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Reader: Dating in Denver? Different Strokes for Different Folks.

Reader: Dating in Denver? Different Strokes for Different Folks.EXPAND
Erika Gill
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Was your New Year's resolution to have a better social life? Marie Wilde started hers by writing the essay "My Troubles With Dating on Tinder in Denver," which inspired hundreds of responses, a few really good suggestions, and our hunt for other essays on what it's like to date in Denver. The first submission?

Erika Gill's response, "Dating in Denver on Tinder Isn't for Me, Either." And again, the comments have been pouring in — about dating, about Gill, and about Westword for publishing her piece.

Says Ron: 

This article about dating in Denver is some of the most racist writing I have seen in this area against white people. This article is nothing but a hit piece against white males and shouldn't be part of your lineup. I understand it is opinion, but this reaks of racism and double standards. The words "white" and "whiteness" are used negatively throughout the entire thing. You should not be promoting this kind of material.

Adds Robb:

Dating in Denver is no worse than dating anywhere in post-sexual Revolution, Women’s Liberation, hook-up culture era. The pandemic has exacerbated these trends to no one’s benefit. Who does benefit from light skinned, mixed women wailing about the lack of appropriate white men to date, and why did both published pieces focus so much on white men? The two published writers should decolonize their dating pool, and examine why they put whiteness on a pedestal

Responds Jonathan:

When I first moved from Denver to North Carolina, sight unseen and then spontaneously meeting everyone at the company (including the president) I was recently hired at, I struggled immediately. The aforementioned president of the company, in a polite aside, asked me if I was homesick yet. I said I wasn't expecting to be, I'd taken a couple of my favorite hikes and done everything I wanted to for a while and was looking forward to the change. He said, "Hikes?" I explained the basic notion of it. He responded, "Well, I've never done anything sketchy like that." After my first week, my immediate boss took me aside and said I was doing well but she had some feedback for me. I looked a little too urban. I realized instantly just a small taste of what so many people have faced in life to such a larger degree.

I've been a white guy in Colorado for the better part of thirty years now, apart from what would obviously be a short stint in North Carolina. I've lived in the Denver area for a long time, and if you only confine yourself to the two miles around downtown, everything you say is true. But the metro area on the whole has millions of men, from which I'm guessing you could find a few who aren't white. The idea of being frustrated by only having white guys to date isn't offensive to me. The idea of only having only white girls to date is equally uninspiring. I only mean that on the whole, not toward any particular person. The idea of people moving here and then being surprised that the dating pool in the wealthy neighborhoods downtown are largely white is odd to me, though. Isn't that obvious before you move here?

I tried only dating girls who weren't white for a while, but honestly I don't how to respond to someone on a date who says, "ugh...everyone here is white." Because I'm white and that should be obvious. Or someone who says, "This neighborhood used to be cool before white people ruined it." It might not be wrong, but it doesn't inspire romance in my heart because again, I'm white, and that should be obvious before we meet.

But knowing I exist with my heart and mind, and knowing how you look at me, is a sad thing. Reading your words created less hope in the world for me. You are ultimately probably right about the experience of dating white men. What can I say? The real shame of it is that your attitude makes being non-white look pretty white.

I'm super glad I don't have to date anymore, aren't you? Oh yeah. Good luck. Peace.


Offers Patrick:

I hear what she’s saying; it’s honestly one of the reasons I moved away from Denver this past year.

Yeah, Denver has a lot of white people. The food isn’t the best compared to a lot of bigger cities, but I think the real question is: Why are you so resistant to change? You don’t like hiking? That’s fine. Personally, I love it, but that’s just different strokes for different folks. You gotta bloom where you’re planted, or transplant again as I did. And accusing everyone of racism simply because they don’t cater to your needs is a bit childish. I’m white, I have family members (by blood) that are black. And I can tell you for most people, race probably isn’t why they don’t like you. If you have a shitty attitude or are unwilling to grow and expand your horizons a little...well, then I think you already know what the problem is. It’s not everyone else, it’s you.

The reasons I dipped on Denver and the ways dating impacted that were simple: I was tired of everyone always doing cocaine. I was tired of the 30k millionaires pretending to be important. And I was tired of the super non-committal style of the women in Denver I encountered. And I’m not talking “you won’t marry me after the third date?!,” but more like “why the fuck are we still playing games and we’re both nearly thirty?” I went on plenty of dates, but there’s this weird thing in Denver where there are tons of women that are out of shape, lives a mess, expecting to find a guy who has it all while in their late twenties Get a sugar daddy — although I already know a lot of them do, which is also fine. Then you have the cream of the crop (fit, career on track, life together) who won’t even acknowledge you because you’re not making six figs by thirty.

I’m sure there are plenty of horror stories on the flip side of the coin. My roommate was gay and he told me a few of them.  And bashing on Rogan? Have you ever even listened to the man? One of his daughters is black. I highly doubt he’s the racist you believe him to be; this sounds like someone forming an opinion based on tertiary sources, at best....

Different strokes for different folks. The world is a lot more gray than it is black and white. It’s easy to categorize people. Faster, too. But it’s not helpful if you’re actually trying to make a connection. Maybe step outside of your wheelhouse and open yourself up to new experiences. Mushrooms are legal; that might be a great place for her to start.

And then there's this from Scott: 

You got a lot of eyeballs off the first, so why not another one? Who cares if its intent is to polarize people, divide us further, and provoke a reaction? You make money from it! Disgusting. I used to enjoy this paper because it was so cutting-edge. You've lost the plot, Westword, and one longtime reader as well. Adios.

We're still looking for essays on what it's like to date in Denver; you can send those to editorial@westword.com. Ideally, those will focus on your own experiences and observations, not on the pieces by Gill and Wilde.

But we're still taking those, too. If you have a response to Erika Gill's piece — or to the responses shared here — post a comment.

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