how online dating makes me feel worse than i already do

15Jan09

One of the most difficult things for a woman of color like me to do is to explain to her white friends just how difficult being a minority can make dating. Unfortunately I’ve had too many of these conversations because I’ve always been deeply unhappy about the fact that I’ve never had a boyfriend. There are a lot of reasons for this and it’s not really worth going into them all but part of it is that I’ve spent my entire post-college career living in a place where there are no men for me. In other words, there are too many white men. Let me say first that I’ve actually always been attracted to white men as well as men of my own race and other races. But I’ve grown to confront and begrudgingly accept the fact that in this country, I’m an undesirable, someone nobody wants to touch.

Anyway, what my white friends seem incapable of understanding is just this. The obvious fact (at least to me) that, as a woman of color, I can’t assume that men are looking at me for me, at which point they then decide they’re not interested because what’s more likely is that they see me as a girl of that race they don’t date. I know I’m decently attractive, I know I bring a lot to the table, I have friends who love me and that I love. I shower, I wear cute clothes, I look significantly less heavy than I am. I have a big chest, which apparently men like (but I think that’s a crock of shit). That no man who is worth being in a relationship with has ever expressed any interest in me is not a comment about me; I think a lot of times it’s about my skin color.

When I tell my friends this, they say “no, I think a lot of guys will date somebody of your race.”

“Name one,” I say.

No one ever springs to mind.

To clarify, I’m certainly not talking about all (or even most) of my friends. Nor am I talking about all the guys of my own race. And of course I bring my own issues and baggage to any given situation, so I’m not blameless in my dearth.

So what does this have to do with online dating? Right around New Years, I joined two online dating sites: OkCupid and eHarmony. I’ve been on eHarmony before but had no success (never got past the email phase); it’s a bit pricey plus I was really disturbed when I heard that eHarmony didn’t match gays and lesbians. This last bit has changed, from what I hear. I’ve never been comfortable with online dating; it doesn’t match well with my personality or the way I relate to men. But, in the absence of anything else, I decided to try it again. Not to mention, I think the only way I’m going to get completely shot of the epic disaster I’ve been passing the time with is to find somebody new. It’s only been a few weeks on these sites but again, I’m disheartened. On OkCupid, my liberal views seem to exclude men of my race (or any other ethnicity) so my match lists are filled with white guys whose interests couldn’t be further from mine (fantasy fiction and gaming, for example) and who aren’t interested in me. eHarmony’s a different situation because you have to wait until they match you. I restricted it to my local area but apparently there are only two or three people in my vicinity and tons of (white, uninterested) guys way far away. At this point, I’ve stopped trying with OkCupid and I’ll cancel my subscription to eHarmony once my special price time runs out.

I’ve been feeling like this for a couple of days but today I ran into the following discussion at Racialicious where men and women of color talk about how difficult they find online dating. The comments are really where it’s at, as people bring up a wide array of problems: talking with people who fetishize their type; the specific problems of Christian websites, which are often overwhelmingly white and where people are more likely to believe interracial dating is a sin; being too intelligent while black or latino; plus the maddening occasions (that are really too frequent) where you’re matched with people who haven’t chosen your race as a preference and have no interest in dating somebody of your race. The article and the comments really validated what I’d been feeling my whole life but that I’m not allowed to say in public because it makes some people uncomfortable.

How could I forget that eHarmony/online dating really only works for white people? How could I forget that I don’t get to try to find love online? Online dating is supposed to open up your possibilities, particularly for career women. But for me, online dating is only a reminder of my problems, not a solution to them.

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20 Responses to “how online dating makes me feel worse than i already do”

  1. I have nothing to offer except to say this really sucks. oh, and I also think the men liking the big chest thing is a total crock–as the owner of a big chest.

  2. 2 thefrogprincess

    Well at least I’m not the only one who think it’s a crock. I’d love to know where this myth came from b/c I’ve been fed that lie since I sprouted the suckers.

