Monday, October 24, 2011



The night was going excellently. I was at one of my favorite bars, I had an absolute wrecking ball of a Long Island Iced Tea in my hand, and my best friend and I kept yelling "Rusty Cartwright's here!" at each other because he was and we were (perhaps a bit too) delighted by his presence.

Then A* came up to me. His impressive height was only emphasized by his spiky hair, which I kept wondering about. Did he wash it before he went to sleep at night? He didn't look like the type. Wouldn't his pillowcase get gel all over it? Pressing questions.

Within the first minutes of our conversation, A's eyes took on a laser-like focus as he asked me if I "like white guys?" I've dealt with this question many times, so I gave my typical response: "Haha no worries, as long as you're hot I'll love you, promise!" He laughed and asked if he could get me a drink and insisted that he buy one for my friend as well. "Is it okay if a white guy buys you a drink?" he grinned at me. "Haha!!! Um. Yes," I responded as I thought, I'm a broke 21-year-old. It's okay if anyone buys me a drink. As he spoke to the bartender, I turned to my best friend with and was all "WTF!" and "Ugh" as I explained his obsession with him being white and me being black. She was like "Free drinks! We're poor!" And I was like "You win," so I turned back to A, who was smiling at me. Just smiling and staring.

Later on, he kind of redeemed himself by moving on to subjects besides the difference of melanin levels in our skin. But when he brought it up again, my Long Island and I rationalized that maybe he was too drunk to realize that he was kind of harping on the subject. How many times must I tell myself to never make excuses for a guy? HOW MANY TIMES? It obviously only ends in disaster.

During our conversation, A asked for my phone number. I gave it to him (WHY) and he said, "I'm going to call you now. Are Caucasians allowed to be in your phone?" Oookay, dude. At this point, I decided to run, free drinks be damned.

I spent the rest of the night darting around the bar, trying to escape this race-obsessed man. On principle, I don't want to be with someone who's so focused on the color of my skin. The only way I see that ending is in slave/master role-play, and I am So. Not. Down. A started trailing me, interrupting my conversations with other guys, or you know, just standing behind me in a completely normal fashion so when I turned around he could pretend that instead of him following me, it was fate bringing us together yet again.

He also cornered my best friend multiple times, demanding to know what I had against white men. She assured him that my avoidance of him had nothing to do with his race, but more to do with his reminding me of one of those men who likes bedding black women to convince himself that we deserve hatred since we're sluts. "But I spent TWENTY DOLLARS on her!" he shouted.

I do understand this on some level; I chatted with him, accepted his drinks, and gave him my phone number. This doesn't mean I owed him anything, but it's the standard bar mating ritual, no? I was still somewhat new to this, having just left behind the world of sticky-floored college bars where your options are either the kid in your Stats class or the bro you see every time his fraternity has a kegger. There are very few circumstances under which these men will buy you a drink, as they are poor and do not generally want to spend money if you're not a sure thing. This night taught me a vital, real-world lesson: Do not accept a drink/give out my phone number/act at all interested unless I actually want to get to know the person in question. Otherwise, there's a high chance the night will end badly for everyone involved.

He started glaring at me. Actually, glaring is too weak a word. Chopping me up with his eyes, maybe? This was also when the texts started. At 1:46 a.m., I got: "Your bogus" Uh, my bogus what? Over the next two hours, A sent me over 50 text messages. Here are the ones that particularly delight me when I reread the conversation, which I most definitely do not do on a weekly basis.

1:51 a.m.: "Your missing out, being honest" I am now flooded with regret.

2:03 a.m.: "Unbrliaravable" Yes, I am unbrliaravable. You, on the other hand, are completely normal.

2:05 a.m.: "Smdh" This means "shaking my damn head," in case you didn't know. Stereotypically, black people use it; maybe he thought it would be best to speak to me in my own language? I dunno.

2:11 a.m.: "Racist as fuck" Yes, me insisting that I have no issue with anyone based on race means I am racist.

2:16 a.m.: "Smdh you bogus as hell man" This has become a staple in my daily conversation.

2:34 a.m.: "Buy you drinks and you just act Hollywood smdh" I act Hollywood?! I have arrived.

2:37 a.m.: "Guess that's come to be suspected from a racist" :(

2:56 a.m.: "Unbelievable, last time I buy you drinks" But... I already dropped out of school because I thought you were going to support me and buy me all the Long Islands I could ever drink. Ever.

3:01 a.m.: "Thought if you treated you like a queen you'd be nice" Why. Why do men think because I'm black they need to convince me they'll treat me like a queen? More specifically, a Nubian queen. WHAT?

3:13 a.m.: "Last time I'm ignorant" Oh, sweetie. I doubt it.

My best friend and I spent most of the next day reading these texts out loud to each other in angry voices and rolling around on her bed with stomach cramps from laughing so hard. I was convinced that he was reading the texts again as well, but instead he was SO embarrassed by himself, right?! He was probably doing that thing I've never had to do, ever, where you daren't read the previous night's texts because you're sure the humiliation will burn your eyes off and then you scan your texts really quickly before letting out a sigh of relief/horrified wail. I imagined him lying in bed, the sad next-day deflation of his porcupine hair only worsening his shame. Late that night, I got another text from him.  Ha! He's probably going to apologize, maybe ask for an opportunity to spend another $20 on me? Alas, I once again overestimated this guy.

2:28 a.m.: "Wow. Smdh."

Zahra Barnes is a college senior who writes for Her Campus Northwestern. Her phone is traumatized but is getting back out there one step at a time.

Photo by svry, via Shutterstock

207 Comments / Post A Comment


Finally! An explanation on what "SMDH" means! I read this on another website earlier today and had no idea what it meant. Thank you, Hairpin!


@QuiteAimable I always heard it used as "So much damn hate".


@prefacetoafable Hmm, interesting. I say let's just use it for both!

Jack Stuef@twitter

@QuiteAimable I was aware of "smh," but not "smdh." I was hoping it meant "shaking my dad's head."


