Welcome to this special hybrid edition of Single Spotlight and Male Mind! Single Spotlight features select members of the Tawkify community who volunteer to share their stories in the search for love. Male Mind is an interview series to gather a different man’s take on love-life topics. Today, meet (and crush!) on Matt Maxey, Founder of Deafinitely Dope, through his conversation with our Evyenia Trembois.
Please note that while this column unmasks one eligible community member 1-2 times a year, the Tawkify network remains completely confidential. If you would like to be considered for our next Single Spotlight, join the waiting list.
E: You’re single. Are you looking for anything right now?
M: I’m always looking for someone I can vibe with. Someone I can be myself with, while doing what I have to do in my life.
E: I can appreciate that. Do you want something that leads to a serious relationship? Do you see yourself getting married eventually?
M: I actually don’t know because I’m not trying to force it. I’ve met a lot of dope and unique women. To me, the idea of settling down before I also meet what the world has to offer is kind of mind boggling. I want to date more, so I’m always kind of stuck in-between the two.
E: You went on tour with Chance the Rapper, as his official deaf interpreter — what else does Deafinitely Dope do?
M: We offer workshops, we teach, we do motivational speaking and public awareness. We go where we feel like we can make an impact. If we go to a high school, we speak to all the ASL students. If we go to a college, we do the same thing. We speak to the sign language classes, or we speak to the interpreters on how they can help with the deaf community. So it’s just different ways of spreading awareness, along with whatever other offers we get to interpret — one-on-one, shows, music videos. Half the songs I sign [on instagram] are paid advertisements, so I just go ahead and sign for them. So much has been happening, it’s hard to get everything on a straight and narrow path.
E: Home-base for you right now is Houston, but from what I know of you, you’re always traveling! What has you traveling so often?
M: Most of the time I travel for work. I also like to go home to Atlanta to see family. With all of the traveling and being away from family, it’s good to go back to the basics, go back to where I come from. If I’m in Houston, I’m working to be back on the road again. I’m never really in Houston to stay. The reason I came here originally was because of an opportunity to go to school on scholarship. But with working so much, I haven’t even had the chance to leave yet, so [I’m just going] where life takes me, for now. When I settle down more, I’ll take it from there.
E: That’s a good thing, right?
M: Yeah, it’s fun, it’s life, I can’t complain! But at this rate, I can’t imagine a woman that would be okay with the pace, is kind of hard to believe anyone would be. What if I meet you one week, and then the next week I’m gone because I have to work?
E: Do you find that because you’re traveling so much, it affects your dating life?
M: Yes. There’s no consistency. There’s no steadiness. There’s no standard. I’m a comet in the sky. I just pop up, we have a great time, and then I’m out. (laughs) That’s the price I have to pay. I want more, but at the same time, I’m realistic. I’m not settled down enough to even think seriously about marriage.
E: Do you feel like part of the equation is finding a woman who can handle your busy schedule, or are you just not ready?
M: I think it’s more about finding a woman who is doing her own thing too, right? Who wants to be at home chillin’ while I’m on the road? We all need to have our own goals, our own thing. If we can both work towards those goals, or even if we can both work on my business together, then OK! That’s perfect! Because that means you understand, we can be a team, and you’re on board with it. Why would I push that away? If we have good vibes, then of course, I want you around. But, that’s harder than I thought to find.
E: What attracts you to someone?
M: Common sense. (laughs) A good sense of humor. Good vibes. Laid back, easy going. If you’re an intense woman, I can respect it. But if you’re mad at everything, I’m not interested. Intelligence is always attractive.
“If you can talk about anything and everything, and I always feel like I’m learning, that keeps me interested.”
If you have a good sense of humor, that’s just more icing on the cake. And if you can cook too, I just might pop the question and propose!
E: How do you tend to meet women?
M: I’ve used Tinder. I’ve used Bumble. Most of the time, it’s actually just going out. I’m often out at bars, just meeting people at the places I go — chance interactions, on the fly.
“I lost interest with app dating because there’s so much preparation, sending messages. I’m not trying to waste time just texting.”
If you want to meet up, let’s meet up! But texting back and forth… too many people have gotten comfortable with doing that, and it seems like they don’t want to actually meet. I’d rather meet someone in their natural environment. You’re out and about — this is you, naturally. That draws me in more than a Tinder profile ever could.
E: Do you ever approach women you find interesting IRL, or do introductions need to happen more organically for you?
M: It depends. Most of the time, it’s just something as simple as holding a door open and then striking up a conversation. And I might say, ‘Hey you know what, this is cool, may I have your phone number?’ And just go from there. It really varies. It can be at a restaurant, at a bar, at a sporting event. Sometimes, it’s a fan. I have a deaf basketball team and there will be people that come (interpreting majors, ASL teachers, sign language teachers, etc), they work in the field so there’s already a connection because we can talk, and do sign language together. That’s how it tends to go. It’s never really planned or scheduled. It’s a vibe.
E: Tell me how being deaf affects your dating life. Is it different when you meet on an app versus in real life? Did you tell women you were deaf ahead of time, when you met on Tinder?
M: I go back and forth.
“I used to say, ‘Hey I’m deaf,’ but I found saying that turned people off.”
They’d be like ‘Uhh….how do I talk to you?’ And I’m like, ‘How do you think you’ll talk to me?’ I’d often get back, “We can type back and forth.” They’re already going in the right direction with that, thinking of ways to communicate. But, if it’s a dating website, it stops some interactions when people know I’m deaf. But if they saw me in-person, and could see how I sign, and that I talk as well, they tend to be more open, and more welcoming to ‘Oh ok. Well, I’ve always been curious about this or that, with the deaf community.’
E: Do you feel like it’s easier to date someone who’s deaf, or who already speaks sign, or does it even matter to you?
M: I’ve actually dated more hearing girls, than deaf girls. With the deaf females, they’re kind of like ‘no thank you,’ because the deaf community is really small and everybody knows everybody. They know I’m not worth it. (laughs) But, with hearing females that know sign language — they’re interpreters, or they took it in college, or they have a deaf family member, they’ve been exposed to it in some way — those tend to be the ones I hit it off with most.
E: Do you have any tips for women? What’s the best way to drop cues of interest?
M: Number one, I would say, cues don’t work. Men…we’re kind of slow. So, I would say, clear communication is key. We appreciate it. Say what’s honestly on your mind, and what you feel. If somebody can’t handle that, maybe that’s not the man for you. I appreciate a woman who can be straight up. Something like: ‘I like you, I don’t care if you don’t like me in return.’ That makes me go ‘woah, okay…alright then!’ It draws me in more, because you’re willing to say what’s on your mind, and that’s what I like! I like an open line of communication.
Then again, every dude is different. But if you’re really trying to let them know you’re interested, be straight up. I know what the standard is — we have to ask the woman out on the date, but you can throw out options too… ‘Hey, I heard about this restaurant. Ever thought about checking it out?’ Most of the time, if we like you too, we’ll say, ‘let’s go!’
“And there you go — you got a date!”
Keep up with Matt and stay informed on the deaf community by following @deafinitelydope on Instagram.