“If I ever fall in love again, I will be sure that the lady is a friend.”
A Different World gave all of us so many gems. From the characters that took up residence within our hearts to the life lessons in each episode, the show was a staple within the black community as well as a teach for the youth. Of the many treasured personalities that the show introduced to us, Dwayne and Whitley were the frontrunners. The television couples showed us the evolution of an unlikely bond that grew into a solid friendship. Then, we followed that friendship into an unmatched love story. We saw Dwayne and Whitley’s union flourish, from preconceived notions about one another when they first met to the conception of Baby Wayne when the show concluded. They were our first coming of age love story, demonstrating true friendship and love at all levels. Of the many Dwayne and Whitley moments, there were ten that stood out.
1. They were lovers and best friends.
It was their ability to laugh in times of despair and to show empathy in the times the other needed it most that made their relationship withstand rough times. In the later seasons, after the two called off their engagement, the loss of their friendship caused more hurt than the romantic loss they’d suffered. Once the two were finally able to make amends and reclaim their friendship status, the rekindling of their romance shortly followed.
2. Whitley was never afraid to express her love for her man.
Let’s face it! Whitley taught us. She was never to prissy to stand by her man and, most importantly, the doll never hesitated to let him know that he was the man. In a time where there were no text messages and DMs to hide behind, Whitley showed us how to put the pride aside and keep him coming home to momma.
3. Dwayne was able to calm Whitley, which was extremely sexy.
Dwayne was the man. Get into it! Even when he didn’t know what to say, he somehow found his way to the right words or actions. We could not get enough of Mr. Chipmunk!
4. Dwayne & Whitley gave pet names a good name.
Two words: Pookie & Bunny. Is it just me or did these two make us all want to jot down some possible pet names for bae? I mean, Pookie was so relatable simply because who doesn’t know one? -And Bunny, originating from the stuffed animal Dwayne had gifted Whitley during the relationship, was by a long shot one of my favorites.
5. Dwayne Wayne was both attentive and intuitive.
The more interested Dwayne became in Whitley, the more inquisitive he seemed to become. However, his calculated questioning paired with his caring heart acted in his favor. He remembered Whitley’s quirks and fears. He knew the little details and that means a lot to any woman!
6. Whitley was not intimidated by any other women, which is a characteristic most men love.
What’s a little friendly competition? Absolutely nothing to Ms. Gilbert, that’s for sure! When she found herself having to fight for Dwayne’s affection when a new woman was on his radar, Whitley put on her big girl panties and got her man! That’s worthy of aspiration!
7. Dwayne was able to handle Whitley’s spicy, southern charm.
Dwayne Cleophus Wayne mastered that art of taming a woman like Whitley. He knew what to say, how to say, and when. Whether Whit was out of control and in need of some self realization or he was in trouble, Dwayne found a way to man up and take charge, simultaneously preserving both their friendship and relationship.
8. Dwayne & Whitley taught one another life lessons throughout the relationship.
The night before Whitley’s wedding, she and Dwayne were able to sit and reflect. They discussed their past romantic relationship, the ups and downs that they had to undergo. While they spoke, two statements stuck out to me. Whitley’s statement (featured to the left) and Dwayne’s statement that Whitley set a standard to which he was unable to rise back then. Being able to admit where they’d wronged one another and recognize what those mistakes taught them, along with what they taught each other was pure magic in love.
9. Dwayne took a risk for their relationship.
Dwayne’s ability to sacrifice and his willingness to fight for Whitley was admirable. He never lost sight of the love they shared and he recognized its rarity. I mean, who isn’t looking for Dwayne in every guy they meet?
10. In the end, Dwayne & Whitley chose love.
Just when we thought we couldn’t love these two anymore, “A Different World” gave us the wedding event of the century! Whitley, who was set to marry Byron, said “I do” to whom other than the Chipmunk himself. As we all predicted, Mr. Wayne was Mr. Right! I’m not sure what made me want to shout more, Dwayne’s orange suit choice, Ron backing his homeboy’s last plea for love, or Shazza Zulu’s, “Answer to those who have questions…” protest. Either way, I was hooked despite Mother Marion’s request for Dwayne to “die, just die.” Although the wedding was a defining moment for the TV couple, they showed us what love was both before and after their nuptials. Honestly, Dwayne and Whitley set the standard for all of us!
“Will you have me, Dwayne, as your lawfully wedded husband to have and to hold? For richer, for poorer? Baby, please!”