  3. I am totally with you on this one! It’s frustrating that white friends sometimes assume that “color-blindness” exists. And yes, it is because they’re your friends and they love you, but it is unrealistic especially when it comes to dating. I did chemistry.com recently after I moved to LA from small-midwestern-college-town and it was okay for me, but I am convinced it is because I live in LA and the pool of college-educated men of color is bigger. A friend of mine (who is black) has had a harder time, (especially on eharmony which rejected her all together) but she lives in a smaller city. Regardless of where you are, it is hard to be a highly educated single straight WOC when most men seem to be intimidated by you. And it can be extremely discouraging.

    Oh, the big chichi thing…brown men definitely appreciate it more than white men. For real.

  4. 4 Anonymous

    Stayed on eharmony for 2 years and never got a nibble. I feel what went against me was being a black woman and over 50. There’s just nothing out there for us.

  5. 5 fightingblindly

    God, I’m so glad someone else said this. I experience this from a black male perspective. I do believe that we have it a little better than black women, but it cuts both ways. I’m a black male professional. I love to read Latin American literature or any literature for that matter. Most of my friends believe I’m extremely intelligent. I’m definitely interested in women of my own race as well as women of any other race, but…..I never get hits on these sites. I was on a trial run with eHarmony and I subscribed to yahoo personals. It drives me crazy. It’s exactly as you said. You get hits from people who are not interested in dating people of your race. I’ve recieved hits in searches from people that basically say they are interested in any race BUT mine. This includes a lot of biracial African American and Anglo American mixed women. I’m educated, intelligent, at the time I was in fantastic shape, not so much after law school, but I’m on my way back I’ve lost 40 pounds, but no one is interested. Even the white women I get responses for seem to want some ridiculous exoticized ghetto rapper wannabe fantasy that I simple am not. I like hip hop and some sports but neither is my life. I’m very liberal have gay friends and friends of many different racial and ethnic backgrounds, but never can seem to find anyone. We will all go to a supposedly diverse place and everyone seems to find someone that is interested despite THEIR ethnic background except for me. I agree with what else you have to say in that when you put your liberal viewpoints into a database for a personals site you get people who are “liberal” but not interested in people of your race. It’s ironic I’ve had more luck with “conservative” redneck, or country women of other races that people in liberal scenes whether it be political, music, or academic. You are totally correct in that people don’t allow you to bring it up. People tend to list famous African Americans as examples of people that do well with interracial relationships. Well damn it i’m not a rich football player, entertainer, or actor. I’m not some Denzel Washington adonis either. I’m a regular (not rich famous, or perfect and no i don’t play any type of “ball”) Afican American male who is liberal, well educated (post grad degree), that doesn’t see why in a personals site or singles bar/club/establishment I should be forced to write off 90% of the people their just because of MY skin tone. I get so angry because even my african american male friends refuse to admit this is a problem because of pride. They date white women or how shall I say have sex with white women as one night stands on the dl and claim victory, being hidden from someone’s life because they are ashamed of being with you in any way is not something to be proud of. The ones that finally do get women of another race tend to settle for the bottom of the barrel. An attractive black man with several degrees, no children and intelligence settles for a woman he acts “hood” for just to keep who is completely uneducated, unintelligent, or unmotivated and often times unattractive but he has that white prize.

    • 6 ru

      All I’m going to say is, assuming arguendo this is really true

      “I’m definitely interested in women of my own race as well as women of any other race”,

      please ask the Frog Princess to give you my email address.

    • 7 ru

      Checking back in here b/c some other comments have been added to this site since I was last here.

      Interestingly, despite all your complaints, and me being a woman who has a background quite similar to yours and was willing to meet, I never heard from you.

