I’ve been fascinated by and drawn to dark-skinned black men for as long as I can remember. I suppose one could attempt to psychoanalyze me and uncover the reasons why this is so. Perhaps it’s because I associate dark skin with the most enduring picture I have of my father. In his Marine portrait he is eighteen years old, sharp in his dress blues, his deep skin shining magnificently. Or maybe my love of dark skin was driven by a subconscious desire to reproduce my own image, to give birth to children who look like me. I am not sure but there is one thing that I know: skin within the range of chocolate to charcoal really pulls me in. So when I came of age the boys that I sought out and were most attracted to were those of my own complexion. I adored them. But a strange thing happened: they never felt the same. Indeed, I have faced the most intense hostility and hurtful comments from African-American men who look like me. If you’ve read my series on Colorism you know that my teen years were marked my rejection and harassment due to the color of my skin. When it came to dating it left me in an awkward position. The very men I found most desireable wanted nothing to do with me.
My experiences with dark-skinned African-American males would leave a lasting mark on me. As I grew into adulthood I simply avoided them completely. For though I was deeply physically attracted to dark men they certainly were not the only men who appealed to me. So I expanded my horizons, realizing that the variety dark-skinned AA men that I knew were just one segment of the vast African Diaspora. I didn’t stick to my own culture; I ventured out and dated Caribbean and African men. Those relationships were not necessarily perfect. After all, I am divorced from an East African man. But there is one factor in these experiences that I was so grateful for: my blackness was never treated as a problem and a misfortune.