A Texas man looking for love created a website to enlist the public's help and some of his dating requirements are whipping up backlash on the web.
The man, who insists his real name is "Romeo Rose" even though Texas Department of Public Safety has no record of a man by that name, launched Sleepless in Austin three days ago and he said that he has received a flurry of negative responses for some of the controversial requirements he listed for his dream girl.
"People are taking what I said out of context and blowing it out of proportion," Rose said.
Rose was referring specifically to the line in his website that says he will never date a black woman. "I don't care if she looks like Halle Berry, I will not ever date a Black girl," he wrote.
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The Austinite said he launched the online search after years of unsuccessful dating in the city. The homepage lists a $1,500 reward to the person "who can help me find a girlfriend." The matchmaker gets an extra $1,000 if the relationship turns into marriage. But before the payout, the woman must meet a lengthy list of do's and don'ts.
Aside from the race requirement, he will not tolerate tattoos, piercings, gamblers, eye glasses, kids, strippers, promiscuity and anyone who weighs over 130 pounds.
The 39-year-old provided a partially obscured photo of his driver's license to dispute online reports that his real name is Larry Busby. The Texas Department of Public Safety said they have no record of an official identification card with either name.
He said he has nothing against black people, and acknowledged that he could have put more thought into the website. The site was cobbled together within minutes in the middle of the night.
"There are black women who would not date outside their race but just because I was being honest, I am being vilified," he said. "But I admit that I should have found a better choice of words."
He said he is only attracted to petite, white women, and believed that does not make him racist. When he's not looking for love, he said he works as a wedding photographer, musician and a subcontractor for General Motors.
Rose said he received over 150 voice mails, emails and texts the day after the site went up. He intercepted over 2,000 text messages just in the last 12 hours alone. His phone number and e-mail was listed on the homepage.
The mostly negative response he has received has echoed around the web. Gawker's Neetzan Zimmerman called him desperate and slammed him for his "highly offensive series of very specific demands."
"With hot pink text on a black background, it has the feel of a blog post from the Night at the Roxbury dudes," Laura Beck wrote on Jezebel. "Like, if they were even bigger idiots. And also super racist. Enjoy!"
A Salon headline quipped it's like "Sleepless in Seattle" only "with racism and misogyny."
Rose is frustrated by the criticism, but remains hopeful that the influx of responses will yield at least one "smart girl" who will read his website in context.
"I'm a lover not a fighter and I don't have any negativity in my heart." he said. "I'm trying to be optimistic even though there is a lot of negativity."