I tried to make up for being short by affecting a strut, by adopting the voice of a much bigger man, by spending more money than I made, by tipping double or triple at bars and restaurants, by dating tall, beautiful women. —Mickey Rooney
I’m not too big on giving dating advice for the simple fact that dating is not something I have to do with any great frequency. Sure, I’ve had enough duds and disappointments to understand the emotions attached, but I don’t have the endless horror stories that I know some people experience, either. My criteria are fairly simple: she has to be smart, attractive enough that I’m not afraid to take her picture, and not likely to crush me if she slips and falls. Kat fills those requirements quite nicely along with several bonus points. I’m happy, thank you.
I never was any good at all the dating apps everyone seems to think are the solution to their relationship problems, though. Over the years, I think I’ve tried them all. Match never sparked anything. eHarmony outright turned me down. Plenty of Fish tended to smell. And Tinder left me totally depressed when no one ever swiped right. Yawn. Over it. I fail to see the attraction.
Apparently I’m an anomaly, though, or maybe I’m just too old. For people Kat’s age and younger, those apps are a significant part of their lives and reading their profiles can be very revealing. Sometimes, perhaps a bit more revealing than they intended. While we expect people to be a bit discriminating in whom they might choose to date, when that discrimination turns to blatant racism then perhaps it’s time we seriously started questioning who we are.
Since I’m not on any dating apps regularly, I didn’t realize there was a problem until the issue popped up on The Daily Show this past week. Host Trevor Noah has not been shy in tackling the topic of racism at all levels of society, which is necessary. Too many people think we have gotten past racism when in fact it is still just as entrenched as ever, we just make more of an effort to hide it. At least, we did until this presidential election cycle in which being racist seems to be a key plank in some candidates’ platform. The Daily Show’s Jessica Williams and Ronny Chieng applied their usual humor in exploring the topic. Take a look:
While the piece made me chuckle a few times, it also caused me to wonder just how widespread this problem of dating racism actually is. After all, I can see where the larger the sample, such as in New York or LA, the more frequently one might see the problem. Do the same signs show up in the Midwest as well? I knew the answer before I asked the question, but I went ahead and verified my suspicions anyway.
Checking up on racist dating isn’t easy for an aging white guy to do. First, I had to go back to all those apps, re-install them, and then request my passwords. Then, after updating my profiles a bit, with new pictures and such, I started looking at the profiles each app thought I should consider. Sure enough, the second profile I hit started with, “white guys only please.” Going on through, some were even more aggressive. “Asian men can keep their small dicks to themselves,” and, “Don’t talk to me if your whole family isn’t white.” Then, there were those who were outright offensive. I won’t bother repeating them. I spent less than 30 minutes on all the apps combined and found over 20 openly racist profiles.
What this shows is that not only are we more racist than I had realized, we’re also incredibly hypocritical. Ask people what they look for in a good relationship and they’ll almost always come back with the standard altruistic qualifiers such as kindness, intelligent, funny, hard working, good with children, and other such nonsense. Based on the profiles I saw, what women are really looking for is someone rich enough to take them nice places, has a house big enough for all their kids and pets, drives a nice car, is down for some kinky shit in the bedroom, and, oh yeah, had better be the right race.
A couple of things worth noting at this point. Obviously, being a straight male, I didn’t see any of the other guys’ profiles. I doubt I would be surprised, though. I’ve met too many men in the Midwest who wear their racism like a badge of honor. Also, the racist statements weren’t limited to white women. Black women, at least those in my immediate area, make the same statements against Hispanic and Asian men as do white women. Dating racism isn’t just “a white girl thing.”
What hurts is that we know better. There’s not a single one of us who wasn’t taught from the time we were very tiny that who we love isn’t a matter of looks or physical attraction, but a matter of hearts that are passionate for each other. I’ve often told Kat that I dislike the question, “Why do you love me?” Real love, where it dares to exist, has no qualifiers. We don’t love someone because they’re pretty, or tall, or a certain race. When we honestly, earnestly love someone, it is because we choose to love them. Period. End of statement. Love that must come with qualifications cannot be real for love must be pure or it doesn’t exist at all.
I know dating is difficult for a lot of people and yes, we are going to be naturally discriminating about certain qualities we find attractive. If we are being blatantly racist in our search, though, not only are we cutting ourselves off from really wonderful people, we’re also presenting ourselves as someone who hates. No one wants to date a hater. Someone who appears attractive on the outside and has hate on the inside is not someone most of us want even in our circle of acquaintances. No one needs a hater in their life.
This exercise made me really appreciate not being out in the dating scene. I saw a lot on those apps that was unattractive in so very many ways. I was rather shocked at how people chose to present themselves. Maybe it’s time for everyone to take a step back and consider who and what they really are. Find the hate and get the fuck over it. Not only will you be better for it, I dare say you’ll find the rest of the world more accepting as a result.