grindr: an overview 

I fully understand that it is too bold an endeavor to try to write a blog universally discussing the grindr experience. However, I plan to try (in brief). At least from the perspective of a 20 year old on grindr at a very gay college and in various parts of suburban New England.

It all started freshman year of college. I was still working on my identity, and on a particular bad night, at about 3am, I decided grindr would be a great app to download. Little did I know how my life would change. Soon after I uploaded my shirtless selfie (which naively but honestly included my face, sensual side-smirk and all) I started hearing that annoying balooop sound. Then I looked at the messages and realized how explicit gay guys could be.

As anyone who has been on grindr knows, it doesn’t take much to get random dick pics, awkward scat offers, bribes to get or give sexual favors for money, and generic compliments completely devoid of proper punctuation, grammar, syntax, style, or spelling. After about one day on this app, you’ll have memorized that conversation flow:

-hey

——hey

-sup

——nothing. U?

-same

—–so what r u into? 

Obviously no one on this app is really here for conversation.  Certainly not for “Friendship” or “Networking,” regardless of what their profile says. Speaking of, piece of advice: DON’T TRUST A GUY’S PROFILE. Most of it is lies, half of it exaggerations. The picture is probably fake (always ask for multiple (face) pictures to confirm). Also, if their description is horrible braggy, conceited, or gives…measurements, then I’d stay away—in this case “what you see is what you get” applies. If they sound like a jerk or an asshole, they probably are.

But regardless of who you are talking to you must be prepared to answer that eternal, universal, thoughtless, shallow question: so what r u into? To answer this question, imagine it’s like an answer from a middle school quiz, where your lazy teacher doesn’t want a full answer, you just have to circle terms from a word bank. In this universe of grindr the word bank is simple: top, bottom, vers, oral, anal, kissing, spanking, bareback, bdsm, twinks, daddys, otters, bears, cubs, public, threesomes, orgies, scat, white, black, asian, young, old, muscles, big dicks, etc. When you are asked what you are into (note the proper spelling and punctuation, thank you very much) this is all the guy is looking for. At that point he is just hoping that his preferred choices from the word bank match and correspond to your choices from the word bank.

Because at the end of the day, a guy does not go on grindr looking for a friend. A “top, fit, daddy, into twinks” goes on grindr to find a “bottom, smooth college guy, into giving oral and getting spanked.” Grindr is not about romance or making connections. It’s about finding your hookup for the night.

That being said, I am a full supporter of grindr. I recognize that I am in the minority here, but I will stick to my convictions. I like sex. I liked hooking up when I was single. But talking to guys at parties can be intimidating. It can be hard to just find a gay guy, flirt, and end up hooking up when everything has to be in-person. I may have a friendly personality, but I can say for myself, that I get shy sometimes. It’s scary finding a guy to hookup with in person. Thus, grindr to the rescue! (Oh god did I just say that?)

Although it is full of unwanted explicit pictures, endless messages from weird old guys offering money, and many many many headless selfies to scroll through, grindr is not all bad. It can be a great way to meet guy, for hookups or otherwise. I understand that my case is irregular, but I can testify that I have met two of my previous boyfriends on grindr. We just did that oddly methodical transition from talking on grindr a lot, friending each other on facebook to confirm that we are real, chatting online, then exchanging phone numbers, texting, and then finally the asking out on a date. So let me be the advocate of this sometime seedy app: grindr has its pitfalls, its uses, and it potential to actually lead to something real.

So my advice: give it chance fellas. At minimum you’ll see some cute (but maybe fake) pictures. You’ll certainly get a confidence boost from all the (sometimes empty but flattering) complements. But who knows, maybe you’ll find your next friend-with-benefits, or even a new boyfriend.

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Christian is the Editor-in-Chief of Queer Voices. He allows his often tongue-in-cheek style to entertain and inform his readers on a variety of topics from fashion and daily life to critical issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community.