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Tomika Anderson Headshot

Not Jumping Ship, Simply Expanding The Fleet

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When I announced via Twitter that I was being profiled on ABC News Nightline, talking about my dating experiences as a marriage-minded black female professional -- including my decision to date interracially -- a Black male friend promptly retweeted, "If @Mikamousie is jumping off the SS Chocolate Ship y'all brothers must be doing bad out there."

I saw his point: for as long as we've been friends -- close to ten years -- he's only known me to date African American, Caribbean and African men, including a Jamaican IT professional, a Bajan environmental engineer and a black former professional tennis player -- all good guys but none were, in my estimation, compatible enough, let alone ready for marriage, at least not to me.

Still, I found it interesting that he, along with some of the other Black folks I've talked to, drew an immediate but unfounded link between my decision to date beyond racial boundaries and my dissatisfaction with Black men.

And while it's true I have yet to find my life partner among the crop of Black men I've dated his is not a conclusion I'm comfortable with: one, because I have no intention of ex-ing Black men off my dating list, and two, because my decision to date interracially has less to do with them than it has to do with me. I made a vow to myself to only marry (and have children with) a man with whom I am truly compatible, regardless of how much melanin he has. It's a vow I intend to keep.

Just who that man may be is something I've had plenty of time to ponder.

Now that I'm 35, pretty established in my career and have traveled to more than 25 countries, being married and having kids has never appealed to me more. And looking at my family over the Thanksgiving dinner table -- parents who have been married for close to 40 years and three younger brothers, two of whom are married with kids (and one on the way) -- I know I am definitely ready for my own husband and children.

Beyond a life resume that's similar to mine I'd love it if my guy were a bit of a daredevil, or at least tolerant of my adventurous ways - swimming with sharks, piloting helicopters, whitewater rafting and mountain repelling. And if he's not Christian he'd at least be open and supportive of my religious/spiritual path, as I would be of his.

Sound like an impossibility?

To some people a woman like me is as well. But I exist, don't I?

Funny enough, I've already met a man who appears to meet much of my criteria, courtesy of the speed-dating event ABC arranged for the purposes of the show. He's educated, has a successful career, enjoys cliff-diving, is attractive and is brown like me, though not Black. Of course, maybe we'll be deeply compatible; maybe we won't. We're supposed to go on a date next weekend. Actually, five of the nine men I was matched with at the event-hailing from the U.S., Germany, Bangladesh, India and Egypt -- have asked to see me again.

The fact that men of so many different racial and cultural backgrounds have expressed an interest in me isn't a complete surprise. I've dated non-Black men before -- one former beau is a white journalist who hails from London. He and I are still friends.

And since I live in New York, a city of more than eight million people -- with plenty of them single and dating -- I figure that if I remain open to the possibilities and hang out in places where I can interact with men of other cultures, it's not so much a question of access, it's really just a matter of time.