Saturday, August 17, 2019

Can You Change Your Standards of Beauty?

One of my recent Grindr Survivr podcasts deals with our standards of beauty.  I spoke with self-help guru Sandy Robbins about the matter.  Sandy has been designing personal empowerment courses for over 30 years, and although he's straight, he is also a theater director, so he's come across a gay actor or two along the way.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Skeptics & Hufflepuffs - The Other Two Types of White Guys Online


I said this twice in the previous article, but let me repeat it: I’m not saying all white people are a certain way.  And I’m certainly not saying all white people are racist.  However, I write books about gay dating habits and behavior patterns.  And I keep viewing certain patterns in the behavior of white men.  Now, in other contexts, anyone from any race could be a Never Ever or “I’d fuck you but…” So I’m not saying that whites alone can have this view.  But I tend to observe these patterns on Grindr.  So everything is context dependent. 

But for this next entry, I’m focusing in on the type of white guys who do in fact people of different races.  And generally they fall into categories.

Skeptical Lovers
Cool Motherfuckers


Let’s start with Skeptical Lovers.  Perhaps, this name is a slight misnomer, because I don’t mean people who will shag you once and leave you, but I mean someone who literally has the ability to love and date you, but just might be skeptical about racism. 

And I’m going to use a completely non-gay experience to illustrate this point.  Years ago, I was in a class about how law firms manage and organize themselves.  The topic of discrimination came up, and we analyzed in great detail why and how women and people of color don’t tend to become partners in large law firms.

This Chinese student raised his hand.  And no, he’s not Asian-American: he was from the People’s Republic of China.  He said something to the effect of “Maybe black people should stop complaining about discrimination and just get back to work.” 

You can imagine how I reacted to that…. Now, I did not scream at him.  I did not curse at him.  But I very passionately explained why that thought process was complete nonsense.  And I leaned in hard.  I wanted to make sure he and everyone else in that class knew that such throw-away lines are used to justify systemic and endemic racism.  It was probably the longest speech I ever gave in law school. 

Now on one level, I knew this guy was from China.  That’s a completely different culture and history, so he’s not going to be attuned to the dynamics of black culture in the United States.  So it’s not like I hated him personally or anything.  But his comment triggered me, and I had to respond.

So fast forward a couple of weeks.  It was the end of the semester, and the professor was kind enough to host all of the students at his home for a end of term party.  I, of course, am never one to pass up free drinks or the opportunity to schmooze with a man who I knew I’d be asking for recommendations to work for the Obama Administration (but that’s another story).  So I’m sipping my wine in this professor’s posh home, and in walks the Chinese guy.  I rolled my eyes and I was determined to pretend that he didn’t exist. But I noticed this black woman followed him in.  I thought it was odd, because I didn’t recognize her from our class.  I assumed she must be the guest of someone else. 

The Chinese guy walks to the kitchen, where we are all sipping wine.  And the professor welcomed him to the party.  The Chinese guy looks behind and says “I’d like to introduce my wife [Sharon],” motioning to the black woman who followed him in.  [I don’t remember their names, so I just threw in Sharon]

Have you ever seen in Looney Tunes when the characters are so shocked their jaws literally drop to the floor!  That was me!  I was stunned. 

How did he end up with her? I thought to myself.  Obviously, I had previously concluded that he was outrageously insensitive – perhaps, not by design, but he was just utterly clueless as to racism in America.  

But then I wondered How has this sister NOT educated him on racism?!?!?

Alas, I never got my questions answered.  But it did teach me a valuable lesson.  Just because someone says something that I perceive to be ignorant or they ask a question that I believe to be ridiculously stupid, it doesn’t mean that they have malice in their hearts.  Because if that Chinese guy is married to a black woman, presumably, they’re fucking! 
He is literally in love with this sister and the female anatomy that goes with it.   
So in short, this Chinese guy was skeptical about racism, but he loves shagging black girls. 

As Spock from Star Trek would say: Fascinating. 

