Me, Myself and Grindr

Linked hands, symbolic of so many things.

Darius Dupins / Staff Writer

darius.dupins@fiusm.com

Don’t you hate it when you’re on Grindr, or the other countless gay dating or hookup apps, and you see a guy who’s aesthetically pleasing, but his profile states “no fats, no femmes” or “no blacks plz”? It’s absolutely devastating because at first glance you think, “Wow! This guy and I are destined to take over the world!” He could be your Francis Underwood to your Claire Underwood, your Ben Wyatt to your Leslie Knope or your Martin to your Gina.

Immediately, insecurities consume you; rushing to the forefront of your mind like a California landslide, prompting you to second guess your physical self. Then you begin reminiscing on the time you noticed the young George Clooney doppelganger grimace at you, which causes you to think it was because of the way your voice sounded like a fleeting soprano instead of a husky baritone. I’m not saying sounding like a soprano when you talk is bad but in this new gay culture, any trait of femininity is looked at as a weakness; traits that “make the rest of us look bad.”

Grindr, Growlr, Scruff and Jack’d are breeding grounds for headless, torso pictures. It’s rare that the average gay dating app user gets the chance to marvel at three faces in a row before an onslaught of aggressive four and six pack abs have hijacked your phone’s screen.

I, personally, am a bit of a thick individual. Fairly athletic and never the one to obsess over what I eat or how many times I go to the gym within the week. I like my body and I also love food. I grew up in a southern home, raised by a black mother who’s well versed in the kitchen. Don’t ever think a slice of homemade cornbread or collard greens missed this mouth.

I appreciate a bit of struggle in the face; think Vince Vaughn at the age of 42 or Benedict Cumberbatch at every age of his life up to his current age of 39. Instead of ripped abs, I prefer a bit of flat tire, a young “dad body” in training, if you will; the kind of body that works out occasionally but appreciates a beer and a box of dozen donuts.

The gay community values chiseled abs and a strong jawline more than anything else, but it seems to have gotten to the point where our fellow gay is body shamed for not having at least a muscular chest. Though it’s important to take care of our bodies, it’s also important that as a group of gay men, we not body shame each other. We’re discriminated against enough as it is from people outside of our community; there’s no need to bring it inside our community.

It’s come to my attention that gay men spend a lot of time in venues that place a premium on physical appearance: bars, gyms and gay dating apps. We live in a highly sexualized subculture that already places high standards on physical beauty while mainstream media assaults us with more images of impossibly high standards of beauty and masculinity.

Meeting someone organically isn’t impossible but it is a hard feat to conquer. You don’t know their likes or dislikes, not sure what kind of music they like or whether or not they prefer fats or femmes.

Would it be more convenient if we all had a thought bubble hanging above our heads that included our physical statistics, an “About Me” section and an optional dating history feature? Yes, but what would be the point in talking to your future ex-husband if those facts are already known?

I don’t hate or think less of dating or hookup apps such as Grindr, Scruff and the others – I have two of them! What I don’t appreciate is the constant body shaming and racism that’s masked as “preference.”

When your profile says “no blacks,” it’s a form of racism. It’s like saying, “Git, boy! Your kind ain’t welcome ‘round these parts!” I’ve always wanted to know, what specifically about “blacks” was so undesirable to these men.

Gay dating apps were developed out of a need to have a safe place for gay men to interact and meet potential friends and partners because in a heteronormative society, it’s pretty difficult to do so.

Regardless if it’s Tinder, Grindr or at a funeral, I’m bound to meet my Vince Vaughn. But for now, it’s about sifting through “Masc for masc” and “no blacks” profiles until I find the cutest guy with the most struggle in the face that loves every black, feminine trait about me.

 

5 Comments on "Me, Myself and Grindr"

  1. It’s not racist at all to specify ethnic preferences on a dating site if you have them. Perhaps these people simply aren’t attracted to people who look a certain way. You, for example, list very specific physical preferences of your own right before you proceed to reprimand others for having their own. Most people cannot control who they’re attracted to. If they could, everyone using grindr could be called a sexist, using this logic, because they aren’t interested in women.

    "What I don’t appreciate is the constant body shaming and sexism that’s masked as ‘preference’. When your profile says ‘no women’ it’s a form of sexism. It’s like saying, ‘Git, girl! Your kind ain’t welcome ’round these parts!’ I’ve always wanted to know, what specifically about ‘women’ was so undesirable to these men."

