Is romance dead in gay culture?
If you’re looking for emotional stability, I can successfully say that you will not find it through Grindr.
I recently downloaded the app on my phone after hearing about it for at least a year from several gay friends. “You HAVE to get it!” they would all say.
I knew what I was signing up for. I’d read several articles about the app and how it was a way to meet other gays in your area with the click of a button. I had heard several stories from friends who had used the so-called “chap app,” and how beneficial it had been to them (in more ways than one).
I knew what I was signing up for when I installed Grindr on my phone. But at the same time, I didn’t.
Within seconds of joining (OK really, it was probably minutes, I’m not that adorable), the messages started coming in from people mere miles from me:
Any body pics?
U like BBC?
Body pics? BBC? The only body pic I owned was that one photo someone snapped of me shoveling a Philly cheese steak into my mouth in Philadelphia two years ago. And as far as liking BBC, I have to admit: I love Barbeque Bacon Cheeseburgers; I can eat that shit by the handful! (I’m not sure what is with food and me…)
Despite my sheltered ignorance, within 48 hours, I had my first “meet up.” After chatting for several days, I met with a ridiculously attractive man who, after 20 minutes of conversation, told me he did not feel any sense of “sexual connection” with me. He dropped me off 3 seconds later (Ouch.)
Had I known I was auditioning for the role of sexual deviance and looking for sexual validation, I would have never met him. Walking into my house, I was left feeling more cynical and shitty about myself than ever: Was this all I had to look forward to, riding in cars with strangers, only to be told I wasn’t sexy enough in the way I talked?
Now, I’m not completely naïve. I know what some of you are thinking: Dude, it’s Grindr, what were you expecting?
And honestly, I’m not sure. Maybe I was looking for a “no strings attached” hookup, and didn’t realize it until after I’d been rejected. Maybe I thought that, by scoring my own silver fox, I was worthy and capable and emotionally stable enough to partake in the kind of scandalous activities shown on Queer as Folk. Or maybe he was completely charming and knew the right things to say?
Perhaps I’m too much of a hopeless romantic who would much rather talk about your passions and ambitions than the size of your penis or body type. Perhaps I’m the kind of guy who needs some kind of emotional connection before getting down and dirty.
If anything, I know for a fact that I’m still a sheltered gay – a gay who still doesn’t quite understand what it means to be a part of this so-called “gay culture.” In other words, I’m a 22-year-old gay n00b, more Ted Schmidt than Brian Kinney, and have no. idea. what. the. hell. I’m. doing.
Grindr, you were fun. But I think I’ll just stick with “grinding” with real individuals, and not mere empty pixels on a screen.
[box type=”bio”]JOSH GALASSI studies Journalism – Public Relations at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA. He has written for such publications as KOMO News, Klipsun Magazine, The Western Front, & EDGE on the Net. He has a knack for learning from mistakes by writing about them for the whole world to read. You can find him on twitter at @classyjgalassi