We’re all ignorant, just about different things.  So that taught me that simply because someone says or does something ignorant, I shouldn’t write them off as racist or without hope of being educated. 

But keep in mind, Skeptical Lovers come on a spectrum. 

And speaking of spectrum… Let’s talk about my dorky, scientific ex-boyfriend James Tiller the Animal Killer. (That’s not his real name – it’s a joke.  James is a veterinarian.  And on our first date he confessed that about one-third of his job is putting animals down.  So every day he has to kill animals.  Hence the nickname). Anyway, James loved me.  In fact, I’d say James loved me more than any man ever has.  Frankly, no one else has come close.  Sometimes, I’m fearful that no one will love me like James did. 

But trying to convince James, a dorky, scientific, boyfriend that racism in the gay community was real was like WORLD WAR THREE!!!!  We had so many outrageous fights about it.  It drove me crazy, and it’s one reason I broke up with him.  Keep in mind, James was very scientific.  I don’t want to say he was actually on the autism spectrum. But my mom did say once, “Maybe he has a touch of Asperger’s.”  Again, I’m not trying to poke fun or make light of that issue.  But James just had a mental block about race.  It was like if he couldn’t see it and objectively measure it and quantify it, as you could with a kitten’s internal organs, it didn’t exist.  And whereas most white people might politely shut up once it was obvious they didn’t know what they were talking about, James would keep pressing and prodding and questioning my experience.

Of course, to me, he was denying my truth.  It felt as if he was dismissing or invalidating my feelings and experiences.  It was if he was pretending like I was crazy one or just being “overly sensitive.”  Ironically, the way he questioned me did make me feel crazy.  Because I couldn’t make him see reason.   It was like screaming at a brick wall. 

So James Tiller had a mental block.  He just did.  Now eventually, over time, I wore him down, but it wasn’t easy.  But he did love me.  I’ll put his love for me up against any other man.  Not that I’ve had that many boyfriends, so perhaps, that’s not saying a lot. 

So what to do when you’re dating a Skeptical Lover?

That’s your call.  In my experience, getting angry only makes the other person feel more defensive.  And yet, it’s not my job to worry about everyone’s white fragility all the time.  It’s a catch-22.  But you just kind have to look at the relationship and pick your poison. 

If you’re absolutely committed to making it work, try to be as patient as possible, because this person loves you, treats you right and you might be able to find someone who understands you better, but will they love you through thick and thin? 

My next boyfriend, Oliver the Ostrich, was the ultimate type of gay guy, he was completely clued in on race relations.  (I’ll discuss that next time).  But Oliver the Ostrich never loved me the way James Tiller did.  In fact, I don’t think Oliver the Ostrich is capable of real love, because whenever a situation gets heavy, he literally runs away and sticks his head in the sand.  Sadly, karma will still come get you if you run from all your relationship problems, but that’s for the next book.   I often think about choosing between these two: if I could do one relationship over, which one would it be.  And I find myself leaning towards James Tiller, because his love was real.  Oliver's was not.  The point is, if someone is not as educated about your culture (it doesn't even have to be necessarily about race), think long and hard about whether to chuck them away if they're ignorant in certain areas.  Some times you might have to.  But other times, you might not.  

So here are some factors to consider when deciding on how to deal with a Skeptical Lover.

If your skeptical lover says something stupid about race:

1)    How often does it happen?  Just once in a while or does he question you all the time?
2)    How much does he love you?  Like if he loves you a LOT, more than any other gay man has, think hard about throwing the relationship away, because he said something stupid. 
3)    How much do you love him?  Is he a care-taker boyfriend, or can he really go the distance? 
4)    How resistant is he to being educated?  Take it from me, try not to blow your lid every time they say something stupid. 
5)    Can you explain things in a different way?  Let me reiterate: this is not your job.  You should be free to vent the pain and anger that comes from racism without every stupid white person questioning you to the Nth degree.  However, if you’re trying to make something work, your ultimate commitment is to get him educated.  And if yelling at him doesn’t work, try something else.  You might need to ask him “Why do you resist this so much?”  Or… “You know when you’re like this, it’s like you’re invalidating my experience of life. That doesn’t make me feel good.”  Remaining calm helps.  It also helps if you give them concrete examples and you gently guide them towards understanding life.  But damn it, James Tiller was flat out defiant at times.  And it drove me nuts.