    If someone had written that paragraph, it probably wouldn’t be published here.

  2. If you don’t think it is racism or body shaming then how about answering this: What happens when your thought process and your interests become influenced by the standards that are set in place by this culture? What happens when you no longer have agency, and you accept these standards? What will happen if the standard for beauty in America states that black is not beautiful and then becomes discourse? Will society reject black people even though they cannot reach this standard of beauty?

    This is beyond preference, as the writer had said in the beginning. If you accept these standards that this culture has spoon fed you, then you are no longer working within your agency. You are just influenced by a scripted group, and when the majority becomes a part of this script then we will see how this culture shames being black or not having a desirable body.

    To give a shot at answering your last point, anonymous, I don’t think that argument is completely sound. Even though I can understand where you are coming from, I don’t necessarily agree with your perspective. When you compare a sex organ and the melanin of someone’s skin, I can see how you are saying that they are just aspects of the body. I think that might be a fair argument, however there is a problem when comparing them at the same time. The writer is trying to point out a particular group that is becoming targets of contempt by the masses. I will argue that women can still fit the standard of beauty and become desirable as long as they fit that image. There are people who accept them that way even though I don’t agree with this discourse personally, and also that I don’t think that anyone should be shunned for any reason. Unfortunately, this does in fact exist. However, if an entire society says black is not beautiful then how can they become beautiful? Black people cannot change the color of their skin. So by substituting the word “blacks” with “women” you can in fact miss a great point. Yeah maybe gay men won’t have a preference for women, however that aspect does not in fact exclude women at all. But when the majority’s discourse states that black is not beautiful then there is a problem don’t you think?

  3. If you don’t think it is racism or body shaming then how about answering this: What happens when your thought process and your interests become influenced by the standards that are set in place by this culture? What happens when you no longer have agency, and you accept these standards? What will happen if the standard for beauty in America states that black is not beautiful and then becomes discourse? Will society reject black people even though they cannot reach this standard of beauty?

    This is beyond preference, as the writer had said in the beginning. If you accept these standards that this culture has spoon fed you, then you are no longer working within your agency. You are just influenced by a scripted group, and when the majority becomes a part of this script then we will see how this culture shames being black or not having a desirable body.

    To give a shot at answering your last point, anonymous, I don’t think that argument is completely sound. Even though I can understand where you are coming from, I don’t necessarily agree with your perspective. When you compare a sex organ and the melanin of someone’s skin, I can see how you are saying that they are just aspects of the body. I think that might be a fair argument, however there is a problem when comparing them at the same time. The writer is trying to point out a particular group that is becoming targets of contempt by the masses. I will argue that women can still fit the standard of beauty and become desirable as long as they fit that image. There are people who accept them that way even though I don’t agree with this discourse personally, and also that I don’t think that anyone should be shunned for any reason. Unfortunately, this does in fact exist. However, if an entire society says black is not beautiful then how can they become beautiful? Black people cannot change the color of their skin. So by substituting the word “blacks” with “women” you can in fact miss a great point. Yeah maybe gay men won’t have a preference for women, however that aspect does not in fact exclude women at all. But when the majority’s discourse states that black is not beautiful then there is a problem don’t you think?

  4. "When your profile says “no blacks,” it’s a form of racism"

    Why as a gay man can I not have preferences in what I date? Just because I don’t like black penis doesn’t make me the KKK.

    • Regardless of your "preferences" and how they evolved, I think the point is how they are expressed can be very hurtful. Imagine standing on a stage while people judging your physical body hold up signs saying "fat", "fish-belly white", "cross-eyed", "knock-kneed", "ugly". Now those may all be valid perceptions of those particular people, and they can legitimately argue that those features of yours turn them off, but being the recipient of an onslaught of those judgements fucking hurts. And that’s how it feels reading them on these apps. And writing them doesn’t make you "honest", it makes you cruel. And if you’re slashing the rejection knife to ensure you don’t get unwanted replies that just makes you lazy. It is quite possible to state what you do like and want in a guy – and if anyone who responds doesn’t float your boat you can diplomatically reply with "sorry, dude, just not feeling the chemistry".

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