I have been on Grindr less than an hour and already my inbox features more dicks than the first week of ‘The Apprentice’. Like the premise of a particularly racy high-concept comedy from the 1980s, Grindr presents a sideshow mirror version of our world, where everyone is very gay and very clear about what they want, down to the most graphic of details. And until today, I had never used it.
Why? Call me a romantic, call me intimidated, call me terrified of what us gays could be like without the filters of polite society. Whatever the reason, I created an account today with what I suspect is the attitude of many Grindr users – time to find out what I’m missing out on. Coming out of a long, and for its second half totally sexless, relationship, a little sexual aggression was exactly what I needed. As one user I was talking to put it, ‘well it will definitely get you back on the horse. Just don’t take it too seriously.
But what was clear very early on is that people do take it incredibly seriously. I expected a more fun vibe – you knew you were probably going to have sex, but you might as well do it in a friendly atmosphere. But for most of my experiences this is not the case. Messages are almost entirely technical, all inches and where to put what when, and jokes are mostly met with confusion or the most deadly weapon in the Grindr-er’s arsenal, the block. This can lead to some hilarious non-sequiturs, like one guy who interrupted the perfectly nice conversation we were having about Marina and the Diamonds to ask me how big my dick was.
This is the one certainty of Grindr. Just as Godwin’s law states that ‘as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1’, so what for want of a better name I’m coining as Spencer’s law states that ‘as a Grindr conversation grows longer, the probability of a question about your genitals approaches 1’. Although judging by some of the dongs I’ve seen on Grindr, you wouldn’t want to approach one at all.
Aside for its mercantile nature, however, it is not as bad as I had anticipated. Sure, people are incredibly forward and uninterested in each other as anything other than sex objects, but there’s a time and a place for that which Grindr fills admirably. Plus, the idea that other people want to have sex with you, even if you’re totally uninterested is anything else than a nice conversation about Marina and the Diamonds, if definitely a mood-booster. As long as you are careful – already I’ve seen a few profiles that just scream ‘see-through raincoat and Huey Lewis and the News’, it certainly fills a niche…for those looking for their niches filled (that was crude, but like a cute ginger I’m currently messaging, who could resist?!)