Now if the person is a douche bag and you’re just casually dating, feel free to tell them off and then end the relationship.  Maybe that’s a bit extreme.  But the point is the context is king.  I can't tell anyone how to make good relationship choices.  But I can get my readers to open their eyes, such that they can powerfully choose whom to date and be clear about what comes with it.  


I'm not sure what to call this final group of white guys.  I mean, should you win an award for NOT being racist?  Should you win an award for just being what we all think people should be?  Do we make these people heroes?  Like what do you say?  I spent a week trying to come up with a clever term for white guys who were genuinely open to dating people of color without using or abusing them.  And then that revelation hit me.  Are they really that special?

So I just called them Hufflepuffs.  The most non-dynamic term in pop culture.

But just because a Hufflelepuff is open to dating you does not mean that a host of other issues won't arise.  Not to long ago, I was dating this drag queen.  I don't think he had a racist bone in his body.  But he was literally a narcissist.  Now, I don't mean that as a sociopath.  And I don't mean he can't feel some sympathy for other people.  I mean, he was so caught up in his own little world, he literally can't appreciate an opposing view that challenges his own bubble of reality.

(More to come) .

But again, dating a Hufflepuff doesn't mean it's going to go anywhere.  It just means you're not going to walk away from the date feeling devalued, because of your skin color.  But you just might walk away thinking "This Mother F*cker is out of his God-DAMNED MIND!!!!!"

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Inter-Racial Dating Pitfalls - The 4 Types of White Guys on Grindr

The Pitfalls of Inter-Racial Dating:
The Types of White Guys on Grindr

As the Grindr Surivr, I’d like to think I do a fair amount of work observing patterns in gay male behavior.  I look at myself, those that I date and my friends.  And while it’s anecdotal, I try to draw rules and experiences that can reach and inform everyone.  Few of my readers know what I look like or where I live.  And some have sent me very kind notes from far off places – I’ve got a few die-hard fans in Australia.  I’ve studied race relations at Harvard, where I achieved my doctor of laws degree.  But I think most of my ability to sense how people act comes from my training from professional life coaches and communication experts – like Jean Lloyd (whom you’ve seen on my Grindr Survivr Instagram).  Jean’s done a great job of training me to see through people’s bull shit.  And by and large, it works.  I’m really good at seeing through people’s BS excuses.  Don’t get me wrong, people still do things that hurt me.  They cancel at short notice.  They say hurtful things.  They ghost me.  But those incidents happen far less often than they did before I started writing Grindr Survivr.

But at times, I fear I’ve neglected the issue of racism in the gay community or neglected issues of white privilege and white fragility.  On one level, I want my work to be universal.  And I believe I can write about enough crazy dates that people from all ethnic backgrounds can find something that resonates with them.  However, at times, I need to express my experience as a person of color.  So here we go. 

The Four Types of White People on Grindr (only Two will be Discussed in this post)

Never Ever Whites:

These are the white people who would never date a non-white person, even if their life depended on it.  Now, I’m not saying they are all racist.  (But a lot of them are). But I freely admit I don’t have enough data to begin to wonder about certain percentages.  So I am not saying the majority of white gay men are racist.  But I’m saying there is a significant portion of the population of white gay men who subscribe to the “whites only” dating philosophy.  I shall leave the critiques of this philosophy to Josh Rivers and others, who can do it far better than I. 

But by and large, these people don’t cause me many problems on apps like Grindr.  They of course don’t message me.  And the most I’ll say on that horrid app is “Hey.” 

