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Interracial Marriage: Meeting the Parents for the First Time
Swirling, dives into the deep end of interracial relationships. Here is a first look at the author's "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" moment.

Simon and Schuster, Illustration by Steve Cooper
From the new book about interracial marriage, Swirling.

Mikeís mother, who had never associated with black people in her life, and his father, a judge, probably saw his share of trifling black folks and had his antenna up for any possible hoodrat-iness.
The following is an excerpt from "Swirling: How to Date, Mate, and Relate Mixing Race, Culture, and Creed"

My Guess Who? moment with my husband was a disaster. In fact, the whole ordeal broke us up for a while.

Mike flew me in from California to the foreign land of Westport, Connecticut, home of Michael Bolton, the late Paul Newman, and Martha Stewart (before she got run out of the place). I walked off the plane, covered head to toe with cold-deflecting clothes, but winters on the East Coast was like nothing I had ever experienced. The only way to describe it is, the cold went all the way through my hat, jacket, and sweater to my bones. But there Mike was, his green eyes twinkling and brilliant smile so bright, I was warm in an instant. The hour-long ride from JFK to Westport had my stomach in knots and needing to get to the nearest gas station bathroom.

If there was one word to describe what it was like meeting the In-Laws Karazin for the first time, it would be "awkward." Mikeís mother, who had never associated with black people in her life, and his father, a judge, probably saw his share of trifling black folks and had his antenna up for any possible hoodrat-iness. Introductions went all around, and I was my friendliest, bubbliest self. Mike's father gave a terse greeting, little eye contact. We came right in time for dinner, but I canít remember what it was, only that it required seasoning. Dad Karazin barked, "Mom Karazin, fresh ground salt and pepper!" and she promptly passed them across the table to him. My eyes widened like saucers. I hadnít ever heard my father command my mother to do anything and I was honestly wondering what the hell kind of family this was.

Turns out Dad Karazin just likes fresh ground salt and pepper on his food. He probably was a bit uncomfortable, as was everyone else at the table, except for Mike, says he doesnít remember being nervous. In fact, he canít remember a thing about that day, except for the meeting-me-at-the-airport part. I was grateful for bedtime, but the next day was worse. SomeoneóI canít remember whoómade an offhand remark about black people and . . . I lost it. Not in front of them, but I excused myself to weep in Mikeís older brotherís childhood room. I cried, then I got it together. No one was mean, no one was rude, but they were clearly uncomfortable, and so was I. If it was going to be up to me to break the ice, I had the ice pick.

"Swirling" lays out the exciting, thought-provoking, titillating, happy, sad, sticky, thorny and potentially disastrous scenarios unique to interracial relationships, with tips and recommendations from authorsí own experiences, as well as couple profiles and renowned relationship experts on how to make the bumpy ride a bit smoother. More information can be found here Simon and Schuster. You can order the book here.

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