Relationships with a Difference
Is there such a thing as racial fetish? What does it mean to be Sticky Rice or SPG? Is it all sugary sweet with Sugar Daddies?
What are the stereotypes associated with someone dating a much younger or older person, or someone of a different nationality?
With all these considerations in mind even before saying a simple “hi”, what are one’s chances in the already highly competitive gay dating scene?
It all sounds overwhelming, doesn’t it?
Well, this was one of the challenges we posed to participants at the recent session of Oogachaga’s Taboo Conversations: Relationships with a Difference.
For the first activity, participants were asked to pair up and introduce themselves to their partner using a number of pre-set questions. The quirky questions include which Disney prince or princess best represents them, to standard ones like what is their acceptable minimum and maximum age of their date and the reasons behind that.
After a short introduction, participants were asked to introduce their partner instead of themselves. The facilitators were initially worried about the responses, but to everyone’s relief and surprise, the introductions were accurate and enthusiastically-received by everyone!
Here, the facilitators observed that some participants’ acceptable age range was around their current age, while others were open to dating men with up to twenty years’ age difference. The group then went on to talk about the possible issues one could face when dating someone much younger or older. During the discussion, some shared personal stories and anecdotes, as well as the challenges faced.
It is true there are pros and cons in dating someone of a different age group, and really what matters is to having mutual respect for each other and that each party has indeed a stake in the relationship, regardless of their age. Each party has a role to contribute in the relationship, and with it comes each person’s own set of strengths and weaknesses that complement each other. A relationship is after all a journey to be experienced together hand in hand as a cohesive unit, and not to be hijacked based on a person’s age.
Let’s talk about race
The next activity involved everyone indicating their preference from a selection of 5 hot male models, while taking into account each man’s traits which were gradually revealed. These included character, personality, socio-economic status, occupation and lifestyle habits.
As each trait was revealed, there was a change in participants’ responses. Indeed, this process gave participants the opportunity to reflect upon their own dating criteria as beyond just race.
Even as some participants indicated their preference to date guys from certain races, citing cultural familiarity as their main reason, it was heartening to see many begin to re-consider and question their personal choices.
Along with the sharing of more personal experiences, it was acknowledged that while there are certain compromises and accommodations to be made along the way in any bi-racial relationship, it was also agreed that a relationship is after all a journey worth discovering and exploring together.
As with any great gastronomic dish, different ingredients are required to spice it up so as to make it more ‘shiok’.
There will always be differences but it is these differences that enrich our lives, making it more colourful and interesting in its diversity. After all, what is important in a sustainable relationship is mutual respect between both partners, and an understanding that each has a role and stake to play in the journey together.
On this note, we can also learn to appreciate our unique self. It is these unique traits, be it physical qualities such as our skin colour or facial features, or other traits, such as sensitivity, openness and generosity that make us all who we are.
Let’s just embrace and appreciate ourselves for being “YOU-nique”.