Try Not to Engage Never Ever Whites in Real Conversation
To explain, in general, I rarely say more than “Hey” for fear of reprisals and abuse from the Never Ever Whites.  These people know they have nothing to lose.  In fact, a large part of them “get off” emotionally on being rude to people who fancy them.  My first Grindr Commandment “Don’t be a Douche” is universal.  Everyone can identify with that.  In a sense, this one commandment can be easily perceived as trans-racial.  But it came from white people seemingly enjoying the fact of rejecting me in overt and offensive ways.    

So if you were to make a sincere effort with a Never Ever White, something like:

Hey, I saw you like video games.  I really like Call of Duty.  What’s your favorite?

The Never Ever White will now usually have one of three options.  (1) He’ll just ignore you.  And that’s the best option (or he might block you, which is the same).  (2) Second, he’ll feel guilty because he’s seen you’ve gone to the effort, and so he may try to engage you in light conversation, knowing it will never go anywhere. (3) or the effort will offend his never white attitude – in that your taking the time to be kind and make an effort will trigger his mindset of “How dare this ethnic person step to me.”  This person is likely to get nasty and he’s likely to say obnoxious things like “Go Back to Africa” etc etc.  (Yes, that has happened to me on multiple occasions) . 

These types of responses are extremely humiliating, and they’re hurtful, and they just suck.  But I can get over it fairly quickly.  As a non-white gay you don’t have a choice. But I freely admit, one major reason I don’t go out anymore is I prefer to stay away from as many Never Ever Whites as much I possibly can.  I consider that one of my top life goals.  Because you never know when these shady queens will spout out some racist shit to ruin your day.  But as much as I hate the Never Ever Whites, the second category is far more pernicious. 

I’d Fuck a Black Guy, But… (IFBGB) Whites:

(Please note that you could swap Asian/Latino/or any other racial group in that category)
But this second group don’t limit themselves to never having sex with a person of color.  It’s just not their top choice, nor will it ever be.  And this category falls into two camps:

  • I'd fuck a black guy, but I'd never date one 
  • I'd fuck a black guy, but I haven't met the "right one" - aka, they haven't met the "perfect black guy"
I would assert that this second category of IFBGB for short are far more problematic and pernicious than the Never Ever Whites.  As white people slowly get the hint that it’s not okay to say and do racist things online, at least in my own experience, I am seeing less overtly racist messages today than I did three or four years ago.  The Never Ever Whites are learning to shut the fuck up and keep their close-minded views to themselves. 

But the IFBGB’s can be more dangerous, because, in their minds, they don’t believe they are biased against racial minorities.  They "can’t be racist," so they can't harbor any problematic views.  They compare themselves to the Never Ever Whites and they pat themselves on the back.  They say “Well, I can’t be racist if I sat on that big black cock once, right?”  “I’m not one of the Never Ever’s, so I must inherently be good and enlightened.” 

Because they are willing to occasionally shag an ethnic minority, they can’t comprehend that they still have many unconscious biases or they may dehumanize potential sex partners by viewing the ethnic minority gays as sex objects.
What’s also problem is the IFBFB’s never bother to actually ask actual black people if their views are problematic. 
It’s the ultimate self-fulfilling prophecy.  If they engage in rushed sexual encounters then run away, they never have to interact long enough to stumble onto the fact that their views might be problematic.

The sad truth is that Blacks/Asians will never be good enough to date the IFBGB white people.  They’ll use us in a pinch when nothing else is available, for example, when you’re next door at 2AM.  But they will never see our good qualities, see what we have to offer as potential boyfriends or life-partners.  They are completely unwilling or unable to see us more than anything than overgrown flesh-lights.  Our ethnic bodies are there to serve these white men, and we should feel happy to be used and subsequently discarded – because hey, they gave us a shag when the Never Ever’s wouldn’t.  In a way, the IFBGB mentality more “imperialist/colonialist” than the Never Ever Whites.  The Never Ever’s just want to be left along (not always, see Trump supporters, but you get the gist).  The IFBGB’s want to use you and then want you to thank them for the opportunity to be used by a white person, or at the least validate their own preconceived notion that they have no racial hangups. 