@QuiteAimable I was always under the impression "SMD" was "suck my dick" and so "SMDH" naturally would be "suck my dick ho."


since when is calling someone bogus (with a grammatical error) treating them like a queen? that dude has a lot to learn.

can we get him enrolled in some kind of hairpin home course on dating and etiquette in the 21st century?

RK Fire

@becky@twitter: I feel like he got his tips on how to date and pick up up black women.. from an early 80s Eddie Murphy movie without actually paying attention? I don't know, I'm reaching for references here. Selective reading of Ebony from the 70s? I'm getting flashbacks to when men asked me to show them my "eggroll." I don't even know what that means.


@RK Fire i'm envisioning a book, similar to this , but instead, titled, "how to date and pick up black women."


@becky@twitter Can we just set him on FIRE?


@pterodactgirl i second the viking funeral. set him afloat on a firey jizzcliner.


@becky@twitter I read the term "fiery jizzcliner" and almost popped a vein in my forehead trying to keep in my hysterical, shaking laughter. (Yes, I'm at work, that's my first mistake.) Holy fuck.

RK Fire

@becky@twitter: I love this idea but it involves finding or creating a jizzcliner, which.. hm.


@RK Fire i'm pretty sure that SMDH already has one in his apartment. i'm thinking he spends a lot of lonely nights alone.


@becky@twitter And if he doesn't, I'm sure Jolie can help us get one.


@Ophelia and at the end of the ceremony, after sanitizing ourselves thoroughly with oxyclean, we each get to eat a box of zebra cakes.

RK Fire

@becky@twitter & Ophelia: Fair points! I stand corrected.

RK Fire

Interesting, because I've been shaking my head as I've been reading about what this guy did! I dated before texting was really a normal part of dating, so.. would it be at all cathartic to text him back with "Maybe if you weren't so fixated on the fact I'm black I wouldn't have been creeped out by you?" and to follow this up with changing his number to "SMDH" in your address book.

Zahra B.

@RK Fire I find that with this kind of guy, any contact is taken as an "I LOVEEEEE YOUUUU!!!" So I just don't. I also think any rational explanation of why he creeped me out so much would be met with "SMDH gurl you crazy as hell."

RK Fire

@Zahra B.: Oh, so it's lose/lose then. :( I can definitely see that scenario too. Damn the lack of emotionally satisfying scenarios.

Kerri Mercury Morris@facebook

"He was probably doing that thing I've never had to do, ever, where you daren't read the previous night's texts because you're sure the humiliation will burn your eyes off and then you scan your texts really quickly before letting out a sigh of relief/horrified wail."

Every single weekend of my life. Wah.

Quick Brown Fox

@Kerri Mercury Morris@facebook SMDH.



Bridget Smith@twitter

Huh, I read "SMDH" as "so much damn hate". Which is actually appropriate! Towards him!


@Bridget Smith@twitter that's what I always thought it meant!


RUSTY CARTWRIGHT WAS REALLY THERE!??? I think that merits a "Personal Best" column.


@arizonatime YES. I got kind of fixated on that part.

New Hoarder

@arizonatime I too, could read no further. RUSTY CARTWRIGHT?!


@arizonatime i as well would like to hear more about this

Zahra B.

@arizonatime Yes, Rusty was there! He's very, very cute. We were idiots and way too shy to talk to him, but he smiled a lot, so there's that.


Any man whose first thought upon facing (soft, purely avoidance-based) rejection is "BUT I SPENT $20 ON HER!" is a man who truly needs to stop approaching young women in bars and offering to purchase their drinks.


@City_Dater exactly, I think most(?) men do actually understand that the potential (& likely) outcome of their endeavors is going to be less money and that's it. I've let guys buy me drinks & then not talk to them the rest of the night, and they're pretty good sports. Not "BUT I SPENT ____ DOLLARS ON HER!"

Chesty LaRue

@City_Dater I'm not sure you're getting the part where he spent 20 AMERICAN DOLLARS on her! Of his own money!


@Chesty LaRue That he made with his paper route??


@City_Dater Agreed -- that reaction makes me think he's really, really young.


@Chesty LaRue his WHITE PERSON money.

How many uncomfortable laughs and faked smiles do you think $20 would buy?


3:13 a.m.: "Last time I'm ignorant" Oh, sweetie. I doubt it.


hairdresser on fire

Oh holy fucking whaaaattttt?????? Juicebox of the millennium? The pride and joy of Chicago bars, as per usual. (Or Evanston bars if that's where you were, uggghhhhh.)

Also, Rusty Cartwright = <3333333

Zahra B.

@hairdresser on fire I was at McGees. Love that place. Always get a slight tremor of terror when I go back though. What if he's there!?!


this is awful, but also hilarious.

i can't wait to see what kind of juiceboxes are out there with asian fetishes.


Posts like this, besides being completely hilarious, are useful reminders that people like this actually exist. Which, not being subjected to them myself, I sometimes forget. Holy shit.

hahahaha, ja.

The most confusing race-obsessed pick-up line I've ever received: "do you have something against chinamen? just wondering...", from an Asian guy. (Sidenote: This marks the first and only time outside of an Agatha Christie novel that I have encountered the term "chinamen.") The rest of the conversation (against my better judgment I responded) was him trying to impress / intimidate me with academic gibberish and me going DUDE WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU. Alas, I never did find out WTF was wrong with him ...


@ietapi Also Dude, "chinaman" is not the preferred nomenclature.

RK Fire

@fishiefishfish: I've noticed that some people say it because they think it's funny. It doesn't make it any less weird.

hahahaha, ja.

@fishiefishfish: Seriously! As soon as I read that, I had to glance over my shoulder to make sure there weren't any Brits smuggling opium from the Yellow Peril, etc. etc.


@fishiefishfish You're not wrong, you're just an asshole.

the angry little raincloud

@Craftastrophies I'm guessing the Big Lebowski reference was totally missed on this one, right?


Still can't get over "unbrliaravable." It should be a tag!

The Lady of Shalott

YOU BOGUS AS HELL MAN! That deserves a place in my own personal lexicon.


@The Lady of Shalott It wasn't already?


