The power of attraction, what attracts us to another person is personal and fundamental. There are all sorts of ‘professional’ studies about this, do a search on Google and you will find everything from pheromone studies to Plato’s original Affinity theories. In more recent times social scientist who have proposed first the ‘Law of Attraction’ where Like attracts Like based on Plato’s theory, even more recently the Opposites Attract theory and everything in-between. Of course, lest we forget there is the ‘you will like what I told you to like’ and the ‘I will like exactly what you told me not to like’ theories, generally though these apply only to teenagers. Finally, there is that oft told and all too often snickered about mother or father fixations, better known as the Oedipus Complex.
The truth is I don’t believe any of us know what heats us up, gets our blood to boil and our panties in a twist. Not a single one of us knows what causes us to follow with our eyes down the street that man or woman we find particularly appealing; none of us I think knows why return time and again to the neighborhood coffee shop to drool over the uncommonly beautiful barista. It is unlikely any of us could point to the place in time when our desires were set down for us, when we became fixated on a certain type and this became ‘our type’ forever and ever, amen.
We all have a type; don’t lie all of us have one. Even if you didn’t always date your type, hell even if you didn’t marry your ‘type’, you have one, I have one we all have one. That particular type of human we find we want to wrap ourselves around, that type of face that draws us, that type of body that excites us, that tone of voice that beckons us, yes even the personality that calls to our inner desires and needs. Put all of what we want into one single package and we are done, we are right there heart throbbing and knees weak. But first, we see with our eyes what somewhere in our mind we have defined as our ‘type’.
I have a type; I suspect I even know the genesis of my type. My type runs counter to social norms and has my entire life. My type has gotten me into trouble back in the 1970’s when following my personal choices wasn’t as accepted as it is today. In retrospect, considering my relationship history I believe it is important that we understand what it is we want, that we own our desires and our choices. I think it is vital we never settle for just who wants us but for whom we want and what we want.
Do our desires change? I think they do, change is inevitable. I think as we mature our understanding of what makes us happy and what we need from relationships changes. I also think we grow less reluctant to ask for what we need. What perhaps doesn’t change is our ability to easily verbalize our needs, desires and boundaries. We are the amalgamation of all that has come before; we are our history without pretty packaging and brilliant ribbons for the unwrapping. For some of us and I certainly fall into this category, fear is a constant companion when attempting to ask for what we need or want.
I said I had a type and that I suspected I knew how mine was imprinted; I was quite young when I met Winston. Living in Germany I attended an Army base school part of the week but was not an Army Brat, this made me different from the other students and subject to bullying. I was also younger and smaller than other children in my class, another source of great amusement for my classmates and one they took great advantage of at every opportunity. I hated that school, I hated them and I hated the teachers for not protecting me. I spent a great deal of time alone during recess, book in hand finding dark corners so none of those little bastards could hurt me. Sometimes I would climb a tree, which is where Winston found me one day.
Winston was a year older, a grade ahead tall and gangly. His father was a Sargent in the Army and Winston already was a leader in his class and on the playground, much like his father. He had a brilliant smile, tight curly hair shaved close to his head and his skin was like chocolate milk. The day I met him he climbed the tree I was in and asked why I was up there alone all the time. When I told him, he frowned and climbed back down and wandered away. From that day until we moved back to the US, Winston became my protector. I ate lunch with him and his cadre of friends, if I wanted to read I did it in full sight of others and no one bothered me, ever. I was invited to birthday parties and other childhood functions. Winston never told me what he did, I guess it was a boy thing but from that day on, he became my ‘type’.
So what is my type? Need you ask?
Milk Chocolate Skin
Okay, let’s just say it shall we. I like Black Men better than I like White Men. I fundamentally find Black Men more attractive. This isn’t to say I have never found a White Man attractive; it is simply that I find Black Men more attractive, physically that is my ‘Type’. Did Winston imprint me when I was eight years old? I suspect he did, I suspect his kindness in light of all the bullying had a profound effect on my psych, but it is unlikely this is the only reason.
I was raped at eleven by White Boys, they did grave harm to me. My first real boyfriend, the first person who showed me real kindness after that rape was Black at fourteen. I was a runaway, most of the horror stories from the streets during my time there was by those of my own race. By the time I got off the streets, I was imprinted with fear of men of my own race.
I say all this for a reason, I like men, I did not become Lesbian it is not something you become you either are or not Gay. On the other hand, what you find attractive, what your ‘type’ is within the context of your sexual orientation, this is an entirely different issue. Though my ‘type’ is certainly not always socially acceptable it is nonetheless mine, my choice in partners is mine alone. Were it not for the landmark 1967 anti-miscegenation case of Loving vs. State of Virginia, my choice would still be illegal. My question then, how is my ‘type’ different than sexual orientation of others and why are we still discussing their Civil / Marriage Rights. Doesn’t it make sense that all members of society should have the same rights?
I am just curious about this mind you but your thoughts are most welcome.