      /things that make you go ‘hmmm’

  6. 8 Perdia

    This whole online dating thing? I agree, although I appreciate I’m coming at it from a completely different angle. I am a young white girl, late 20’s, just beginning on the whole career path in the big city, and I have never felt this lonely in my life.
    It’s odd- you think that you’ll meet The Guy at university, and then when you don’t, that’s ok too, because you’re moving on with life and going to a buzzing city with lots of prospects… and yet, I find I am working too hard to meet a man in the conventional way, and on-line dating is like someone is holding a mirror up against all of my insecurities and then shining a spot light on them. Not so fun.

    I think on-line dating is a great idea for certain types of people, but like you, it’s not really been sitting all that well with me, and I wonder if that is more of the problem? I’m educated to post-grad level, very independent, funny, outgoing and should not be finding dating this hard! If there wasn’t an ocean between us, Mr Fightingblindly, I’d snap you up in a second. But you see, this is perhaps where the on-line subjectivity comes into play – it sounds like you live Stateside, and therefore we have no future, so you’re automatically off my list.

    Sorry- I seem to have lost my point rather. But as one on-line dater to a bunch of other disheartened cyber-lonlies, I wanted to sympathise, and say that it’s not just a race thing. Perhaps it is more to do with our own approaches to on-line love?

  7. I hear you, kid. And I said so here.

  8. 10 Rob

    asians get it bad too!

    funny thing is i got a reply from a european girl on singlesnet and while we went on a couple of dates and slept together nothing else has happened.

    i’ve since been on other sites including okcupid but can’t seem to get any replies…

    i’m really getting frustrated!

  9. 11 angryblkfeminist

    Glad to come across this and know I’m not alone. I see this is an old entry, but I’ve struggled being black educated and attractive (everyone seems to say it but the men I’m interested in HA!) and never going as far as a date. I was on OKCupid for about four years on and off and never even got further than a few email exchanges. Most men I messaged would look at my profile and then never respond. The ones that messaged me either were black men who would self consciously ask if I thought I was better than them because I speak proper English or white men who were fetishizing me to the max.

    In light of my reading of the problem of race and dating (especially online) I’m giving up on online dating (I never liked it anyway – I feel like those I’d really like wouldn’t be online looking). I guess I’ll just have to deal with giving the occasional number out only to have one of out twenty call in the middle of the night for a booty call. *rolls eyes*

  10. 12 ru

    “The ones that messaged me either were black men who would self consciously ask if I thought I was better than them because I speak proper English”
    AGH.
    I’m not gonna rant, but AGH.

  11. 13 Anonymous

    i think a lot of people have prejudices when it comes to dating, even more than when it comes to friends. For example, I have two close friends, one asian and one hispanic, that will befriend anyone, but will only date their own kind. Even the most unprejudiced of people are very prejudiced when it comes to dating. I have also noticed that the bar seems to be set extremely high for black women, I have seen really gorgeous black women with average white men – although I guess you see really gorgeous women with average looking men in general 🙂

    One thing that is unfair is to assume it is better for a white woman. It may be easier in the sense that society extolls whiteness, but for example, have you ever considered that white women might attract black men that look to white women as trophy wives, rather than who they are the inside? I often think about those things – even though I am attracted to black men, I often take a ‘pass’ – the first thing I check for is whether the man actually has a history of or is open to dating black women. If he does not, I do not date him. Surprisingly enough (or not surprisingly enough), this really narrows the incidence of black men in my dating pool – I have only dated one black man and he was a good friend of mine before we dated. I always consider who the person is on the inside – if they look at a white woman as some sort of accomplishment then that person is not for me. I agree with the angryblkfeminist, I think the really awful thing is that black women are not only shunned by white men but also by black men – who prefer to date women of other races. For those of us who choose to lead our lives in an ethical way, dating is difficult, because there is really so much hypocritical and negative behavior out there.

    You seem like a nice person, it is very GOOD that you are attracted to people of all races. For one thing, it broadens your pool. For another thing, it shows that you are actually open minded and your complaints are very real and very legitimate. Just remember, whether or not people want to date you, you are beautiful whether or not you are what society considers to be beautiful.

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  18. 20 bec

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