The United Nations

I’m an equal opportunity dater.  I’ve dated French, Italian, Mexican, and certainly good ole’ plain American men to name a few.  My mom jokes that I’ve made a tour of the United Nation via men.  When I call her to tell her about a date she first asks “what country did you visit this time?”, and then proceeds to sing a song native to that country.   It never fails to bring a smile, no matter how bad the previous night turned out.

Despite this apparent ‘open-mindedness’, I have never entered into a serious relationship with anyone who doesn’t share my cultural roots.  I’m a first generation Hispanic-American, and the only people I have really connected with on a level one step deeper than casual dating have shared this distinction.  It makes me wonder, are we trapped by our cultural upbringing?  Held back from sharing deep, meaningful bonds because of who our parents were?  I’ve asked my close friends about this, and through an anecdotal straw poll I found this generality holds most of the time.  My Russian-American friend has only entered long-term relationships with Russian-Americans.  The same is true of my Indian-American friend and my Irish-Catholic friend.  It makes me feel semi-hypocritical for even attempting to go on dates with someone who doesn’t fit the ‘mold’.  But that makes me so sad!  Not only does it severely limit my pool of prince-charmings who may sweep me off my feet, but it has terrible implications on how many generations it will take to erase cultural stigmas and stereotypes. 

But there are always the exceptions.  Those rare couples who have surmounted different views and lifestyles.  One of my best friends is an American from Portland, OR and she has been happily living with her Newyorican boyfriend for two years.  She embraces their cultural differences, and knows that there is an extra give and take required in merging two families with such distinctly different backgrounds.  The extra stretch this requires of your personality really pushes you to grow as a person.  I wonder if I have what it takes to stretch myself in that way.  The evidence thus far doesn’t show it, but I will continue to be an equal opportunity dater.  Maybe the prince-charming at the end of my road will be nothing like I have ever known before.  This prospect is inspiring.

“Mi vino es amargo, pero es mi vino” ~Jose Marti