When it came to dating, my parents had two rules. The first involved age — no going on dates until I turned 16. The second was about sex — no boys allowed in my bedroom.
Those two rules were easy to abide by. The only boys that ever saw where I slept were glossy ones I duct-taped to my bedroom walls from magazine cutouts. Dating prospects didn’t come around until college. So did a third (and final) parental limitation on dating.
It was freshman move-in day at my large urban university in North Philadelphia. My family had just finished lugging plastic bins of backup paper towels, picture frames with faces I would replace and an extra fluffy mattress pad. I was saying goodbye to my mom and dad as I watched them raise their eyebrows at the mob of diverse freshman unloading their college supplies.
“Don’t come home with a black boyfriend,” my dad said in a raspy whisper as he pointed one finger unintentionally at my heart and gestured towards my co-ed dorm. Keep reading »