Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dear Serial: Do not answer this question

Dear Serial,

So, I’ve been trying on line dating out. I’ve met a couple of people, even in person, but nothing major has come of it. I tend to be pretty picky about who I meet. See, if I know it’s not going to work out before it even starts, I think, why bother? But there’s this one guy I can’t decide on.

We’ve exchanged several emails, and even pics. But there are things that trouble me. He doesn’t have a job or a car, for one. He says he’s working on it. He isn’t really into the same things I am, he doesn’t like hiking, camping, biking, skiing. Those are my major passions. He is into music, and I like that, though. But his spelling and grammar are pretty terrible, and, worst of all, he has a three-year-old daughter half-time. I don’t have kids, and I don’t like them.

The thing is, I’d probably just say no thanks, even though he’s good-looking, if it weren’t for one thing. He’s black. I’m white. I’ve never gotten with a black guy before, and I really want to.

Does that make me a bad person?


Just looking for a little jungle fever

Dear Fever,

I think so … but, you know, uhh … that doesn’t mean I think you shouldn’t go for it, not necessarily ... though, I’m not sure …

Hooboy. This is a tough one; let me argue this out with myself.

OK, so. You’re clearly objectifying this guy. And you’re doing it in a way that makes me feel icky, a way that brings to mind the long American history of sexual objectification of black men – women, too, for that matter. And that really makes the Liberal White Guilt alarm bells in my head start going off, loudly. With sirens and whooping bells and all that.

But, I gotta say, isn’t objectification what we all do when we date? I mean, you weigh competing factors, and some of them are bound to be shallow. Is it OK to be an ass man? I think so. Is it OK to be into big titties? It has to be. Is it OK for me to have never dated someone shorter than me? Sorry, little dudes, you’re just not for me.

So what if race is just one of your factors? You make it sound like this guy’s race is just one factor on your list.

And yet. Is this something you’d be willing to admit to him? I think maybe the answer to that question gives up a bit about whether or not it’s OK. I mean, if a guy I’m dating tells me he thinks I’m attractive, that he just loves my, oh, I dunno, my long legs (hey, this is the internet, I can be who I want to. ), is that going to bother me? Nope. If he loves red hair and green eyes, and that’s what I’m packing, I think: Sweet! If he loves my porcelain skin, is that too much of a stretch? No. (Though if he loves my pure Aryan blood, we’re getting back to danger category) But no one deserves to be condescended to.

And, doi, race is so much more than physical characteristics. It’s about culture, too. Sometimes culture’s a factor, and rightly so. I mean, I’ve been drawn to dudes because they were from Texas, or loved the fact that their mothers were English professors. Maybe you’re looking to widen your horizons. But that’s not the impression I get from the way you put the question.

In fact, looking at your question more closely, I see that you didn’t ask me if you should go out with him. You asked if it made you a bad person that you wanted to. And in that distinction, I see the opportunity for a cop-out. The question you posed is this: Are you a bad person for wanting to get with a black guy?

At this point, I think I’ve talked myself into a corner: No, not necessarily.

But the question you didn’t ask was whether or not you would be a bad person if you only got with this guy because he’s black.

Thank you for not asking me that.

In conclusion, let me just say this:


Got a question for Serial Monogamist? Email it to seriallymonogamous[at]gmail[dot]com


Anonymous said...

Another muddled question and answer from would-be dater and would-be advice-giver. Both overthinking the issue with too little equipment. Wait, could it be the same person?

It's not dating if you don't put yourself out there.

"Slightly Disheveled" said...

It really just sounds like this woman wants some and she's about to enter into some misguided Jungle Fever thing for the hell of bragging about it. I would love it if he admitted that he'd never dated a black person either. There are so many interesting ways this story COULD end, but I'm bored.

itinerantwoman said...

wow! red hair, green eyes, porcelain skin, long legs!!! aside from the pure Aryan blood thing, i'm picturing a major babe!

that said, i agree with you on this one, SM. the race thing raises a few icks, and it seems the only thing she likes about him (and about all he has to offer) is his looks. but how many white guys are hunting (exclusively) for Asian chicks? i see no difference. she should go for the chocolate love--so long as she doesn't pretend she wants more from the relationship.

may i also add that, judging by his empty comment, "Anonymous" may never be accused of overthinking any issue. bra-fucking-vo, Anonymous; breathe right into the microphone.

Anonymous said...

That anonymous commenter ain't so anonymous, methinks.

plumpdumpling said...

My best friend and I just had this very conversation today! I'm not going to give you the context, but I'm sure this will provide an hour's worth of phone fodder tomorrow afternoon.