When a person tells you to keep an open mind, brace yourself.
Ngozi repeated this over and over again in her mind so that she will never fall into such a trap again. America is a very funny country indeed. Moving from Nigeria for school, Ngozi had promised herself that she would learn to adapt to American ways and become more enlightened and conscious. And so she embraced most things that American culture had to offer with open arms. “ Keep an open mind”. It was a phrase that she had heard several times before. She really didn’t know exactly what it meant and she didn’t think anyone else fully did but as her caucasian friend, Alice, would tell her , “it’s a thing”, whatever that meant. All she knew was that being open minded was synonymous with being good and liberal, or so she thought.
So on this fateful day when she met up with the guy from the dating site who had described himself as an open minded individual, she had high hopes. David is what Marie, her african american roommate, would call a tall drink of water. Again, Ngozi wasn’t exactly sure what this meant but it sounded like something positive so she went with it. David was 6’5 and at 27, had a great job, a masters degree from an Ivy league school and had been to several countries around the world, he was cultured. He seemed to check off every single point on her checklist except that at 5’2 herself, a guy that was 6’5 just didn’t fit the picture. She decided not to write him off based on their height difference because he had all these great qualities. “ Who height epp for this life” she thought to herself. And so when David walked into the bar and towered over her, she tried not to be intimidated. They introduced themselves and their date was underway.
Ngozi was surprised at how much they had in common even though they were from such different backgrounds. He was even more good looking than his pictures, very confident, intelligent and well spoken and he knew it. The date was going very well, so much so that not even half way in, they had made plans to see each other again the next week. Ngozi was already giving herself a pat on the back, she had caught a good fish. When David asked her if she thought herself to be an open minded individual, she nodded enthusiastically. After all, she often tried her best not to judge people, she was happy when President Obama gave the gay community the right to marry and she was an overall good person, so hell yeah she was open minded!. She began to rattle off about how closed minded people were back home and how they used Christianity as a justification for their hatred towards the gay community. David listened, agreed and seemed convinced that she was indeed open indeed, Ngozi thought.
“So what is your guilty pleasure” David asked.
Ngozi had heard that phrase before and had a vague understanding of what it meant but she’d never really used it before or applied it herself. “ I’m not sure honestly, I haven’t really thought of that before” she said. “Are you a sweet tooth? Do you like ice cream?” he asked. “Eh not really”
“Do you like to bite your nails and eat them” he joked. “Ewwwwwww!” she screamed and they both laughed. “Okay how about you tell me yours and then I’ll have an idea as to what mine could be” said Ngozi.
“ Okay, well, I’m really into BDSM and I like to watch porn during sex”
It was as if the world stopped for a second. Ngozi wasn’t sure she had just heard those words come out of those beautifully shaped lips on David’s face. She could not even hide the shock on her face. If she had some of her drink in her mouth at that exact moment she probably would have spat it out. Seeing the shock and confusion on her face, David got defensive. “Why are you looking at me like I’m some disgusting thing” he asked her. Ngozi tried to compose herself and play it cool. “ I’m not even going to address whatever sexual fantasies that you have, but what shocked me was the fact that you thought it appropriate to say this to someone you don’t know from Adam on the first date. “ Oh please, stop acting so scandalized. You were the one who kept going on and on about how open minded you are and yet here you are acting like the Queen of England. “ he retorted. Seeing the confusion on Ngozi’s face, he pressed on “Oh, you don’t know the meaning of open minded do you? What did you think I meant by putting in my dating profile that i was looking for open minded women?”. Ngozi was too dazed to react, she got her jacket and almost sprinted out of the bar. The only person she could be mad at was herself. This is what she got for pretending to understand things and their contexts in a foreign culture. She was extremely embarrassed and quite frankly shocked at how nice kind David had turned into a ferocious lion because of her reaction to his ‘guilty pleasure’.
When she got home, Marie was on the couch with her boyfriend and 2 of their friends. She narrated her ordeal to them and they had a good laugh for at least 20 minutes. She couldn’t even tell if they were laughing at her or laughing at her situation. “ Damn girl! Them people that be going around advertising how open minded they are be into the craziest shit ever! They just say that to make it sound politically correct” Marie ‘s boyfriend said. Although embarrassed, Ngozi was happy for the lesson on open mindedness she received that night.
“Na wa oh, so this is how I just wasted make-up plus perfume on top open mind in America? Never again”. Although shaken up and annoyed, Ngozi lived to date another day.