Dear Melvin, Will race and religion tear us apart?
I really enjoy reading your column. You're really funny and seem to have a good head on your shoulders. Upon the suggestion of a female colleague who knows I am in a bind, I am reaching out...
I am a 34-year old man who works in banking. I've been dating my girlfriend for approximately 4 years. We first met while at Oberlin College. When we moved to New York City, we hung out as platonically, brewing beer, attending comic book conventions, and running in Central Park. Lo and behold, we discovered we have a lot in common. Before long, one thing led to another and we were in a romantic relationship. She is my best friend. I would like to propose marriage to her in the next year. Sounds great, right?
Our families are very opposed to our relationship. You see, I am white and she is black. On top of this, I am Jewish and she is Christian. Our families believe that too much will be against us--including society-at-large--for this union to prosper. They have said that should we go ahead with marriage, they will not attend. I love my girlfriend and want to be with her for the rest of my life. But, I don't want to lose my family in the process.
Mad in Murray Hill
Dear Mad in Murray Hill,
How does someone from such a conservative (i.e., racist) family end up going to Oberlin College? Your family should be happy you did not graduate with a pagan boyfriend, never mind a black Christian girlfriend. I'm sorry to tell you this, but you may lose your family if you marry your girlfriend. What this boils down to is, how much do you love your best friend?
See, because if she is your real best friend then life without her would seem unimaginable. Like an anorexic Chris Christie. Or a sexy Rush Limbaugh. Your families may or may not come around. But your wife and future children would be your new family. And, they would be worth it if you truly love your best friend. I'm not saying your life will be easy. I'm saying real love is hard to find. Most people are settling for "I like her" or "Well, she doesn't suck."
If, however, you view your best friend as some widget that can be traded in for the right color (and religion)...If you think that you can find another straight woman that likes brewing beer and attending comic book conventions (I'm trying to figure out how you found ONE)...If a potential life-long battle confronting racism and religious intolerance is too much for you (although your girlfriend has most likely been doing it her whole life)...then by all means...do yourself and your girlfriend a favor and go look for the white Jewish girl whom may or may not share your interests, so that you can maintain peace with your family. Your best friend deserves someone who is committed to the battle ahead. Man up or let her go.