He was a youthful black man who had moved to Ireland from Nigeria when he was nine. From the moment their union was forged, the young lovers’ came under a hydraulic press of neighbourhood gossip, disapproving friends and constant sideways glances.
“If looks could kill,” Otukoya says, “I’d probably be dead at this stage.” Not everyone uncomfortable with a romance between a black man and white woman was as tactile.
But his experiences have soured him on the idea of ever entering an interracial relationship again.
“I wouldn’t dare put another girl through that again,” he says.
Straight-up racism was slugged at the couple like a brick to the chest.
“There was one time we went to Tesco,” remembers Otukoya.
If this applies to one of your families, talk about this with your significant other early on, strategizing how to be reassure parents that your relationship has no intention of ignoring or abandoning heritage.