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Lost in Space
October 9, 2012 7:38 AM   Subscribe

As I watched my anonymous photo upload, I felt a naughty pang–the type you have surely felt if you, like me, have ever cast your sexual desires out into the two-dimensional, glowing, public/private hybrid world that is the Internet. That first time you pressed “send,” there was a panic that it could all go very, very wrong—but it’s worth it, you think, because you’re kind of horny.

via
posted by latkes (112 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Dr. Smith, to the bridge"


"Doctor were is the robot"
posted by clavdivs at 7:41 AM on October 9, 2012


"But men who put NO ASIANS on their profile are not stating a preference… it’s even weirder than that: You’re looking for a fellow Asian hater to date. You’re using the disguise of a semi–socially acceptable way to say you’re a racist and looking to hook up with other racists.”

Boy do I not get this argument. Is it really racist to not be sexually attracted to a specific race?
posted by Outlawyr at 7:52 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh hey there giant reminder why I got married at 27. Sup?
posted by The Whelk at 7:56 AM on October 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


Just to tidy up this derail really fast:

Is it really racist to not be sexually attracted to a specific race?

The short answer is yes. The longer answer is, "If you're really, in earnest, not attracted to an ENTIRE RACE OF PEOPLE -- you might want to do some introspection and consider why that might be and what it could possibly say about you."

(HINT: It says you are racist.)
posted by StopMakingSense at 8:05 AM on October 9, 2012 [64 favorites]


Boy do I not get this argument. Is it really racist to not be sexually attracted to a specific race?

In other words: Is it racial discrimination to discriminate between potential lovers based on their race?

Is that what you'd like someone to answer?
posted by Mike Smith at 8:07 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


StopMakingSense: without addressing the substance of your comment, do you earnestly believe that what you said is going to de-derail anything? Let's watch and see.
posted by blue t-shirt at 8:08 AM on October 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Boy do I not get this argument. Is it really racist to not be sexually attracted to a specific race?

I like the movie Secretary a lot and am not into BDSM. But if it's on a dating profile, odds are it hints at something pretty specific in an intentional manner.
posted by jsturgill at 8:09 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't know if it is capital R racist, but it sure seems weird to me. The world is full of beautiful people, so why on earth you would arbitrarily cut out whole swathes of them I do not understand.
posted by Forktine at 8:09 AM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Boy do I not get this argument. Is it really racist to not be sexually attracted to a specific race?

No, but it's the sort of thing that deserves a few minutes' thought if nothing else - maybe spend a bit of time turning it over in one's head and seeing if maybe this has something to do with socially-learned attitudes or what have you. But if you've done that introspection and whatever other race (or your own!) just doesn't butter your bread then okay: if they don't do it for you, they don't do it for you, and that ain't no crime.

On the other hand, I do think it's kind of crappy (and yeah, fairly racist) to put it in a dating profile. It's par for the course to not respond to anyone who doesn't happen to turn your crank; if an Asian person writes, and they don't hear back, then hey whatever. They don't need to know that their race had anything to do with it.

Without that disclaimer, they can just figure they're in the same box as anyone else who didn't happen to attract you. With that disclaimer, they haven't even written to you and they, a complete stranger, know that there are actually two boxes: people you weren't attracted to, and people you weren't attracted to because they're Asian.

In other words, it's not racist to have things you are and aren't attracted to; it's kind of racist to treat it as different from any other quality you're not attracted to.

Now back to the gay hookup thread!
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:11 AM on October 9, 2012 [20 favorites]


People who are not into anything - race, gender, height, weight, body type, hair, hair color, religion, whether Ralph meant he literally dreams he is a Viking or it was a metaphor... there's an ism label for almost everything.

I'm not sure that makes you a better person for walking around wanting to have sex with just about anyone. It is more convenient.
posted by Muddler at 8:12 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


COUNTER DERAIL: I really like the illustrations with this article.
posted by roger ackroyd at 8:15 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


The world is full of beautiful people, so why on earth you would arbitrarily cut out whole swathes of them I do not understand.

I don't think it's racist to just not be attracted to a certain look or colouring. I hardly ever find red-headed men appealing. I don't think the pasty white skin that generally accompanies red hair looks good on a man. Now and then I come across one who tans, and then hellooooooo honey! Am I ginger-est? Before you decide on that you'll have to take into consideration the fact that I have red hair myself.
posted by orange swan at 8:19 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


One of the most difficult things to witness is when you see some young boy, at 23, who has joined a hookup site and has a dorky and witty profile with a photo of himself in glasses and a frumpy blazer. He says things like “Well, I don’t know what I am looking for but maybe to get together with someone and explore! I love Harry Potter and big ideas!” And then, over the course of a year, you see him understand how he needs to signal, and he ends up naked, on all fours, with a practiced porno look on his face, exposing his anus.
This made me so sad. Angry too, but mostly sad.
Sometimes I fear my desire for love is being unfairly sharecropped without me even getting a percentage of the profit. The constant searching concerns me the most. You are always looking for results, constantly hitting refresh, and this is a contraction of identity that the market forces are only too happy to keep you trapped within. There is this feeling that you will never be satisfied and it hovers over you while you look and look. You may want something permanent, but it’s difficult to grasp onto anything permanent when people flip through each other’s profiles like magazines.

My tall friend with the Frisbee is right: it is an anxiety that we are often trying to relieve, an anxiety that is self-perpetuating. But it is also something more. Under that word “anxiety” and the frantic desire to scratch it like an itch, there is an un-met need for love, for sex. In the electronic world, this need can become something you shop for just like a flat-screen TV, or the perfect shoe on Zappos.com.

You can be kept spinning in a hamster wheel of wanting, thinking that is just what you wanted, when what you really yearned for was intimacy, love, or maybe just an orgasm so you could get on with your day.
This too. I think it's dead-on though. Fucking with our human emotions benefits capitalism, to keep us dissatisfied, searching... and of course spending. We are taught to treat each other as commodities and the cruelty only becomes apparent when you realize that means you are a commodity too - who cares about your humanity if you can't make money off it? Who cares when you're not a good-enough commodity anymore, when you get sick or old, when you're not attractive enough, when you don't know how to market yourself in just the right way, to sell yourself?
posted by flex at 8:20 AM on October 9, 2012 [22 favorites]


I don't think it's racist to just not be attracted to a certain look or colouring.

It's not racist to not be attracted to someone based on any given criteria, but it is kinda racist to eliminate someone sight unseen just because they belong to a certain group of people.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:23 AM on October 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


Just today I heard from someone named Jake, on Facebook. His body is covered with alluring tattoos. He has four hundred photos of himself on the beaches of Ibiza, well organized into folders based on color, time of day, mood. I have never met this man but he sends me attentive messages every week or two, just to make sure I am still there. I am here, Jake, I am here.

Harumph - did better then me. I had the frumpy blazer and only ever got responses from older creeper guys (most likely married to ladies!) and other dorky, chunky college students who when push came to shove just wanted someone to get high with and watch mst3k with cause we're so ACHINGLY LONELY.
posted by The Whelk at 8:24 AM on October 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


Before you decide on that you'll have to take into consideration the fact that I have red hair myself.

Please, the stereotype of the self-hating gingerist is so common it's passe at this point.
posted by bswinburn at 8:26 AM on October 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Thanks for this. It was really thought provoking, even though I'm straight and I've never really done the online dating thing, let alone online hookups. I was especially struck by the evocation of "The Circuit" from Logan's Run. The idea of something like that being both sexually liberating and psychically debilitating always intrigued me.

roger ackroyd: COUNTER DERAIL: I really like the illustrations with this article.
Agreed. Although I do have to say that the site designer needs to seriously rethink the choice of Chronicle for the font, or at least make sure they didn't accidentally choose the semi-bold weight. Seriously, the text was a nightmare to read.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:26 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


There is every reason in the world why the perceptual machinery we use to identify different racial groups would evolve. From the "selfish gene" perspective, a gene which guarantees the survival of your siblings with 50% success is just as good as one that guarantees your own survival 100% of the time. It would make good evolutionary sense for an organism to help conspecifics that look most like it, because they're likely to be related.

