Last week, Judge Judy heard a case about two men who had met on Grindr. Instead of the no-strings-attached “fun” so many users enjoy, the only blows these two men traded were legal ones in TV court.
Judge Judy had never heard of Grindr, which gave the defendant the enviable opportunity to explain it to the chuckling courtroom. After explaining it was an app for meeting other homosexual men, he asserted he used it for making friends. Not so fast, said honorable dispenser of bon mots, contending that if you want to make friends, you go to a website to make friends “and expand your horizons.”
Grindr, in its unfiltered GPS-based glory(hole), presents a wide spectrum of gay culture. There is every shape, size, color, and age represented within its Cartesian geo-limits. While pre-Grindr, meeting gay men required a trip to the local gay bar, technology has allowed us to come together (no pun intended) and — as Judge Judy stated — expand our horizons and understanding of one another.
I have been on and off the application almost since its demonic yellow head was first birthed five years ago. It’s gotten me laid in three continents and provided countless hours of amusement. While it’s never expanded my social circle, I have learned nearly everything I know about being gay from it.
1. Everyone uses it.
But it’s still rare to admit it. Hidden away on the last page of the iPhone’s home screen, in a lone category box, it has some shameful connotations. I think I am like most in that I will use it for a few weeks, then get fed up and delete it for several months, at which point boredom and lack of dates will necessitate its return.
2. Dick pic?
Whereas in most bars (except for The Cock in New York) it would be considered inappropriate, if not illegal, to flash someone, on Grindr it’s just another way of saying “hello.”
3. Gays Invented “The Selfie.”
Well before Instagram was even a pixelated vision in its developer’s eye, gays were sharing pictures of themselves with other men via erstwhile forums as straight people were just catching on to AOL Instant Messenger. Ostensibly embarrassed about their virtual activities, they were surreptitiously taking photos, arm outstretched holding a bulky digital camera in prehistoric selfies.
In the modern gay selfie, the phone is almost always showing in the mirror. This a decent way to judge compatibility — as a long time iPhone user, I would never date someone with a Galaxy or Droid.
4. A lot of couples have open relationships.
In my naïveté, I once thought that when two men found love against all odds, they’d remain in blissful fidelity. While that may be true for some, it’s certainly not true for all. Men are naturally impulsive in their sexual desires, and two men together makes for a surplus of testosterone. Recognizing this biological fact, many committed couples open their bed for another to join, and/or each play on the side.
The honest ones advertise this information in their profile, but then there are men looking to play on the sly. I was recently approached by a handsome guy who gave me his name, number, and enough information to run a Google background check. He was just married a few months ago (to a man) but made no mention of this.
5. People are unabashed about their drug use.
The first time someone asked me if I “PnP,” I had to look up the phrase in the Urban Dictionary to learn that it meant “Party and Play,” or “Let’s take crystal meth and have sex.” Blocked. Sadly, this is a lot more frequent than one would imagine.
6. Even really attractive men with perfect bodies are single.
I sometimes, due to body dysmorphic disorder, blame singleness on my appearance, wishing that I were a few inches taller, had hair like a Disney prince and cheekbones like an Eastern European peasant. However it’s affirming and comforting to know that beautiful, statuesque people are also unmatched.
7. There is a surprising amount of “networking” going on at 2AM.
Grindr allows you to state for what purpose you are using its software. Options include: Friends, Dates, Relationships, Networking, Chat, and Right Now. With so many headless torsos bolstering their LinkedIn connections in the wee hours of the morning, one would imagine gays to have solved the problem of unemployment.
8. Gay men have easily bruised egos.
I never initiate conversation on any dating site or app, whatsoever. Fearing rejection, I prefer to let interested parties come to me. Of course this means that I receive a fair amount of unwanted attention, which I usually deal with by not responding. In my experience, I’ve found a “no thanks” elicits much more virulent response.
9. Masculine means different things to different people.
Masculine is obviously a subjective term, but if I can see the shiny sparkle of your lip-gloss then I have a slight contention. Conversely, there are some guys who look like college football players for whom the term could feasibly apply, however, I wonder how you act straight when you have another guy’s balls in your mouth?