“The heart wants what it wants,” the saying goes, but even if that’s the case, does broadcasting a racial or ethnic preferences on a hookup app smack of honesty … or racism?
It’s a question many gay men have probably asked themselves in the age of Grindr, Scruff, Growlr, Jack’d and other such apps. “Not into Asian guys — sorry, just a preference” is probably familiar to some. Others are more coarse: “No blacks! No exceptions!”
This summer, the blog Angry Homosexual took up this cause with an experiment: The author (himself Asian) posted two profiles on Grindr with equally impressive stats and pictures. The only difference? One profile was for a white guy, one an Asian. And the author found that the white guy did a lot better in the dating market.
According to him, there’s a hierarchy that goes “white, Latino (honorary whites), Mixed, Asian, Black, Indian, etc.” I’m not sure where he gets all those stats, but I won’t dispute them here.
Anyone who knows me knows that I do not discriminate on race or ethnicity. I have been in relationships with white, Southeast Asian, Arab, black, mixed race and Latino men over my adult life. To me, hot is hot … and nice is nice, interesting is interesting, a good person is a good person. Am I attracted to men who “turn me on” more than those who have good qualities but I don’t find physically appealing? Sure, we all do. But race is never a factor for me.
I wonder if, once you start dating outside your own race, you have a sense for physical beauty that’s more expansive than if you never did. For instance: If you grew up idealizing blond hair and blue eyes, chances are black, Latin and Asian men don’t fit into that. But what if you dated a bald guy? Once you got beyond the color of the hair, and developed an attraction for a sleek head, would you start to think, “Hmmm… dark-skinned heads can be nice, too.”
The question I have about this, though, is: How do you feel about guys who express those preferences on their hookup profiles? If they aren’t attracted to one race, do you appreciate them being up-front about it so you don’t waste your time? Or is that assertion of one preference a breach of social decorum?
And maybe just as importantly: Does it matter what your race is? I mean, you rarely see “no white guys” on app profiles, so is being white the advantage the Angry Homosexual says it is? But I have seen black men saying “not into blacks” and Asians who do not wish to date other Asians. Is this better or worse?
And what about guys who only want a different race? Some men will ask, for instance, “You into black guys?” Is being into someone because of their race better or worse than not wanting someone for the same reason?
And how do you personally react when you see a same-sex interracial couple? Is it still a taboo?