Of course, a baby learns who looks like it in a similar way as baby ducklings --- observing the features of its caretakers and presumptive parents. There's plenty of room for non-genetic factors to get involved.

Racism is something different: we tend to use this word when a human with a fully developed cortex and rational morality doesn't behave with racial equity in the social world we live in. It's a higher-level choice an individual can make, or a higher-order systemic problem resulting from small tendencies of individuals writ large. But the biological underpinnings that merely allows automatic recognition of certain physical features---that's not racist, that's a fact of life.

I would suggest that to have a strong attraction for people of a particular race isn't racist, but a biological/developmental quirk. It would be conceited to think that disqualifying large groups of people as possible mates ab initio somehow makes them worse off (ie, is "racist"). It'd be your own loss if considered against other possible yous, but just a fact of life when considered against the actual you, with your built-in proclivities.
posted by phenylphenol at 8:26 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Look, my parents were trampled to death by a team of trained mugger sheep in a dark alley when I was but a lad.

So if I want an anonymous gay hookup when I'm not out fighting crime and I put NO NEW ZEALANDERS on my profile... well, just stop JUDGING me. I can't help it.
posted by delfin at 8:28 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think I just put my finger on what bothers me most about someone stating "NO ASIANS" in their profile. I am repelled by profiles with these kinds of blanket demands in them and never respond to them, even when I am not at all in the disqualified category, because a man who would write such a thing is not someone who treats people as individuals. There's nothing wrong with having preferences, but it's important to preserve a certain openness and fairness and to look at people case-by-case. It's so disrespectful, so dehumanizing, to just write off an entire subset of the human race as not worthy of your love.
posted by orange swan at 8:30 AM on October 9, 2012 [31 favorites]


wait ...26. I got married at 26. Having a september birthday is confusing.
posted by The Whelk at 8:32 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


The distinction between thinking "no asians" and actually putting it in your profile is an interesting one.

(By the way, this isn't a derail, it's right in the article. The "Derail Police" should take a well deserved holiday)
posted by Outlawyr at 8:33 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fucking with our human emotions benefits capitalism, to keep us dissatisfied, searching... [...] Who cares when you're not a good-enough commodity anymore

And if the point of the piece is to expose and explore the way sex on hookup sites is thoroughly commodified, and to capture some of the feelings that go along with the self-commodification necessary to participate in those specific communities, it's a great thing to read. But then it seems like Albo keeps wanting the ultimate point to be broader — to have to do with the nature of desire itself, rather than the way this specific bunch of websites and website-using guys have educated their desires — and that feels like a bit of a stretch. Often he generalizes away some of the lessons that might be useful in a more specific form, attributing all the demons of this specific hookup-site form of commodified sex to "the Internet" — "the Internet has fused advertising with sexual desire" and claims like that — and it's hard to buy this kind of generality as a useful analysis. (Similarly with all the quasi-Buddhist stuff about the nature of "desire," where this is clearly one form of desire, not so clearly the only one.)

I feel a little bad for Harry Potter Kid too, but basically he's just learned to work within the norms of a specific community because he wanted to join it and participate in it, right? Maybe (like the doctor in the joke) someone should just be counseling Albo: "Don't do that, then." Surely there are other communities and other websites, where other kinds of intimacy and community are possible?
posted by RogerB at 8:38 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Boy do I not get this argument. Is it really racist to not be sexually attracted to a specific race?


Yes. But everyone is a little bit racist.

However I would rather people not hide their racial preferences, it's a timesaver for me.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 8:39 AM on October 9, 2012


[Folks, don't turn this into a discussion about affirmative action and try to stick to topics more or less in the article please. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:40 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Muscle daddies in jockstraps twerking at circuit parties. I watched twinks grow beards and become otters at the Faultline. All those online profiles will be lost in time, like jizz in the shower. Time to get offline.
posted by roger ackroyd at 8:40 AM on October 9, 2012 [26 favorites]


As a straight guy who has dated online I'm leery of women who don't want a guy who is [ethnicity/race] even I don't fall into the rejected category. You can't control attraction, but if it's so important that they have to put it on their profile, I'd be concerned about some of their views.
posted by ersatz at 8:43 AM on October 9, 2012 [11 favorites]


I still do believe in the glorious Wired magazine ethos that our technology connects humanity. I want to believe that our increasing interconnectivity can help us integrate our sexual sides with ourselves instead being shamed by what we are feeling. In this dream world of mine, I imagine a time when we will all just be totally naked on our Facebook pages.
I've been sympathetic to the optimism towards technology that Wired magazine, Clay Shirky et. al. express, though I'm starting to appreciate the complexities that come with digital human connection. There's potential for positive outcomes, sure, but then it's just as likely that things will be terrible.

I kind of like this, that human relations are messy no matter what forum they're held in.
posted by onwords at 8:47 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


oh god roger ackroyd that link is triggering my manhunt-related PTSD
posted by The Whelk at 8:50 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


but basically he's just learned to work within the norms of a specific community because he wanted to join it and participate in it

Do you think? I feel like that kind of conditioning happens in our teenage/young adult years - this is what sexy is, this is what I have to do to be sexy, if I am sexy enough then I will not only have fun but find intimacy and love. I think there is a big difference between hooking-up as fun exploration - there is an innocence and acknowledgment of unique humanity to that - that does not feel present in this kind of jadedness, this sort of fast-food approach to sex; I don't think it's necessarily so much about what people really want as what people feel they are supposed to do in order to find sexual connection.

attributing all the demons of this specific hookup-site form of commodified sex to "the Internet" — "the Internet has fused advertising with sexual desire" and claims like that

But to me that doesn't feel like a specious generality - having the Internet/technology to connect with others changes how we connect in so many ways, doesn't it? - because it's so fast, it's so much larger a pool of potential; the seduction is absolutely in how you can sift through to find just what you want, made-to-order. But then you've got to pitch yourself as well, you've got to deal with the idea that maybe no one wants all your messy humanity, they'll reject you just as you'll reject others.
posted by flex at 9:08 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just got a message from BigMascHOmbre who has a profile that reads “Be true to yourself. I am an honest person and Brad Pitt lookalike!”

You have to be attention-grabbing and snappy and quick to get noticed online, using your sharpest skills at packaging and branding to draw attention to yourself—like a jingle with pecs.


Brilliant.

Two young guys in tank tops sat down next to me. [] I could tell they were on a date. “So where do you work?” Floppy Hair asked the tall one. []

I felt for the tall one. He seemed nervous but willing to give things a shot. That is exactly the kind of guy I could be with, I said to myself. But there he was, on an honest, real world date doing simple honest activities like coffee and Frisbee. I sat there feeling a sadness swell inside me like a gust of wind. People are around me, effortlessly dating and in love, and I am a clunky keyboard, typing out my emotions to anyone who will hear them, spread too thin.


That's the kind of question you only ask on online dates, isn't it? Not surprised that he ended up finding the guy online.
posted by ersatz at 9:20 AM on October 9, 2012


Boy do I not get this argument. Is it really racist to not be sexually attracted to a specific race?

