BY JON ALEXANDER
“Right, that’s it”, I said back in March of this year, “I can’t be bothered with dating apps, I’m going to delete the last one.” That was my Gaydar account. One that I had operated since I was 19 – back in Devon when I was growing up it was a vital tool, not just for dating but for socialising as well. Gay.com had rapidly descended into a useless website and all the gays moved over to Gaydar.
I had used Gaydar to keep in touch with several people but they’re either on my Facebook page or I’ve not spoken to them in that long it would be a weird conversation to give them my email address or to add them now so I decided just to cut myself off and get rid of it. I’d deleted my other apps twelve months previously after a series of unsuccessful dates/failed show-ups and I wasn’t really that bothered if I’m honest so it seemed quite natural to do – something I wouldn’t have dreamed of five years ago.
I hadn’t actually thought about online dating sites for a while but recently I’ve seen a few screenshots firing round Twitter and it made me remember some of the odd conversations and attitudes I’ve encountered along the way.
One issue that seems to be coming up is that there are a lot of complaints of racism within the gay community itself. I can see where the arguments are coming from, I’ve even seen some messages that do make you wonder about the person who sent them, but overall I think most of the gripes have been from the same mentality as the “It’s Trans-phobic to not want to sleep with a trans-man or trans-woman.”
It isn’t, it’s preference and this needs to be addressed before people start getting branded racist and “outed.”
Having a preference doesn’t mean you’re a racist, sexist, homophobic individual. If you are attracted to blonde women with perky boobs, be you male or female, then that’s okay. If you’re attracted to only black men with noticeable assets then that is fine too.
Let’s not get bogged down with yet more divisions when there don’t need to be any. My requirements if I ever want a partner will be massively different to my requirements for a friend. This is where the confusion seems to be stemming from.
From a personal point of view I do go for personality as much as anything else, if I can’t stand to be in a room with you it’s unlikely I’ll want to share a bed with you. I like the “Dad-bods”, men in their forties and fifties that aren’t obsessed with the gym, like their beer and food and don’t mind a bit of a spare tyre. Don’t get me wrong, if Zac Efron asked I’m not going to say no but realistically speaking I know my own body, I’m comfortable with it and I know what I like. I haven’t dated many black or Asian men. To the best of my knowledge I haven’t dated a trans-man (pre-op or post-op) – I hope I’d know if I had.
Dating isn’t an exercise in HR tick boxes. I am not required to sleep with a certain number of white, black, Asian, gay, straight, bisexual or trans-men. Neither is anybody else.
I agree that the way some gays go about dating leaves a lot to be desired and some are extremely rude in their approach but let’s consider those that aren’t, the ones who will get branded as “phobes” when the usual crowd start screaming their accusations. For starters, the apps and website all give you lists of what to select, so maybe they should be removed? Secondly, it does cut out the messaging and having to say no thanks to then get the inevitable message asking why not or – even worse – the “who do you think you are?” attacks.
Dating is stressful no matter who you are. If we start singling people out for their preferences we’re dangerously close to reverting back to the bad old days where gay people got married, had kids then ended up miserable and feeling oppressed.
Funny isn’t it? We’re almost pushing ourselves back into the closet.
The identity politics played by some online in dating is getting tiresome. If a straight man doesn’t want to date or sleep with me he’s not homophobic. If a man doesn’t want to date me because I’m chunky, he isn’t body shaming me. If a man doesn’t want to date me because he thinks I’m ugly, I’m not really bothered about the “beauty is what’s on the inside” line…we all have our own likes and dislikes.
If we’re really honest with ourselves it’s very rare we’ll connect with someone on an intellectual/spiritual level immediately. If we’re in a club or a bar, we’re more than likely to notice someone’s looks first. It’s not superficial, it’s not “phobic” in any way, shape or form, it’s natural and I suspect the only ones who truly find this offensive are the ones who don’t take rejection well at all.