The Legendary Susan L. Taylor

Men’s taste in women is something we sometimes find inscrutable. For the most part, you can never tell just by looking at a guy what he will find attractive. Sure we all try to generalize and put to the Universe what we think is the standard. We’ve all been bombarded with the blue-eyed and blonde ideal when it comes to women. In the case of men, we know that tall, dark and handsome is a cliché, but it is one that most of us have willingly adapted to. More often it’s the standards of beauty for women that are the harshest. We’re constantly being hit on the head with the rail-thin model, and sick Hollywood starlet standards, which most of us will never, and should never, try to reach.

As women, we’ve collectively tried the waxing, the weaving, the manis and pedis, and the boob lifts, the threading, the this and the that—and it’s all been expensive, frustrating and frankly not much use. Underneath it all, we are still just us.

We’ve been thinking that men want us a certain way. And sometimes we’ve been thinking that we have to be someone else to be good enough. We’ve got to have a certain type of hair, or eye color, or skin color. But honestly, when it comes to love, all that just gets thrown out the window. You cannot help who you fall in love with. Some things are universal and should be taken as a matter of course: looking your best is always a plus. Putting your best foot forward, and just being yourself is also a plus. The man you fall in love with should fall in love with you as you are. Some things are just unique to you, and, in combination with your personality, make you the stunner that he knows you are.

There are, however, some things that most men can relate to when it comes to what they find attractive in women. These are physical traits that are (hopefully) unalterable, and should be (hopefully) natural and unique to you. The little quirks that you might have found annoying or plain and ordinary may be the things that make you stand out.

Obviously, some physical characteristics are not unique to Black women, but there are some that make us stand out. There are also traits that are considered beautiful in Africa, but are taken as something to be “fixed,” or lessened, in other parts of the world. In some parts of Africa, a gap in the front teeth is considered extremely attractive. Women who have this trait are often highly coveted as they’re believed to have sex appeal, or to possess uncommon beauty. Among some clans, a gap is a sign of wisdom. Whether or not there is any proof in the pudding remains to be told only by those men who are with gap-toothed beauties. Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder, and while most of us think certain standards of beauty are universal, the truth is that even these standards in our own locales would not hold up half a world away. Sometimes it is contemporaneous. Recently, bigger and curvier derrières have almost become de rigueur among people of ethnic backgrounds not generally associated with this trait (think Kim Kardashian). So what do men think about this and other noted physical traits of Black or African women?

J.F.K.: “It’s the skin. Quite honestly, size, shape, height, weight has the same cross- cultural appeal; fit-n-healthy is good, and other is not-so-good. But the brown skin is the wild card. When it’s clean and the sun hits it, the tissue starts to shine like nothing else, it makes you wanna stare at it, it actually smells different. From a physics standpoint it should be trapping energy for longer periods of time, and for one reason or another it looks good, and I think any color man will confirm that.

RK, a White man dating a Black woman, says: “Hair. How Black women change their hair style so easily. Short, long, curly, straight, black, brown, blond, whatever. That is so cool. I had difficulties recognizing her in the beginning after a visit to the salon, like I suddenly got another girlfriend. I also love her skin.”

TM: “Don’t underestimate the power of curvature. I like a woman with an arse. And I like to have something to hold onto. Not bones. I like a woman who has maternal looks like she could be a mother also. I am thinking like Winnie [Mandela], or even Thandiswa Mazwai of Bongo Maffin. Butt, thick frame, breasts, eyes and self confidence—in that order.

RM: “Dimples have always fascinated me especially those found on both cheeks. I consider dimples hot in a Black woman because I perceive them to be a sign of attractiveness and veracity. One rather interesting thing about most dimples is that they’re actually caused by a birth defect, which just goes to show us that not all “malformations” are actually bad.”

CE: “I have several. But for longer term relations and the need for her to really keep me interested, it has to be the brain. But for that immediate attraction that is only amorous, I think it has got to be the butt. That’s the one thing Black women have over women of other races.”

SM: “Her gap. The gap in her teeth absolutely fascinates me. I love to see it when she smiles widely. I think it’s really hot. I can’t explain why, but it gets to me.”

SK: “The combination of a lovely smile and white teeth contrasting with the dark skin and enigmatic eyes.”

EC: “There’s just something about a Black woman’s skin. It is beautiful. And can I also say the breasts? I think Black women have nice breasts. I could be wrong, but if there was some kind of survey you’d find they have the best. They tend to be bigger also.”

It is no surprise that the butt a.k.a. the bootie a.k.a. the derrière was placed number one on the list of attractive physical traits. Of the men interviewed, none had difficulty talking about what they liked—but the posterior elicited the most devoted following. The truth is that most men want a woman with the whole package, and while what that means to each individual man is something he has to decide, and perhaps let you know about—looks also matter. This means that your uniqueness, or even something you secretly do not like, will be regarded as interesting or pulchritudinous by a potential mate. So you might have a big forehead like me, but still have someone kiss it every day. You may have thought that your gap needed “correcting” and, meanwhile, someone, somewhere in the world, thinks that this is the height of beauty.

Take a closer look. What are the traits you find attractive in yourself? What are the traits inside and out that complement each other? Chances are that if you find those things attractive, someone else will. In the end it’s really about how you package yourself, and what the man you attract thinks of the overall person. By now we all understand that men are very visual, and, as a wise person once said, he’s not crossing the room to check out your brain. At least at first.  Then the rest really is up to you rather than just Mother Nature.

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