No, and people who don't understand the difference need to think a bit harder.
posted by Decani at 9:20 AM on October 9, 2012


Let's put it another way: is it homophobic not to be attracted to the same sex?
posted by Decani at 9:21 AM on October 9, 2012 [15 favorites]


There are certainly places in this world with numerous fantastically ugly people, Outlawyr, but mostly we're talking in-bread little islands or valleys, never whole continents. I'd expect you'll find attractive people anyplace, heck even Manchester. ;)

I'm personally biased towards certain cultures that I consider particularly pleasant, mostly continental European, especially southern Europeans, but that's an expectation for mental attraction, not a physical attraction.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:22 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know what? I don't like drama or haters. Who does, really? But I don't put "NO DRAMA OR HATERS" in my profile, because it is well known that a person who goes out of the way to say "NO DRAMA OR HATERS" in their dating profile is, um, actually probably kind of insane.

My point is that you don't actually NEED to explicitly state every single thing you hate in your profile. When you do, all other people see is "wow this person sure hates a lot of things." If someone isn't really into Asian guys, she can just not respond to Asian guys- going out of the way to say "NO ASIAN GUYS" is just... weird.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:24 AM on October 9, 2012 [16 favorites]


Metafilter: Now back to the gay hookup thread!
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 9:27 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


" Professional " on a gay dating sites carries so much more coded meaning then NO DRAMA, which just means the person is a huge drama factory.
posted by The Whelk at 9:28 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


The pro-evolutionary survival argument brought up to justify why it is okay to be racist and say "no Asians" gives me two thoughts:

1) Take that argument far enough, and it sounds to me like an argument in support of incest/inbreeding. Not good, on many levels.

2) I have a homozygous recessive genetic disorder (in laymen's terms, both parents have to contribute a defective gene to pass it on). It is arguably best for my (hypothetical future) kids if daddy is not too much "like" me. It is best if he isn't a carrier.

It is a predominantly white European and Jewish disorder. I am predominantly white European. For a time after being diagnosed, I gravitated largely to non-white males. It wasn't intentional. It was partly just easier. For a long time after my initial diagnosis, the idea of hooking up with a white man and potentially ending up unexpectedly pregnant with another child with my disorder gave me the heebie jeebies. It was a "my worst nightmare" scenario. So it was just easier to make small talk with men who weren't making me feel from the first flirtation like "Oh.My.God. We need to have an Extremely Serious Talk!!!!"

Still, in spite of non-white males joking about buying me a t-shirt that said "No white meat" or similar, I did not exclude whites up front. One answer that worked just fine for me: "I have had a vasectomy." Super. I can stop freaking out. It's just a hookup.

So I am firmly in the camp of "It's racist and inappropriate to say No Asians in a profile." I think I have an extremely good, healthy reason to be somewhat hesitant to date whites which has nothing to do with being racist per se and I concluded it really doesn't work to go around announcing up front "No whites", even though, on some level, the entire reverse racism thing of a white woman wholesale rejecting white men (or appearing to) would give me a giggle.
posted by Michele in California at 9:29 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: No drama or haters
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 9:30 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is it really racist to not be sexually attracted to a specific race?

By definition!

Bigger derailable questions: is "own race bias" racist? Is it "natural"? Is then racism "natural"? Oh, the questions ...

is it homophobic not to be attracted to the same sex?

That's a ridiculous analogy. Sex is real; race is a social construction.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:36 AM on October 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


If you want to bring in evolution, we should all be in mixed-race partnerships, because hybrids have more vigor. Have you noticed how beautiful so many biracial (or tri- or quad-) people are?

One of the most difficult things to witness is when you see some young boy, at 23, who has joined a hookup site and has a dorky and witty profile with a photo of himself in glasses and a frumpy blazer.

It sounds like he wasn't looking to hookup, but for a relationship.
posted by jb at 9:38 AM on October 9, 2012


zombieflanders: It's not racist to not be attracted to someone based on any given criteria, but it is kinda racist to eliminate someone sight unseen just because they belong to a certain group of people.
THERE! THAT!
Decani: Let's put it another way: is it homophobic not to be attracted to the same sex?
Homophobic is not analogous to not wanting to date Asians. The analogous phrase you were looking for is "heterosexual", and - yes, yes it is heterosexual not to be attracted to the same sex.

Yes, it's racist. It's not racist on the level of cross-burning lynch mobs. It's not the same as thinking the Jews are behind the plot to control world governments. But it's not race-indifferent, by any means. It prejudges a single human being on the basis of their race. That's racism.

It's not a statistical statement ("You are black, and therefore have a higher likelihood of sickle-cell anemia than a white person does, all other things being equal.") It's a judgment on a personal level, based on a gigantically diverse group-association.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:40 AM on October 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Decani: "Let's put it another way: is it homophobic not to be attracted to the same sex?"

No. But that's not an equivalent argument.

Saying, "No Asians Need Apply" is still racist. The person in question is saying that even though they will date a particular sex, there is a subset of people of that sex that they absolutely refuse to consider dating because of their race. By definition, that's racist.
posted by zarq at 9:41 AM on October 9, 2012


(BTW, I'm still firmly in the camp of "People who feel this way should put "No Asians!" in their profiles, for the same reason I want people with poor grammar to post uncorrected: it's a strong flag to those of us who dislike that.)

(Openly anti-bad-grammarist, too. Dyslexics can get help from spellcheck for important posts like dating site profiles; msging & txts r lesss formal.)
posted by IAmBroom at 9:45 AM on October 9, 2012


We have already experienced this derail and it was gross last time. No more IMO.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:46 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


So I am firmly in the camp of "It's racist and inappropriate to say No Asians in a profile."

How about "no short men"? ;)

Sorry. That was a great article, and really hit a lot of things square:

I am on every single social network, friend manager, media organizer—even LinkedIn.

lolz.

Brian said he had my email in his junk folder.

Riiight.

Of course, all of these depictions try to be sexy even when they are dystopian. None expresses the scrolling and tapping and time-eating mundanity of it all—the multifarious cross attempts at meeting, the confusing juggling of names and profiles and handles and facts, all filed away in both your brain and computer. Eventually, you become, more and more, one being with fingers that type and eyes that scan and a boner searching through a grid of code.

Nice.

Under that word “anxiety” and the frantic desire to scratch it like an itch, there is an un-met need for love, for sex. In the electronic world, this need can become something you shop for just like a flat-screen TV, or the perfect shoe on Zappos.com.

That's the part where you take the next step and realize that your desires (for love, for sex, for money, for fun, for food ...) are insatiable and you have to get past them. That's a tough step.

aybe I am just trying to convince myself that it’s okay to be a total ho-bag, but I think sex can be a spiritual pursuit

I really struggle with that one myself. One day I'm a yogi; the next just another ho-bag.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:49 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Everyone's a little bit racist.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:52 AM on October 9, 2012


I saw the best minds of my generation in jockstraps twerking at circuit parties, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through hookup sites at dawn looking for an angry fix,
Angel-headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection
to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night...
posted by gwint at 9:53 AM on October 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


I don't think it's racist to just not be attracted to a certain look or colouring.

Just a friendly reminder that Asians are not one color.

I can't stop rolling my eyes long enough to refute the "certain look" with respect to Asians. It reminds me of the MeFi thread on racebending in Avatar: TLA, where several posters argued in seriousness that Aang had Caucasian features.

Just a friendly reminder that the majority of Asians have round eyes. Try to understand that Asians comprise the majority of the world population and have widely varying "looks" among us.
posted by fatehunter at 10:04 AM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is it really racist to not be sexually attracted to a specific race?

By definition!


