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Zondra Hughes

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Let Me Downgrade Ya'

Posted: 08/22/08 12:05 PM ET

I met Rajj, a beautiful, burnt-bronzed Nigerian, at an outdoor African art festival.

Rajj was a jewelry designer. He was so dark and flawless that nearly every woman on the street made a beeline to purchase something from him.

I stopped by his display as well, and I made it a point to ignore him as I knew that the lack of my attention would pique his interest. And I was right. (Author Robert Greene coined this seduction technique "shadowing" - that is, walk away from someone and he will chase after you, much like your shadow.)

I decided not to make a purchase and Rajj insisted that we exchange business cards. That's when I noticed that he was wearing a silver band on his wedding finger. Rajj glanced at his ring and quickly told me that it was a ruse; he wanted some kind of barrier to keep the women at bay while he sold his goods.

Fast forward a few months and Rajj and I have grown close. We were two single, good-looking adults who'd rather be talking to one another on the phone in the middle of the night, instead of clubbing.

I tell Rajj that he is smart and talented; Rajj tells me that my conversations are powerful and uplifting. We were platonic, but clearly, obviously, the attraction was there.

Finally, I hinted to Rajj that I'd like to take our friendship to another level.

I didn't make the first move blind, mind you, as I've been the recipient of several tender acts of kindness and gifts including the most exquisite, handcrafted silver ring that Rajj gave me for my birthday.

Rajj asked me about interracial dating; specifically, if I would be comfortable bringing him around my family. A little shocked, I told him that since we were both African descendants, I didn't foresee any problems.

Rajj told me that we could creep, but that his family wouldn't accept me.

In his culture, he says, if he dated or married someone other than a Nigerian, he'd have to date up the social chain, that is, he'd have to hook up with a White woman.

But an American sistah like me is a downgrade; strictly booty call material.

Rajj also mentioned for the first time that he was in a serious relationship with a Londoner. She dropped out of college and works in a pub. Marriage is on the horizon.

To recap: A successful African American woman who gives him "powerful and uplifting conversations" can't hold a candle to a white woman who works in a pub.

I was hurt, insulted and then just mad as hell.

I wondered if Rajj's cultural preference for anything other than Black was limited to his own family upbringing, or if it was more widespread.

In any event, I'll never know, as I have ceased all contact with Rajj.

Ironically, abruptly ending our friendship has set the shadowing seduction technique in full effect-and Rajj is chasing after this black woman and he can't help himself.

And that's just the way it should be.

 

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