Love + Sex, Love

I’m Desi, and I was absolutely obsessed with dating white boys growing up

"Out of all of us, you're going to be the one that marries the white boy," my cousins would often joke. I couldn't wait until that day became a reality.

My first major crush was Nick Carter.

Oh, boy, did I love watching his gyrating hips to Backstreet Boy melodies as he brushed his long, blonde locks away from his steel blue eyes. My locker and notebooks were covered with his baby face. I spent countless hours dreaming about our fateful meeting that would result in us falling hopelessly in love and fighting random odds against us – my teenage brain was in overdrive with that kind of mushy stuff.

[bctt tweet=”White boys were shoved down my teenage throat through every outlet. ” username=”wearethetempest”]

Then, I fell in love with Justin Timberlake – perhaps it was his baby blue eyes or Ramen look-alike blonde curls – or the fact that he was able to croon through my stereo player every night and help me fall asleep.

Then there was Jeff Hardy, a wrestler with – you guessed it – long blonde hair and blue eyes. In my defense, he did like dying his hair in odd colors in all of his punk rock gothic glory. As I shifted to bad boys, I started crushing hardcore on lead singers of punk rock bands – on TV and in real life.

Despite their different personalities and styles, they all had one thing in common: they were all white.

Outside of my girly dreamland fantasies, I dated the same type of men. White ones. And the one Hispanic dude I dated was very removed from his culture – which was convenient because I was the same way.

We were such a cute white-washed couple… (not).

[bctt tweet=”I totally married a white boy.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Today, when looked through the scope of white privilege and the lack of diversity in entertainment and media, it all makes sense. The boy bands that rocked millions of girls worldwide were fronted by pale white boys with light eyes – the ethnicity of various brown men in these bands was always conveniently forgotten as they were pushed to the background and often forgotten about (think Howie, AJ, JC). This, ironically, was the same system in hardcore and punk rock bands – yes, the very bands that flicked their middle fingers to conformity and “the system”. It was no different in other various avenues of entertainment.

Magazines, billboards, different screens – the hot dude that all the girls fawned over were always white.

It was always the same. White boys were shoved down my teenage and young adult throat through every outlet.

These outlets also had a funny way of representing brown men. When it came to representations of South Asian men, they were always either depicted as religious fanatics or FOBs. These helped flourish the seeds of internalized racism that I had already begun to water and care for deeply.

Brown skin was nowhere near as attractive as white skin.

I was baited into this particular white superiority complex – hook, line, and sinker… me, in all of my wanting-to-be-white glory.

[bctt tweet=”My crushes have one thing in common.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Looking back, I wonder how different it would’ve been if there had been more diversity in music, movies, television shows, and magazines. How many other teenage and young adult women would’ve had a different type than the likes of Justin Timberlake and Nick Carter? How many other females would have been prevented from thinking that the white man is the man most attractive of all? How many other females would not give into internalized racism in order to yield to the white man?

It’s terrifying because it isn’t much different today.

However, thankfully, for me, it is.

As I learned more about colonization, imperialism, white privilege, and institutional racism, my “tastes” in men also started changing drastically. I started regurgitating the things that American society had shoved down my throat in order to dictate what I thought was superior and the most attractive. I became more aware of the attractiveness and fulfillment that came along with learning different cultures, traditions, and languages through dating non-white men.

Life is funny, though.

Because my cousins were right.

I totally married a white boy.

But not because of his skin, hazel eyes, and brown hair.

But because he happened to be my best friend for years, and we fell in love through our shared interests in diversifying and deconstructing the very things that would’ve brought me to him in the first place.