I kind of agree with this, but I also imagine there are few people engaged in online dating who are not ageist. Most are “sexist”, in the sense that they are prescriptive (and proscriptive) about the sex of potential partners. But much in the same way that “discrimination” is shorthand for “unfair or unjust discrimination”, racism is shorthand for “unfair or unjust discrimination on the basis of race”, and people are so sensitive to the race element that there’s a question as to whether it can ever be fair or just (the classic example is an acting role, in which it might be viewed that there is no characteristic of the actor that is not potentially significant, but even that is breaking down).

Your preferences are your preferences, and when stated explicitly, always come across as cold and exclusive. Must be this tall. Between these ages. This sex. Must have answered questions W and X in ways Y and Z. You’re always cutting out swaths of people on the basis of broad characteristic, denying yourself the chance to be pleasantly surprised. That’s the nature of this particular game. This is not a job. You don’t owe anyone your companionship or a spot in your bed.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:35 AM on October 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


But it's not race-indifferent, by any means. It prejudges a single human being on the basis of their race. That's racism.

I'd agree it's not racially indifferent. But something niggles at me about the word "prejudge". Judgement implies consciousness, discernment. But attraction is unconscious. You can't make yourself be attracted to someone you're not attracted to, even if not being attracted to them does say bad things about you as a person. Attraction doesn't seem like something any of us controls, though what we are attracted to may be conditioned. You don't decide to drool when the bell rings, you just do.

If not being attracted to people of a given race is bad and one should try to remedy that tendency, what about only being attracted to chicks with big boobs or dudes with big shoulders? Or being attracted to images of pain and violence? I wonder how much about our desires we truly control. (how we act, sure.)
posted by Diablevert at 10:36 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is it really racist to not be sexually attracted to a specific race?

To me, the dealbreaker is this: okay, you might be reasonably sure that you are very unlikely to ever find an Asian person attractive. It's a pretty big assumption, but that's your business - or indeed, since you might miss out on the most wonderful and compatible person you could ever hope to meet by ruling Asian people out at the start, it's your problem.

But as others have said, you don't have to put it on your profile. You could just not respond to Asian suitors, same as you don't respond to any other suitor who doesn't attract you. That keeps it your problem.

When you oblige any Asian person flicking through the website to read a big 'NO ASIANS' notice ... you are making it their problem. It is, after all, addressed directly to Asian people reading it, and addressed with no consideration or courtesy at all: 'HEY YOU, DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT.' They're just trying to find a date, and suddenly, without warning, they hit this notice reminding them that the world is full of people who class them as a single homogenous group and treat them worse on that account, and now their day is just a little bit shittier than it had to be.

You don't have to date anyone you don't want to date, including Asian people. But it's good manners not to write a profile that'll give them an unprovoked poke in the eye.
posted by Kit W at 10:37 AM on October 9, 2012 [12 favorites]


But what if an asian guy or girl writes "NO ASIANS" in their profile. Is that still racist?

I know people who would fit that bill.
posted by flippant at 10:53 AM on October 9, 2012


But bad manners isn't racism, and I don't agree with those who say it's racist by definition. I think you need to know why the person wrote "No Asians" or "No Whites" or whatever. Do they think people of that race are inferior? Racist. But they could have a non-racist reason. Among those I would include people who have decided that based on their lack of attraction to people of that race so far, they aren't ever going to be attracted to someone of that race. They might be using faulty logic, but I don't think it's necessarily racist.
posted by Outlawyr at 10:55 AM on October 9, 2012


Massive derail, but to me, racism does not require implied inferiority. Yes, we are all racist (and sexist, and ageist, and able-ist) in various ways.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:02 AM on October 9, 2012


Wait, what's this thread about?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:05 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Serious question: Is racism racist? What if I'm doing it?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:11 AM on October 9, 2012 [17 favorites]


So I am firmly in the camp of "It's racist and inappropriate to say No Asians in a profile."

How about "no short men"? ;)


Er, wait, what?
posted by Comrade_robot at 11:15 AM on October 9, 2012


When people say "I am not attracted to anyone of [race]", I always wonder what the hell that even means. Not even someone who was your ideal in every other way, both physically and personally? Not even someone who was really, really into you? Not even someone who was an integral part of your subculture? Not even someone famous and important in your field? No one? Really? And since there's no "race" where everyone looks the same skin-color wise, face-wise or body-shape wise, the whole "I am not attracted to this kind of [coloring/hair/eyes]" argument doesn't hold water either. So what exactly are people "not attracted" to? It's hard for me to think of what it can be other than a stereotypical notion of racial characteristics that the person hasn't worked through yet ("On some level I think that all [group] are like this negative and reductionist stereotype and I can't get into that"). Or possibly (somewhat more sympathetically) uncertainty about and thus fear of what kind of emotional and intellectual work would be needed to have a good, close cross-racial relationship.

"I'm categorically not attracted to [group]" means that even if you meet a person who has your preferred body shape and gender presentation, thinks you are hilarious, has similar life goals and kinks and is into your favorite hobbies plus has their own cool life stuff - even if you meet that person, your distaste for their racial background will outweigh all that stuff. I find it really hard to believe that someone could think this and not be racist.

(A caveat: I've met some POC who were kind of burned out on dating white folks or who pro-actively wanted to seek out relationships with people of color - but that was very different as it was more a reaction to encountering racism and cluelessness when dating whites.)
posted by Frowner at 11:24 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


disclaimer: haven't done the internet dating thing, and if I did, I seriously doubt I'd be using racial criteria.

That being said, those people who find the idea just inconceivable don't seem to be trying very hard. Apply everything you've said, every statement, to those other cut-off points you're encouraged or required to set. A shorter man. A heavier woman. No job. Religious or not. Any age limit. It's pretty obvious that someone with one (less likely with increasing numbers) of those characteristics could be this fabulous person that you're cutting out on the basis of some characteristic. This is really cast the first stone territory. I'd like to see the dating profiles of those people objecting here, imagining of course that they are completely without requirements of any kind. After all, you might be surprised! Anything else indicates a closed mind.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:31 AM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


It is simply polite to keep your "no [this thing]" things limited to actions or philosophies, not inescapable (or hard to alter) physical realities.

(Major exceptions to this include gender preference and fetish-oriented dating sites.)

"No one outside of [this] BMI range," "No burn victims," "No people of [this] ethnicity," "You must be [this tall] to ride," are all shitty things to put out there when simply not responding to unwanted advances is a perfectly valid action that doesn't cause psychic harm.

"No devout Christians," "No republicans," "No smokers," "No drugs," "Must be 420 friendly," "must be OK with my dog/kid," are all totally non-jerk things to put on a general dating site that fall into the "fair warning" category that anyone sensible would want to know up front regardless.

Some of this is meaningful in a larger sense, all of it is context dependent, but it's never wrong to be aware of social mores and norms of behavior. At least that way it's deliberate when you break them.
posted by jsturgill at 11:34 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the "no Asians" is a red herring anyway, if they saw a hit Asian they would hook up them.

Women put "no bald men" all the time, yet they still message me. I'm not about to date someone who discriminates against men with above average levels of dihydrotestosterone though.

Maybe we should stop using Asians as an example though.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:41 AM on October 9, 2012


But bad manners isn't racism

No, but it's racist to direct your bad manners in the general direction of a racial group.

Think of it this way: someone who's absolutely dead set against dating Asian people has two choices:

1. Go to the extra effort of possibly having to ignore some Asian suitors. (And as there's no reason to believe that Asian people are any more likely to be importuning or stalky than anyone else, ignoring is all it's likely to take.)

2. Put up a minimum-effort notice that will render more shitty the day of lots of Asian people who weren't doing anything wrong.