I had to look up both Rusty Cartwright and SMDH right away. Of course, you were kind enough to reveal the meaning of SMDH to us eventually, so thanks! This was absolutely hysterical.

Oh, and also, your real world advice "Do not accept a drink/give out my phone number/act at all interested unless I actually want to get to know the person in question"? I have had whole relationships based on my screwing up this concept. Possibly entire marriages, too, but just how many I'll never say.


@kayjay Oh, and look!! You even made Rusty Cartwright a link! I am doing it all wrong today.


@kayjay It is possible this has happened to me also. (The screwing up the concept bit, I mean.)





@whoaisme How tall is he in person??

Zahra B.

@whoaisme Rusty is SO CUTE. Bahhhh. He just seemed very sweet! I didn't see him talk to any girls all night except a girl who was in one of my classes sophomore year with whom I DEFINITELY should have cultivated a friendship. Sigh.

Zahra B.

@Ophelia He's tall enough that when I drunkenly, VERY CREEPILY stood next to him at the bar in my heels, he was sameish height? I'm about 5'7, my heels were 3-4 inches.


Ahh! Zahra, let's trade horrible L-harassment stories. Mine from last week: "cross yo' legs, I can see your white pussy hole!" repeated over a fifteen-minute bus detour, with asides to other passengers asking if they could see it (mine) too.


@wallsdonotfall ...Oh my god. I am so sorry.


@wallsdonotfall I am not sure whether to be elated or devastated that this same line was used on me back in 1989.


@wallsdonotfall OH MY GOD. How horrible.

Zahra B.

@wallsdonotfall OH GOD. Oh God. I feel for you, I REALLY DO. Why, men of Chicago public transportation?! I love just looking them up and down and saying "Are you kidding me?"

This wasn't on the L, but I was sitting having in a sushi place and some guy with a white showercap on stopped outside the restaurant and tried to talk to me through the window. He was my favorite.

Jon Custer

You should've just Wikipedied him: "A* uses a best-first search and finds the least-cost path from a given initial node to one goal node (out of one or more possible goals)."

Oh, squiggles

Whoa. I thought he was weird asking about the race thing the first time...super creepy. But using your instead of you're...there is just no excusing that.

Kerri Mercury Morris@facebook

@Awesomely Nonfunctional The first guy I meet who masters the proper you're/your usage in a text messaging situation? I will just marry him.


@Kerri Mercury Morris@facebook Seriously, I just started online dating, is it really bad if I automatically write off anyone with poor spelling and/or grammar?

Kerri Mercury Morris@facebook

@rayray No! It is not bad at all. It sure narrows the damn field, though.


@rayray NO. It is perfectly acceptable to have high standards in regards to spelling, grammar, and orthography, and to immediately rebuff anybody who mispronounces "niche."


@rayray poor grammar yes, but you might want to give the poor spellers a second chance. My brilliant lawyer husband cannot spell and cannot text, resulting in some of the most hilarious texts evah! But, he won't play Scrabble with me :(


@rayray ooh, be careful about that though! Sometimes, yes, it is totally a bad sign (long emails riddled with errors, no evidence of any spell check whatsoever), but sometimes it's people like my best friend. She is amazing! Funny, cool, razor sharp mind, but no ability to spell anything at all ever. Text messages and gchat are always an ordeal for her.


@rayray After awhile you get so worn down with guys saying "msg me if your sincere" and "I'm am a quite guy" it just starts to look normal...


@sweetleah On a good day I can amuse myself by reading them with the correct intonation for the word and changing the punctuation around. EG 'I'm am a quite guy'... 'I, ma'am, a 'quite' guy...' makes a lot more sense and sounds rather sophisticated! That MUST be what he meant to say! It MUST!

Guy DeBr0'd

@figwiggin This coming from a person who doesn't capitalize proper nouns...

Jon Custer

Ooh also can I start the thread where we come up with alternate initialisms for SMDH? I got as far as Some Men Deserve H_____


@Jon Custer This particular one deserves a handjob with a... particularly tight grip.

Quick Brown Fox

@Jon Custer Some Men Deserve Hats. Oh wait, no, that doesn't work.




@Jon Custer Slimy Mittens Don't Hold? Ew, slimy mittens.


@tortietabbie Some Men Denigrate Hairpinners.

RK Fire

@Jon Custer:
Simple Monsters Don't Hibernate?
Shitty Men Don Harpoons?
Simple Milkshakes Develop Hatefully?

no way

@Jon Custer
Some men deserve hate.
Some men deserve hashtags. #unbrliaravable


@melis Smarmy Men Daren't Hairpin!

Jon Custer

@Jon Custer Salmon Makes Delicious Hors d'oeuvres
Shouldn't Meet Dorks Haphazardly
Shame -- Men Don't Have (it)
Some Major Dude Hassles
OK I'm finished (edit to avoid repeating "dorks").

Jon Custer

@Jon Custer And of course the thought going through his head: "Surely More Dickishness Helps!" (sorry I love this game)


@Jon Custer Souffle Makes Dubious Hairgel


@RK Fire I'd like to see someone try to don a harpoon. That could be bloody.

Jon Custer

@Jon Custer OR make him a handy mnemonic to use next time: See Melanin? Don't Hassle. (God. OK, I'm done now really.)


@Jon Custer Some Men Deserve Herpes? Maybe a little extreme.

Zahra B.

@melis This describes my entire life perfectly.

Lily Rowan

Ooh, is this where I can discuss how gross I think it is in match.com profiles when the guy has selected which races/ethnic groups he'll date? And not just left it blank or picked all of them? I don't care what else that guy has to say (or that we are both white), I say no thanks.


@Lily Rowan

OH YES! Also disgusting, the guys online who have an age range for potential partners that ends 5 to 10 years before their own listed age.
However, better to find out about their racism/creepy fetishes/preconceived notions well in advance of actually meeting in person.


@City_Dater Word. I have an OKCupid profile I keep around mainly to remind me that there are lots worse things than being single. Like the guy the other day: "Hey, he's actually cute and not older than my dad...oh, crap, pantyhose fetish." But I respected him for putting that out there right at first. Thanks, cute but probably creepy dude!


