“Hey ma, this is my boyfriend.”- An African Girl who isn’t allowed to date

I didn’t think I was going to write this post, but here I am typing away. I will not lie to you all and say that I have never dated anyone. Or, that I have never been in a relationship. Please, as we discuss my dating life, let’s not judge? I’m saying this as if it’s bad. It’s really not that bad. As an African Muslim woman, I am not allowed to date. Religiously, yes, I am not allowed. However, my parents, who are strict traditional African parents, do not want me to date. So, this is between you and I. ABEG OF YOU, when you see my parents, please don’t tell them. I, Diaka Thiam, will tell them myself.

I have always been interested in African American men. Wait, let’s back up real quick. Before being interested in African American men, I was interested in white men. But, I grew out of that phase once I started college. Now, my gaze is constantly on African American men. With that being said, my past relationship with my ex has inspired me to write this post. He is African American, and I was his first African girlfriend. While dating, I introduced him to so many things like thiebou djeune (or jollof rice), fattah (I call it senegalese empanadas), Afrobeat music, some Arabic and wolof words, etc. He introduced me to things as well, especially American phrases I didn’t understand. Phrases like ” Yo you cappin.” We learned a lot from each other.

You might be thinking, okay what is it like dating an African girl? It’s a little difficult if the girl has strict parents. Dating my ex was hard for both of us. I remember the first time he came to my house for my little brother’s graduation party. I introduced him to my dad first. We went inside of the living room, and my ex-boyfriend was behind me. My dad was laughing with my uncles about something. I stopped, looked at my dad, and said, “Papa, this is my friend.” My dad’s face dropped as his eyes moved to my ex-boyfriend. He had this mean mugging expression and my ex was shook. Down below you’ll see how it went down.

My strict African Father (not my real dad)
My ex-boyfriend

I think my dad was surprised that I had a guy friend. When I was younger, I used to play with my younger brother’s friends. There was a time I was outside with my brother and a friend of ours. My dad was sitting down outside of my mother’s hair salon, selling G-shocks. He saw me chasing this male friend of ours and then called me. I was about 13 years old when this happened. I will never forget what my dad told me. I approached the table with the G-shocks, and listened as he began to talk. “Ma, do not befriend boys. Do not play with boys, only your brother can do that.” At the time, I did not understand why he was telling me that, but as I got older, I understood. And recently, my mother told me to stop befriending males. Dating an African girl means that you will be introduced as a “friend” to the parents. Not, “Hey ma, this is my boyfriend.” But, it always depends on the girl and how strict her parents are. As you’ve read, even introducing him as my friend was a problem for my parents.

I am now mentally preparing myself to introduce my future husband to my parents. No, I am not getting married right now. However, the sooner I prepare, the better. I’m preparing for if I bring home another African American man and officially introduce him as my boyfriend, instead of my friend. And, I will not lie, I am scared. Both of my parents have told me to not have guy friends, yet I have the coolest guy friends at the moment. I think it’s my parents being overprotective, but I’m 22. I’ve realized that the older I get, the more overprotective they become. It’s not fair to me, but that’s a discussion for another blog post.

Dating when you’re not supposed to can be difficult, which is why I am officially done with that… for now. As I am getting older, I am starting to become cognizant of what I want for myself. For the time being, the focus is on me. And to my ex, if you are reading this, now you know why my dad gave you that dirty look. I am really sorry.


Writer: Diaka Thiam

Hope you enjoyed this post! Thank you for reading! (:


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