Either you make the extra effort or you outsource it. And if someone thinks it's okay to outsource it onto an entire group of people defined by their race, then that's not exactly equality for all. It's defining their inconvenience as more important than the shittier day of every single Asian person who happens upon their profile. Do the maths and see how they're weighing the value of people of their own race against people of another one, and see how non-racist it adds up.
posted by Kit W at 11:46 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know that fishing for a booty call is where you are concerned about politics or religion. That said opposites can have fire between them even if they are not simpatico. After living at a rest stop on I-5 for several months of car camping. I was propositioned at least 4 times a week. You get to know the regulars, the cruisers looking anonymous casual sex. I can't say that there are any comparable heterosexual practices at least none I have encountered, perhaps the internet serves that purpose for heterosexuals. Sex for me has always been about the chemistry kind of hard to judge that without a face to face.
posted by pdxpogo at 11:49 AM on October 9, 2012


But what if an asian guy or girl writes "NO ASIANS" in their profile. Is that still racist?

You mean like this little piece of flamebait? Her followup. A response.
posted by availablelight at 11:55 AM on October 9, 2012


Oh. In the flamebait article, written by Jenny An, it says her parents are from Beijing. As a rule, I don't date people from China, but I will date other Asians, whether from Taiwan, HK or beyond. Am I racist?
posted by FJT at 12:11 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Racist or not racist, it's a shitty thing to put in a dating profile. Just imagine how it must feel to see someone who you think is your ideal match, and seeing that you're excluded based on some superficial bullshit. And especially if its commonly done. There was a heartbreaking article on ok Cupid about how black women were most likely to respond to messages and least likely to be messaged.

Are you the worst person in the world if you do that? No. But you are hurting people. By making it a more socially acceptable thing to do, even if not directly.
posted by empath at 12:12 PM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


That font made it simply awful to read. TLgaveupbecauseofeyeache.
posted by arcticseal at 12:17 PM on October 9, 2012


I'd like to see the dating profiles of those people objecting here, imagining of course that they are completely without requirements of any kind

I had a requirement that Harry potter/twilight/hunger games (it changed over time) can't be your favorite book, but that ruled out too many people and I got rid of it.
posted by empath at 12:17 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've seen some MeFites who were very bitter about age cutoffs on dating profiles with exactly the same reasoning. The height thing surely is the epitome of "superficial bullshit" but it matters to people, clearly.

I'm firmly of the opinion that most of us, myself included, are lousy at figuring out what we're actually attracted to, nevermind what is good for us, and forcing us to reduce it to criteria and cutoffs is a good way to frustrate and offend large numbers of people. But that's exactly how it's done, along a variety of lines.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:20 PM on October 9, 2012


Maybe I am so desensitized to the in-the-flesh world that I didn’t see him right there in front of me.

There's the nub of the question.
posted by Twang at 12:27 PM on October 9, 2012


My profile proudly proclaims No Irish

But then again I'm using Nkeepr, the anonymous social networking site for 1900's slumlords.
posted by wcfields at 12:29 PM on October 9, 2012 [22 favorites]


I always want to ask one of those “No Asians!” guys: if you were a baby and accidentally fell from a plane and landed safely in the middle of Mongolia and were raised by a nomadic Mongolian tribe, does that mean you would have grown up not being attracted to anyone?
Pretty much sums it right up.
posted by muddgirl at 12:35 PM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


I know this is kind of stupid based on the subject area of the thing I'm clicking on at work at lunch, but "(illustration possibly NSFW)" in the front page post could be helpful.
posted by gohlkus at 12:36 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I recently remembered that I'd written a book about my sexual meltdown in the last decade. It was a defensive move, writing—a way of separating myself from how I'd started out wanting to just have someone in my life that would be my buddy in adventures and ended up with in antebellum costume, standing in a firehouse bingo hall with thirty naked Anne Arundel county rednecks and two rather well-off black men, saying "What we have heah is two fine, strong negruhs, strong of spirit and broad of back" in Foghorn Leghorn's voice as the prelude to a monthly slave auction themed bukkake party. I needed the money, which was good, considering all I had to do was master Foghorn Leghorn's voice and overcome a lifetime of racial sensitivity. "What am I bid for these sturdy and toothsome Mandingos?"

Early on, the internet was a fun thing for me.

Back when I was freshly out of a ten year relationship that we'd both stayed in in what turned out to be an O. Henry story about two guys who stuck with a relationship because they were each worried that the other guy would end up lonely, and my forays into the internet were titillating and exciting and fun. In the real world, before the whole bear thing really kicked in, I was the fat guy at the gay bar, not some ursine subspecies, and when I was briefly stationed in Atlanta, I was wallflowering my sheepish way across a miserable gay superbar on Peachtree on a shirtless night when a mean eye focused in on me.

"You're not planning to take your shirt off, are you? Because ewww."

On the internet, though, your niche is someone else's super hot flaming fetish.

Half the time, your most embarrassing feature is someone else's super hot flaming fetish.

Look like slovenly dressed off-duty plumber? Yeah, there's a site for that. Van Dyke and a beer gut and you wear nothing but jeans and black t-shirts and you're always having to pull your pants up because pants only ever fit right on skinny people? There's a site for you.

In real life, I'm so shy in a bar that I've had drag queens try to adopt what they believe to be a straight guy trying to come out. When I know you, I'm gregarious, and if I'm in the safe space on stage with a microphone, the world's my oyster, but standing around a party? I find the kitchen right away, and find the darkest corner there. I don't drink, and don't have much fun around drunk people, so there's that, too.

Online, though? Well, I am king of the angles. Grew up in a household full of excellent photographers, and took some damn fine shots. I'll never be able to run for senate, as the prickly, heated rush of the moment, fired by flattery, led me to post a few photos that are just masterpieces of the pornographic arts, full of sneer and snarl and angles Hitchcock would have found unnatural, and forced perspective shots are not the most politically endearing images. Fortunately, most of those moments took place before the turn of the millennium and there are very few queer folks of that era who knew how to do a proper backup, let alone create metadata to identify one shot out of their colossal library of jpegs.

Sometimes, it was flattering. A bodybuilding actual rocket scientist crossed the Atlantic to hang out with me. Some very in-shape people turned out to have a thing for relatively out-of-shape people, though the flattering aspect of this faded when people talked too much.

A hand would run along one of those fold lines natural to men with curves, lingering just a bit too long and—

"This is nice. This is a nice flubbity roll."

"A what?"

"It's hot that you've got this roll here."

You'd sit up, in bed with someone a bit too young and attentive to obsessive ab cultivation for the likes of yourself, and say "It's just fat."

"Yeah, I know. It's totally hot. It must be so sexy to be so completely out of control."

Oh, for fuck's sake. I'm sexy because I'm gross and undisciplined.

I dated a guy who was smart and handsome and fun, whose only real shortcoming was that he liked Metal Machine Music as an actual album and not as a stupid unlistenable star fit intended to fulfill a record contract, and he was warm for my form, but, you know, was only attracted to chubby guys.

"Wait, so if I lost some weight, you wouldn't be into me anymore?"

"I'm really only into chubby guys."

"But I have to pull my pants up five hundred times every fucking day and my back hurts."

"Well, it's not like you're going to lose weight any time soon, though."

Oh, for fuck's sake.

Went on to have a intense, challenging relationship with someone else based on our mutual dysfunctional places in the world, got left behind like a lame mule in a canyon, and lost a ton of weight in the pity party afterward, which dragged on for years.

Then, of course, you wonder.

Am I now okay because I don't look like a slovenly dressed off-duty plumber?

If you weren't attracted to me when I was fatter, why are you now?