@City_Dater A dude I "met" on an online dating site asked me to gchat instead of e-mail. His first gchat question to me: "What's your ethnic background?" I promptly signed off.

Lily Rowan

@City_Dater Definitely better to find out in advance!


@Mame16th in my OKC days, there was a middle aged man who messaged me daily who wanted to be put down, wore women's dresses and skirts (mostly in hot pink and were either from hot topic or torrid), and wanted someone to be his dom. i would consistently turn him down.

not judging - i'm not into that kind of thing. i can't be mean to someone i'm sexxin. but since he wanted to be humiliated, turning him down only turned him on. he'd ask me to describe why i wasn't into a "sissy boy" like him. the messages got more and more graphic until i blocked him.


I always thought "smdh" meant "so much damn hate"! #themoreyouknow

God, I hate entitlement in bars. Why is it that buying one drink is grounds to act like an asshole and sexually harass the object of your "affections"? SMDH!


"Well, technically the Long Island is mine, since I paid for it. Just because it happens to be spreading from your stomach to your bloodstream and brain doesn't make it yours - I put it there. So at least part of your insides belong to me for the next hour, until you've processed all the alcohol."


@melis Just wait til he takes that one to the bitter end and follows you into the bathroom...


@nokittythisismypotpie "The least you could do is give it back. Look, I even brought my own glass."

Better to Eat You With

@cosmia And they all seem to think that being a dickhead will somehow change your mind. Yes, asshole! I totally want to go home with you now!


@melis It's a good thing I'm not single, because I would use that line on EVERYONE.

Chesty LaRue

@Better to Eat You With Perhaps you don't realize that women don't like nice guys?


WOW! You poor thing! That is SO FUCKED UP. What the hell! Also it's not really necessary to ask people if they like people of other colors. You just give them your damn phone number. If they call you then you know. It's not rocket science.

It's not like you have to walk up to someone and say, "hey do you like the things that are readily apparent about me? Do you like girls with brown hair? How do you feel about glasses?" THOSE ARE THE EASY ONES. Its, "do you think you can handle a dude with mommy issues? How do you feel about a house coated in dog hair and pizza boxes?" THOSE ARE THE IMPORTANT THINGS TO CHECK. WE ALL CAN SEE THE VARYING LEVELS OF MELANIN WE ALL HAVE.

Quick Brown Fox

I'm reading this and imaging A as Jean-Ralphio from Parks and Rec. It makes it even awesomer.


I know this is COMPLETELY different from what the author experienced for so many reasons, but I *always* get "What's the matter, baby, you don't like black guys?" (I am white.) So uncomfortable! The issue is not people of color, it's creepers who try to guilt me into talking to them!

Lily Rowan

@klemay "It's not racial, just personal! Thanks! Have a great day!"


@klemay I get that from creepers in my neighborhood from a variety of races/ethnicities, except it's usually followed by "...vanilla bitch." keep it classy, Philly.

Zahra B.

@teenie When I ignore them, I get the "THIS IS WHY I DON'T DATE SISTAS!"Ok, then why'd you talk to me in the first place? Obviously a sista here.


1) This is so hilarious and yet so fucked up. smdh.
2) Thank you for using the word "daren't."

Katie Walsh

I love incorporating stupid man texts into the lexicon. A dude once texted my sister 48 times in a night, including the gem "hi i luvs u" and that is now typically how we greet each other.


@Katie Walsh I love that. My best friend and I use "wanna get get high?", often followed by "i'll pau for for it". A guy named Roop once texted that to me. I'd given him my number after he and his friends burst into a fratty bar dressed like cowboys, but I never responded to his texts.

"Wanna get get high?" sounds like a Black Eyed Peas song.


This is ridiculous and hilarious on so many levels and I thank you so much for this story, but now for the weird part...

It makes me miss dating? Or rather, looking for people to date? Nothing crazy funny ever happens anymore! Is life ever fun again after you stop breaking your vow to never be stupid drunk in public again?


@twoweeks: Yes.


@twoweeks Wait, other people don't get drunk and stupid in public with their boyfriends/girlfriends/husbands/wives? Because I seem to do that plenty.


@Ophelia Ha ha I do! You (two) are not alone.
@twoweeks Articles like this make me nostalgic for the creepers I encountered while dating, too, and I'm alllllmost sorry I'm not single anymore.


@SarahP Come on guys, stop mocking those of us who'd give anything to run away from online dating with someone nice. You can have alllll my drama and I will happily take having an actual boyfriend. Having a boyfriend was one tenth the effort it takes to do online dating, I swear.

Veronica Lemmons

You probably would have prevented at least some of that drama if you'd cut him off when he started getting creepy about the race thing and just TOLD HIM HE WAS MAKING YOU UNCOMFORTABLE. "Why do you keep saying that?" "You've brought up my skin color versus yours X times in about X minutes. It seems you're the one concerned with race. So, thanks for the drink, but I think we're done here." He would've balked at first, but that's how you shut a guy like that down, not by darting around a bar.


@Veronica Lemmons Or, on the other hand, she could've ended up with a shouting asshole on her hands, rather than just ("just") an asshole who was following her around the bar.

It would be nice if people understood that walking away means WALKING AWAY, but sometimes they don't. Those same people are often the ones who are drunk enough or crazy enough to make a scene in a public place, and even sometimes endanger their own safety or yours.

Assertive behavior does not work on crazy people. Anybody who follows you around and talks to you like that is, by definition, a crazy person. About the only thing that works is telling the bouncer "This guy is bugging me; get rid of him," and that's only successful about half the time.

I'm one of the most assertive people I know, and even *I* would've darted around the bar rather than provoke a guy with obvious problems.


@Mingus_Thurber I have a strong suspicion that nothing short of a sharp, vicious split in the brainpan would have caused this guy to examine his own behavior. And maybe not even then.


@melis It might've shut him up, which would be enough. Note to self: carry heavy, blunt objects on next round of bar-hopping.


