Speak Out : Preferences
I don’t know when we started saying this…or writing it, really since it appeared on profiles all over the apps and internet websites that we use for “dating”. It must have originated somewhere, and like all things PC it seemed a way to make something a little uncomfortable feel a little more easy to stomach.
“If you are fat, ugly, Asian or black don’t message me. Sorry, just my preference”.
“Only into white guys who are masculine and fit. Not, repeat NOT, into blacks, Asians, fatties, oldies or fems. Don’t get pissed; it’s just my preference.”
Statements like these confuse me. How could someone NOT get angry over a statement like that? It’s like me showing up to a family dinner at your house and saying, “I’m not sure I want to eat this because your fat, ugly mother cooked it. Hey, don’t get mad it’s just my preference”. The statement itself is not some magical band-aid that suddenly makes everything better. The words are hateful and cruel. Hateful and cruel things are specifically geared to hurt people and cause damage.
I tried to understand. It makes sense to me that a gay man would want to connect with someone that they are genuinely attracted to, but I think the problem is that we fail to draw the correct etiquette because we have nothing telling us exactly what is expected of us. The apps don’t come out directly and say “this app is designed so that you can specifically find someone to have sex with”. They sell themselves as “dating” apps, and what in the hell does that even mean to your average gay guy? Most peoples’ version of dating is laughable at best. Everyone knows the jokes; “Oh, Mark and Alex are totally in love…they’ve been together for a whole month…a whole month!!!” We chuckle at the absurdity of people who fall in love because they have the same colour eyes or they both happen to like True Blood. We laugh ourselves into six pack abdominal muscles over guys who spend one night having sex and then are madly in love with each other the next morning. Somewhere in our minds we understand that actual romance is much more complex than “hey! we both like oxygen!”
So if my goal was to only have sex, “just my preference” would make a little more sense to me. If I’m shopping for something to wear and you hand me something I don’t like…it’s not insulting to say “I don’t think so…let me look at something else” – so I believe that translates to hooking up. But many of us are not ONLY looking to hook up and we go on these “dating” websites and apps because we are actually looking to date. We meet up on the hunting grounds and then get pulverized by men who are in no way interested in dating. Seduction is either an art or a performance of manipulation to those who don’t do it well. If I know your profile says “looking for conversation, dates and gentlemen” and I want to fuck you…I will converse, ask you out on a date and be a gentleman because that is the language that will catch your attention. That is if I’m actually looking to date you. If I’m looking to have sex, I’ll use those same qualities to get in your bed and then move on to the next profile.
But in the end…it’s still ugly. It’s still mean and it’s still cruel. The same people who huff and say “oh you just don’t understand, you’re being ridiculous!” are the same people who have “just my preference” on their profile and we’re basically teaching gay guys to isolate one another and segregate one another but try to make it sound very logical and pretty. After all, it’s just my preference.
Racism and discrimination are exactly those things, and putting “just my preference” tacked to the end of it doesn’t make it prettier. We need to understand that it’s okay to say hello to people who are not exactly your sexual preference. If your profile says “looking for friends” then don’t be an asshole when someone messages you trying to make a friend. If your profile says “I say hi to everyone; I’m very friendly” then don’t be rude and ignore people who actually say hi to you because you’re “so friendly”. If you can’t say hi to someone because they’re too ugly for you, then you need to change your profile to reflect that. “Hi…I’m friendly, but only to [these] people” or “hi, i’m only looking for sex…and [these] are the people I enjoy having sex with. Not looking to expand my sexual preference”. I could accept a profile like that. It might not make me happy, especially if I don’t happen to fit into those parameters, but I can’t get angry at you when you have what you want so blatantly explained.
If you can’t sit down and have a cup of coffee with someone because they’re fat, [enter race], older, younger, etc. then that isn’t “just my preference”, it’s your basic discrimination and [whatever]ism. Learn to separate what you want sexually with your basic social interaction, and learn to communicate exactly what you want with those things. But we have to quit hurting one another with these ridiculous phrases we come up with in order to mask the uglier side of being gay. If we do that…I think we have a pretty promising future both with one another and society in general.
A4A member : MakeMeABird