If you’ve seen my last post, you know that I was recently married. If you look closer, you can also tell that I’m in an interracial relationship. Shocker! haha
Any ways, my now hubby and I have been on a few trips now – to France, Southern UK, Sicily, Spain, and Morocco just to name a few. We have fun, memorable experiences from each location as well as some unsavory ones. In Morocco, a man swindled us by walking us to our Airbnb (although I protested to my hubby about it but he was too naive), and in France, I almost had a meltdown climbing a mountain that I swore was going to throw me to my death. One negative experience I didn’t expect however was in NYC, my hometown of sorts.
Speed walking along the east side of midtown Manhattan, my hubby and I were on our way to grand central station to catch a train (as the MTA has no care about smooth service). We decided to walk rather than ride a train downtown to come back up and switch over to another roundabout way of getting home.
As we’re walking, talking about random things and laughing at stupid jokes, my eyes fall upon what looks like a homeless older man standing under some scaffolding in front of us. He’s an older black man wearing a gray tee and some jeans that look a bit dirty and he’s fidgeting. Why did he catch my eye? Not because of his fidgeting but because he’s sticking his middle finger up. In my head I can’t help but think that he’s flipping me off but I think perhaps I’m mistaken and he’s silently attacking the woman walking ahead of us.
We get closer and it soon becomes apparent he’s flipping me off. And as we get in closer range, he starts yelling at me “lemme show you my d*ck. I bet my black d*ck is bigger than his. It’s two times the size of two white men.” I quote this but know it’s not verbatim, it’s just how I remember it. He then starts to shout something else about our kids (of which I have none but I guess it’s something he’s predicting) and follows it off by calling me a b*tch.
It’s at this moment that my hubby loses his cool and wants to confront this man to which I say no, he’s crazy and it really isn’t worth it. Growing up in the Bronx (and NYC), you know that the homeless are likely mentally unstable (a sad generalization but I feel it to be true). There’s absolutely no point in engaging with people like that because you have no idea what they might do next. If they are willing to verbally attack you from a block away, you shouldn’t get in a yelling match with them IMO.
We keep walking and we eventually get to the train but I was shocked. I was shocked that I was being targeted for being with my husband and that a man was so bothered by it that he harassed me. Granted, he was a mentally unstable homeless man (my diagnosis) but I couldn’t believe that was something I would encounter minding my own business on the streets of NYC.
I began to think that maybe I was being PDA-y (but I’m pretty anti PDA), analyzing what I was doing before that moment the man called me a b*tch but then I stopped. I was doing anything wrong and this man was a complete nut. We were just caught off guard, not thinking someone would bother us because of our differing appearance in a city as diverse and “liberal” as New York. But what truly surprised me was that this wasn’t the first instance of being called out because of my relationship in NYC.
The first time it happened, it was a few days before my wedding. My husband (fiance at the time) and I were in Union Square walking around the city and enjoying New York. If you haven’t been here from time to time, in high traffic areas, you’ll find weird religious groups preaching with microphones in their hands about what god likes and dislikes or some radical idea (this is my opinion). We came across a group just like this who were shouting about how god didn’t like gays and as we walked by, they didn’t targeted how god didn’t like interracial relationships. Say what!
That time we didn’t really let it phase us since he wasn’t going bananas like the homeless man but again, this man saying this because he saw us was an older black male. It was bizarre to say the least. Of all my trips and all our travels, I haven’t noticed or felt super targeted until this most recent trip to NYC. We’ve been in NYC before and have gone “under the radar” but this trip, we seemed to catch attention. Perhaps it was because of our wedding and the good vibes were bringing in some negative, dusty ones. It’s hard to say.
These NYC experiences won’t ruin NY for me (NY was already ruined, jk) or traveling as a whole. Part of traveling is to learn new things, meet new people and get new experiences that shape you. I don’t feel our relationship is a sin or wrong so we are all good there, but it is good to have these crazy things happen to make me a better person. I didn’t teach anyone tolerance in those situations (is that my job?) but I did figure out a way to handle myself and handle any possible next situation with a better head.