Part 2: Cultural Competency in the bar scene as a Succulent Babe
Just because you guessed my ethnicity does not mean you get to make out with me.
Now, I would like to start this story off by saying that I am a Canadian born Sri Lankan person. I fully understand why people see me and wonder where I’m from. They've usually already guessed South Indian or Fijian because in Calgary especially there’s a small percentage of Lankans around.
So, I believe that there is a polite way to ask people where they’re from. However, some of the things I’ve experienced are the following:
1. Wow you’re so dark are you African? Nothing tells you more about someone’s education level than them asking if you’re from an entire continent. Not to mention the preface of noting my skin colour.
2. Oh Sri Lanka! Isn’t that part of India? Shockingly I’m not trying to play games when I’m telling you I’m from the independent country of Sri Lanka... which was never part of India.
3. Oh weird so like is your dad going to kill you for talking to a [insert ethnic background]?
Anyways, on the other side of this I've also had positive experiences of telling people I’m Sri Lankan. Such as asking me to place it on a map or telling me a fond memory of their Sri Lankan friend (who I often end up knowing).
This below story is of a guy who knew I was Sri Lankan and truly was one of the weirdest experiences of my life at the bar:
Alaine and I are two extremes most of the time. Either we are eating pho in bed or going to the bar and tearing up the dance floor. When we go out, Alaine channels her inner Karrueche and looks fine AF and I channel my inner daily Alaine to also look fine. One thing we both, albiet somewhat guiltily do, is count the number of times people ask us about our ethnicity. It’s just strange that it’s the most commonly asked question when we are both accomplished girls, but I guess people are just basing their actions on looks.
One night at National Patio, I had one interaction where I had a male come up to me. This was the following conversation. We'll call him Mike for the purposes of this blog and no word of a lie I’m probably downplaying what happened:
Mike: *Taps me on the shoulder* “ Hey! Uhh I’ve been wanting to talk to you all night”
Sam *okay doesn’t look like a serial killer – also flattered*: “Oh wow, that’s nice! Hi, I’m Sam.”
Sam extends hand out for handshake.
Mike *shakes hand*: “Yeah I saw you across the room and thought I have to talk to her- “
Sam: “Oh wow that’s really nice of yo-“
Mike: “I really like dark girls.”
….. *shocked face*
Mike: “Oh sorry is that rude?”
Sam: “well, uhh”
Mike: “I mean no I’m like educated- I’ve watched all the Netflix documentaries”
Sam: “uhm so that makes you educated? What does that have to do with me being dark?”
Mike: “Oh see you must be Sri Lankan!”
Sam: “Uh yeah, well yeah you’re right”
Mike: *smiles*: “Yeah! See!*
*THEN PROCEEDS TO GRAB MY SHOULDERS AND TRY TO PLANT ONE ON ME*
Sam: *INSTANTLY SHUDDERS AND TRIES TO PUSH MIKE AWAY*:
“WHOAAAA!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?”
Mike: “Oh weird, too soon?”
(Alaine here, I would just like to say that this was one of the most stressful nights of my life... at National's Patio. And the exclamation marks in that conversation are no joke.)
At this point I’m trying to get out of his strong hold on my shoulders. I start looking around to see if anyone else sees this interaction, and I see a man who is laughing at us.
Mike noticed that I looked at him.
Mike: “I hate that guy”
Sam: “What? Why?”
Mike: “Because I bet you wish you were talking to him because he’s black.”
If I wasn’t over talking to Mike before, I was REALLY over talking to him now. My conversation with Mike extended a little longer which I won’t get into but was just as bad. I was a little concerned about aggressively pushing him away, because I didn’t want to cause a scene nor did I want him to do anything else. When he finally loosened his grip, I was able to shake him off. I found Alaine and quickly told him that her and I had to go to the bathroom.
Truly, the worst part was that this man kept a strong grip on my shoulders and when I tried to shake them off he wouldn’t have it. So, I had to politely wait for him to chill out.
The lesson: Don’t get me wrong it’s fine that you have a type you’re into. But, can we be a little more polite? I don’t see any men going up to women saying “I really like pale girls.”
Sam (Owner of XX Balm)