NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Featured as One of Summer’s most anticipated reads by the Los Angeles Times, Vogue, Vulture, Entertainment Weekly, ELLE, Buzzfeed, and Bitch Media.
From the author of I Don’t Want to Die Poor and in the style of New York Times bestsellers You Can’t Touch My Hair, Bad Feminist, and I'm Judging You, a timely collection of alternately hysterical and soul‑searching essays about what it is like to grow up as a creative, sensitive black man in a world that constantly tries to deride and diminish your humanity.
It hasn’t been easy being Michael Arceneaux.
Equality for LGBTQ people has come a long way and all, but voices of persons of color within the community are still often silenced, and being Black in America is…well, have you watched the news?
With the characteristic wit and candor that have made him one of today’s boldest writers on social issues, I Can’t Date Jesus is Michael Arceneaux’s impassioned, forthright, and refreshing look at minority life in today’s America. Leaving no bigoted or ignorant stone unturned, he describes his journey in learning to embrace his identity when the world told him to do the opposite.
He eloquently writes about coming out to his mother; growing up in Houston, Texas; being approached for the priesthood; his obstacles in embracing intimacy that occasionally led to unfortunate fights with fire ants and maybe fleas; and the persistent challenges of young people who feel marginalized and denied the chance to pursue their dreams.
Perfect for fans of David Sedaris, Samantha Irby, and Phoebe Robinson, I Can’t Date Jesus tells us—without apologies—what it’s like to be outspoken and brave in a divisive world.
"The world is still a harsh place for those who don't fit in with the status quo," writes journalist Arceneaux in this witty and powerful collection of personal essays. Over the course of 17 pieces, Arceneaux explores his experiences as a black, gay man and Catholic Southerner identities frequently at odds with each other. Arceneaux recalls praying to Jesus to "cure" him of his homosexuality as a teenager in Houston, and later being "recruited" for priesthood as a college student at Howard University, noting at that period in his life he saw his future self as "something more along the lines of Katie Couric with a dick.' " He later writes about his postcollege stints living in Los Angeles and New York while trying to make it as a writer ("here are the topics mainstream outlets love for me to write about from the perspective of a gay Black man: Black homophobia, AIDS, sexual racism"). His dating escapades, meanwhile, are frequently hilarious and sometimes disastrous: one man was judged unacceptable not because he had beaten up an ex-boyfriend, but because he worked for Fox News, while another brought a flea infestation into Arceneaux's apartment. Arceneaux has a biting sense of humor, referring to the persistence of Catholic guilt, for example, as "the herpes of your conscience," and a nasty roommate as "land's answer to Ursula the Sea Witch." Arceneaux's confident voice and unapologetic sense of humor will appeal to fans of Roxane Gay.