thirst (Google definition)
noun 1. a feeling of needing or wanting to drink something.
I remember the exact moment I realized it was okay to find White Men attractive. It was Sophomore year and I was in my High School Latin room after school. -- I spent a surprising amount of time after school in my Latin classroom, and that probably says something about me. -- I was one of the last people in the classroom after either a Certamen practice (Latin Quiz Team, don't judge me) or club meeting. I had recently seen "A River Runs Through It," and I was trying to describe Brad Pitt. Obviously he was a wonderful actor, but there was something else. I remember as I was leaving the classroom and thought "Oh my God, Brad Pitt is Hot." Immediately followed by "Am I allowed to think this?"
As a Black Girl growing up I understood from TV, movies and family who was attractive. I was lucky to grow up in the 90's when there was a bevy of attractive men of color in the media. Everyone could agree that Denzel Washington was attractive. Wesley Snipes was also shown to be particularly desirable. Though honestly I probably got most of my thirst pallet from sitcoms, especially "A Different World" and "Living Single."
The witty banter between Max and Kyle, along with his stunning afrocentric fashion sense, made him clearly attractive. The "Dufus turned cool" manner of Dwayne Wayne along with his devotion to his love interests taught me that brains and passion could be found in a single person. (For more check out this compilation). Ron Johnson was always smooth and cute. Shazza was just unreasonably large and attractive; although his personality sometimes left much to be desired. Showing that just because they look good, doesn't mean they are good. I was pretty clear on all kinds of brown being reasonable thirst objects. My first really memorable crush (outside of elementary school) was on an Indian kid in my Latin Class. It was a long lasting crush even when he switched schools. This may be because I was also often the only Black American in my classes and there were not a ton of guys of color in my classes either. Though my mother insisted that many of my guy friends (I had way more guy friends in high school than girl friends) had crushes on me, they were all White and therefore off limits. . . Right?
Maybe it was the fact that Brad Pitt's character in "A River Runs Through It" has a love interest who is a woman of color. Maybe it was the fact that this is the beginning of peak Brad Pitt acting and attractiveness. But something at that point clicked and I realized that White Guys could be hot too. Later watching movies like "Corrina, Corrina," I had an example of a White (ish - for a long time I thought Ray Liotta was some kind of brown) man who could find a Black Woman attractive as well.
-- Can a take a moment to note that we don't get another major movie example of this until "Something New" 12 years later. Something New came out the same year as "Broke Back Mountain." But the plot with a White Man and a Black Woman is called "Something New." But I digress --
Possibly much to my guy friends' dismay I didn't find any of them particularly hot. --Really what high school student is?-- However, I was able to start looking at all people through new eyes. I started to think it was possible that some of my guy friends could theoretically be attracted to me. Also that it would not be the end of the world if I ended up with someone who was not Brown. I was still shocked when riding home from church one day my father went into a lecture about "If you decide to marry a white man" completely unprompted by any of my actions. The realization that I was "allowed" to fancy who ever I found attractive, also helped when I realized, a short time later, that I found some women attractive.
We are enculturated to believe certain things are expected of us romantically. Through many conversations I realized not everyone has examined the origin of their thirst or questioned it. Junior year of college I went on "Alternative Spring Break" building trail in the cumberland gap. One night we had an in depth conversation and one of the White Guys on the trip was horrified to realize that the could not find Black Women attractive. He was distressed to find out he was that programed. One colleague in medical school was attracted to Black Women, but married an Asian Woman instead because that is what his family expected. I recently had a conversation with a Black woman who stated she could not find white men attractive nor even light brown men of any race. When we pressed her on how she could find her nephew cute (who was light brown) but not other men she avoided the question.
My general "type" is nerds/geeks of all races and genders. I'm more of a 2-3 on a Kinsey scale and lean a little more toward masculine than feminine. I'm excited that we are moving to a time when media is more than a parade of similar looking White Men and people of all colors and cultures are starting to be portrayed as attractive. Every person deserves to feel people like them are attractive and have the option to find people who don't look like them attractive as well.