Issue #218: You’re Not Racist If You Find Me Pretty

wow okcupid

“You’re not racist if you find me pretty”

Sitting downtown Montreal, mid-afternoon spring, at the kind of booth that makes your pelvis sink, in the kind of café where you can stay for hours without buying a thing.

And no one has cleared the cups of soggy knotted teabags. The staff are wearing collared polyester and leaning against the display cooler. The windows are level with the sidewalk and people’s shoes and ankles and bicycle-wheels pass by our heads.


Earlier  I saw someone smoking under the awning in the rain and thought of you. I thought of how beautiful you are, and I don’t tell you this, but know that I could and that would be alright too. Tomorrow is your third date with someone more than cut and paste.


What do you do on a Friday night?
I wash my arms.
And your life? What are you doing?
I love you.


Because she couldn’t hear past the barking anymore, the low growl and the hiss.


No, you’re not racist if you find me pretty.


Attends: tu penses que je suis raciste? ?
Je voulais juste savoir
 d’où tu viens
je te trouve          belle.


Your curiosity tastes like vomit. Your curious  entitlement to interrogate my ancestral origins,  colonial narratives of migration, grief, diaspora that we have not unraveled and yet exist through—

to draw forth the accumulation of every other moment before this when a dark body has been a site of violent intrigue.

Because she looks exotic: sweetpotato caramel, something to bite into with pleasure.

Flesh beneath your tongue, your words are never innocent, loaded with power you may not have asked for, granted by default you entrench entitlement.


This is your responsibility, white man: swallow your tongue,

direct your gaze to what’s
charging your bark.


We are not laughing.


You say you’ve been watching men jogging and you’ll let me know how it goes.


word by Alisha Mascarenhas

colour by Jasmine Okorougo 


e-mail me baby


They wouldn’t have found each other on a PlentyofFish search. 

          IsabelleXoxx: looking for fun
          Likes: movies that start with credits, lobster
          Interesting Story: virginity lost on picnic table
          Interests: recommending healthy food via Facebook, diving, watching people in cafés

          MarcusForLife: LIFE IS A ROLLERCOASTER OF EMOTION    😉
          Likes: bloopers at the end of a solid flic, lizards
          Interesting Story: lost v-card in Diddy’s limo #SWAG (!)
          Interests: kegstands, Micky Ds, BURNINGMAN ’08-’11

No, without a mutual dentist, they wouldn’t have met, let alone shared some seriously awkward first date dialogue: To Isabelle’s story on training her husky to defecate without a raised leg, our sly Marcus responded with yeah? Only touched one, really, at dinner.


        Oh, ha, no: It was on vacation.


As though being on vacation cancelled the fact that you had eaten a dog. Committed murder- but it was on vacation! In any case it wasn’t the stuff of those Hollywood movies between attractive white kids, but maybe that was the point: The desire to know how you could live like that, eat dog, kept them talking. Part personality-colonialism, sure- how cute, you’re so abnormal– but it worked, and they snapped together like puzzle pieces that need different shapes to fit. Pieces that wouldn’t have snapped online because they would have  ticked boxes to search for themselves. For dog-eaters. People-watchers.*

artwork by Jaci Banton