A Gentleman's Guide

JUNE | 2018

JUNE | 2018 | LOVE & RELATIONSHIPS

COMPUTER LOVE

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Confucius says “Study the past if you would define the future”. As wise as the Chinese philosopher was, his syntax was horrible. However, that’s not going to stop us from taking a page from his big book of philosophy and studying the history of dating in the SGL community of color and attempting to define its future. Our kind of dating has almost always been seen as taboo, so we’ve had to find creative ways to privately connect with our Beauxs.

Dating before the internet was interesting, to say the least, because we were forced to actually go out to interact with people. It was exciting. Dating before the internet gave us the opportunity to get to know people gradually and we had to put more effort into finding out just who our Beaux was as a person. We didn’t text him, we actually had to call him using a phone that was more than likely connected to a wall and we felt something that seems to be lost today- anticipation. Come with us as we explore the ways in which we found our Beaux before and after the internet.

ANTE-TECHNICAE

Before the internet, we cruised. For those of you under thirty, cruising is how we used to discreetly find our Beauxs. Cruising was fun, but it was also dangerous. The thrill in cruising was and still is, intoxicating. You’d spot a guy you found attractive and cough to get his attention, engage him in a meaningful glance or lick your lips.

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If everything went according to your plan the two of you were off to engage in some adult game playing, but if not you were either arrested, beaten and in the worst cases, you could have been killed. Cruising was something you did at your own risk and while there are plenty of stories of cruising gone terribly wrong, there are quite a few truck stop tales that are sure to leave you blushing.

Another method those of us who are of a particular age will remember is the party line. We weren’t using Jack’d or Tinder, but we still depended on our phones to meet other guys. The party line offered the same kind of thrill that you found when cruising and the dangers of meeting a guy using it were just as prevalent as they were while cruising. You never knew who you were meeting. Sure he told you he was in shape but it wasn’t until you actually laid eyes on him that you discovered how relative the term “in shape” was.

Another way for Beauxs to connect with each other was to engage themselves in professions that were either male-dominated or sexually segregated. This allowed them to sidestep any suspicion of their sexuality as it gave the illusion that they were foregoing dating, marriage, and family because they were focused on their career.  Any all-male environment provided Beauxs with the opportunity to connect away from the prying eyes of others.

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POST-TECHNICAE

An estimated forty percent of Americans use some form of online dating tool or another and 52% of all online dating profiles are held by men. Allegedly. We went from Yahoo groups, instant messenger, Blackplanet, and Myspace to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram DMs. To say that internet has changed a lot in the world of dating would be to grossly understate the impact that it’s had on the ways we connect.

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While we can still find ourselves either cruising or being cruised at the gym, technology has made it so that all we have to do is to open an app to see if the guy we’re silently lusting for is online. It provides us with accessibility, can match us with potential Beauxs, and provides some temporary relief to those of us who lack the social skills required to be the first to approach.

Adam4adam, Jack’d and Grinder gives us a fast and convenient way to communicate with potential Beauxs and allows us to experience less pressure and embarrassment than we would by approaching someone offline. We can be as picky as we want, work at our own pace and meet people outside of our social circles. Online dating also comes with less fear of rejection and if you’re not interested in someone you can literally disappear using one of many block features.  

QUOD SIT MELIUS?

So which is better? Online dating comes with an almost unlimited stream of options and we save a lot more time than we did before doing so was a choice. Our newfound connectivity gives us the option to fact check our Beauxs. Does he really work for Delta or is he the janitor who sweeps around the Delta Terminal at JFK? Is he really single or is he hiding the fact that he has a wife, two kids and a cat named Simba?

Technology has made all of this information readily available for us to determine whether or not our Beaux is being honest or if he’s lying about who he really is. Now you can Google him, plug his number into Facebook (because that is, in fact, a thing) or better yet right click his photo and place it into Google Images to see what it is that comes up.

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Whereas a blind date was truly blind before the internet, today we can use technology to screen our potential Beauxs within an inch of our lives. The advantage to this is that it provides us a much needed extra layer of security, as many of us are still unable to explain how we’re still alive after allowing someone we met on the chat lines into our homes.

But the added security of online dating doesn’t make it infallible because people are still out here catfishing. On top of that, people have taken things to a whole other level by literally creating online personalities so convincing that we still might not be able to convince ourselves that he is who he says he is.

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Online dating gives us the opportunity to meet people outside of our immediate area (because we all know that one guy who keeps himself involved in an online relationship with a Beaux who lives halfway, if not completely, across the country). Using the internet as a tool to meet a potential Beaux gives us 24-hour access to the seemingly bottomless pool of “available men” and believe it or not, there are some pretty dope success stories out there.

Searching for our Beauxs online presents us with an almost limitless option of men, but this can also lead to a lack of commitment. It's all about supply and demand. Additionally, relationships that start online may take more time to develop as the courtship is more likely to begin with a litany of likes, shares, and retweets. Chances are that we’ve been interacting with our future Beaux before the first message hits his DMs.

Despite its ease, online dating might not be for everyone as there are those of us who still prefer to meet our Beauxs while waiting on our Starbucks order to be completed. The advantage of offline dating is that we can immediately determine whether we have a genuine chemistry and while we might find ourselves more limited in our selections, at least we get the chance to sound like an idiot in person.

Regardless of whether or not we prefer dating online or off, or if we like to try our hands at doing a little bit of both, its almost impossible to deny the ways in which Jack’d, Grinder, Facebook and other social media platforms have influenced the ways that we connect. In the end, the choice is ultimately yours as dating online has just as many pros and cons as dating offline. The most important thing is that you keep an open mind and always stay as safe as possible.

Jeremy Carter