It’s 5pm and I’m just getting off of the J train in Brooklyn, walking fast because the same three guys that I always see on the block, and who are always trying to holla at me, are there doing their daily evening duty: harassing women.
Most days, I don’t let it get to me. But on this particular day, it’s cold, I have to pee and the last thing I want to do is be bothered by a guy THAT I WOULD NEVER GIVE MY FREAKING NUMBER TO.
Guy 1: “Damn, Chocolate”.
Guy 2: “How you doing, Chocolate?
Guy 3: “Chocolate, I know you hear me, girl!”
In unison: “Chocolate. Chocolate! Chocolaattteeee!”
I finally break. I’m by myself, and know full well that this could end in disaster. But I just can’t deal with the BS anymore.
“Stop f--king calling me CHOCOLATE!” I yell at the top of my lungs. I catch them off guard and they look at me for second not in lust but in shock. My father always told me that my mouth would be the death of me. But seriously, how much can a girl take?
It happens every day. Every. Single. Day. Some random Black guy feels the need to scream one of America’s favorite flavors my way and expects me to be flattered by it. And yes, I specifically said “Black” guy, because no other race of men has done this to me (and yes, I have been catcalled by dudes outside of my race).
As most women can attest to, unwarranted attention from men is occasionally flattering, sometimes amusing—most times problematic. But a particular annoyance for me is the “chocolate” moniker. Who asked you talk to me in the first place, let alone convince yourself that you are doing me—a dark-skinned woman—a favor by referencing my complexion? When did a cocoa bean become the one-size fits all “compliment” for brown girls?
I actually hate being called chocolate. It’s trite and annoying. Yeah, Daddy used to call me his “Chocolate Drop”. But there is something so very different between a father’s adoration and a grown man yelling at me across the street, trying to get my attention by comparing me and my deep brown skin to a dessert.
Still, one of my friends thinks I’m being to stuck-up, and tells me I should lighten up when I tell her the story. “Girl, you better be glad they’re not referencing your butt.”
Um, no. Wrong answer.
I’d be happy if men in general stopped catcalling women and objectifying body parts. (Like that will ever happen). But convincing your self that chocolate is a compliment has everything to do with the fact the being dark in our community is still seen as a deficit. I’m supposed to feel all gooey inside because “I’m pretty for a dark-skinned girl.” You don’t go around calling light-skinned girls ‘Caramel’ (do they?), or medium brown girl ‘Cinnamon’ or super light girls ‘Vanilla’.
A part of me wonders if other brown girls dislike being called chocolate. Am I over thinking this thing? Or am I justified in feeling that being catcalled by way of reference to my complexion is not only a bit ignorant, but also sort of pitying. And bruh, I do not need your pity.
Now, is it cute when my boo randomly, every now and again, says, “You’re so sexy with your chocolate self?” Sure. And therein lies the hypocrisy. But, he is my boo. And he if he had called me that before I knew him, guess what? He would not be my boo.
Holla at me “chocolate girls.” Let me know I’m not crazy.
Melanie Yvette Martin is the Editorial Assistant and Beauty and Style contact for EBONY.com. She's also a proud Temple U. Alum and lover of all things beauty. Follow her on Instagram: @melanieyvette and on Twitter: @MsMelanieYvette.