Martin Luther King said he preferred the overt segregation of the Deep South in the United States to the unofficial segregation in the North, because he knew which places to avoid in the South: the signs were openly displayed on the front door.  I have to say I feel the same way in the gay dating context.  I would rather be very clear on who would Never Ever date me as opposed to who might use me, while telling me that they were open to hypothetically dating me. 

Let’s take a moment to discuss the “I’d Fuck a black guy, but I haven’t met the ‘right one’ to date.”  I won’t for a moment say that context doesn’t play a key role in this.  Someone white could genuinely be open to dating people of different races, but they live in an area or region of the world that doesn’t allow this.  But if you live in New York, LA, London, Paris etc – the big major gay scenes of the world, this excuse is completely hollow and full of shit.  Because I can all but guarantee a myriad of ethnic people approached these guys, some of whom had professional degrees, great bodies, great personalities etc.  So what’s stopping them? 

Let’s compare this phenomenon to when HR managers are reviewing two candidates with the same qualifications: one has a “black sounding name” and the other has a “white” name.  Studies show that HR managers will look for reasons to cross off people like Shaniqua.  They’ll literally find flaws where none exist, or they will make mountains out of mole-hills.  But they will forgive similar flaws, if not twist them into strengths when looking at “Sally’s” application. 

The IFBGB-2 whites tell themselves, “I’m so open-minded.  I don’t have any implicit bias issues, because I’m open to dating them – I just can’t meet the perfect one. I’m such a good liberal white.”  But they’re completely blind to the fact they are using literally “perfection” as their dating criteria.  If the ethnic suitor has any minor flaw or engages in the most minor social faux pas, no matter how small, he’ll be dismissed as “not the right fit for me.”  The IFBGB-2 will then communicate to his ethnic suitor "you didn't measure up."  But in reality, the minor flaw was merely a fig leaf to hide the fact that they never wanted to date a non-white person in the first place.  (Moreover, dollars to donuts, if we went through these white guys phones and looked through white people he had been dating, I can find that they gave far less attractive white guys passes with many more major personality flaws).
This happened to me not too long ago.  I met this white guy, and he bravely shared about his battle with testicular cancer.  I tried to be supportive.  I said something like “Wow. That takes a lot of courage and vulnerability to be so open with me like that.  That really gives me a new side to your depth.”  He took that as “Oh, so I’m boring other than my cancer.”
SMH!  So, my first instinct would be this guy is just a moron, but he’s actually a fairly smart and successful guy. 

But what’s more likely.  Me, in trying to be supportive, accidentally implied that he was boring/annoying.  You guys read my books and blog posts, so you know that that is a very small likelihood.  OR…. He knew he didn’t want to date me, but he needed a fig leaf that would cover his implicit biases and white fragility.  The sad truth, racially tinged or not, if people are looking for reasons to cross you off of their list, they will INVENT something.  If you send a guy flowers he’ll say “You’re smothering me.”  the IFBGB's will give you no grace: you get no room to make mistakes, no room to be human.  They judge you by an impossible standard, and then dare to smirk and tell you that you didn't measure up.  For IFBGB-2’s, there is no mole-hill that can't be magnified into a mountain of flaws, because otherwise, they would have to confront the truth that they just don’t want to date anyone who’s not white. 

No matter how big your muscles are, no matter how good you are in bed, no matter how smart you are, or no matter how much you liked them, you will never be “good enough” in their eyes.  You can never be more than a casual toy to be used by them.  And their white fragility will stop them from ever contemplating as to why “they can never seem to find the perfect negro.”  And the magic of white privilege is that they will never have to.