As it turns out, I was still so gun shy after my last relationship, I wasn't ready for anything but some late-life alleycatting around. I'm a demon in chat. Whereas most folks can barely manage to bang out "hey your hot" on the status line of a Bear411 chat window, I can write pornographic Shakespeare, even one-handed, right down to actual punctuation, stage directions, and onomatopoeia. I am the master of the masturbatory art of the nonpresent sexual raconteur. In real life, I'm disappointingly chatty, and not so bossy as I am when I'm freed of the scourge of eye contact.

The internet is this thing that can be as sweetly comforting as a security blanket, but the illusion and delusion of it gets harder to ignore, particularly as more and more people find their way into what were far more secretive realms with all the subtlety of what people in my generation called "Christmas modemers."

"hey your hot"

"What about my hot?"

"what"

"Never mind."

"what u doing?"

"Winding down for the evening. Masturbating to porn from the Civilian Conservation Corps."

"wtf"

"Watching TV and jerking off."

"you host?"

"Depends."

"wanna wreck my shitter?"

Oh, for fuck's sake.

"Pardon?"

"tear up my shithole and breed me?"

Oh, for fuck's sake.

Look online to figure out what "breed me" means. In a moment of horror and frustration, click on edit profile. Delete the beautifully angled dick shots. Too bad, they did have a certain air about them. Thinking better of it—delete everything but a clothed head shot. Edit the sexual stuff out of the profile. I don't set my profile to "looking for love" because it worked out so badly last time that I still get panicky at the thought of it. Hell, it's only been seven years since that relationship crashed and burned—why rush into things?

"Sorry, I'm a bit tired tonight."

In the general mish-mash online, I feel like am a sexual Dr. Smith, forever having to lecture that bubble-headed booby of a Robot on the way things should be. I'm world-weary and full of clever quips that are completely confusing to people who want nothing more than to have their artfully described "poop shoot" vandalized by a rapey daddy bear. In the end, I'm glad to have my collection of glorious Civilian Conservation Corps amateur pornography from the thirties, because man, that stuff is red hot and those guys don't talk back.

Oh, for fuck's sake. I'm only 44 and I'm fast becoming that standard lonely masturbating alienated middle-aged guy who's abandoned all hope of ever finding a relationship. Thank god jpegs don't get stuck together, 'cause that would be the piece de resistance of pathetisad masturbation.

I sometimes tell people I don't date because I'm dead inside. I say it with tongue and cheek, but I wonder. On the internet, it's hardly a problem, since being interested in me guarantees that you live in Toronto, Lisbon, Phoenix, or some other far-flung locale. In real life, who has the time? I come home from work and fall asleep. On the weekends, I do housework and cook my meals for the next week and fix the truck and clean the basement and I live in a tiny town full of happy gay couples who are restoring their cute little bungalows, and no one goes anywhere and going out means driving back into the exhausting mess of the city.

I put on a healthy chunk of the weight I lost back on and my hair's more than half grey these days. I can log online and be a daddy bear, which makes me panic because I'm 44, and that's not old enough to be a dadd—

Oh, for fuck's sake.

In a snit, I stripped my Bear411 profile to the barest bones, killed the more esoteric ones altogether. The last time I got lucky was actually an accident straight from a French film, where I apparently flirted with a large and very handsome Baptist preacher in the elevator of a motel and was followed back to my room for some very confusing playtime. Sadly, when he thought I was flirting, I was really just fascinated with the stitching on the lapels of his suit. That went nowhere, because he wrapped things up with "well, I better get back to my room before my wife and kids get up."

Set up an okcupid profile, answered hundreds of idiotic questions, and keep getting "quiver matches" with people that seem to have nothing in common with me. I wrote a long, complicated profile, which mainly got literary comments, erased that and wrote "Open to anything, but Metal Machine Music was a terrible album and we should be on the same page in that regard." Changed that one because it's an inside joke and a mean one at that. As one might expect, I have a long and rambly profile.

"yo, saw u on here-u on b411 too?"

"Yes, though I've toned down that profile."

"cool"

[long, long pause]

"so, you host?"

"Depends."

"u wanna breed me?"

Oh, for fuck's sake. Screw this, I'm switching to women. We'll talk about feelings and decorate our apartment beautifully. I'll have my Civilian Conservation Corps porn and she can have gentleman callers.
posted by sonascope at 12:46 PM on October 9, 2012 [82 favorites]


Basically, people are the worst.
posted by The Whelk at 12:51 PM on October 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


And that, friends, is why sonascope is quite literally the best that metafilter's ever seen.
posted by Diablevert at 1:07 PM on October 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


For some reason that story reminded me of a friend of mine. He was very overweight in HS and pretty lonely so over a few years he basically worked out non-stop until he had like, Superman's body cause it was a hobby he could do alone and it had a lot of math in it and he likes math. Suddenly he's getting a LOT of attention from guys, long after he'd given up on like, not being a virgin anymore, and the thing is, it made him furious. He didn't think he was any different before he lost the weight and everyone just wanted him to be this big dumb jock/walking sex toy. This anger lasted long enough for an entire self-imposed chastity vow in college.

People! Can't live with them ...can't have non-masturbation sex without them!
posted by The Whelk at 1:08 PM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I feel like The Whelk and Sonoscope should start a gay dating site for the overly verbose. (...Just teasing)
posted by empath at 1:16 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


We'll call it Wildr
posted by The Whelk at 1:17 PM on October 9, 2012 [15 favorites]


Oh The Whelk, I think, this one time only, the Internet will allow you the e.
posted by 256 at 1:21 PM on October 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think I would qualify for that site, if I were still on the market.
posted by jph at 1:22 PM on October 9, 2012



I feel like The Whelk and Sonoscope should start a gay dating site for the overly verbose. (...Just teasing)


Nice. You could have a profile that provided direct evidence of your length and breadth and still have it be safe for work.
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:23 PM on October 9, 2012


("Girth" doesn't really describe a property of a certain kind of prose, does it? Probably for the best if it doesn't.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:27 PM on October 9, 2012


If ever there was a time I wished I had that butt shot of Tennessee Williams on hand now would be it.
posted by The Whelk at 1:28 PM on October 9, 2012


do a dramatic recreation with two of those babybel cheeses and some paper pants
posted by elizardbits at 1:40 PM on October 9, 2012


i am literally holding a babybel cheese right now get out of my head
posted by The Whelk at 1:44 PM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Chiming in, I'm new to the (gay) dating world, but I've almost universally found that Real Human Contact™ is the best way to find a friend/date/sex. I'm sure there's a "1% of all Grindr users get 60% of the messages" occupy-themed effect happening on Grindr/OKCupid/etc, but at least when I'm chatting up someone in a bar (not that this happens often), they don't have hundreds of faces/abs/penises to compare me to at their fingertips (hopefully).
posted by Strass at 4:01 PM on October 9, 2012


1. god the title quote here is unadulterated gold. And this article is great. I mean: My vast ability to long has been pulled like taffy into a thin stretch of desire while I keep searching for that fresh feeling I think I remember I felt sometime before 1998. bang, nail on head.

2. Maybe I can use my next FPP to bait Sonascope into writing something.

3. The "No Asians" thing reminded me of this quick piece about Linsanity and how it affected a young gay Asian dude's sex life, which to me underscores how a lot of these race-based preferences could be unconscious (and not even necessarily malicious), but still the result of whatever racial stereotypes predominate in a certain culture.
posted by en forme de poire at 4:13 PM on October 9, 2012


It leads me to conclude that the Internet, as well-designed as it may be to find love and sex and even pet supplies, may also be very well designed to serve up rejection.

