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My friend likes black girls, but he doesn’t like them too dark!” Against my better judgment, I assumed that the wingman just wasn’t very good at his job and started talking to his friend anyway.

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Men of character, wit and charisma, alongside whom I have spent some of the best times of my life. East and South Asians, Persians, Arabs, Native Americans, Polynesians — all options as far as I was concerned. Then came the night my girlfriend jokingly called me a racist after I rejected a list of possible options, including her brilliant and cute brother, because they just were “not my type,” my longtime code for “melanin-deficient.” We laughed about it. I pride myself on being open and accepting people at face value, yet, consciously or not, I was writing off millions of single and potentially interesting American men simply because they were white.

Yet, until recently, I did not consider white men as romantic prospects. Meanwhile, my social circle is full of black women married to or dating white men.

Men who have protected and supported me through some of the darkest days of my life. I might even spend an evening charming some former frat bros at the bar for my personal amusement. It was just there in the back of my mind: I can hang out, work with, live next to and even call white men friends, but I don’t date them. Made me feel a bit hypocritical and narrow-minded, two states I actively work to avoid.

One is named after Nathan Bedford Forrest, a lieutenant general in the Confederate Army. Both are men I would trust to raise and protect my son should the need arise. Or wonder whether Justin Timberlake’s prowess on the dance floor translated into, well, other areas. It was not a hard-and-fast rule, as in: I don’t date white guys.

One was a guy who was interested in talking to me, and the other was acting as his wingman.

The wingman walked up to me as his friend stood beside him and screamed over the music, “You’re perfect!

“It’s unfair that many women have had same-sex experiences, but at the same time, they judge men who have experimented with the same sex.

Even if a guy has had one experience, most women will totally write him off as undateable.” Primus says many of these women have gone through bisexual phases, decided the lifestyle is not for them and yet still expect a man to step up and marry them.

So I decided to explore why I could love white men like family but not envision them as potential partners. Love for men who move through the world in ways that remind me of my father. A black man comfortable in his skin and walking in his purpose remains the ideal. There is also the fact that I was raised a good Southern black woman, albeit one freer than most.

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