Thursday, June 13, 2013

No Asians, Please!

No Asians, please!

Yet another Grindr profile of a Caucasian man with profile text like this.

Grindr, in a nutshell, is the biggest geosocial networking application for gay men with currently 4 million users worldwide. Like many things on earth, gay cruising as well has gone digital and Grindr phenomena comes in handy in time of “need”. And for gay men that’s very often. With Grindr’s GPS and chat function, one can cruise a gay man nearby, swap pictures, arrange meeting and have him at his door within half and hour or less with no fuss. Quick and easy- just log in and get off, if you know what I mean



There are many things that annoy me on Grindr. To name a few, profile pictures of gay guys holding girls (Is that really the best you could do for a gay profile pic? Crop them out. Leave them alone!), empty profiles (possibly closeted married men on business trip who have just downloaded the app upon check-in, hence no pic, no details!), the overused term “straight-acting” (Epic Fail! Look at us, Mary! Talking about ‘theatre’ again?) or “Hey, Dude! Sup?” (Yikes!!!! I came out oh-so-courageously to be called “Dude”?)  

But nothing irritates me more than those Caucasians’ profiles that proclaim “No Asians Please”. I have even seen one profile that reads, “I don’t do Asians”. Classy!


  


While Grindr’s profile moderators routinely remove offensive, homophobic, racist and foul language, text like “Not into Asians” or “No Asians please” are still considered rather ‘a preference’. Therefore we Asians are to bear with what I call “resentment” if not “rightful racism” disguised as preference on daily basis. I am certain that in other parts of the world, “No Blacks, please” would exist and to be fair, there might even be “No Caucasians, please” too but, let’s face it, I doubt that “No Caucasians, please” would be as many as “No Asians Please” or “No Blacks, please”. Personally I have not come across with one yet. 


“Oh, you are taking this all too personally,” said an Aussie friend, a Caucasian. Well, I do of course. Wouldn’t you too, if, for example, you are obese and you see a profile text that says “no fatties”? Or say, you are 54 and the guy you are after is “not into old guys”. Not only will you take that personally also find it aggravating and even hurtful. We are only humans.

We all have our own preferences, especially that of sexual and physical, and they should be respected. Yet I believe that it is also not necessary to be too graphic or detailed about one’s preference especially when it is deemed disrespectful. Especially, if the person happens to be a Caucasian tourist or an expat in the land where majority around him are Asians, a statement such as “Not Into Asians” should be refrained out of respect. After all, if and when Asians approach him on Grindr, he has a choice to ignore or there’s always that BLOCK option.

Here’s something to ponder. Let’s say, an Asian guy cruises a Caucasian guy in a pub. Would he say “No Asians Please” to the guy’s face? Or if there were a T-shirt with a caption that reads, “No Asians Please”, would anyone dare wear it to a gay club in order to fend off themselves from Asians?  Then why should anyone think that it is okay to put such declaration on their Grindr profile? The answer is easy. Being online gives one a false sense of security and a hefty dose of confidence. Therefore, our online behaviors may not necessarily mirror our usual offline behaviors. In other words, we can be whoever we want to be online and we don’t need to apologize for that. Sadly, that’s when many of our true colors show.


Infuriating and demoralizing as it is, I also wonder if we Asians are partially to be blamed for this. Why are these Caucasians in large numbers shunning us? What happened to our once exotic-Asian image? Are inter-racial hookups becoming endangered and we don’t know? Should potato queens be very, VERY afraid? 


On Bali where I live and in many other South East Asian destinations, many Gaysians are randomly throwing themselves at Caucasian men, tourists and expatriates alike. At the gay bars of Bali, some even say 65% are believed to be rent boys.  Gay tourists come to Asia with a warning about this money-boy situation only to discover that is is shockingly true. Their gay tour agents or their friends who have been to Asia before have briefed them about this unfortunate condition. Some may come for sex tourism but many despise this.


“I received 42 messages within two hours of my arrival. Most of them are from money-boys or those who ask if I want massage with happy ending”, a French guy once told me. Almost every day, I too receive messages probing if I am an escort or I give massage. In the end, it is too frequent that I have to put “I am not a money-boy” text. Still that doesn’t stop the guys to mistake me for a whore.


Once I had been chatting with an American guy and we were about to meet.
“No offense but one last question, “Are you a money boy?”

I answered with a question “Why do you ask? 

“Well, you are very handsome and your profile picture is shirtless”.

Trust me, he is not the first one to tell me this. But I wonder if he would ever doubt a shirtless Caucasian guy. Are many handsome shirtless Asian men soliciting sex on Grindr? Since when “shirtless” equals “whore”? 


To get laid nowadays on Grindr with a Caucasian tourist is very much like going to a job interview. They provide you with a questionnaire and you’d better nail it. Plus the prettier and more accomplished you are, the more you become ‘too good to be true’. While I understand that, they have the right to doubt us given our track record, it does not stop me from thinking if we Gaysians have not knowingly but systematically destroyed our very own image.


Last few decades saw many immigrants from Asia in so-called first word countries. Many have migrated but are still not integrated socially. Asians are known to be quite cliquey and exclusive which does not help improve the situation either. Furthermore, some of us have also caused problems in foreign lands by overstaying, jumping out of cruise ships or faking marriages, which of course further tarnishes our legacy worldwide. One might say I am making a problem out of nothing. But who could say that these factors do not contribute to the Caucasians’ resentment towards Asians especially in the gay world where we fight very hard against discrimination but ironically, we are the ones who discriminate one another with reckless abandon? I personally feel that our GAM (Gay Asian Men) image is hurt effectively by the gay sex tourism and our popularity in gay community is increasingly waning. It is sad but it’s inevitable. It seems to me that the ideal world where we live as one has drifted further and further away.


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