A couple of years ago, I was attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), and I had just finished my last class for the day. As I was walking home, I get a text from my friend Howard asking if I wanted to meet up with him and his friend Tasha at Crimson Cafe. I was thinking about declining because I was tired and just wanted to lay in bed in my room, but then I remember it was Wing Night at Crimson Café. Wings are my weakness, so I naturally texted Howard that I would meet up with them. Then, I saw that it was 7:00 and knew that it was gonna be packed. Also, I saw that I was kind of far away from Crimson Café, and I was contemplating if I really wanted to make the journey to the wings. My room and bed were within grasp, but I decided to walk to Crimson Café to get some wings because I was hungry. The last thing I needed to be was hungry and tired, so I might as well not be hungry. I had to mentally prepare myself for a long, grueling five-minute walk, and I hope that I had the will to make it to Crimson Café.
I miraculously made it to Crimson Café. I walked inside and saw Burger Studio completely empty. Then, I immediately saw a long line into Fire Place, where they serve the wings. I rolled my eyes and went to the back of the line. As I waiting, I looked to my left and saw Howard sitting with this pretty, black girl. I waved at them, and they saw me and waved back. After a few minutes, I eventually got some hot wings and a fountain drink. Then, I made my way to Howard and Tasha.
I sat down with them, and Howard made sure to introduce me to Tasha. We started eating our wings, talking and joking around. While we were talking, I noticed something interesting with Tasha. She was laughing hard at Howard’s jokes, giving him googly eyes and touching him a lot. I was asking myself, “Does she like him or something?”
It was around 8:00, and I was ready to leave and go back to my room. My room was at Suites at Maple East. As I was getting ready to leave, Howard got up and said that he would join me as well. He had lived at Stephenson Hall, so he was relatively close to my hall. Tasha lived at Wallwork, it was further away from Suites on Maple East and Stephenson Hall. Since it was kind of dark and late, I asked Tasha if she needed one of us to walk her home. She kind of looked at Howard, but he was looking at his phone. Tasha said that she would be fine and thanked me for offering to walk her home. Howard and I walked together, and Tasha walked home alone.
As I was walking with Howard, I found myself thinking about Tasha. It seemed like she wanted something more with Howard, but he wasn’t feeling her like that. I needed to know why. So, I said, “You know, Tasha seems nice.”
Howard responded, “Yeah, she’s cool, man.”
“You ever think about dating her or something,” I asked.
Howard replied, “Nah, man, she’s just the homie. I don’t like her like that. Also, I only date white girls.”
Howard’s reply took me by surprise. Howard and I had been friends for a couple of weeks, so we really didn’t know that much about each other. However, it quickly all made sense to me. He always talked about how beautiful white girls were to him, and I never heard him talk about black girls. I just couldn’t believe he only preferred to date white girls. How could he not see the attraction and beauty of not only black girls, but other races as well?
I asked him, “How come?”
He said, “Well, they’re just more attractive to me than black girls, man. I like what I like.”
I could tell that he thought that I was judging him, so I quickly said, “Hey man, I’m not judging you or anything, I just find it interesting and just a little curious.”
“Yeah, and I don’t hate black girls, man. I don’t want you thinking that at all. I just prefer to be with a white girl,” he said.
I told him that I didn’t think that of him, but I wasn’t sure. I still found myself confused with my friend’s preference for just white girls. Maybe Howard was just going through a phase. We were both young, and maybe Howard would see the beauty in all women in a few years.
A few years passed, and I found myself talking to my friend Howard last year on the phone. We talked for a little bit, and he told me that he was talking to this white girl. He talked about how she was really cute, and he had a date with her that he was really excited about. He said, “I think this could be the one, Isaiah. I’m finally about to have my white girl.”
I joked, “Man, if you weren’t obsessed with her being white, you’d probably would’ve been having someone right now.”
We both laughed, and he asked me what my excuse was for being alone. I just shrugged and said, “I’m trying to be single. I don’t have time to be with anybody right now. I only have time for God.”
We started laughing again, and we talked for a few more minutes. Then, he had to hang up and prepare for his date. I still found myself confused with Howard, and I needed some answers. I ended up talking to my mom about Howard, and she said something interesting to me. My mom told me that Howard’s preference for white girls wasn’t wrong, but it was limiting. He had a right to prefer white girls, but it puts a limitation on him to potentially find someone that’s perfect for him.
Then, I asked her if it was wrong to have preferences, but she quickly said not necessarily. Certain preferences are necessary to make sure that you find the right person for you. If you don’t have preferences, then you’ll end up with anybody, not that special somebody.
In the end, I learned that everyone has a right to their own preferences. If you want to base your preferences on how somebody looks, then it’s perfectly fine but limiting. For me, my preferences are not about somebody’s look, race or ethnicity. My preferences for somebody is based on what’s in their heart, mind and spirit. My preferences will not limit me in finding the one for me.
This is the end of “Preferences.”