@Veronica Lemmons Said presumably by someone who has never had an asshole yell obscenities at her for daring to reject him.


@Veronica Lemmons Oh, if there's one thing that I remember from my single days, it's that telling a guy that he's making you uncomfortable does not always work. I've had to hide in the bathroom to get away from guys, and one time I screamed at a creepy guy at the top of my lungs, "YOU ARE BEING CREEPY AND I WANT YOU TO LEAVE ME ALONE," and he still thought he might have a chance if he kept up the persistence just a liiiiiiiiittle bit more.


@thebestjasmine Or act pleasant about it, then follow you out to your damn car when you left.

Veronica Lemmons

@Mingus_Thurber Not saying the onus is entirely on women to give a concise explanation for why they're not interested anymore. Of course they should be able to walk away and not be bothered. But I'm really blown away that no one here agrees that polite confrontation is even an option, let alone a superior one to letting your night be ruined by trying to hide from some asshole. @thebestjasmine Of course I've had a rejectee call me a bitch for saying "no, not interested," but so what? Are you saying that women should AVOID confrontation, even when it's polite rejection, because they might get yelled at? Women can't handle being called names? We should be scared that, what, if he yells, he'll try to attack or something? I thought most feminists were on the same page about conflict aversion being a not-so-good thing in traditional women's socialization? Honestly curious here.

Better to Eat You With

@werewolfbarmitzvah Yes. "Go the fuck away" used to get ignored regularly, back in my bar-going days.


@Veronica Lemmons I am saying that women can do whatever damn thing they want to make themselves feel safer around men who seem creepy. If that's confrontation, then fantastic. If that's avoiding confrontation because they don't want to get yelled at, followed, and threatened, then more power to them. I thought that most feminists were on the same page about it not being a woman's fault when a man is the one doing something wrong, and that it's a woman's prerogative about how she wants to handle that.


@Veronica Lemmons I think it's kind of a big assumption that someone might choose avoidance over confrontation because they don't feel safe standing up for themself or are socialized to be timid. Some people just choose that because they're giggly drunks, not shouty drunks. There's nothing I like better than yelling at people in bars, but we don't all have to have the same pleasures.

"Women can't handle being called names?"

You could confront any woman out for a good time with What, you can't handle having a BAD time? but, I mean...I can handle a lot of things I don't care to handle and am not obligated to handle.



Wait, do only lesbians live in your pocketbook!?!?



@queenofbithynia You aren't obligated, no, and it definitely might not work. But what happened to "the personal is political?". Every time we avoid naming this kind of crap we're missing a chance to assign responsibility. It's not just about the single situation, it's about accountability.

That said, what a nightmare. Urgh.


@atipofthehat I have next to no idea what you're talking about, but you are free to buy me a drink ANYTIME. This is also a standing offer to all non-terrible humans.


@Margalo But it is about the single situation. When people go out to drinks at a bar with their friends, sometimes they don't want to be the anti-racist educator for every white guy out there who has a black girl fetish (or wants to check "sex with a black girl" off a list, and you have no idea how many times I've heard that). It's not our job to be the assigner of responsibility every time we're out in public, or to make people accountable. Sometimes people just want to have a drink or five.


@Margalo She wrote it up for The Hairpin, though! Taking it from private to public is a political action and a good one, no?

I think I have some small bit of credibility in this area to wave around, insofar as the time some dude sidled up on the street and grabbed my ass in the pitch dark, I ran after him for a couple blocks shouting and shaking my tiny fists. I'm glad I did that (although it accomplished absolutely nothing) and I'm glad whenever I hear about women doing things like that. I'm for it.

But I don't think it does a lot to increase accountability for the fucksticks of the world. And I could have yelled that I was assigning that dude responsibility for his actions, instead of yelling YEAH, YOU BETTER RUN or whatever I did say, but I think public discussion after the fact is more productive than furious bellowing in the moment. Though I acknowledge that we can do both, if we want to.


@Veronica Lemmons Most feminists are on the same page about feminism meaning different things to everyone.


@Veronica Lemmons queenofbithynia and thebestjasmine said what I was gonna say better than I could, so I'll just add this:

I agree that conflict-avoidance is a problematic part of women's socialization. What I was considering here was the issue of a woman's safety. People can be called out and educated in a firm, respectful way and'll generally learn from the experience. *Crazy* people can't be. This guy, with his fixation on race and his in-bar behavior, set off all of my crazy-person bells at once. The hours of texting afterwards confirmed the validity of those alarms.

Like I said before, I'm one of those coruscating feminists. I have, though, on occasion, left a place or walked away from a situation because the person facing me didn't seem so much ignorant as dangerously weird and hostile. In my experience--and I'll freely admit that I have a crazy-person magnet implanted somewhere in my body--people who are inappropriate in public have no trouble escalating the situation if they feel humiliated or dismissed.


@Mingus_Thurber, thebestjasmine and queenofbithynia - great points - nobody has to be the "educator" when they don't want to be. As one of the relatively-oldsters around here, I do feel the impulse to remind us that we'll always have to keep re-creating the safe places in our world through our actions. But everybody's also got to stay safe and sane, and make the best decisions they can each day. Nice commenting with you!


@thebestjasmine I signed up just to applaud you for this comment. Men like this can be dangerous and we have the right to avoid confrontation if we feel uncomfortable/unsafe.

O! Winged Wanderer

@Luija HI! Welcome to the Hairpin!


@Luija Aww, yay and welcome! I mean, I can be totally in the mood to be confrontational sometimes, especially after a few drinks, but sometimes you're scared, or uncertain, or just don't want to ruin a night by yelling at some asshole. I will defend anyone's right to not be confrontational.


@Veronica Lemmons etc: In a perfect world, when a guy asked if he could buy you a drink, he would not actually be asking to purchase access to your vagina, and accepting said drink would not mean that you had just sold your vagina for $20. Until such a perfect world is reached, it's okay to assume that anyone who is confused about your personhood could be unpredictable and potentially dangerous.



"Hi! Can I buy your vagina a drink?"