This is a great read that asks a lot more interesting questions than it attempts to answer, particularly about how abstract technology and human desire meet and change or reinforce each other. Great link, thanks for posting.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:40 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not being sexually attracted to certain races is racist just like not being sexually attracted to women is misogynist. What, you're going to rule out ALL women as romantic partners just because you're a heterosexual woman or a homosexual man? You know, not all women look alike or act like. Some women even have male genitalia, you know. I certainly wouldn't advertise the fact that you only are seeking men online -- god, that's so discriminatory. I can't believe online dating services are organized around that kind of sexism. At least conceal it and pretend that you like everyone equally. Geez.
posted by shivohum at 7:17 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


mrgrimm

is it homophobic not to be attracted to the same sex?

That's a ridiculous analogy. Sex is real; race is a social construction.


Well, interestingly enough, social constructionism reaches across all sorts of things we taken for granted.

ANYWAY,

moving on to different things.

I'm am currently too much of a prude/horribly repressed individual to even think about having a profile on a hookup site. I'm pretty comfortable with the prospect of being forever alone at this point.
posted by subversiveasset at 7:48 PM on October 9, 2012


That was a really interesting piece, latkes, thanks. I'm with Blazecock: it asks more questions than it answers, but what great questions.

It is kind of weird, though, that when Albo gets to the fun coincidence with Frisbee boy he doesn't bother to tell us whether and why they had or didn't have sex at their first online-facilitated meeting. It's a strange elision in a piece that's filled with honest sexual detail. I can't see another part of his story where info about whether an encounter included physical intimacy would have been more relevant. Just seemed weird that Albo deliberately skimmed over that in a piece about sex and spirit and hooking up casually.

Great link, though. I'm sharing it around.
posted by mediareport at 9:02 PM on October 9, 2012


yeah good catch mediareport. I kind of feel like it was because he liked Frisbee boy more than the others, but I have no factual basis for that - just what comes to mind.
posted by en forme de poire at 9:32 PM on October 9, 2012


I feel like The Whelk and Sonoscope should start a gay dating site for the overly verbose. (...Just teasing)

HOT VERBOSE singles are waiting to have sex with YOU at...
TreatyOfWestphalli.com
posted by benzenedream at 10:47 PM on October 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


What, you're going to rule out ALL women as romantic partners just because you're a heterosexual woman or a homosexual man?

I realize this was not posted seriously, but I am a catastrophically monosexual person and I still don't say "I would never date a man ever." I say, accurately, "I have never been sexually attracted to someone who read to me as male and, at this point in my life, the odds that I will are probably low." This is not a totally uncommon position to take among people of my general age and degree of social activism.

And so while my OKCupid profile is set up to look only for women (OKCupid is rather lacking in gender nuance) I do not say anything about "no stone butches" or "no trans people" or "no male genitalia" because yeah, I think that is an unhelpful and kind of hostile thing to specify on a dating profile. Misandrist? I dunno, I don't think I'd use that word, and I don't totally know that "racist" is exactly the right term for the equivalent, but "prejudiced," maybe.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:57 PM on October 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


[as a side-derail because I think this topic is interesting: I'm pretty sure gay people are much more willing to say, "I have not so far been attracted to X gender, but who knows" than straight people are because a) the social pressure to be straight is great enough that we've had to at least entertain, if not (but generally if) act on the idea of hooking up heterosexually and b) straight people are often too homophobic to acknowledge that they might have any attraction to someone of their own gender.]
posted by latkes at 11:34 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Personally I don't see racist and misandrist/mysoginist as equivalent terms. The equivalent terms are "racist" and "sexist." Calling an action racist does not imply that it reveals a deep-seated hatred for a minority.
posted by muddgirl at 3:46 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I had a requirement that Harry potter/twilight/hunger games (it changed over time) can't be your favorite book, but that ruled out too many people and I got rid of it.

Gotta say, it'd rule me out as well, and none of them are favourite books of mine. I'd just see it and assume it was code for 'I'm going to give you a hard time if our tastes conflict,' or possibly 'Looking down on people for liking on this or that book is important to me.' That's gonna rule out a lot of people who don't like Harry Potter, Twilight or The Hunger Games either.

That's the thing about profiles: if you make a point of excluding something, then whether you meant to or not, you're signalling 'Excluding this thing is important to me.' If it's something like smoking or strong religious convictions, yes, that's probably important - dating someone who stinks to you or who thinks you're going to burn in Hell/you think is going to burn in Hell is not going to go well - but if it's something like race or taste, making that big a deal of it makes you look intolerant.
posted by Kit W at 4:00 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


HOT VERBOSE singles are waiting to have sexintercourse with YOU at... (ftfy)
posted by en forme de poire at 4:06 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let's put it another way: is it homophobic not to be attracted to the same sex?

Or: sexual attraction is not a democracy.
posted by acb at 5:11 AM on October 10, 2012


StopMakingSense:

I'm not sure that "tidying up this derail really fast" worked all that well.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:17 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I feel like The Whelk and Sonoscope should start a gay dating site for the overly verbose.

If there was a dating site for the verbose, overeducated, and oversexed, I'd probably sign up and I'm married. Hell, even if it was a gay dating site I'd still probably sign up, but those would be some sad first dates. ("No really, I just want to talk.")

Not being sexually attracted to certain races is racist just like not being sexually attracted to women is misogynist.

Maybe this gets to how you look at the world, or how you have experienced the world. I think of homo/hetero/bi/etc attraction as being mostly innate (albeit with a significant environmental component -- people can be pretty flexible when they have to be), but racial preferences as being totally cultural. But I have plenty of friends who are certain that their attraction to a particular race is as hard-wired as is their attraction to a particular gender. They aren't racists, but they also aren't real flexible in terms of who they are attracted to.

So I try to remember to not jump straight to "you are a racist!" when people express those preferences, since to them it can feel as innate as their other desires. Who am I to know what is in their heads?

But at a practical level, there's something completely different about saying "no Asians" compared to saying "hot redheads encouraged to apply." I only look at personal ads recreationally at this point, but I'm far more attracted to someone who frames their desires in positive terms, whether for body shapes or types of food or whatever, rather than purely in negatives. That framing in an ad or in a conversation does say a lot about a person.
posted by Forktine at 5:28 AM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Just out of curiosity, let's say you live in the South and you come across a few profiles where somebody says:

"I don't date outside my race, I just wasn't raised that way."

Your reaction is:

A) "Awesome, attraction isn't a democracy. This raises no red flags at all!"
B) "Nope!"
posted by Comrade_robot at 5:51 AM on October 10, 2012


Just out of curiosity, let's say you live in the South and you come across a few profiles where somebody says:

"I don't date outside my race, I just wasn't raised that way."

Your reaction is:

A) "Awesome, attraction isn't a democracy. This raises no red flags at all!"
B) "Nope!"


B. Two points, however:

1) Adding the phrase "I just wasn't raised that way" changes the meaning of the statement profoundly. "No Asians" is context-less; it's obviously discriminatory, but there's no clue given as to the reason why the person's discriminating. One is free to make as charitable or as damming an inference about their motivations as desired. "I just wasn't raised that way" + resident of the Anerican South gives considerably context which tends to make the statement more damming.

2) The thing is, what we're talking about is signalling, here. There's really two separate discussions being had: whether it's racist to not be attracted to members of a certain race, and whether it's racist to openly signal your lack of attraction.

There's a weird thing going on where's there's all this consensus that putting "no Asians" would make people infer all sorts of bad things about the poster -- in other words, that to do so is impolitic, and it would be better to let any Asian people out there hoping to bang you waste their time messaging you, who they haven't a chance with, than to warn them upfront that they haven't a prayer of getting into your pants.

I dunno, on the one hand I think that that's probably correct, yet another example of the myriad of ways in which we're all better off not admitting what bastards we are if we're to rub along together successfully in this best of all possible worlds.

