Junot Diaz (born in 1968), at the age of seven, immigrated from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to the inner cities of New Jersey in the United States (Diaz 199). This short story is one of ten stories in his first published book, Drown, which he received great critical acclaim (Diaz 199). This story is told from a third-person narrator who tells an adolescent boy how to treat girls of different nationality on their first date. The narrator’s main theme explains that for all young girls you need to stay cool, calm, passive, and don’t show any signs of immaturity.
The second paragraph of the story explains how the boy needs to “take down any embarrassing photos of your family…hide the pictures of yourself with an Afro” (Diaz 200). The narrator is trying to explain that the boy needs to have a house that doesn’t show him as a little kid or with a hairstyle that is “out of style.” The narrator is trying to explain that young girls like boys who are modern, mature, patient, and in style.
Throughout the story there is an underlying theme (subtheme), which drives the main theme. The narrator gives a stereotypical view of what girls of different skin color (nationality) act like. On the first page of the story the narrator says, “If she’s a whitegirl you know you’ll at least get a hand job” (Diaz 200). The narrator is telling us that whitegirls from the inner cities of New Jersey are “easy” to be sexual with on the first date. The narrator continues by saying, “If the girl’s local (browngirl or blackgirl)…she’ll run into her other friends and a whole crowd will show up…that means you ain’t getting shit” (Diaz 200).
The boy in the story tries to be as modern and patient as possible when getting his date to his apartment. The boy writes his directions to get to his apartment in his best handwriting and to wait for an hour before going out to the corner of his place if she’s not on time (Diaz 200). When the boy finally meets the girl and needs to meet her mom, the narrator tells him, “Don’t panic. Say Hey, no problem. Run a hand through your hair like the whiteboys do” (Diaz 201). This goes back to having style and being cool about it. When the boy is having dinner with the girl the narrator explains that “a halfie [mixed nationality] will tell you that her parents met in the movement…put down your hamburger and say, It must have been hard” (Diaz 201). This is just another way of showing maturity by acting concerned about her parent’s relationship.
The narrator continues to stereotype the girls if the boy brings them back home to watch TV by saying, “A local girl…if she’s reckless, give it up [have sex], but that’s rare…A whitegirl might just give it up right then…[when kissing a halfie] the halfie might lean back…cross her arms, say, I hate my tits.. act like somebody you don’t know” (Diaz 202). The narrator continues to show that local girls will play “hard to get” or on rare occasions, give it up. For whitegirls, always give in, and for halfies, start something but never finish. All the boy has to do is tell the girl he “loves her hair…her skin, her lips…stroke her hair…sit back on the couch and smile” (Diaz 202). These are all more signs of acting patient, mature, and cool.
When it’s time to say goodbye, the boy should “let her go without too much of a good-bye” (Diaz 202). If she calls him later that night, he shouldn’t answer the phone, leave his room, or fall asleep. The narrator wants the boy to stay calm, don’t get overexcited, and enjoy the moment while it still lasts. This is how you know you did it right.
This story explains to the reader that an adolescent boy from the inner cities of New Jersey needs to remain calm, cool, passive, and show no signs of immaturity in order to have a successful first date with a girl of any nationality. With the driving subtheme of what each girl is like, the boy is able to adapt to the situations throughout his date.
Diaz, Junot. "How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie." Charters, Ann and Samuel Charters. Literature and Its Writers. 6th Edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's , 2012. 200-202. Short Story.