@Mingus_Thurber Not to be all sappy on a Tuesday, but respectful and personal conversations like this are one of the reasons that I love The Hairpin.

Zahra B.

@Veronica Lemmons I did, at least once, tell him he had already brought it up and I told him that I didn't care about race. Dude was so fixated!

Kimberly Drew

Am I the ONLY PERSON that was holding her breath to hear that SDMH meant "Suck My D*** Ho?" Regardless, I'm really glad that isn't what it stands for. So sorry this happened to you! It's like that scene in Mad Men where Peter Cambpell makes the Nanny you know what.


@Kimberly Drew In my world, "SMD" has always been "suck my dick" and that is exactly what I thought

hahahaha, ja.

@spicywing: When I first saw "SMH" I read it as "suck my head," which seemed oddly specific. On a similar note, I keep reading "FTFY" as "for the -- FUCK YOU," as if someone were suddenly seized by a fit of anger.


A few years ago, I went out a couple of times with this (black) guy (I'm white) but he WOULD NOT STOP talking about the difference in our races. Saying I wouldn't understand certain things b/c I am white. Said people at the bar were looking at us since we were dif. races. Did not want to meet up with my friends because they might not like that he was black (!?) etc. #SMDH


@Beericle Honestly, none of what you describe is a weird thing for him to have said or felt. People stare at mixed race couples all the time, and I'm sure that he'd probably met the friends of a white girl that he was dating in the past and had a really negative experience.


@thebestjasmine I wonder a bit where (geographically) this was taking place? I can't imagine anyone staring at a mixed-race couple in a bar in NY - but other places? Maybe. That said, I'm the whitest lady in the world, so I'm very sure there are circumstances/crazy people/racists I wouldn't even realize are out there.


@Ophelia Yeah, I mean, I think as the comment above illustrates, people who are not experiencing racism on a day to day basis don't really see it (so yeah, that's why he probably said that she wouldn't understand certain things because she's white). People don't look twice in the Bay Area either, but it's really not a maybe about elsewhere, it's just a how much. And let's not even talk about what happens when people have children who look like a different race than them, because people say crazy things about that everywhere.


@thebestjasmine Urgh. Yes. I do see it with my own family, sometimes (although, still, living in big NE city...) - when we all get together, an average assumption would be that my sister and I (pale redheads) are not related to our cousins at all, given that two of them are tan with dark hair and the other is part black/puerto rican. And yet...


@Ophelia The fun part is when strangers starts playing the guessing game. "Wait, so you're..."


@melis Clearly the correct answer, whatever the pairing, is "lov-ahs"


@Ophelia We would also accept "die a thousand blind and splintering deaths, you bastard son of a she-wolf."


@melis Not for nothin, it'd be pretty damn awesome to be a bastard son of a she-wolf.


@Ophelia Needs a #GameofThronesspoilers tag.

Judith Slutler

@thebestjasmine Yep. I mean, it sounds like the guy was maybe not the most tactful about his consciousness-raising attempts. But really, every single thing he said is something I've run into at least once in my relationship with my boyfriend (I'm white, he is black). That kind of subtle thing, which those of us of the Caucasian persuasion are so bad at recognizing, can really make a relationship die of a thousand racist papercuts.


I am SO glad this was posted, as I was about ready to ask a lady if obsessing over skin tone and getting all passive aggressively textual was appropriate bar behavior. Thanks, The Hairpin!

Elvis Costello's Spectacles

I'm not sure what it says about me that my main takeaway from this is that the phrase, "Are Caucasians allowed to be in your phone?" makes me envisage little tiny people trapped in a phone.


@Elvis Costello's Spectacles "Well, it's a Japanese phone, so as long as they have valid passports they should be fine."


@Elvis Costello's Spectacles

Reparations, baby. Reparations.



RK Fire



@RK Fire OOOH. OK, so in college, someone made a Totally Stupid comment to one of my friends about mixed-race babies being beautiful, and he must have been so cute, and etc etc etc (his mom is Thai, his dad is (black) American). Rather than telling her off, he totally made dozens of posters with pictures of babies on them with giant letters saying Mixed Babies Are Beautiful and hung them all over her dorm. It was pretty amazing.

RK Fire

@Ophelia: Hahahaha. Honestly, I get this a lot regarding future progeny because I'm ethnically Vietnamese and my husband is black. Everyone means well, which makes it hard to really take offense but it's a little disconcerting. (I've just decided to make jokes about how disappointed everyone will be if they're ugly.)

There's this racialicious post that I've been spending all afternoon trying to find where the writer was talking about this very phenomenon and how oftentimes the future progeny are described with food related terms, e.g. caramel-skinned, and she mentions in there "DON'T EAT MY BABIES!"

Since then my husband and I will periodically say this to each other. It doesn't help that he's been known to shout "EAT BABIES" with regards to watching/playing rugby.

EDITED: here we go: http://www.racialicious.com/2010/03/02/mixed-kids-are-not-prettier-blowing-up-hybrid-vigour/

RK Fire

@RK Fire: blergh. It was a commenter. And now I've killed/overexplained an inside joke.


@RK Fire OK, you seriously just made me choke on a fig newton. DON'T EAT MY BABIES is AWESOME.

ample pie

@JessicaLovejoy: If it isn't Mixed Babies Are Beautiful, then it's One Day Everyone In America Will Be The Same Color. About which: it's cool that you're hoping for that, but if my partner and I have kids, it's just because we want 'em, not to create a postracial utopia.


@JessicaLovejoy I WISH I spent enough time outside so that I could legitimately declare myself the very punny cafe au lait. Cause, see, half South American, half Midwestern 'murikun, coffee and milk, yeah?!

Yeah, hilarious. I'm lucky if I get up to dulce de leche, feh.

Cat named Virtute

@RK Fire Thank you for posting! This will be very useful to send to my mother, sadly.


@RK Fire - I read that Racialicious article too but I still have trouble understanding why this could be seen as offensive? I mean I get why a generalized "mixed babies r the cutest" is shady, because it doesn't allow for individuality or anything, but... I guess I'm just being simple and thinking how nice it would be to be told you were attractive all the time, or (in your case) that you would make attractive children? I guess anything gets tired after you hear it for the millionth time.

