Note: the names in this piece have been changed to respect the privacy and authenticity of the writer. All opinions/perspectives/experiences in this piece are solely of the writer's and not reflective of Prestige du Monde's ideologies.
I'm not attracted to black guys, or fat guys. I'm not into rice, nor am I into guys old enough to be my dad. I prefer to date someone around my age, with a good job, and interested in skiing and rowing. Let's be honest, in the world of gay dating, specifically online dating, rejection and racism often travel hand in hand. There’s just about every version of “no [insert insanely large portion of the population]” on a wide-range of dating sites. No blacks, no Asians, no fems, no fats, no old guys. Is this racism? No, it's just a preference.
Grindr, an app specific geared towards the gays, is more and more of a platform intentionally used to hook-up versus establish long-lasting relationships: hooray us. I admit, I am a big user of the mobile app and confess I have no problem putting my preferences out into the digital world. If I'm on looking for a good time, I don't want to waste my time talking to people I won't want to meet: this makes sense. I'm more of a vanilla and spice than chocolate and rice kinda guy.
I'm not racist: I have black, Mexican, Asian, and old friends. My best friend is the cutest girl from Colombia, my favorite teacher in high school is an adorable over-weight African American, and my favorite restaurant is Chinese. My preference for who I want to sleep with is based on my tastes and not on whether I dislike someone based on something they cannot change. Sure, I work with plenty of women, but I don't ever want to date them. This doesn't make me a racist: it makes me a realist. When did choosing what flavor ice cream you enjoy become a crime?
I debated explaining my preferences to the world, but in order to save the Kyley-Go-Lightly time and the rest of the guys with preferences, I need to come clean about what I like. I grew up in Edison Park, a predominantly middle class Irish neighborhood with plenty of ties to the Chicago PD. I went to Catholic school all of my life, didn't come out until I was 22, and the first guy I started dating, Brian, is mixed. The most beautiful guy in the world, his background is not something that interested me: I was attracted to how good looking and smart he was. I am an accountant and work in the southwest suburbs. I am currently dating a guy that fits my profile, and I'm OK with that.
At the wise age of 29, I have gone through my share of heart-break, flings, and plenty of flirting with the right (and plenty of wrong) people. Sure, the gays love their online profiles. Let's be honest: this is one of the most archaic ways we could find a mate back in the day. Now, Grindr simply makes meeting other guys so much easier. With such ease also comes territory for everyone to message you, cute and not. Many of my gay friends believe gay online dating is more harmful than good for the gay community, what with it's standards and dash-and-go options to either respond to a stud or block (big red X) a goblin. However, I don't think it's all bad: what else would we do at 3am on an average night? I mean, we're all looking for friends at that hour.
I admit, there are times when I simply want to write "no black, no Asian, no fat" on my profile, but I prefer to not sound like a douche and write that directly in the response. I've had plenty of conversations with friends of all backgrounds, and some think that I am a racist while others believe it really is just a preference. Does it really matter? Why do you care if I'm dating a black guy, a transgender, or my grandpa? It really is my business, but it seems that my preference is everyone's business.
One specific experience that embodies my all of this took place three weeks ago in Boystown. I was dining out with my current arm candy and noticed a group of a certain race coming into the restaurant. Everyone noticed how loud, obnoxious, and seemingly-unfit they were for the establishment, not to mention if they were going to actually pay for their meals or not. I look over and smiled, but my friendly gesture wasn't taken too well. One of the younger guys in the group looked at me and accused me of "staring him down." I respectfully asked the twenty-something to stay away before I called the manager, and he immediately called me a racist (explicit). Now, if I wanted to be a douchie racist, this would be the perfect moment to do so. However, I am above that and know that this black man was not angry at me but was angry at the fact the establishment blatantly did not want them in the restaurant. My dear, that's life: get over it.
Trust me, if I wanted to be a butt-head Chicago makes it incredibly easy to do so. I'm a nice guy and I don't blame any race for any of society's crimes. What I do blame society for is stigmatizing me for my preferences, for having a say in who I want to sleep with. If an Asian messaged my on Grindr as soon as I am finished writing this piece, I would respectfully decline without a need to explain myself (unless they became annoying like these boys usually do).
I unapologetically embrace my preferences and have no problem using the beautiful red X on my favorite battery-waster. Next time someone accuses me of being a racist on Grindr, I'm just going to smile, drink a glass of merlot, and hold my partner's hand knowing I have exactly what I want and lack everything I don't.