Even though I’ve lived in the U.S. for a while now, I’ve never had a serious crush on a guy who’s not brown. I guess my rationale was that if I’m going to be attracted to someone, he might as well be someone I can eventually get married to. Of course, I’m not anywhere close to getting married, since I still have two more years of undergrad to complete and then I plan to attend grad school.
But one thing I’ve noticed is that Desi boys have rarely ever been interested in me. My crushes have almost always been unrequited or ended in unwarranted, platonic friendships.
Even in my home country, Desi guys always seemed to prefer other girls to me. And as much as I wish this wasn’t true in the 21st century, I sense my dark complexion has a lot to do with it.
The fact that I’m an outspoken feminist who isn’t afraid of calling out the patriarchy or making the first move probably doesn’t help either.
Back home, I was made to feel like I’m not good enough – from supposedly well-meaning relatives suggesting I use fairness creams to “friends” outright telling me that guys prefer fair-skinned girls, it took a lot of grit for me to cultivate and maintain a healthy body image and confidence.
At some point, I just decided that I am beautiful, period. Regardless of whether or not the people around me shared my opinion wasn’t going to affect me in the least. And I have to say, this tactic worked rather well for me – I was able to shrug off backhanded comments more easily, and even when I did receive sincere compliments, it never got to my head and my self-confidence was never based on the opinion of others.
As I grew older, being a pretty face started to matter less and less to me as I strived to become a strong, badass, and assertive woman.
So when I found myself being liked by quite a few white American boys after coming to the U.S., I was rather surprised. Sure, maybe they are exoticizing me because of some weird fetish or curiosity. But just the fact that a lot more white guys are attracted to me than people of my own race ever did strikes me as odd.
Do white American guys actually have a broader perception of beauty than Desi guys – or at least the ones I’ve encountered so far? If my experience is any indication, then I think the answer, sadly, is a yes.
Maybe it’s not Desi guys’ fault. After all, they’ve been told ever since they were kids that fair-skinned girls are beautiful – from their female relatives to Bollywood movies, to even rap songs. But the fact that most of them are unable to shed the beauty notions that have been fed to them and think critically just saddens me.
Why should I waste my time chasing around brown guys when they couldn’t care less about me? I do have a good six or seven years before I can even start thinking about marriage. So I’ve decided that until then, I’ll live out my love life according to this song lyric: go where the love is.