After the twenty-nine levels of compatability failed, I let a friend talk me into trying more specialized sites. And there are many: single parents, pet lovers, Christians, married people, trophy wives … you name it, there is a dating site for them alone. I did some research and chose two sites, one for each predictor the others neglected: size and race.
The first site is all about helping black folks find one another. That seems so clear, implies a certain outcome. I do not, in actual fact, date only black men. Vlad isn’t black. Neither The Morphine Man, nor several other former paramours. But the fact that I am black was hampering the process, so I signed up … and the first thing I saw was one white man after another. I will admit to a fair amount of confusion. But behind all the non-black people on the site, there are plenty of — surprise! — black people.
I think the most interesting thing I’ve found on these sites is that removing the issue doesn’t remove the issue.¹
On the fat ladies site, the men are — one should feel safe assuming — into fat ladies. And they are, but the truth of that doesn’t in any way affect the concurrent truth that many are fatphobic. “You need to show a full-length photo,” one man’s profile says. “If you don’t, then I have to assume you’re fat.” Um, what? Trust me, sir, that any woman signing up on the Meet Fat Ladies site is fat. Trust me. What he means, probably, is that some level of fat is too fat for him. But I’m sorry, don’t come to Fatland and then be all prejudiced against the fatties.
Another man worries about meeting women larger than a size 14. Seriously? Let’s just be clear: a woman who is a size 14 is. not. fat. She’s not even anywhere near being fat. A man hoping to meet small women needs to figure himself out and stop wasting my fat girl time. Please, people.
Things are much worse on the black site. From reading their profiles, it is clear that many black men have ugly and unfortunate beliefs about black women. “Don’t bother responding if you have more than two kids,” says one. Another makes clear that his ideal woman can’t have more than $3,000 in personal debt. Many others say they don’t want their woman to be loud, angry, uneducated, trampy, domineering, demanding, dealing with baby-father bother² …
What is that? How can it be that so many black men think so little of black women? I’m not really that naive, but I’m disgusted and disheartened all the same. If you’re a man who’s looking to meet a black woman or a big woman, how are you served by posting a profile that is insulting to the women you hope to meet? And excuse my bluntness, guys, but if you’re a raggedy-looking, broke-down man whose profile pictures look like you took them the morning after a three-day drunk, how dare you say even one disparaging thing about me.
I am supremely troubled and angered by this crap. The prejudice against fat women bothers me, but most men on that site wax rhapsodic about the joys of “loving large.” The anti-black woman bullshit coming from men who should prize black women above all others … that hurts. I know many of the places it’s coming from, but it burns me.
Happily, not all of the men on these sites are rude and prejudiced. Some have made it past the initial does-he-warrant-a-date screen. A couple have even managed to rate a second date … And yes, I’m going to string you along and talk about them in another post!
¹ This might be an important takeaway for the folks behind the new Huck Finn: erasing the printed evidence of racism doesn’t erase the fact of racism. Hello …
² And this from men with their own exes and children in tow. I heard from a guy who’s never been married but has strewn nine children across the world … and he had the nerve to say he didn’t want any baby-daddy business.