Our eyes met for the first time across the entryway of his doorway. Me, bundled up yet still shivering from my impromptu 2 AM walk to mid-town. He, actively brushing his hair to the side to ensure it was properly placed.
First impressions are always important, no matter the situation.
“I’m sorry I’m wearing sweats,” he said, apologizing for his appearance.
“It’s alright,” I said, “You think I could use your shower? I’d feel much more relaxed if I could clean up a bit.”
He ushered me to the tiny shower that was practically in the living room. I disrobed and turned a knob that looked like it had seen more than a few tenants since it was installed. “Well, you’re here so you can’t fucking back out now,” I thought as I ducked in and out of the cold water.
I immediately rushed to the stranger’s bed after that horrible NYC excuse for a shower. American Horror Story was paused and waiting for me to arrive. He had mentioned during our chat that he was about to smoke a bowl and watch it so obviously he knew his audience and offered to wait until I arrived. Given that I was in a new city, I jumped at the chance to smoke out with the locals (plus I had missed the current episode while on vacation, so win-win).
Obviously, we never hit play.
As I was leaving he gave me the, “Don’t leave you’re warm let’s cuddle for eternity,” speech but I weaseled my way out by slipping him enough goodbye kisses to pay my way to exit the apartment. I walked out of the building, threw on my hood, and flagged a taxi. Immediately, I began to focus on my next day in the city. The next few hours, the next few days, weeks, years. The escape was over, time to get back to real life.
I got what I wanted and he got what he needed.
The evening was over.
Then my phone vibrated.
“I miss u. I want to spend more time with u. Can I see u before u leave?”
God damn it, Grindr.
Let’s get one thing straight, gays. Grindr was created for sex and sex only. Grindr is looking for hot guys near you. Grindr isn’t looking for intelligent guys near you. Grindr isn’t looking for nice guys near you. Grindr isn’t looking for cute, slightly nerdy and awkward, yet adorably sweet marriage material guys near you. Grindr is looking for hot guys near you. Grindr is corralling said hot guys into a grid of pictures for you. A grid of almost too-perfect torsos, filtered selfies, old grainy pictures circa 1994, and beautiful scenery (thanks for the peaceful sunset picture, closeted bro). This isn’t a grid of guys to take home to the family.
Grindr is first and foremost a hookup-app. With all the 8.5 inches, the cut and the uncut, the abs and the underwear lines, the tops and the vers and the cum-wordplay – Grindr is the dark, sleazy hole-in-the-wall bar. It’s the area in the park with the rustling bushes. It’s the locker room. It’s a queer film studies course. It’s a drunken frat party. Grindr is the cruising of the digital age. Welcome to the 21st century, homos.
So what’s the problem with Grindr? Why does every guy I’ve talked to have a love/hate relationship with such a simple app? Why is there a stigma automatically attached to anyone who has that little orange icon on their phone? Why have we started slut-shaming our friends and ourselves? I’ll tell you; it’s because we’re all expecting too much.
Let’s discuss bathhouses for a moment. You enter the bathhouse, pick out your locker and you start cruising. You spot the men who catch your eye, you weed out the ones who aren’t worth your time, and then you go in for the kill. Yes, there may be an occasional guy or two who legitimately just wants to chill in a hot tub and chat with other men but:
1.) They understand that there’s a possibility they may be propositioned.
2.) They’re okay with that.
They understand that they have entered a realm where anything goes. They didn’t come to the bathhouse to pass judgment on others. They didn’t come to casually cruise but ignore everyone who makes eye contact with them. They didn’t show up to prove to themselves how they’re better than everyone else.
The problem with Grindr is that it isn’t a bathhouse. It isn’t the bushes in the corner of the park. We have all different expectations when we load Grindr. Some people do view it as the bushes in the park or the back room of a club, while others view it as a stroll in the park but not necessarily in the bushed area. Some view it as a sort of mixer, a place where they can meet and talk with a variety of guys who may share the same interests as them. Some view it as a coffee shop where they may meet the next love of their life.
Which brings us to our problem.
Grindr is something different for everyone and it will always hold a special purpose for everyone. So what if someone started their conversation with “u looking?” I mean, they could have spent a few extra minutes pussyfooting around the topic but it was all going to lead to the same question anyways. So, say I woo you with some conversation for 10 minutes before I ask to fuck you tenderly. We are now 10 minutes behind schedule and I could’ve been asleep by this point. But no, I test the waters for 10 minutes and finally ask you to come over and then what happens?
“HOW DARE YOU?! I’M NOT THAT TYPE OF BOY!!!” You shriek as you clutch your pearls and melodramatically gasp in astonishment.
Great, now I’m back to (nicely chiseled torso) square one.
So, here’s the deal gays. Log on Grindr. Look for the love of your life. If you find him, swell. I’m legitimately happy for you. But don’t get offended when you’re propositioned for sex. Yes, it’s a stereotype in the culture and yes there are a lot of us who break the mold, but a stereotype is a stereotype for a reason. We are men. We are horny. We sometimes want a nice evening of no-strings-attached fun.
Speaking of, u looking?