Thursday, July 7, 2011

"The ugly" or "Is objectification ever okay?"

So we promised to bring you the good and confusing elements of anonymous hook ups. But let's not forget "the ugly" and there is quite a bit of it in the anonymous sex scene. Some of this ugliness is about people's messed up notions on gender, bodies and how those two mingle. One time I was chillen with this one dude that I'd just fucked in every position imaginable. We were lying on my bed, all post-coital hazed out and shit, playing with his itouch (or whatever the hell, I don't know what they call these things. It played music and that's all I know). It was a real pseudo-bonding moment and I say pseudo because let's not confuse the "anonymous" portion of this equation. After a while, we started to feel almost like friends, like "let's go to the movies" type of friends. I guess that's what did it because one minute he was showing me some cool app and the next he was referring to me as a girl, rattling on and on "you're a girl, so you must know..." blah blah. I stopped listening at that point. Not long after that I showed him the door. That scenario stays with me because regardless of how "dudely" I looked, homeboy saw my crotch and could not see past or through it.

Some of the ugliness in hook up scene also stems from people's gut-wrenching longing for love and companionship. Like the time this one person tricked me into coming to see them. Yeah. You heard that right. They tricked me. I use "they" cuz I don't know how they identified. From their pictures, they were obviously a gender nonconforming male-bodied person of color, somebody I would say is part of my core community. They'd been messaging me for ages and from their messages I could tell that something was amiss. They'd email shit like "come over and be my husband" or "I want to cook for you and be your wife." ?!?!?! This melodramatic response to my humble (yet quite raunchy) Craigslist ad alarmed me, so I steered clear. Months later I get this response to another ad I posted:
"You sound so hot to me. I enjoy trans men. I'm 35, 5'10",180, good shape." The attached picture is of, what I thought to be, a cute brown man sporting a kangol hat worn backwards. He had this sweet disarming smile, which sealed the deal. A few email exchanges and texts later, I was out the door with a pocketful of condoms.

He lived in one of those rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods where poor and middle class folk live side by side and do their damndest to ignore the fuck out of each other. His building was such a weird mix of dilapidation and luxury. A working elevator with smooth maroon marble walls, spanking clean, yet his floor felt like walking into the projects. As I got to the top landing, a door opened slowly, a brown face peeked out and I had an "oh shit" moment. It was them - the one who wants to be wifey. I froze. I couldn't believe that I'd actually fallen for this shit and it'd been so easy too to get my ass out here. I looked at the mf who now stood before me. They looked nothing like the picture. I don't know whose picture they'd sent me, but it was of a completely different person. Why do people do that shit? Perhaps sensing my confusion and anger, they smiled and I kinda melted. I didn't sense any weird "I'ma kill you" vibes, so I did something stupid. I went in. Yep. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. It's one of those split second decisions that you regret as soon as you make them, but there's no turning back.

Their apartment was tiny like many apartments in this damn city, but their room within that tiny ass apartment was so small. It was jam-packed full of shit, reminding me of that show Hoarders. There was shit crammed into every corner and nook and cranny and crevice. I started taking small steps back, slowly trying to retreat out of there as inconspicuously as possible. I wasn't getting a serial killer vibe from them. On the contrary there was  only this calm air about them. Well...almost too calm. As I slowly retraced my steps, my eyes lifted from all the junk every where to the walls and ceiling of their room and that's when I saw the mural. On one wall they'd painted a brown woman, powerful stout build, large feet firmly rooted in red earth. Each wall carried powerful images. Bare-chested black men playing talking drums, strong looking women congregating, cute brown children playing, looking as innocent as all get-out.

All the art everywhere was so dizzying and I became so intrigued by this person and that's why I stayed. I'll be honest, that wasn't a smart decision. It's not something I'd recommend others who are navigating the NSA waters make. But it's the decision I made and I was lucky that it panned out. We chatted for a long time about our experiences around race, gender, sexuality. I learned that they identify as a cross dresser, but don't quite feel comfortable saying that out loud. I caught on that they were on some kind of medication, hence the too calm vibe I observed earlier. At least this is what they shared with me. Eventually, the conversation waned. I was ready to go. It'd been quite an experience chillen and bonding, but there was the trickery that brought me here in the first place and that was still weighing heavily on my mind. When they started insinuating that we fuck, I demurred and bid them a good night. The lie they'd resorted to just to get a little companionship...What if I'd been a violent asshole? What if they'd been a violent asshole? Since this incident I've tried to be more cautious by doing a pre-screening meet n' greet in a public place. I still don't do it 100% of the time, but I'm learning to trust my instincts and do it more.

These two scenarios are such perfect illustrations of the ugliness I described earlier. I hate it when sex and oppression collide. I hate it that we can't just fuck without some of this baggage rearing it's ugly head. Yeah, I know I play a role in perpetuating this ugliness. I mean I don't prowl the hook up sites looking for intellectual prowess. My choices in men are based on a number of physical attributes; I'll let you guess what those may be. All of this begs the question, is there ever room to want to fuck someone purely for how they look? I know this is a slippery slope, after all in a lot of ways "beauty" is a racialized political construct and I did a whole post on how black bodies are often seen as unattractive in the scene. But I won't lie. I get really turned on by guys who can't get enough of my body. So is wanting to fuck someone only because you find them physically hot mean you're objectifying them? Is it ever okay for objectification and sex to intersect?

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