The Gay Groom has a blog post last week about Grindr, sparked by the comments, earlier this week, made by Paris Hilton. Honestly, I saw the headlines in my RSS reader about Hilton, and simply ignored them as there was too much else going on, with my partner having surgery, work being busy, and there being a plethora of stuff to be ready for the November election. So, I enjoyed reading a lighter take by the groom himself today. Bought I would share some of my Grindr thoughts.
I’ve had an account on Grindr since it first became available on the iPhone and have written about Grindr before. Unlike the groom, my partner and I are not married, and our working agreement is an open and honest relationship. We are both free to have physical encounters outside of our relay ship, as long as it isn’t hidden, involves no deceit or lying, and doesn’t do anything to harm our relates hip or each other. My position is that every couple, gay or straight, must come to an agreement about what works for them, and then do that. Maybe it is monogamy, and maybe it isn’t. I’m offering no value judgement, past the crucial importance of honesty. That said, it is also probably true, that the longer we are together, the less either if us care about outside experiences. Our relationship seems to feed us, physically, emotionally, as well as spiritually. Although I also got the app, as a form of research. ( I hear some of my readers laughing now) I am very interested in how mobile devices are changing our lives, and an app like Grindr is a part of that.
Personally, I’m not on Grindr much, and I like Scruff better. I’m not sure why that is, except that Grindr strikes me as more of the app where the bar twinks are, and Scruff is an app where a broader array of guys can be found. And, unlike the groom’s comment, Scruff is for all types of guys, not just Bears. At this point, my engagement on these apps is best described as flirting. I love to flirt, ad be flirted with. So, I appreciate getting woofed at, and woofing at others.
When I read the groom’s post, I immediately wanted to share with him, about my former trainer at the gym and Grindr. Both my partner and I work out at a newer gym where there is an active training program, and we have both had trainers since we started there. My former trainer is a big body builder type boy who is drop dead gorgeous, and also a terrific guy. He has done some professional modeling, and one of his photos hoots was leaked to the web, and he has been plastered all over a bunch of gay sites, as he is sexy as all get out. So, he had some familiarity with gay guys before working at this gym. Some of the other trainers, not so much, and the gym is super p ocular with gay and lesbian clients. Anyway, as my former trainer was moving past a breakup with his girlfriend, another client told him about Grindr. He was so envious he told me. Damn, if it could be that easy to find a sex partner! I just laughed at him, because, as the groom pointed out, it isn’t all that easy to be Mr Popular. Grindr, Scruff, the local bar… All are spaces where our ability to meet and connect determined by many factors. But I hope the from gets a good laugh out of picturing Grindr being a top discussion at our gym, between the boy builders and the gays.
When I think back to my 20′s, much of it was a time before AIDS or at least before AIDS was such a known epidemic. All we had were the bars in terms of places to meet, and as a bar tender I had little trouble meeting guys. as I got older, the bars remained a primary meeting place, but I’m not a very outgoing guy, and it was harder than heck to meet guys. I was too quiet or shy, or who knows. Meeting people is hard for me, and I have worked hard over time to change that. Gay kids don’t have the opportunity straight kids do to work through that stuff in junior high and high school. Straight kids learn how to meet others and form friendships and networks, where gay kids often live in isolation. So, we come to try learn that stuff later in life.
I had a really funny Grindr experience pretty recently. I had logged in, and there was some guy, very close to me, whose screen name was “Mitt is it” or something like that. I took it as a political statement. Then, in this guy’s bio, he said he was looking for love and marriage, and no hookups. It was the middle of the night and I couldn’t sleep and I had been writing about politics earlier in the evening. So, I messages him, and commented that Mitt and the GOP wants to keep gays from marrying. His political position seems to be in direct opposition to his personal interests. He said he isn’t a one topic voter and called me a bunch of names. So much for conversation.
Today, as I thought of writing this post, I logged in and there, within about 400 feet of me, was a kid whose entire profile was a negative attack on others. seems he is a bit upset that people want to hook up with him, while he is looking for serious love. I suggested he try ChristianMingles.com and he blocked me. Made me laugh.
From my perspective, if there is a negative side to apps like Grindr and Scruff, it is that they allow guys to perpetuate very easily, a notion of love and sex as commodities. It is as if they think a relationship is a thing you can go into a store and pick off of the shelf. They wonder why it is so hard to meet a guy who wants a relationship. These apps aren’t responsible for the inability of so many guys to meet other guys, they simply demonstrate those inabilities.
But these issues are not new in any way. I remember when I was first coming out at 18 in Cleveland Ohio, there was a gay paper, and I remember reading an article where the author was encouraging guys to talk to other guys in the bar, and not just stand around waiting for someone else to talk to them. How true, I later learned when I was old enough to go to the bars. That is what most guys did. Heck, even me! Except I found an alternative- become a bar tender because then everyone has to talk to you when they order a drink.
Since the dawn of the Internet, there has been commentary on both sides as to if it has been good or bag for the gay community. Some people meet on-line, just as dating websites work for many straights. Some suggest that the ease of finding a trick online is one of the things that has led to the death of many gay bars, or the bar culture that flourished for most of my adult life. I don’t agree with that line of thinking. Where as when I was single and younger, on a Friday night, there was no other option but to go out dancing. No other way to really meet someone existed. Today, that isn’t the case.
Groom, if we are ever geographically close enough that you show up only Grindr, I’ll happily flirt with you, or woof at you, or poke you, or… You get the idea. You are the type of guy id be interested in chatting with, even if you use your wedding picture. Life is short and if I could share any idea with all those on these apps, it would be to meet as many people as you can, and learn to be friendly instead of acting like an asshole, no matter who it is or why they contacted you.