RA: How did you meet your husband? Was it 'love at first sight'?
VALERIE: We met in Dong Du Chong, Korea, which is about 25 miles from the DMZ. I had actually decided I wasn't going talk to any men for at least a year the day that I met him. I had just broken up with my fiancé who was still back in the states the day before. I was on my way to lunch with two girlfriends (who were white) when I saw this soldier leering at me from across the street...I have to explain that where I was in Korea averaged one American woman for every 15 American men, and unfortunately, a lot of them treated us like pieces of meat. So I stared back at him and rolled my eyes, then the guy with him said "Hey if you're going to roll your eyes at me, you should at least have lunch with me. I looked at him and what I could see was FINE!! He was 6'4 and weighed about 240...all muscle!! The only thing I couldn't see was his eyes because he had on wrap around Ray Bans. Then he asked me to come across the street and talk to him, but I told him "No you cross..so eventually we decided to meet in the middle of the street. I was trying really hard to see his eyes, but I'm only 5'2"...so when he asked me again to go to lunch, I said yes so that I would have a chance to see if eyes were as beautiful as the rest of him!
Was it love at first sight? No it wasn't....I wouldn't let myself fall for anyone that quickly. I just regarded him as my Korea boyfriend...someone that I wouldn't see again after I left Korea, but he pursued me once we got back to the States and we were married 1 year and 1 month later!
RA: Wow! That's fast! Though I guess I can't say much because I have a similar story…anyway, I guess I can assume the answer to this question, but I have to ask: Were his eyes as beautiful as the rest of him?
VALERIE: Yes....they're still pretty...LOL!!!!
RA: It's good to hear you still talking about how attractive your husband is after 27 years. Would you have said he was 'your type' before you met him? And did shade of skin factor into that, either way?
VALERIE: Well he was my type in that he as an Alpha male and has brown eyes, but in physical appearance he was definitely not my type. I had dated much shorter and more slender guys. When I met my husband he was into bodybuilding and weighed about 240 pounds..he's also 6'4" tall. So to me he looked like a giant! I'm only 5'2" and that time only weighed 100 lbs.
The color of his skin is pretty but I don't think it mattered that much. He on the other hand, has always been fascinated with my skin color.
RA: When I consider that 27 years ago, the U.S. was a lot less accepting of interracial relationships than it tends to be now, I have to wonder, what did people think about the two of you getting married?
VALERIE: OMG the stories I could tell you! It was pretty rough to be in an interracial relationship, especially on the DMZ in Korea. Black guys really gave me a hard time and a couple of them even tried to assault my husband. My first supervisor, who was black, saw us together, and then after that I started to get counseling statements for every little thing....I even got one for sighing!!!
Luckily the new sergeant came to the unit...a white man with a black wife!!! Things quieted down a lot after that. The Koreans though, thought we were very cute together!
I did have one girlfriend who stopped speaking to me when I started dating my husband. :-(
When we came back to the States, I got stationed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. We got LOTS of stares here and some flak when we went to get our marriage license. I didn't know that the old law was still on the books that made interracial marriage illegal, but we wore them down and they let us get the license. It took about 10 years after we got married for them to repeal the law.
RA: Yeesh! For so many reasons, yeesh! I'm so sorry the two of you had to go through all of that, but thank you for doing it. You might have been doing it for your own benefit, but you and people like you paved the way for present day interracial relationships. Now it's so much more accepted than it was, and it's only because people have begun to get used to it over time. I know I'm glad my son will grow up in a country where the fact that he doesn't 'match' me is less of an eye-catcher than it used to be.
In parting, do you have any words of encouragement to our readers?
VALERIE: R.A., Thanks for much for letting me tell my story. I encourage anyone in an interracial relationship to not let the prejudices of others get in the way of their happiness!
Thank you, Valerie!
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