This is a post for all the brown girls out there that have been out with friends, had a couple of drinks, dressed all cute, and are really feeling themselves. A few hours in, you're dancing the night away and just having a great time when you see a non-brown cute guy/ girl on the dance floor, make eye contact, give them a smize, and you know, for lack of better terms, shake what your mama gave you. You think everything's going super well; he/she is just so cute, right!?!? After having a very intense should I, shouldn't I argument with yourself, you finally decide, okay, I'll give him/her a shot. You work up the courage to turn around and give him/her your number, and just when you're about to reach for his/her phone out, he/she opens his/her mouth and says, "Oh my god, you're beautiful, you're just so... exotic," ( insert cartoon scratchy tv stop sound here) and just like that with your best hair flip you turn around and wave goodbye.
Honestly? Exotic? There are thousands of other relevant/ accurate compliments you could give a brown person. Here in the real world, we make up the majority of the population! We are not zoo animals, but YOU deserve to be put up on display for the sheer idiocy of that comment. Although that seems harsh, being exotic implies that we are some sort of unknown unexplored species, but I highly doubt that in a large city, you have never seen someone from the ISC. We are very much an important part of society, and by calling us exotic, it diminishes the impact and influence we have worked so hard to create. Now yes, I understand that it is not the intention, and truly it's not something I'm going to cry myself to sleep over. In fact, I find it hilarious, and it really has been the topic of many a conversation, which allowed me to bond with some incredible "exotic" women. Yet, just because, as brown women, we have found a way to laugh about it doesn't mean that it isn't offensive. However, what's even funnier is you would think this type of non-compliment would only occur in Western countries, but that is certainly not the case.
A few weeks ago, I finally landed in India after a brutally long flight, and my boyfriend and I were walking through the thermal scanner to get our temperature checked. I unfortunately naturally run very hot, so obviously, they stopped me. Not that I'm complaining; they were just doing their jobs, and I'm glad they are trying to prevent the spread of COVID19, but not speaking the language proved to be a problem when trying to explain myself. Thank God that my boyfriend speaks Marathi as he managed to convince the guy to let me wash my face and cool off before being scanned again. After about 20 minutes, it looked like my temperature had decreased, and they were finally going to let us through, but as we handed over our documents, the guy checking them stops my boyfriend, smirks and in Marathi asks him if I'm his 'foreign girlfriend' to which he replied with a very confused "yes?" The guy then smiles a full toothy grin tells him, "Very good," WINKS at him and let us go. You would think it ended there, but no, as we walk away, the guy yells goodbye to us from the end of the corridor and proceeds to give us the biggest thumbs up I have ever seen as if me being foreign was the largest compliment. While yes again, a hilarious experience, and hell yeah, if being considered foreign gets me through the airport faster, I'll certainly take advantage, but come on. I'm literally from this country; I'm as brown as you are, Mr security guard, sir. Still, while in the US, my skin color made me 'exotic' in South Asia, my accent made me 'foreign.' Let's be clear neither are compliments; neither make sense. As a society, we truly need to find other words to compliment people that aren't from the same race or have a different accent as calling us these things does segregate us and makes it seem like we don't belong.
So I've compiled a list of compliments I think are FAR better than EXOTIC or FOREIGN, and to my fellow brown girls, next time you are hit with one of those words, feel free to share this post to make sure the next brown girl gets a compliment she is worthy of.
You have the prettiest laugh.
I can’t believe I found someone like you.
I love your style.
I love talking to you.
You’ve Got Such Nice Eyes/Lips/Teeth/Hair.
It's so easy to talk to you
You’ve got a sexy personality.
You have all my respect.
I feel lucky to be with you.
And my personal favorite…
10. If we were in the Middle Ages, I’d fight a dragon for you.