How to Avoid the IFBGB’s:

The technique below is rather simple, although it will likely prompt a white fragility attack – but so what.  I’m not trying to be any white guy’s sex toy. 
If a white man propositions you for sex or a date, just ask this simple question:

Have you ever dated a [black/Asian] guy before?

Note – I said DATED – as to imply a relationship.  Now, keep in mind, most IFBGB’s have severe cases of white fragility.  And this will trigger them.  But this is a good thing.  (Only the IFBGB will get triggered.)  Never Ever Whites won’t care that the answer is no. 

The ultimate answer would be, “Yeah, my previous boyfriend was black, and the one before him was Asian.”  Getting some response like that is good thing.  It shows you that they are not a Never Ever White or an IFBGB. (NOTE: That doesn’t mean he’s not a slut.).

But if they say “Well, I’ve fucked a black guy but never dated one…” RUN FOR THE FUCKING HILLS.  I’m kidding, I’m gay guy who likes to be dramatic.  Now that you have read this article, you get to choose.  You now know there is a high risk that no matter how awesome you are, they’ll never appreciate it.

Context Still Matters
Now, before my white readers scream and cry, there are some valid contexts/reasons that you should consider giving serious thought to with regards to why they haven't dated a non-white person before. 

For example, if the person came from a place that has no black people…. Like if I met a guy from Lithuania, I wouldn’t ask that question, because I know the country has zero black folks. 

If the person has recently only “come out” and doesn’t know what the truly wants with regards to sex and dating, that’s another valid option.  (That doesn’t work for me, as I’m looking for dates and relationships).  

Maybe someone had an Asian boyfriend but never a black boyfriend… This is perfectly valid.

The point of this is blog post is to WARN my readers.  Keep your eyes OPEN!  Don’t agree to do anything that will compromise your emotional health and well-being (particularly if the guy ghosts or blocks you the next day).

And don’t be nasty to anyone who says they’ve never dated a black guy before.  That doesn’t mean they are racist, technically. The key is to be WARNED.  Go in with your eyes wide open and don’t do anything that would compromise your emotional health.

Some Concluding Thoughts:

It occurred to me that these first two categories of white guys: The Never-Ever's and the "I'd Fuck a Black Guy but..." are the exact same two types of white people who protest that people have asked for the pride flag to be changed to include black and brown stripes.  

These are the same types of people who deny that white privilege exists, while simultaneously melting down about it and blaming black people for "being the problem" (and thus becoming white fragility incarnate).  

These are the type of people who whine about people of color creating a "black pride" that doesn't include them or make them feel safe, while never even considering how the white-dominated gay culture that they themselves patronize, contribute to, perpetrate and revel in makes a great deal of us (who aren't white) feel like shit!   The fact is: they LOVE things the way that they are.  And their egos are so fragile, they really don't want to be reminded of the fact that others aren't benefiting from that level of privilege.  

This is one reason I find so many white gays infuriating.  What are we to do?  Honestly... I want a Never-Ever white to tell me, what are people of color supposed to do on the gay scene?  Seriously... Answer me this!  
  • If we protest the lack of representation in gay culture, you freak out, react negatively and tell us we're imagining things, and that we should just deal with it.  (Let's just call that freaking out for short)  
  • If we create our own pride (or other institution that's not so racist), you freak out.  
  • If we tell you off for saying ridiculously offensive stuff, you freak out.  
  • If we call out your privilege or your white fragility, you freak out.  
The sad truth is, at best, you're highly indifferent as to whether we exist in "your gay scene."  At worst, you don't want us there at all.  And if we dane to exist in your perfect little white world, you want us to stay meek, humble, silent and ever so grateful if you acknowledge our presence at all. 

And for the IFBGB's you want us to feel grateful for the fact that you decided to treat us like a science experiment or you decided to use as as a 3AM booty call when no one white was around.  Forgive me for not kissing your feet at the opportunity to be used as your last choice in the middle of the night.  Sorry, massa, but you "gracing me" with your presence (or your mere toleration of mine) does not instill gratitude.