Hello KChie! We matched! 🙂
So read my Tinder alert. It came from a man I had mistakenly swiped “right” on less than 24 hours prior. If you don’t know, Tinder is one of many (online) dating apps where profiles consists of your first name, age, photos of your choice, and pages you’ve “liked” on Facebook, and potential matches are based on age and GPS. If you fancy someone, you swipe right, otherwise you swipe left for NOPE! If two people “like” each other it’s a match and you now may start messaging each other. If you do know, then you probably know of Tinder as a hook-up app. So you’re probably asking why I was on it and/or why I would admit to such. Well, yada yada, I downloaded it last year but did not activate it initially because I refuse to use Facebook to log into websites. But there’s no alternative, so I bit the bullet and swiped around for a few weeks before deactivating my profile because I found it just as tiresome as all the other dating apps.
But back to my match. Now I’ve been around when it comes to online dating and social apps. Name it, and I’ve probably “tried it” admittedly probably not with my best effort. But I found this particular match so intriguing because he seemed so excited to have matched with me, or somebody. I have met a few eager men, one a Senegalese man who wanted to marry me after we had met the first time for a daytime drink after a couple online exchanges, the other a Somali man who was just intense and I mean intense in person. Neither seemed to be lacking hence should not have been as desperate as they came off. What was interesting about this Tinder match though was that he was a White man who was not able-bodied and was short, as in definitely under 4 feet. He probably had a muscular dystrophy or a cerebral palsy and his excitement made me suspect that I was his first match in months if not forever. It was odd because when it comes to online dating, the least desirable demographic is the black woman, of which I of course am one, and I felt empathy though yes a little contempt for him.
I did not respond. I felt no desire nor obligation to. He was quickly forgotten until just the other day when with a group of black women the trials and tribulations of online dating was being discussed. A white girlfriend had just been bragging about all the dates she was going out on with online matches and how these were “regular” men not people looking for just a “hook-up”. She happily showed us her matches of varies hues and ages. When she left, it was quickly acknowledged that while we each had tried some form of online dating, and had had matches and some successes here and there, the curse of the black woman ensured that our phones were not lighting up non-stop with matches. This of course led to a discussion of beauty because we’ve each scrolled through a list of potential mates at whatever website only to see men, Black men included, check off all on a long list of acceptable ethnicities for their potential match except the Black/African-American box. Ouch, right? We acknowledged this phenomenon to be shocking and degrading especially when everything else about the person’s profile suggest that they might be open-minded or liberal.
While my friends began to discuss whether or not they felt beautiful, I got to wondering if my disabled White man match was more of a catch than me an able-bodied Black woman, personalities of each unknown on such a superficial platform. I got to wondering if I had ever felt ugly in my life. Of course I have felt less than, more often than I care to admit. I could have been smarter, I could have been skinnier, I could have been more athletic, more sociable, but have I felt that I could have been prettier? It’s not as if I’m ugly. This thought recalled a different memory. I was having lunch one day with a woman of South-East Asia heritage (yes, vague). Out of nowhere she asked if I could come back to the world as a different ethnicity what would I choose. I almost immediately blurted out “White man”. Yes I know “white man” is not an ethnicity but if I could choose to live on earth in this life-time or any other in antiquity, I would totally be a white man…of course one that is rich and in power. Nothing less. As I started to envision what that would be like, my lunch partner, disturbed, blurted out “What? Not a white woman?” You mean you’ve never wanted to be a white woman, the epitome of beauty?” And I paused, and I thought hard, and I replied, “Yep, I already know what it feels like to be a woman, if I have to be a woman, a Black one is just as good, but if I’m going to be anything else I would be a white man! Don’t remember what happened with the rest of the conversation but I do wonder what that means in terms of how I’ve accepted my being.