Can Having A Type Hold Your Love Life Back?
Ever since I can remember, I've had a type: tall, dark, and quirky.
But the moment I turned 25, the vacancy I felt in my love life began to Cupid Shuffle all over my heart. You see, I've never had a boyfriend, like ever. I was close once and sure, he had all the fixings of what I thought I wanted at the time, but the official title never came. Age has a funny way of forcing us into deep reflection and whew chile… I had to come face to face with the fact that I was possibly the cause of my own existential crisis: could having a "type" be keeping me single?
I knew this was something worth further inspection after a talk I had with my sister. I was telling her about a guy that had slide in my DMs who – judging by his IG profile – just didn't fit the bill for someone I would give time to. After I shared my findings with her, she casually says, "Aley, you're too picky."
I was shook.
How could this be? Even with my physical preferences in mind, I had always considered myself to be someone who was "equal opportunity."
It wasn't until after this series of unsuccessful dating attempts that I really started to stick to my guns about staying true to my type. After all, what's so bad about liking what I like?
I blame college for what is now my fairly obscure perspective of "the perfect guy." Back then, if you had a certain type of that you habitually leaned towards, there were about 8 of them on campus that you could choose from and if they weren't to your liking, there was always another campus not too far away with about 10 more. And even then, my "pickiness" took a backseat.
In fact, while attending an HBCU, I still managed to dip my toe in the snow. My first time dating outside my race was two years into my matriculation and just a year shy from my full conscious awakening. He sought me out via social media and excuse my then internalized anti-blackness but it felt good to be chosen by the oppressor. He was one of those redhead white guys with a sense of style that would remind you of a British R&B singer and I was smitten.
I mean the boy had swag and talked a heavy game, might I add. My time with him, although brief, was one of the most fulfilling dating experiences I have ever had. He saw me as his African princess, minus the all the weird fetishization. But my Colonizing King turned out to be a flake and on our first Valentine's Day together, he left me at the altar of my dorm room steps, taking my Happily Ever After along with him.
In an attempt to suppress my desires for my ideal tall, dark, and quirky archetype, I dated a pill-popping Papi from the Bronx, a classmate with height hindrances and hidden insecurities, and oh, how could I forget my long-distance lover with an even longer rap sheet with loose women? Still, as long as the guy was respectful, intelligent, and could make me laugh, I could always just pray that he'd have an overnight growth spurt or that he'd have a spontaneous "Come to Jesus" moment.
Truth be told, I always felt like dating outside of my type placed me in a unique position.
As if because I stayed open to the variety of packages that love could come in, no matter the race, religion, height or creed, if all else failed, I could always say, "Well, at least I tried." As I navigate my mid-20's, I fully recognize the societal pressures that come with being a young, educated, career-focused Black woman to find love while being "reasonable;" to keep my options open without compromising.
There's enough propaganda floating around about all the good Black men being in jail or having their hand at the Beckys and Sarah Annes of world to fool you into believing that your dreams of a Black Love fairy tale are just that: a fable. But I'm just crazy enough to believe that there's a king out there that will meet and exceed your expectations and you won't have to share him or put money on his books every week.
At this point in my life, I don't think I'll be budging when it comes to sticking to my type. I've tried my hand at pretty much every type of guy there is and if the desires of my heart haven't shifted in another direction yet, then I doubt they'll be going anywhere anytime soon.
Call me naive or applaud my resilience but my Black Love is worth fighting for.
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Aley Arion is a writer and digital storyteller from the South, currently living in sunny Los Angeles. Her site, yagirlaley.com, serves as a digital diary to document personal essays, cultural commentary, and her insights into the Black Millennial experience. Follow her at @yagirlaley on all platforms!
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
If there’s one part of the face that seems to be the most vexing to correct, it’s the under eyes.
This delicate area has a way of being tipped off by our irregular sleep patterns, stress, and the straining that comes from our computers and phone screens. From puffiness to dark circles, it can be irksome to find the right products to soothe our under-eye concerns. Thankfully, there’s one solution that delivers a brighter and more awakened look over time, and that’s under-eye masks and eye patches.
Eye patches are giving our under-eye bags an eviction notice because they can’t hang our glowing faces rent-free. The beauty of these patches is that they are designed to bring your eyes targeted results through concentrated doses of active ingredients directly to the skin under the eyes. Typically made of thin, gel-like material and infused with ingredients like niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, caffeine, and even green teas, these small but mighty patches depuff your puffiness, brighten your dark circles, or tighten fine lines.
While every under-eye differs in its needs, every eye can benefit from an under-eye mask or patch that suits its concerns. And to help, we’ve put together the best under-eye patches to hydrate, soothe, and brighten your eyes.
The KNC Beauty All Natural Retinol Infused Eye Mask, 5-Pack, is a retinol-infused, all-natural product designed to rejuvenate your eyes. It promises to provide hydration, smoothness, reduced puffiness, and brightness without the use of chemicals. With ingredients like retinol to refine skin texture and stimulate blood flow and aloe to soothe and reduce redness, it's like getting 8 hours of beauty sleep for your eyes.
These cooling hydrogel under-eye masks from Topicals promise to fade the appearance of dark circles and discoloration in just 15 minutes. The set includes six masks and offers benefits that brighten, hydrate, depuff, and cool your under-eye area.
Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Brightening Hydra-Gel Eye Patches
Grab these eye contour gel patches to brighten the eye area and combat signs of aging using a powerful form of vitamin C called THD Ascorbate, which is 50 times more potent than traditional vitamin C.
BeautyBio's Bright Eyes consists of 15 colloidal silver-infused eye gel patches designed to provide instant depuffing, brightening, and revitalization to the delicate eye area within 10 minutes. They also contain natural collagen to help diminish the appearance of fine lines, which we love.
These viral hydrogel masks offer moisture and nourishment to rejuvenate tired-looking skin. Their Snail Secretion Filtrate contains "Mucin," an effective moisturizing ingredient that soothes damaged skin and delivers deep hydration, making it suitable for dehydrated and damaged skin types. Your under-eyes will thank you.
Try these caffeine-infused patches to reduce puffiness in the under-eye area. The product features clean, vegan ingredients such as caffeine, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid for deep hydration and moisture delivery.
The Forever Eye Mask is designed to be the “last eye mask you'll ever need.” This thin, lightweight, and reusable eye patch can hold gels, serums, and creams close to the skin for better absorption, helping your skincare products work more effectively.
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