I mean I understand THAT it is offensive (and totally willing to not cause this particular offense in future), I'm just not really picking up on the WHY?

RK Fire

@iceberg: No, that's understandable. I have a hard time articulating it myself. I try to use the word disconcerting/unsettling because of that; I don't think anyone is actively or unthinkingly trying to be malicious, which I think is a key part of offensivenesss.

To me, it mostly boils down to a weird undertone of eugenics--it's like hey-o, deliberate mixing of races in the sense of creating the most attractive humans, and not because, you know, two individuals love each other and maybe want to have kids. Also, a lot of this sometimes comes up to couples where one person is white and the other person is not, and then there's is this maybe implied undertone of "people of color are cute, but they would be *cuter* if they were more white looking," which honestly gets hinted at a lot by mainstream, white-dominated media and people of color, e.g. eyelid surgeries and skin bleaching creams.

As for my particular instance, I tend to have a lot of skepticism (an irrational amount, somoe have argued) about my own attractiveness so I never know if a) someone is bullshitting me (which is my kneejerk reaction to any compliment, and I am trying to work on that) or if b) someone is saying that because they see me as some sort of representative of a Brighter Postracial Future. Also, I'm familiar with some of the issues that black women deal with re. attractiveness and I'd really hate to think that some people are saying these things because of this idea that our kids would have "better" hair or lighter/prettier skin (than other black people) or more exotic features. I mean I can hope that isn't part of what is driving it, but I feel like I would be naive to think that isn't what is driving it for some people.

Re. the last bit though, and this may be TMI, but ironically enough sometimes I worry that future kids will get the opposite response from people like my mom, e.g. "oh noes, you would've been so pretty if your skin wasn't darker, your nose was higher and your hair was straight." D: Oh Asian beauty standards.

Please let me know if this helps, it is a super tricky subject.


Edit: Whoops, while I was writing this RK Fire covered a lot of what I said!

@iceberg I might be off base here, but I think a lot of times the motivation behind "mixed babies are the cutest" is this unspoken (or uh, sometimes spoken) racism regarding "objective attractiveness" and the racial implications of that.

Let me see if I can explain what I mean without failing.

Basically, you've got the racist western beauty standard: silky smooth (preferably blond) hair, the daintiest of features, blue eyes, etc. These are not traits that are as common in African American folks as they are in white folks (or some of those features, e.g. smooth hair, in non-black people of color).

On top of that, biracial folks with African American heritage are often read as "black" to the casual observer.

So you've got these "black" babies/kids (regardless of how they self-identify) who may have really straight hair, or light hazel eyes, or other features that fall into that racist beauty ideal.

So then you've got these people saying, "oh you're so beautiful," which doesn't seem mean, but it's more like saying, "oh you're so beautiful because you look more East Asian/Southeast Asian/White/etc. than black." Possibly some of the "they have beautiful darker skin, but god forbid not TOO dark" bullshit plays into it as well, since skin tone range has completely different implications in different cultures/ethnicities.

My little brother had a friend who once told a girl in his class (who may or may not have been biracial, but was light-skinned and had straight hair) that she was "so pretty for a black girl." He thought it was a compliment. He was too dumb to realize just how offensive it was to give her beauty a racial qualifier like that.

This is just me assuming, but I get the feeling that a lot of people who say "mixed babies are so beautiful" are ignorant enough to not realize that they're being transparent with this thought process, but not so ignorant as to actually finish their (maybe even subconscious) thought of "for a black girl/boy."

I know this is only applying to biracial kids with at least one black parent, but you can see how there might be parallels for white/East Asian biracial kids: "oh, you're so beautiful because you look kind of Asian but your eyes are nice and round." You get the picture.

Basically, being called beautiful in a vacuum/non-racist society wouldn't be offensive, but in a lot of cases, the very idea of what is beautiful in our society is fucked up and racist.


@mustelid Oh also, the whole logic fail in this for the people I'm assuming are making these assumptions (that is, "all mixed kids are beautiful") is that uh, there are plenty of people of all races who don't possess the features Western society has deemed beautiful. So, yeah.


@RK Fire @mustelid Let's start telling all same-race couples that it's a shame their babies will be so ugly.


@RK Fire @mustelid - Oh that makes a lot of sense, thank you so much for replying!!!

I have known a lot of people with parents of different races, and fwiw, when I used to make this sort of comment it definitely did not have that qualifier - for me it's more like someone with a blended racial appearance might look more interesting, as opposed to someone that's just boring old whitey mcwhiterson like me. Of course this doesn't mean that people of single-race backgrounds cannot be as or more attractive than someone of a mixed background. I just think that it's interesting to see how different phenotypes combine. But, duh, all babies are cute, just for different reasons! So I guess that is a dumb thing to say when you think about it.


@oeditrix THUUMBS UP


@iceberg Also, to jump into this, one thing about it is that's it's a way of fetishing and othering those kids, in the way that black women with light skin and long hair are called "exotic" by white men who want to bone them. But everything that mustelid and RKFire said is spot on -- a big unspoken thing about this when it comes to black kids at least, is that black babies can only be cute if they have something else in them to lighten their skin/straighten their hair, so the mixed babies are clearly better than the just plain black babies.


@thebestjasmine Ohh, that is gross. And just untrue. ETA: I mean this part: "that black babies can only be cute if they have something else in them to lighten their skin/straighten their hair"

Emma Peel

@JessicaLovejoy Nobody's probably reading this thread anymore, but beyond the problematic racial/power dynamic/deep sociological stuff as already well-articulated, it's just rude. Same as it's rude to tell two pretty white/black/Asian people that their same-race babies will be pretty. I'm white, my boyfriend's South Asian (and we're both normal levels of attractiveness), and I went through about a month when I got this all.the.time -- not long after we started dating, when we were juniors or seniors in college. "Aw, your babies will be so beautiful!" Beyond the problematic racial implications, I found it weird and offensive because wtf, we were 21, we'd been dating 6 months, WHY ARE YOU COMMENTING ON OUR FUTURE CHILDREN.


haha, TRUTH - never make excuses. If they are comfortable saying something racist the first time you meet them, THEY ARE RACISTS. It does not get better. I mean, seriously, if you can't even hide it for a couple hours, you are a upper-level racist.


