I WANT YOUR OPINION on this:
Does omitting facts in your profile constitute as being deceitful?
Or, is it just clever marketing by the boys out there who feel they’d rather not advertise it all on first appearance/click of the mouse? The reason I ask is because I was recently commented on in an old post about racial preference as possible racism wherein I still question the drawn in the sand line between prejudice and preference with things like preferring men over women, tall over short, muscle over lean, one race over another… I believe that until you bring hatred or assumptive stereotypes into your reasoning that we aught to be allowed our preferences. I’m okay that some muscle guys don’t want to date a thin guy like myself- it’s not a hate crime- but others see malice and spite in these types of decision.
What this “preference” based decision making has created however- and what I’d like to look at today- is a culture of online deceit/omitting that seems to me to cause a lot more confusion and anger than it does solve problems. Is typing in “I Don’t Know” a fair answer when you really do know. Is skipping out on the eye colour box an attempt to obfuscate your race? Click through and read my experience with this question and PLEASE sound off below!
Let’s get right into the thick of it and start with the bulk issue of this article: RACE. (Annoying necessary disclaimer: I am white, I’ve been with guys from all races but yes, I am white. Before I get told “I don’t know what it’s like” I’m going to stop you right there… we’re ALL “minorities”. We are gay men living in a predominantly heterosexual world (let’s say max 15% us 85% “them”), so I’ve had my fair share of feeling othered and not what the majority expects or wants. Further, while I can never truly sympathize and “walk in the shoes” of someone a race I am not, I can certainly empathize. I live in a city that has a more than 50% Asian population to Caucasions which total less than 40%- on my Grindr I AM the minority by far. Setting aside “the Hollywood mainstream image of beauty” which is rapidly becoming completely plastic and unreastic with surgeries and enhancements, what matters is that we all have a grasp of what it means to be “not the norm” so I encourage commenters below to not disqualify one another for not being “the TRUE minority”- whatever that means.
Now, getting back to RACE, why do we feel the need to disguise ourselves. YES, there are people who do not want to date members of a certain race (and that topic is best discussed here), but wouldn’t you rather weed those guys out right away instead of wasting your time? I’ve had more than a hundred guys make it clear either in their profile or through our conversation that they “don’t date white guys” and so I moved along. I didn’t try to convince them otherwise (I don’t want to sleep with a girl and I’m certainly not going to be bewildered into it by a silver tongued lady), I didn’t get upset: I packed up and found the next guy that did accept my (race) card. So, I suppose my question is: doesn’t everyone else want to be as efficient in their hookup/love searching attempts? I’d hate to be talking to a guy for days, weeks, months and have him THEN realize I’m white only to have it all end because that’s not what he’s into.
I’ve had many people point out to me- as a very experienced “online dater”… god how sad is that to say out loud- how to tell when guys are being ambiguous for a reason with their profile, and asking me why bother? The two biggest ambiguous but telling omissions include avoiding the eye colour question as “black” eyes can really only mean one thing: skipping out the hair colour box can often mean the same thing. Lots of guys take the time to include their bicep size, penis girth and the state of their circumcised or not penis but come up drawing a complete blank when they are asked the shade of their eyes. How many times have you seen a picture of a headless torso and wondered just who the hell is attached to it?
So, the question becomes: is this a matter of personal privacy or are their manipulative machinations involved? I absolutely get that it sucks to be turned down/blocked/ignored because of something so trivial and uncontrollable as your race, but is disguising it the solution? Maybe I’m taking this parallel too far but is this lack of transparency not akin to using gender-vague pronouns when discussing your “partner” with your family or work as you mask your sexuality. Is there such a thing as racial closet cases? Again, an argument can certainly be made it’s your right to disclose what you want. STILL, I’m stuck wondering why you’d want to keep something from someone that will and HAS to eventually be disclosed/made obvious if you ever intend on seeing them. Is there a hope that the hot dude you’re chatting up will change his preferences because the stranger on the other end of the app is so great he realizes race doesn’t actually matter? That seems a lofty goal to me. And, one that sounds like it ends in more heartache than it does success.
So, we’ve discussed how certain attributes colours can be used as tells for one’s race and the ambivalence some onliners have to post it, next is the race question. Most- if not all- sites have a “race” category AND, most- if not all- allow the user to select their respective race from a list which often notably includes “mixed” and “prefers not to answer”. Here is possibly the most clear example of omitting as an attempt to “stay in the game” as numerous sites offer a “filter” wherein guys can search for prospective hookups (etc) by filtering out or filtering in different guys based on their answers to questions like “build”, “age” and of course “race”. Interestingly, many tools out there (like Grindr) do NOT include these options (though read Patrick’s article about the possible addition of this function come late summer) and I’m left wondering if this is a genuine attempt to unite out community. HA! Truth be told, the cynic in me thinks this was a purposeful choice to not create a dating/hookup app that people with certain builds, ages or ethnicity felt they would be excluded in. I’ve read hundreds upon hundreds of comments from guys who complain about people who “only date muscle guys” or “only like other black guys” and who say this is discriminating… what I wonder is if those commenting guys don’t secretly have their filters set when they’re alone and man-surfing from the security of their home. We ALL have preferences so why not accept it and live and let live? No, it’s not okay to write: “So many asians, so few blocks” on your Grindr. That just hurts and is not necessary. But IS it rude to right: “prefer men over 40 and a full head of hair”?
Moving into the second most hidden topic on profiles: AGE. How many times have you seen “99″ in a profile or a simple “Prefers not to answer”. Hell, how many times have you seen a straight up lie? I personally LOVE older guys and more times than I can count I’ve turned a guy down after he reveals he’s really 10 years older than he put. Dude, that change in age just makes you hotter, but you starting off our “relationship” with a lie makes me question everything else you’ve said. BUT, those are the liars- we’re here to talk about the guys who omit the answer. To them I’d ask what I did to those who deny announcing their race: what do you have to be ashamed of?
Age, like race, is nothing you can control and we ought to be proud of what we are instead of hiding it. Yes, some people absolutely discriminate based on these items but you.don’t.want.to.be.with.those.people. You don’t want a guy who’s only with you because you’ve turned the lights low and are wearing an Abercrombie and Fitch wife beater. Sorry, maybe you do want that- that’s your right- but then don’t complain when someone writes and article questions the ethics of said decision. Further, guys who hide or mask their age only contribute to the dumb notion that there’s anything to apologize for. There’s nothing wrong with being 30, 40 or 50 or white or black or south asian so don’t kowtow to the chunk of guys out there who would have you believe otherwise. It may seem “easy for me to say” being in my 20s and white but I won’t always be that age and as I said before I am by no means in the majority where I live.
Well, there’s my rant for the week. I’d really like to hear from those who have felt annoyed with omissions, guys who do it themselves or guys who have never thought about this. It’s something I hear a lot in talks between single friends of mine and wanted to posit it on the big stage. While I didn’t discuss the issue of HIV status in this article I know it’s a topic of concern for MANY out there. This one has possible legal ramifications that focus more on the black and white of its disclosure that vary from country to country and I didn’t want to announce something that may be true in Canada but certainly isn’t elsewhere. It may be a consideration for another day but certainly not for this article. That said, please express your stories of ambiguous profiles and disguised love below haha. I can’t wait to hear how I’m a jerk this time ;)