Dared or not, there aren't many things I wouldn't do. As a people pleasing, attention-seeking show-off, I'm pretty much down for whatever. That is except, as I discovered recently, presenting myself - a black woman - as a candidate on a dating show.
Growing up in cosmopolitan London I was used to seeing black men dating or married to women of other races but I didn't know any black women with non-black partners. My ex-husband was the first white man I had ever dated. And it wasn't that I didn't find white men attractive - I had posters of men of all different races on my wall, I just didn't think they would be attracted to me.
We are literally wallowing in dating reality TV shows at the moment so you would have to be living under a rock not to have noticed (and if so may I join you?) and I have indulged in them all. Last weekend I binged on Celebrity Dating Agency and Take Me Out and I found both pretty difficult to watch.
On the rare occasions a black girl was presented (a meat market concept I already struggle with) before a group of potential partners, I held my breath and froze. I froze for her and for her vulnerability as I begged someone, anyone, to step forward for her. And often I watched as men of all races bypassed the black woman for someone of another race.
I, along with the rest of the UK, watched the whole of the Love Island series in 2017 and noticed a lot of people asking on Twitter why all the girls seemed to be from Essex. On Instagram the conversation got a little deeper with people asking why there weren't any black girls on the show. One of the replies, apparently from a 15-year-old, was that none of the guys would find a black girl attractive so why would the producers cast any?
Her words and those of following comments all in agreement, really stung when I thought about how few black women have been portrayed on these shows but then, given the history of rejection, why subject yourself to that?
When I've used dating apps in the past, my main aim, in scrolling through the profiles of white men I like the look of, has been to check if they have photos with any black friends or previous girlfriends of colour - basically looking for any indication that they would be open to dating me.
I'm pretty sure that none of my white female friends have ever stopped to consider whether a guy they were interested in, is "into white girls". But for many of us black women, it's a pertinent question. It may be 2018 but I am still surprised and relieved when I find that a white man finds me attractive. I can never assume and so I find myself inwardly restricted in the dating game. This, despite the fact that my last two partners have been white.
Even today, while we see more BWWM relationships, there is still some stigma around it which, like it or not, plays out all around us. Of course everyone has their preference and for some, my African features are just not what they're into and that's fine. But it does make me wonder sometimes, how my life - and dating life - would be if only my melanin wasn't so strong.