What’s Your Type?

11 August 2010 - Los Angeles, California - Drake. BlackBerry Torch Launch Party held at 5900 Wilshire. Photo Credit: Byron Purvis/AdMedia

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 07:  NBA 97/98 CHICAGO BULLS; Michael JORDAN/CHICAGO BULLS  (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

In my teens, I had a definite type of man I found attractive: tall and light-skinned. No others need apply. I used to joke that the only thing a dark-skinned brother could do for me was introduce me to his light-skinned friend.

My first serious boyfriend was 6’4″ and the color of oatmeal, with a Jheri curl shag. I would run screaming if a guy who looked like that approached me now, but back then, I was smitten.

There were a few exceptions. I swooned over the usual white leading male actors – primarily because there were no black ones – and a few white guys in school who reminded me of them. Athletes could be anything – white, black, dark-skinned or light-skinned – because I admired their talents and physiques more than facial appearance.

Still, in my dating life, I was stuck on tall and light-skinned.

And then along came Michael Jordan.

To me, Michael Jordan represented all that was good and right and holy in black men.  I was a Pistons fan, so I only grudgingly acknowledged his basketball talent.  But I was seduced by that smooth brown skin, that bald head, that arrogance, that swagger.  Jordan was the new standard.

But I didn’t just want a man who looked like Michael Jordan.  I wanted Michael Jordan.

Over the years, I met people who knew people who knew Mike.  It was said that if Michael saw a woman in a club he liked, he would walk up to her and say, “Let’s go.”  I knew people who knew where MJ hung out, who offered half-jokingly to hook me up with the possibility of my own “Let’s go” moment.

It took every last shred of dignity and integrity I had not to take them up on those offers.  Because if Michael Jordan, in his prime, had come up to me and said, “Let’s go,” I would have gone.

I told the light-skinned boyfriend he had to allow me one cheat free pass: Jordan, of course.  “If I ever get a chance to have sex with Michael Jordan, I will.  I’m just telling you now so you know.”

He always laughed. He had no idea I was serious.

Fortunately for him, I never got to have sex with Michael Jordan.  Unfortunately for our relationship, the world – or Chicago, Detroit, New York and Boston, at least – are full of tall, dark-skinned brothers who shave their heads.  I decided I was entitled to a number of cheat free passes, which I used liberally on some Jordan substitutes, among others.  We finally ended that relationship a good four years past its expiration date.

For a time, I was as stuck on tall, dark-skinned brothers as I had been on tall, light-skinned ones.  My color-struck family was not amused by the shift.  I even wound up marrying one.

After my divorce, I realized I’d been attracted to many different types of men all along.  I went back in my memory bank and recalled all the crushes that didn’t fit whatever I thought my type was at the time.  Having a type was part of how I had defined myself, but it wasn’t true.

The truth was, I just liked men.  I no longer needed to identify myself as only being attracted to one particular type of man.

It went beyond light versus dark.  I realized not only did I no longer care about shade distinctions in black men, I no longer cared if they were even black.  I found my head swiveling to check out men of all races and ethnicities.  Even my 6’+ height requirement has faded over time.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie “Up in the Air” is the one where Vera Farmiga and George Clooney are discussing the traits of your ideal partner.

Farmiga’s character says, “You know, honestly by the time you’re 34, all the physical requirements just go out the window.”  I have found that to be absolutely true.

So now, I am officially a woman without a type.  I still prefer men, but beyond that, I like it all.  I don’t use terms like “dating the rainbow” because it sounds a bit too fetishistic for my tastes.  I’m not interested in white guys, Asian guys, Indian guys, Dominican guys, etc. because of their race or ethnicity.   I’m interested in meeting interesting people.

What I really require isn’t physical at all.

I require kind, considerate, thoughtful, smart and funny, in a reasonably attractive package. Whatever race/height that comes in, it’s OK.

No others need apply.

What about you? Do you have a type? Have you ever considered dating a man/woman who wasn’t your type?


10 Responses to “What’s Your Type?”

  1. Sherril Says:

    The best one yet. Keep working it out Carolyn!

  2. Alicia Says:

    while most of my typical attractions have faded the one I can not seem to look past is the height. have to be 6’2 at lest. probably missing out on a great guy because of it
    maybe when o hot 34 in ten days I’ll rethink this
    LOL great post follow you on Twitter.

  3. Inkognegro Says:


    REALLY smart.

    Disgustingly unapologetically Man Chewingly smart.

    Wickedly so.

    With a Heart of Gold and a dark side that comes out to play when the mood is just right.

  4. educationceo Says:

    Lemme see, lemme see. As a dark skin woman who often heard, ‘You’re cute for a dark skin girl,’ or ‘I don’t date dark skin girls,’ or ‘You’re too dark for me,’ this post brings up some feelings I have worked long and hard to forget. My grandmother always told me I was a beautiful child/girl/young woman. As I get older, I suspect she did that for a number of reasons: (1) because she probably dealt with the same comments growing up; (2) she knew what I would likely face; and (3) she wanted to get me ready. Personally, I have never had a preferred ‘look’ beyond finding men over 5-10″ attractive (I am 5’8″ without shoes). My family runs the gamut in shades so I have been around all and have seen combinations in dating and marriage. I have even dated White guys and a Latino guy, but that was all before I moved South.

    At 36 I don’t really have a type any more because dogs come in all packages, as do princes. I have, however, noticed that I am approached by more light-skin men. My mom and I discussed this and she said that was probably God’s way of showing me my ideal mate could be someone I least expect. Lastly, I will admit that I will not compromise on personal health. If his stomach/boobs are bigger than mine….I JUST CAN’T!

  5. Miss C. Jayne Says:

    Oh darn! *goes to dig through trash to find her physical type* I’m 24. I gotta hold on to these for another 10 years I guess.

    I kid! Actually, my type is just one that is compassionate, understanding, and will remind me to eat lunch and go to sleep at a decent hour. Also, one that is open to learn about mental disorders since I have Bipolar Disorder (and I will readily tell anyone). One last thing, I just need him to be alive.

    I have horror stories about guys. My previous interactions with males (not men) have defined what I look for; so while I’m not picky, I’m especially careful. I liked this post!

  6. TH O'Connor Says:

    Carolyn, I gave up on types long ago. I realized that my type was really no type. But when I looked at the serious relationships and what they had in common it was intelligence, sense of humor, and similar values. That is who I married, and he is my type for sure.

    • carolynedgar Says:

      Yay! Yours is one of the stories that fuels my desire to move past physical checklists and discover my best true match.

  7. Candy Says:

    All i wanted was a brotha be a good man, funny, responsible and hardworking, i got him that was 21yrs ago been married for 17yrs. I refused to date outside my race am glad I refused to, but thats just me.

  8. Alicia Says:

    This provoked some thought in me. Do I have a type? Has my type as I matured? I would say I do have a type and my type has changed with maturity. Physical attributes are still important but have become secondary to personality, spirituality and emotional attributes. Now that’s not to say that if I was dating and met someone who was looked like a cyclops, I could overlook that because he had an overwhelming great personality.

  9. Mo Says:

    I have to admit , I don’t have “A” type; I love men period, from T.I to Morris Chestnut. For a dark skin chic, I always get a lot of dark men hitting on me, when I thought they would be running on the other side. One thing I’m stickler about is physical fitness, I prefer them on the fit side of things.

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