By Terri Schlichenmeyer
c.2012, Atria $15.00 / $17.00 Canada 254 pages
You stayed home last Saturday night.
The Saturday before, you went club-hopping with your girls. And the Saturday before that, you saw a movie with your Mama.
It’s not that you don’t want to date. No, the truth is that statistics don’t lie: there’s a shortage of black men and since you’re “holding out” for one, you stay home a lot.
What else can you do?
Authors Christelyn D. Karazin and Janice Rhoshalle Litlejohn say that you have plenty of options. There are lots of men out there; you just need to widen your search. In the new book “Swirling: How to Date, Mate, and Relate Mixing Race, Culture, and Creed,” they explain.
The headlines almost scared you half to death: 42 percent of Black women will never marry. Seventy percent of African American women are single. Some may choose to bear a child anyhow, while others may “share” a man with one or more women, just to avoid being alone.
But Karazin and Littlejohn say that there’s one controversial option that shouldn’t be so controversial: “swirling,” or dating outside your race.
If you look beyond skin, they say, you’ll immediately increase the pool of single men available to you. There are millions of unattached white, Buddhist, Hispanic, Asian, Muslim, and Native American men in this world. The character of a man truly is more important than his color.
Yes, “interracial marriage is truly risky.” You’ll have some issues to deal with – “race still matters in this country” – and some of the arguments will come from within the Black community. But check this: for decades, Black men have hooked up with white women and nobody thinks much about it. Why should it be different for you?
Your “assignment,” the authors urge, is to meet more men. Accept that you are not a “race traitor” if you fall in love with someone who’s not Black. Find a “rainbeau” and understand that it’s really okay to have a preference. Look at your Dream Man List and evaluate your requirements. Throw out stereotypes and have an open conversation with your man about cultural and personal differences. Have a plan in place for dealing with families and friends who question your choice.
And finally, remember: “Color only goes skin deep. Character is as deep as the soul.”
Right now, you may be arguing with authors Christelyn Karazin and Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn. You may have a zillion reasons why you think they’re wrong.
But there’s no arguing with success or statistics, both of which are plentiful in “Swirling.” Karazin and Littlejohn also offer abundant permission to “date out,” answers to possible haters, thoughts that may not have come to the forefront yet, things to be aware of, and success stories (including one from one of the authors!).
No matter which side of the dating-and-mating fence you sit on, I think this provocative book will give you lots to think about – particularly if you’re tired of a wide-open Saturday night calendar. For you especially, “Swirling” is a book to make a date with.
The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books. For more information, visit firstname.lastname@example.org.