@Marzipan It just sucks that women of color are so used to hearing comments like this in public that they have to stop and actually consider whether or not the guy is racist ENOUGH to warrant running the other way.

Niko Bellic

- "Free drinks!"

Oh, well.


Was he employing those "negging" tactics I have heard about? (it's been years since I was out there in the field as it were.) It just seems so calculated. What does he expect a lady to say? "oh gosh good sir. Since you have tried to make me feel uncomfortable I will give you another chance to woo me. For the culture wants me as a lady to be polite to everyone know matter what. Your coarse attempts at trying to get laid, masked under the guise of approaching the complicated subject of race totally makes me hot. No really.."


@gfrancie: No. His game was exhausted by like, minute number 3. What this guy has reverted into is grade A Asshole. Like, just a shitty person.

He's become petulant and can no longer think ahead to anything. So like someone throwing a tantrum, he's just rubbing his own excrement on the walls with his outbursts. He's the kind of person that revels in being ignorant and hates having any kind of foresight.

He genuinely needs a sharp, open handed, across the face slap.


@gfrancie He wasn't negging. This is typical drunk, "nice guy" bullshit with a bizarre, racial twist. If he was trying to neg her,he would have said something like "Hey, can a white guy buy you a drink? I know you're probably not used to having any guys buying you drinks! Ha ha!"


@Too Much Internet Hrm. Christ what an asshole. I recall a guy doing something a bit like that and I tried to be polite (because yo my mama raised me to be civilized) and then I had to say, "You are giving me the creeps. I am going away now" and being a typical asshole he employed the ol' "God what a insert female-related insult" line

oiseau de nuit

so relieved. i always thought smdh meant "suck my dick ho"


OMG! Just wanted to commiserate about dating/being-outside-the-house as a lady of color. The ridiculosity that one encounters!


@kimkrypto I can't imagine having to put up with that bullshit. Being female in public is bad enough.

Vera Knoop

@oeditrix For real. Next time one of my students asks me what "intersectionality" means, I'm pointing them to this post.


"This night taught me a vital, real-world lesson: Do not accept a drink/give out my phone number/act at all interested unless I actually want to get to know the person in question."

Oh, good, more things to add to this list I'm making!:

Do not wear a tight skirt unless I want a guy's hand on my ass.
Do not wear a tight shirt if I want a guy to look at my face.
Do not smile or make eye contact with a guy unless I want to go home with him.
Do not smile or make eye contact with someone next to or behind a guy such that he might mistakenly think he is being smiled at, unless I want to go home with him.
Do not talk to one guy and then go home with another guy unless I want to be called a slut.
Do not dance with a guy once if I don't want to dance with him all night.
Do not walk out to the car by myself, unless I want to be blamed for the consequences.
Do not accept a guy's offer to "safe-walk" me to my car unless I want to make out with him.
Do not make out with a guy unless I want to have sex with him.
Do not be too skinny, curvy, busty, tall, short, red-headed, blond, brunette, pale, dark-skinned, dressed-up, or dressed-down in public, unless I want to have it pointed out to me how fuckable or non-fuckable I am by anyone with a penis who feels like it.
Do not tell anyone with a penis that I do not care how fuckable or non-fuckable he finds me, unless I want to be called a bitch, cunt, dyke, dyke bitch, cunt dyke, or, for a change of pace, dyke whore.

These simple rules make being female in a bar safe and fun for everyone!


This reminds me of something that happened to my sister, who, after a huge breakup in her mid-20s, went on a sort of dating spree and ended up with two dates in one night. The first was a guy who didn't work with her, but whom she met through her job (he was the phone or internet service guy or something, and she was her company's receptionist). He asked her out and, I guess he seemed OK because she accepted and invited him to the happy hour that her coworkers like to go to on Fridays. So, he shows up at her office that Friday, stands at her desk, looks around, and nods toward a group of cubicles not too far away. He then says, in a completely normal tone of voice, I am told, "I hope they're not coming with us." Upon asking why he'd say that, my sister learns that he "[doesn't] like black people" -- also said in the same normal tone of voice! Then (yes, there is more), he zooms in on another couple of ladies grabbing their purses and coats and says, "Them too; I don't like fat girls." My poor stunned sister, who was really new to casual dating at that point, didn't know what to do (I'm certain that, now, she'd handle it admirably) and WENT TO HAPPY HOUR WITH HIM ANYWAY (though she did cut out early to meet up with Bachelor #2)! She called me the next day and I am ashamed to admit I laughed and laughed. Because... what???

Her second date of the night was with a guy who accidentally spilled water and then baby-tallked for the rest of the night about how sorry he was for being so bad. And typing that part, years later, I have begun laughing all over again.

Needless to say, neither of these people has become my brother-in-law. And I am sorry for being a terrible sister.

Zahra B.

@Hellcat I don't blame you for laughing. Dating, or even just interacting with other people in general, is usually hilariously misguided.

I'm so glad neither of them are your brother-in-law! Yeeesh.


@Zahra B. My poor sister; she was just, I think, trying to seize the day and give people a chance and try new things -- all that stuff one says she'll do after a breakup. And then, that.

Part of me is less stunned by the racist attitude displayed by Guy 1 than by the fact that he so casually -- and on a first date, no less, when people typically want to show their best selves -- assumed that what he was saying (out loud!) was a completely normal and shared opinion.


When the time comes to check lists of funeral songs to play at a funeral or wake, you need to keep a few things in mind. You should opt for funeral songs that help to reflect on the deceased and which both grieve over their demise as well as help to celebrate the life of the deceased. When choosing music, be sure to pick something that offers comfort and which evoke nice memories of the deceased. The best funeral songs are those which reflect the personality of the deceased. You can also go with funeral songs that were much loved by the deceased during their lifetime.
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