"The Awkward Way I Found Out I was not Attracted to Black Men"
“Do whatever you want to me,” I told him.
I was eighteen years old, almost out of college, and eager to be rid of my cumbersome virginity. It wasn’t that I was ashamed of it. I was proud of my sexual inexperience. In fact, my friends were more than a little surprised when I voiced a desire to change that.
But though I took great pride in being the opposite of every slutty girl at my college, I knew how much of a handicap one’s maidenhead could be while navigating real, adult dating; and I was approaching that age.
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The guy I had chosen was not just a potential lover, but a friend of almost two years. Even though I was determined to be deflowered, I wanted it to be with someone who loved and respected me. I believed that with that much history between us intimacy would be easy.
I was wrong.
When he touched me, I cringed. After a few awkward minutes, I rolled over and told him to go to sleep. I wanted to want him, but I didn’t actually want him. Thankfully he respected my decision and let me sleep unmolested in his bed.
I returned home a virgin the following morning – disappointed. I blamed myself for what had happened. I had always known it wouldn’t work. Though I had dated my fair share of guys, I had never been truly intimate with anyone. I never wanted to. This incident only confirmed my deepest fears.
“I think I’m a lesbian!” I blurted out to my gay best friend. We had met in the yard behind our community college at my urgent request.
“Don’t be hasty,” he cautioned me. “People don’t just become gay overnight. Why do you think you’re gay?”
When I told him my story, he was at a loss for words. He knew I had been dating that guy for a while, and that I had known him for even longer. Why else wouldn’t I be attracted to him in the bedroom, if I wasn’t lesbian? His speechlessness only made me more nervous.
“Calm down,” he said. “Give it some time. Maybe you’re just not ready. Maybe… he’s just not the guy for you. I don’t think you’re gay.”
He would turn out to be right about that, but I didn’t know it at the time. What I did know was that at eighteen, I had yet to meet a guy that I actually wanted to have sex with. After that failed attempt, I dated other guys, but the result was always the same. Things would go sour when they realized that I was perfectly incapable of being intimate with them. I wanted their companionship, but I didn’t want anything physical. I just couldn’t do it.
A few months later, while I was walking with a friend, I noticed a guy in the backseat of an SUV that was parked at the stoplight we were approaching. I was immediately drawn to the look of deep brooding on his face, the brush of a thick beard on his cheek, and the sleek chiseling of his Caucasian features.
Though I had been raised in a White neighborhood, being a mixed Black woman in a Caribbean country, there was at least the societal expectation that I should be with my own kind, and I had stuck to that.
But this guy – he had bright blue eyes, freckles, and strawberry-brown hair. I had an immediate response to him: one I had never felt before for any guy. It was an intense craving that begged to be satisfied. I didn’t know him, but it had been decided: I had to have him.
By some odd stroke of luck, I would run into him a few days later at the movies. He looked even better up close, and had a personality that was as striking as his good looks. I liked the demure smiles that accompanied the flash of mischief in his cerulean eyes. One look, one smile, and I would get that feeling all over again: that pinch of need in the pit of my stomach.
Falling in love came easy, and I found myself finally able to make a gift of what I had originally believed to be a burden. He honored that gift with patience, love, faithfulness and eventually an engagement ring. I have never regretted it.
Unfortunately, as we got older, our lives went in different directions and ultimately we had to part to pursue them on our own. Even so, he will always hold a special place in my memory as the guy who saved me not just from the misguided delusion that I was a lesbian, but the ridiculous expectation that I am destined to be with a Black man simply because I am a Black woman.
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