Dating in itself brings on array of new challenges and learning opportunities from how your partner takes their coffee, their favorite breakfast cereal to what size shoe they wear. You're getting to know a whole person from scratch! That's no easy task. Now unless you're from the same town, background, socio-economic class, school system and (gross) family, there are bound to be cultural, religious, language and a variety of other hiccups. That's just a fact.
My fiancé was born on the other side of the planet from me, in a different year, raised in a culture that's completely foreign to me, and he's got an accent! Yes, he says the same about me too. Although we know each other very, very well, here are a few things that no one warned us about when it comes to inter-racial and inter-cultural dating.
Spicy is Relative
I grew up in a household where my parents collected hot sauces from all over the world—and tried to “out-spice” the other. When in doubt, add some “crush(ed)-red-peppa-flakes” Yes, that’s one word. Hot sauce, black pepper, jalapeños, and the oh-so-dear: cayenne. Seeing as how my future husband is Mediterranean, and he can eat carbs for hours on end without lifting his nose from the plate, I also assumed his spice level was on the same level as mine. Wrong. He may eat the portions of a large Black woman and like his food just as seasoned, but spice, he cannot take. I grew up in a neighborhood where we sprinkled chile on our fruit and added pickled jalapeños on everything, even our chips. Learning to cook all over again has got me feeling like a baby deer taking its first steps: uneasy as hell!
We can’t share
I’ll never forget this: Fiancé and I went on holiday in Portugal and my hair, per usual, took on a life of its own. I wasn’t prepared, I know, rookie mistake and in his cute and sincere way he offered me his comb. It hit me then that we can’t share everything like other couples. My comb will never be his comb: it’s too wide. My sunscreen will never be strong enough for him. His nude band-aids will never blend with my skin. I truly appreciate the sentiment though but I have never forgotten my comb again.
20 Minutes in the sun is the difference between life and death; bronze and shiny bronze
20 more minutes, I plead. In theory, that’s no time at all! You could watch an episode of Bob’s Burgers or cook rice… 20 minutes flies by, unless your skin is on hot fiyah.
Strangers ALWAYS have a comment on how “cute” or “exotic” our future children will be.
Luckily we both have had the “do you wanna eventually procreate” question, but if we hadn’t—holy cow, how awkward would that be! Oh, your babies are going to be so cute! Then, they persist to pick each of our features apart while assigning them to our non-existent children: What if… they have his eyes, your nose, his hair color and your curls! Well, Miss Cleo, thanks to DNA, the possibilities are endless, so I’ll start taking bets soon. There’s a 500-euro buy in, because baby things are expensive! Don’t knock my hustle.
Never judge a book by its cover
I know they always say that, but I never actually believed it. I mean, would you have read Harry Potter without seeing that bomb cover first?? My fiancé is a hip-hop encyclopedia, meanwhile, I swoon over acoustic guitars, jazzy soul and the occasional dembow (okay, trap music too, you caught me). My fiancé can quote films, even the ones on the exclusive “Black People Club” must see list. They sent an email, I’m sure, but I must’ve missed it. I suppose my point is that he surprises me each and everyday. He teaches me constantly that culture is fluid and complex and dynamic, and the only language we need to share is our love language (and speaking English also helps a bit too).
Danni, Community Director at Las Morenas de España, is a twenty-something, Chicago native currently residing in Madrid. Lover of language, words, and travel, she's managed to combine all of her passions through her work. In her free time, you can find her exploring the winding streets of Madrid, hunting down good flight deals, planning her next adventure and writing & researching for LMDES. Danni loves spicy food, natural hair, music and of course, her wonderful life partner. If you need to find her, she’s the girl with huge hair and her face buried in her Kindle.