By Ashley Dawson

Dear Random Tinder Men,

I am not your caramel, chocolate, Godiva, Hershey’s bar. I am an independent, ambitious and highly entertaining woman that should not be strictly defined by the color of her skin. My catalogs of screen-shotted messages from Tinder are miles long, however, mine always gravitates towards my ethnicity. It’s almost as if the men think I have forgotten that I’m black and need to remind me. I have some favorites that I love to share. One was sent by a man from Sweden. We started off chatting normally until he hit me with this gem “I can just imagine you twerking around Seoul in your little club dress.”

Excuse me, sir? Boy bye.

Listen up millennial men, black women are NOT your chocolate princesses or your Shananay’s. We are fucking tired of your shit and clap back season* has commenced. But you’re probably wondering why I’m complaining about Tinder. It’s Tinder, what would I expect to happen? The fact of the matter is that I lived in a small town in South Korea and online dating became one of my only options. I’ve had some normal interactions but they were few and far and it wasn’t just Tinder that gave me these same results. I’ve bounced around entirely too many different dating sites and to no avail. Men have called me their Brownie Truffle on Tinder, Plenty of Fish, OkCupid, Soul Swipe, Badoo, and even LinkedIn. From a comedic aspect, I can see how this could be slightly entertaining. Maybe the guys assume that they are complimenting me and since chocolate is notoriously sexy and delicious, that’s the best route to go. But from personal experience, it is degrading, limiting and offensive.

This is my fourth year living and attempting to date abroad. It’s difficult. I’ve found that I was either completely undesirable or a fetish. Happy endings exist for us out here (I’m not being bitter) but I can only speak from personal experiences. Being a black woman and dating abroad (specifically in Asia) is so damn cumbersome, taking into account my location and mentality among other things. I refused to conform to the preferred “type” of woman that I’m expected to be in order to attract a man here. The sexy housewife, or the women that is silent and lets the man make the money and the decisions. Nope, nope, nope. Those paths are for someone that isn’t me.

I’m not just speaking for myself when I say that I am tired of reading articles and stories about how hard black women have it romantically. We know. We have a multitude of obstacles to overcome in order to just live normal lives. But that’s never prevented us from blowing your minds. If anything it has just helped to shape and mold us into independent, fierce and ambitious forces of nature.

However, I have never given up on love. I may have had my down periods but I refuse to believe that I am a worthless companion. Instead, I try to remain positive and remember there is more to life than romantic love. I have people that I love dearly and that love me in return. Instead of running after the idea that a man completes me, I’d rather learn to love myself and those already in my life. Maybe one day I’ll find a Prince Charming but odds are in favor of me being the one to rescue him from a tower.

To all my sisters abroad: Don’t give up! I got your back.

*Clap Back Season – It’s the time of year when you give a comeback at someone with attitude after they insult you.
Ashley Dawson is a cheeky ESL manager and your nerdiest friend. She has skin like bronze and the heart of a wolf.