Two Sense: What's with Covert Racism in the Online Dating World?
I'm a cute gay young Asian guy who gets plenty of dates. I love white guys, and they love me right back. Once in a while I go onto the online hookup sites such as Manhunt.com and Adam4adam.com, and the profiles there are littered with guys saying things like, "No fats, no femmes, no olds, and no Asians." I cringe every time I see one. I have my own preferences, and I respect that other guys do too, but it feels so demeaning to be singled out like that. How do I deal with this kind of covert racism in a town that prides itself on making everyone feel included?
He Said: It's often said that all is fair in love and war. Since sex is a bit of love and a bit of war, I'm sorry to say the same applies here as well. These guys indeed may be covert racists. There is no way of knowing what is in their hearts from an online profile. What we do know is that they are jerks. (As are the managers of the site, who have failed to create a climate that celebrates diversity.) It is far better to say what you do like—older, younger, top, bottom, whatever—than what you don’t like. But this is poor reflection on them as human beings and absolutely nothing to do with you as an Asian gay man.
Perhaps the best way to fight back is in your own profile. You could use humor: “No whites, no blacks, no purples.” Or: “No whites, no blacks, no Asians, no Latinos ... oops, no one left to f*^%k!” Or, if you prefer, a more direct approach: “Please, no racial hangups.”
She Said: I’m also not sure it’s racism we’re talking about here. It’s hurtful, yes, and narrow-minded as hell. I totally understand that it makes you cringe, and it would me too, if for example, an ad stated, “No big-mouthed Italians.” But I doubt the majority of these guys harbor racist feelings toward Asians in their daily lives—their friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Unfortunately, as we’ve said many times in this column, sexual desire isn’t necessarily politically correct. Some people lust after pot-bellied hairy guys, some after hairless thin ones. Some guys want only size 2 blondes with fake boobs, others want the heaviest woman they can find. Some white chicks drool over black guys; some black guys wouldn’t be caught dead with a white chick.
It goes on and on. We’re aren’t talking about the Civil Rights Commission or the school playground here. We’re talking about a website men use to hook up with other men, many of whom they’ll never see again. Just look at the sample ad you cite. You’re not being singled out—at least not for your race. If anything, you’re probably being singled out for some of the typical physical characteristics of your race. After all, the site is all about physicality, right? But fat people, feminine guys, and older men are equally dissed. The best you can hope to do in this case is ignore the men who don’t appreciate your “type,” and enjoy the men who do.
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