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Are You The One Just Pointed to a Big Problem in Gay Dating Culture

Are You The One Just Pointed to a Big Problem in Gay Dating Culture

Are You The One’s Jonathan Is An Example of Masc for Masc Gay Dating Culture

Jonathan’s hypocritical taste in men is ‘Masc 4 Masc’ nonsense.

Are You The Oneis an amazing show. Well, this season anyway, which features its first sexually-fluid cast. I'm not going to pretend to have seen other seasons because that's honestly immaterial to why I've brought you here. I've brought you here to talk about Jonathan, his treatment of Basit, his adoration of Justin and how its all two sides of the same damn coin in a scene we've seen way too many times in the gay community. Yeah, I've got some thoughts.

First up, let's just lay out what's happening here. The mane wielding Jonathan has been jonesing for Justin since the moment he saw him. "He's a cutie," he confesses to a few of the girls after first meeting his muscled and tattooed roommate. "Yummy."

He continues later on in the confession: "I'm really feeling Justin," he says. Which is completely fair, you know. Being attracted to someone off of just seeing them is fine. Jenna was feeling Kai, Kai seemed to be feeling Basit, and Basit was clearly into Jonathan.

There's even a moment where both Jonathan and Justin are in the confessional together, shirtless (with surprisingly similar chest tattoos) and Justin is talking about how much he's into Nuor and was sad that she started talking to someone else. The look on Jonathan's face in that moment is ... we've all been there! But he's not scared away, and continues his pursuit.

"Who was the first person that you were like, 'Fuck yeah, I could spend the rest of my life with, who did you look at first?'" Jonathan asks Justin in the confessional. "Because I looked at you first." Justin pretty awkwardly moves around the statement. And this is just the first episode!

The show continues with Jonathan pretty relentlessly chasing Justin and Basit, pretty relentlessly chasing Jonathan after a brief moment with Kylie. And there's nothing wrong with that; that's just how things are sometimes. After striking out with Nuor, Justin pretty quickly finds his way to Max, bonding over ... lateral muscles of all things.

"You want Justin," Jonathan says to Max in a confessional to Max yelling no. "You want Justin! I want Justin the most."

"Really?" Max asks.

"Yes!" Jonathan replies.

"That's so interesting." Max says, and smiles. It only gets more evident at the Match Up ceremony when Max chooses Justin as his Perfect Match and Jonathan calls him out for it -- he had planned to be paired up with Justin. Basit then calls Jonathan as their match. In episode three, it sort of comes to a head.

Jonathan gets to go on a very awkward date with Justin where he attempts a botched kiss. Then, he later tries to redirect Basit's attention to Danny. In the confessional, he acknowledges that he connects "on every level" with Basit, except for sexually, namely because of their femininity. And Basit, calls the attempted match-making session with Danny plainly as they see it, labeling it "contrived." The conversation devolves into Basit's incisive critique of the entire situation.

"Everyone knows damn well that you had your eyes on Justin before y'all even spoke words to each other," they begin. "And then you made your decision based on physical attraction."

"Physical appearance to me is very important because --" Jonathan interjects.

"I can tell," Basit nods.

"What you're failing to realize is when I say physical appearance, I mean someone who is concerned about their health," Jonathan finishes. Record scratch. Girl, what.

Even without the added insight of the confessional, where Jonathan admits that its Basit's femininity that has him hung up, if we take these words at face value they still don't hold up. If anyone looks at Basit's body -- and we've seen quite a bit of it, especially those fucking arms -- the inference that it is not physically fit, and even a bit "masculine" in musculature is completely absurd. Basit's body shows a dedication to "health" inasmuch, and possibly moreso than Jonathan's own!

Things honestly only get worse from here. In later episodes, Jonathan confronts Justin when he almost walks in on Justin and Max making out in the closet. And then, of all people, turns to Basit to vent about the situation. And the point he's making about that exchange, that Justin is being blinded by the physical and passing up on something that's possibly right for him and someone who will treat him well, is the exact same point everyone is making about him and Basit.

The idea of people seeing the speck in someone else's eye but not seeing the plank in their own is nothing new, but there is a particular type of hypocrisy that we as gay men sometimes enact upon our own that's at work here. And while not all of us have a Remy to yell at us in a Perfect Match ceremony about how we are thinking with our dicks, have contributed to a group of people losing out on $250,000 because of such thoughts, or have journalists dissecting our every move (hi, hello, it's me), these actions invariably deserve introspection. If not only to avail ourselves to life, or fate, or whatever you believe in, has out there for us, but also to just keep from making yourself look dumb out here in these streets.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this piece referred to Basit with he/him pronouns. Basit is nonbinary and goes by they/them.

Related | The Cast of MTV's Are You the One? Are Messy Queer Sluts...Great!

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