I Became A Gay White Man For Three Hours
And then I went black again. Here’s what my color transformation confirmed about lust and race.
Before I begin my tale of transformation, I must take a moment to contemplate color, like Baby Suggs on her deathbed in Beloved.
In spite of the various things I hate about myself, I love who I am, black and all. Sure there are physical imperfections that could use some tweaks (Would it have killed God to be a bit more generous with the eyebrows?), but the one physical characteristic I would never touch is the color of my skin.
I can honestly say that not once in my entire life have I ever wished I were anything other than black (or gay — but that’s an issue for a different post, this one). That said, I’d be lying through my perfect teeth if I said I’ve never wondered what it would be like to be white. What would it be like to enjoy the kind of privilege that goes along with it? How would people approach me? Would they treat me differently? Would I have better eyebrows?
The other day I decided to finally find out. For several hours, I assumed two new identities on Grindr in Bangkok, my city this week. First, I created a fake profile using the morning-after photo I took of a very handsome Latino man named Bruno whom I met in Buenos Aires 12 years ago. Then I let the come-ons roll in.
Three hours later, I deleted Bruno’s profile and created another fake one using a photo of a gorgeous black model I found on the internet. I was sure to skip the many black beauties flexing in model-esque poses in favor of one doing something a bit more natural — eating cereal. He could easily be the stud next door, or 50 meters away. Then I let the come-ons roll in.
The results were interesting. Bruno received messages from 45 men and nine “taps” (Grindr’s equivalent of a virtual wink) in the space of three hours. Breakfast Stud racked up 46 suitors and nine “taps” in the same time period. So the quantity of Bruno’s responses was commensurate with Breakfast Stud’s, and for both, they came from roughly two-third Asian guys and one-third Western expats and tourists. That would suggest that a hot black guy is as likely to score on Grindr in Bangkok as a hot white/Latino guy. Good to know.
But what about the manner of approach? That was pretty much where the similarities ended. Bruno’s messages were one-hundred percent G-rated, the kind of salutations he might have received at Glam (the Buenos Aires club where we met) back in 2005, those good old pre-Grindr days. Among the photos included in those 45 messages, there was not a single cock shot and only two shirtless men.
The opening lines included Hi/Hey/Hello/Hola (16 of them), Hey. How are you? (two of those), Hola guapo, Look nice, Are you here on holiday?, Morning!, and Sexy guy. Not once did anyone refer to his race or to his penis.
Breakfast Stud inspired more colorful responses. His third message included a shot of an erect penis from the shaved crotch to the pink tip, sent by a Latino man whose profile name was “NSA only.” In total, there were 13 cock or butt shots and nine photos of guys who were either shirtless of wearing briefs only.
The opening lines included Nice pic!, Sexy, Body so hot, Some fun?, Hi sexy, Hi dude [sic] anymore pic, and I need get fucked w top bigdick. Notice how in the heat of black passion and lust, conventions of grammar and spelling are largely ignored?
As suddenly as Breakfast Stud’s profile appeared, it disappeared. I replaced it with my real profile, which, unsurprisingly, received responses from several guys who had messaged Breakfast Stud (including one black guy with an impressive six-pack but not much to say). Not one of the guys who had reached out to Bruno reached out to Breakfast Stud or to me.
Among numerous invitations to sex parties and “high fun” were a some XXX gems. A few introductory lines:
I somehow attract to a black guy like u… How big is your monster dick?
Size your Dick
Can u fuck me
Seeking black top for Fun
Interesting and telling as my findings were, I know they don’t necessarily represent consistent standards when it comes to black and white on Grindr. I have white friends who regularly receive butt and cock shots, and I’ve been told by white guys in Bangkok that the locals here are quite free with the racial references when approaching them, too.
But there is no denying that overall, guys on Grindr generally approach a shirtless black man differently than they do a shirtless white man. I’ll pass on all of them and try to remember the way we were in 2005 when I met Bruno at Glam, both of us with our shirts still on.
“Hola, I’m Bruno,” he said. Simple yet seductive. He had me at “Hola, I’m Bruno.” Guys on Grindr, take note. That’s how you launch a come-on with real potential.