwise no one will want to marry me.
I was glad when my friend Keyomi came over in the middle of all this. It broke the guy's hour-long rant and relieved me off the tractor beam his attention had firmly placed on me. Keyomi is Black, and in her presence, he suddenly felt comfortable talking about how strange he felt that people in Tulsa thought he was Black too because his skin was so dark. This is a few days after Obama's election to office. While trying to sound hilarious about the dirty looks random people would give him because they thought he was Black too, he let loose the f-word while almost being funny but squarely hitting the awkward and inappropriate mark. I cringed watching Keyomi politely smile through a human personification of a train wreck going at light speed, but was thankful for her distracting him long enough for me to wiggle into a huge sweatshirt that would hide my womanly assets from the strongest of Kryptonian X-ray visions for all time.
But all's well that ends well. I sold my TV, and as a bonus, you now have insight into an encounter that I can only describe as infuriating, unpleasant, and outrageous. And a great dinner table story.