As anyone who follows my Tumblr knows, I enjoy bright, vibrant, over-saturated colours which would not look out of place in MGM musical fantasias. Canary yellow, emerald green, royal blue, flamboyant fuchsia: these are the hues I gravitate towards and wear. But as a former academic, I am comfortable acknowledging grey areas in life. Every person on this earth is different, with unique experiences and insights. If you ever think you have all the answers you are more stupid than someone who has everything wrong. I sincerely believe that even the strictest beliefs can mellow over time and that we’d all do a lot better if we pontificated less and listened more.
But I’ve been told that my acknowledgement of grey areas doesn’t fit comfortably with our digital age. Opinions on the internet are as black and white as the pixels you are staring at. For some, it’s not enough that I previously wrote about how blogging may be hurting writers. I should have written “blogging is silly and a waste of time!” or, alternatively, “yay for blogging!” That would make it better, or at least got more hits (which, in the world of blogging, is the same thing). The habit of taking one extreme side of an argument in order to get people mad and drive up clicks has caused me to abandon one snarky columnist after another. I don’t respect that world view, nor do I respect those writers.
All that being said, I thought I would try my hand at writing a ridiculously oversimplified diatribe based on my observations and recent conversations with friends. To segue rather awkwardly, I will introduce another colour: brown.
It is a truth universally acknowledged (at least by my friends and readers) that I have a fondness (I don’t want to say ‘fetish’) for men of Middle Eastern and South Asian heritage. It is forgiven that my friend Jess Bartram has never made me the ‘I Heart Brown Boys’ t-shirt she’s promised me for by this point it would be redundant.
For the record, I don’t ONLY date brown men and would gladly meet, date and enter into a relationship with any kind of guy, except for vampires. I’m over them.
But the interest seems to go both ways. My big ex-boyfriend was white, but my two second longest relationships were with an Iranian and an Indian. When I do online dating, ethnic men seem to be more responsive to me and eager to meet up.
It works in person, too. When I meet friends of friends, or when, good heavens, someone tries to set me up, white guys are not particularly interested in me. When I get crushes on guys who are superficially like me (white guys from middleclass Ontario backgrounds, interested in leftwing politics and the arts) the results have almost always been a disaster. I naively believe they will like me back, but it usually ends with me throwing myself at them, being turned down and us settling on being friends, with varying degrees of awkwardness.
For my own piece of mind, I want to believe the myriad excuses that it has nothing to do with me: “I’m not into dating right now”; “I’m still getting over my ex”; “I’m really messed up about sexuality.”
“Fine, fine,” I say, while thinking, “Okay, get over it.” Then I’ll meet a Pakistani guy, raised by a conservative Muslim family, who came to Canada by himself and has to balance being an ethnic minority within a sexual one (and the other way around), and we have a hot, passionate love affair. Why was that easier?
White boys have issues and, despite being one myself, I don’t have a simple explanation.
Maybe Canadian born and raised gay guys are less comfortable with themselves than our community’s rhetoric encourages us to be. Maybe the brown men I have dated are more courageous, which is why I was able to meet them in the first place. Maybe white guys are more idealistic (or spoiled), holding out for the great love affair with the six packed-guy the movies promised them.
Or maybe white guys are more difficult because they don’t like sex that much.
It doesn’t seem to be only gays. I have a good friend, an attractive, smart, interesting girl who, on top of all that, would make an amazing girlfriend for straight guys (she likes beer and hockey). But the stories she tells me of having to work around all sorts of white boy neuroses in order to hook up makes the mind reel.
Feminism has given women the freedom to own their sexuality, but it doesn’t mean they want to be the ones always chasing.
Popular culture always warned us to be weary of men. Girls had to watch out to not be used and thrown away once a guy’s enormous sexual appetite was filled. (Here is another crossover with gay guys: watching the original British ‘Queer As Folk’ as a teenager, I thought that I too would have an older man scoop me up on my first visit to the village and have his nasty way with me. Never happened.)
Maybe it’s not true. Maybe the old stereotype of Irish guys, that they were more interested in drinking at the pub with their mates than having sex, is true of all white men. Although that’s a slander against Irish blokes, as my experience in Dublin was much different from my cold times at Toronto bars.
I don’t think it’s biological. If white guys liked sex as little as that they’d be in as much danger as extinction as panda bears. Despite what the Tea Party may think, that isn’t the case. Evolutionarily, you’d assume sex shouldn’t be as complicated for humans as it is. I don’t know if I think it’s too much ego or too little, but I think we could all use a little bit of loosening up. Not becoming total slags (unless you want to), but opening oneself up to opportunities and saying ‘yes’ to new experiences.
It sounds like I’m trying to get with a straight guy. I’m really not. I have enough problems with the gay ones.