But I can't help but think there's a blackly humorous edge to all this pearl-clutching --- "One doesn't just admit you don't want to fuck people who look like that! It isn't done! You pretend you might be open to fucking them and reject them silently, leaving any x-looking suitor under the impression that it was their individual flaws that caused your disdain! It's only polite!"
posted by Diablevert at 7:12 AM on October 10, 2012


But I can't help but think there's a blackly humorous edge to all this pearl-clutching --- "One doesn't just admit you don't want to fuck people who look like that! It isn't done! You pretend you might be open to fucking them and reject them silently, leaving any x-looking suitor under the impression that it was their individual flaws that caused your disdain! It's only polite!"

Oh, nonsense. Anybody with any sense knows there's a middle ground between 'I never shag people of your race' and 'There's something wrong with you as an individual,' and any grown-up can deal with the idea that you might not be everybody's cup of tea. If you get ignored with no explanation, a reasonable person can decide to assume whatever explanation bothers them least and move on. (Either that or they're getting no hits at all, in which case a sensible person might decide they should do something about their profile.)

Nobody, grown-up or not, should be expected to soak up racial assery. That spoils your day for a good reason.

I'm not Asian, but between being required to surmise that I might not be somebody's type but hey, their loss, and being actively reminded that lots of people make bigoted judgements about me based on what group I belong to ... I'd take the former, thank you very much. Frankly, it's the less personal of the two.

Is it me, or is 'pearl-clutching' the new 'politically correct'?
posted by Kit W at 7:41 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's only polite!

Well and that's the challenge, right? How much do you have to care about the feelings of the 99.99% of the people on the dating website that you don't want to date anyhow? Because it's important to me, as a decently nice person, to look nice in my profile to portray an accurate picture of me and that means no dissing the people I don't want to date on my way to finding the people I DO want to date.

On the other hand, that sort of politeness can leave you badgered by people you don't want to date but who want to date you (maybe this is just a female problem, I don't know. I am happily partnered). I'm another one of those people who, if I weren't forced into it, wouldn't say MENZ ONLY just because hey who knows. But if I'm at the point of deciding which people out of All The People I might want to have a continued interaction with, the people who have manners enough to not say "no Asians/Harry Potter/fat chicks/dog people/hipsters" would probably be people more in line with my own outlook. Because all of those people, guaranteed, would be using the site too. If there were a sekrit switch you could flip to never see that those people existed and they would never see you, would I click a "No religious people" button? I'd think about it. But in the library world one of the things we learn about using NOT when searching is that it often winds up knocking out things from your results that might be otherwise useful, so use it with care.

Some people find the metatextual stuff like that useful, some find it less useful but if you "just weren't raised that way" to be able to consider dating people from another race and it's worth putting in the 300-ish words of a dating profile, it probably means we have larger differences.
posted by jessamyn at 7:44 AM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


any grown-up can deal with the idea that you might not be everybody's cup of tea. If you get ignored with no explanation, a reasonable person can decide to assume whatever explanation bothers them least and move on.

Well, yes. Like I said, I agree that the most polite thing to do, to refrain from putting things like "no Asians" or "no fatties" or "no Irish" or whatever on your profile.

What strikes me as absurd and blackly humorous about the whole thing is that all this signalling does nothing to change the underlying reality of who one is and is not attracted to. You may, by being polite, have somewhat lessened the chance that the seeking stranger will have their feelings hurt. But neither of you will be closer to your goal of finding someone you actually do want to fuck.

That goes to Jessamyn's point, and I think to the article's larger point as well --- the extent to which these modern methods of mate selection are inherently dehumanising, how they strip away all the stuff we'd like to think is important --- to us, and to others --- and force us to tell the truth about the shallowness, the limitedness, of our desires in order for them to be efficiently fulfilled. The Harry Potter college boy on all fours with his ass in the air, as the article so vividly puts it. Because really, you didn't come on here to find a book group. You came to find someone to fuck, so show us how fuckable you are. Brutal, no? But perhaps not false.

But everybody wants to be on top of the search, everybody wants to fit into the algorithm. We'll sharpie the grid on our own skin in order to figure out how to fit into it better.
posted by Diablevert at 9:12 AM on October 10, 2012


The thing is, what we're talking about is signalling, here.

Yes, I agree what we're talking about is signalling. What I disagree with is how subtle "NO ASIANS" is. I'm really struggling to think of a charitable inference that I would draw about somebody putting that down.

To be completely honest, I don't think it's that binary. From my experience with people who "aren't attracted to Asians", what they really mean is "I'm not attracted to the common stereotype of Asians", because let's be honest here: the common stereotype of Asian dudes is (possibly purposely, depending who you ask) not very attractive. I mean you even have somebody in this very discussion going IF YOU DON'T WANT TO DATE ASIANS YOU CAN JUST PUT DOWN NO SHORT PEOPLE HA HA, WINK WINK. But if you don't fall into those stereotypes, somehow you're 'different' and 'not like them' and they're fine with that.

To put it another way: There are general 'types' of people that I am physically attracted to, but I've been extremely attracted to people who fall out of those general 'types'. So I do think it's a pretty loud message to be very specifically "NO (SPECIFIC RACE) HERE."
posted by Comrade_robot at 9:29 AM on October 10, 2012


I agree that the most polite thing to do, to refrain from putting things like "no Asians" or "no fatties" or "no Irish" or whatever on your profile.

Polite? Yes. Useful? No. I want that shit out in the open so I can avoid those people.
posted by elizardbits at 10:28 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


You may, by being polite, have somewhat lessened the chance that the seeking stranger will have their feelings hurt. But neither of you will be closer to your goal of finding someone you actually do want to fuck.

Personally I don't see the goal of 'wanting to find someone to fuck' as mutually exclusive with the goal of 'not making other people's days unnecessarily painful.' You can be simple and functional without being an ass.


From my experience with people who "aren't attracted to Asians", what they really mean is "I'm not attracted to the common stereotype of Asians", because let's be honest here: the common stereotype of Asian dudes is (possibly purposely, depending who you ask) not very attractive.

Just to take the contrary position - I think it's possible to be attracted to certain 'look' or cast of face that's more common in some races than others. For instance: I'm white, and I tend to be most attracted to men with sharp facial features; guys with softer/rounder features, sure, I can see if they're handsome, but I'm less likely to crush on them. (One of those situations where it really is a case of 'There's absolutely nothing wrong with you, I'm just not feeling it.') Most likely, I imprinted on my father or something like that, that old Freudian story; what you grow up around often does seem to affect your tastes. Anyway, for whatever reason, the aquiline men tend to be what I go for. That rules out some guys in every racial group, but aquiline features tend to crop up more often in some racial groups than others.

On the other hand, I wouldn't put any of that in a profile because, manners aside, a) I'm not silly enough to assume that everyone from a particular group looks the same, and b) Hey, there's always a first time. So if someone's gone so far as to put it in their profile, yeah, they probably do have some stereotypes going on there.
posted by Kit W at 10:45 AM on October 10, 2012


One thing that I think relates to the race discussion is that, as per the article, online cruising encourages people to be very, very specific about the type of person they want to have sex with. You have some sexual fantasy first, and then you look for people to fill that role, like you were casting someone in a particular part in a movie.

But of course outside of that context, attraction can also work the opposite way - you meet someone (or see, e.g., an actor or an athlete on TV... cf the Jeremy Lin thing I linked above) and become attracted to them, and then that engenders a whole "thing" for people who remind you of that person in some way (physical, attitude, etc.). Especially when you're a teenager and all of those associations are just getting wired for the first time - but it happens as an adult too. And so maybe if we only have the "porn director" model of hooking up we risk narrowing our horizons to the point where we have no room to be surprised anymore or to make an unexpected connection. I don't know.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:47 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


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