everyone close to me knows that i have a slight penchant for men from races other than the Caucasian race i am a member of. i’ve been joked with about it and i’ve been criticized for it. (seriously.)
my sons finally addressed my preference a couple years ago by joking with me about the men i dated. pam and i frequently share the story of my coming out to my 80-year old mother back in 2006, knowing she’d be more concerned about the fact that the man i was dating was black. (true to form, she looked at me and said, “well, is he very dark?” yet to her credit, she’s treated my two partners of color as sweetly as she did any of her white daughters-in-law.)
i’d only ever momentarily pondered why my attractions might be this way. it’s just how i…roll. but recently, when relaying a story of a funny childhood story to a black co-worker, it hit me:
was it the band-aids?
my parents worked hard to make a good life for both generations of their sons. they had greater means when they were raising me two decades later but things were still tight. as a result, they never missed an opportunity to economize which meant going to flea markets, picking up stuff off the side of the road, and hitting clearance sales. [This also may explain my love of stores like Ross.]
One year, probably about 1977, the grocery and sundry store in our little all-white town of 500 burned. Much of the inventory was lost; what was not ruined and only smoke-damaged was put up for sale. so of course, my parents and i went and dug through what was leftover.
among the many items we took home that day were a few boxes of adhesive bandages. but these weren’t just any band-aids. these were—and i swear i am not making this up—darker-skin toned adhesive bandages…
called Soul Aids.
so for pretty much the rest of the year, whenever i had a cut or scrape, i was given a Soul-Aid.
i don’t remember minding it at all (certainly not like the high-water jeans i had to wear). to this day, i have no idea why those were for sale in our little store.
in all seriousness, i doubt this was the cause of my attractions. looking back, i attribute it to these other things as well which i dearly loved.
in the end, we all like what and who we like. period. and the nickname white soul makes me feel very proud.
which reminds me:
we’re out of band-aids.