For those of you who read us and a few who are new to the blog, I’m currently blogging from Oxfordshire, England, where I’m taking a summer course in British and European Union Public Policy and Globalization.

In other words, I’m at Oxford for the next couple of weeks.

I have fallen in love with Britain.  For those of you who have heard that the food is tasteless, bland, etc, etc., I’m here to tell you that the Brits eat a damned sight healthier than Americans do. My classmates and I have commented on the fact that the colas taste better; the chocolate (Cadbury’s) is to die for, and I have a mad craving for smoked salmon sandwiches on brown bread (which also gives me my daily dose of Omega-3s, which are supposed to be good for you).  And the people have made me feel very welcome – some of my classmates commented on the fact that I appear to be receiving extra nice service from the maids and crew here.

I should tell you guys I’m the only African-American on this study trip, but I hold my own and don’t feel intimidated at all.  I engage in discussion, and have raised more than a couple of eyebrows from the instructors here – all of whom are Oxford, Cambridge, London School of Economics-educated.  Today, I sat at lunch with a former Member of Parliament, who’s now a lobbyist for the EU and we had a good conversation about the upcoming election.

The Brits say they don’t care who wins…as long as it’s not McCain.  LOL.  They think he’s a Bush clone, and they will forever have enmity in their hearts towards Tony Blair because he willingly dissed the office of Prime Minister by becoming a lapdog for George Bush.  They don’t want Gordon Brown dealing with Bush-redux.

By now, you’re probably wondering why I titled my post “You Got More Face Time with Him.” It is because of my “Leutisha-ness” as Jill would say.  Let me explain.

At lunch today, not only was I sitting with the former MP – (he was our lecturer for the afternoon), but the gentleman who was our lecturer for the morning, a fellow with Centre for European Reform (I won’t mention names because some of my classmates read this blog, and that was a surprise for me, LOL), was also sitting with us, so most of the conversation was about politics.

The CER Fellow was making major eye contact with me while we talked (some times looking at my face; other times, looking at the “sisters” (the women know what I mean, lol). At the same time, most of my female classmates were swooning over him!  He’s quite an accomplished young man for being only 30 years old; he is an Academic Fellow for the CER, has served as a diplomat on behalf of the UK in Iran, and is also an attorney by profession.  Oh, and he’s Irish-born and bred, and got the Irish charm working for him in a Luke Skywalker/Jack Kennedy-kinda way. Not quite Brad Pitt, but not bad, either.

Now, I’m a forty-something sista carrying about 30 pounds too many and some days I don’t feel pretty at all.  Today was one of them.  Like I said, I was having a good discussion about American vs. UK politics, the haterade on Tony Blair and why Hillary couldn’t get universal health care passed when she had the chance.  So, I wasn’t thinking that the guy was interested in ME; more like what I had to say about American politics.

But one thing I have learned about men; you need to be able to hold a conversation with them about either money, sports or politics, and maybe about cars and boats, too.  So, after lunch, he’d stopped to tell one of the ladies in my group (there aren’t any of us over 40 except the instructors and one of them doesn’t look a day over 45, and looks like Tony Blair’s better-looking younger brother) that he’d left a briefing paper for her that had been passed out in class.

I thought homegirl was going to faint.  Anyway, she was walking with me (in fact five of them surrounded me) as we headed back to class.  I didn’t wait for them to ask any questions; I gave them the vital statistics about the guy, and told them when he was going to be in DC in the Fall.

I chuckled, thinking “That should be the end of that” since they hadn’t said very much to me for the first couple of days since we got here.  But her next words had me going “GTHOOH!”

“You got more face time with him,” she said. Like she was either envious or jealous.

Now, I could have said something that would have been reassuring to her if she had an interest in that direction (which half of the female classmates under 40 had), but I just kept smiling.  I got the sense that because she’s white and I’m African-American…well, I don’t want to go THERE.

I was talking the guy’s language (politics).  And the Brits and Irish like their women to be smart.  That girly-giggle act might be cute in the States; here, it sends the guys running for the hills, because airheads need not apply!  Plus, race really isn’t an issue in the UK in the same concept that it is in the United States.  So if white guys here see an attractive women, regardless of her ethnicity, they’re going to step to her and they want her to be able to talk a good game to keep them interested.  Which doesn’t surprise me because men back in the States do the same thing, but I think the Brits are more direct about it, while being nice and not annoying.

But I got the sense that homegirl found it strange that the Irish guy was talking to me.  Like I didn’t count as an attractive woman here in the UK.  Well, I was sitting directly across from him at lunch, so it would have been awkward if we’d sat directly across from each other and said nothing.  When you’re sitting at bench tables, that’s how it works.  And when you’re in another country, you do like the citizens do, and not be an UGLY AMERICAN.

“He’ll be back in the Fall with Dr. —,” I said, as if to say, “If you can, go ahead and make a play for him, but your game better be tight.”  “Oh, and I plan to attend his lecture if he’s giving one, too”  I cooed.  “Not that I’m interested in him personally,” I continued in lofty fashion, because in all honesty, all dude can do for me is point me the way towards the UN and a Global Diversity Initiative I’ve had burning in my brain for two years.

“Well, he did make eye contact with me,” my classmate said as if to remind me of….SOMETHING.  Or, to reassure herself of her attractiveness, I guess.

I yawned and said:

“Go for it”.  “But…Fall is a ways off…”

I couldn’t help it, y’all.  When will women realize how tight a sista’s game is – no matter how old she is?

And Faith, you were right.  I have been getting stared at more than I’m used to – even by the married guys over here.  I must be unusual…or the Brits have a thing for sistas.

I’ll keep y’all posted on the visit to London and Parliament on Thursday.

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