Is Grindr Good For Us?

Grindr phone userYou know something has crossed over into the mainstream when even straight people are talking about. Grindr, we all know it, use it or have friends that use it and often spend more time staring down at the pixilated screen than at our friends on a night out.

Perhaps you’re a huge fan, maybe it grosses you out, maybe you’ve only used it at 2AM on a Sunday morning. But what ever your thoughts, it appears that the ‘gay mobile location based dating service’ has made one hell of an impact with nearly 100,000 users in Australia and it’s still growing.

Knowing that a potential suitor is but moments away from a naughty encounter is what it’s about for some, others like the chat and the ‘raw’ encounter, free from the constraints of ‘oh I’ve worn that before’ and the shackles of a drunk fag-hag whilst for some it’s just a chance to lie. But the fact is, if you’re a jerk offline odds are that you’ll be a jerk online too. If you lie about your weight, height, look and the like then you will get found out.

It appears that, like Facebook, the digital world has something to offer, and if used correctly it can be a fulfilling endeavour.  For instance, take Nathan (not his real name) who at the tender age of seventeen was urged to buy an iphone to utilise the Grindr application, at this point he lived in a smallish country town, and begun an interest in the world of online dating.

It allowed this young country boy to not only fulfil sexual desires that lay dormant since puberty, but also to engage in conversation with others of the same ilk.

Any new user can easily identify the types of people that are signed up to Grindr, they usually fall into four different characters:

–  laid back narcissist

–  overly eager, but a little freaky

–  young and naïve

–  user

There are of course, a number of different users and men using the app for all sorts of reasons. Some with links to their Facebook and even business oppoprtunities, there are couples looking for a third for rather naughty encounters. There are ‘straight’ or bi guys on there who inevitably keep one longing or is always in a pickle because he ‘can’t host.’

There is the regular Holden driving straight guy, who is just after ‘mates and dates’ and claims to be ‘sorted,’ which in an ever confusing world full of dark ironies and difficult decisions, is confusing. At 21 or 22 sorted? You must be crazy.

The lingo is initially hard to comprehend, an amalgamation of capital letters from the advent of early online dating and the Manhunt era. But once NSA and DTF has been understood, the rest is rather simple.

One can log on, jazz up their profile and work their magic.

But the question still remains, are digital hook-ups spoiling the fun? Or does the advent of new technology bring with it a different kind of titillation and excitement?

The stories remain about the damage it has done to relationships, whether the grinding has been consensual within the partnership or not. There have also been the cases of date rape during a Grindr meetings, as well as, in the US, spectacular falls from positions of major authority.

But whatever one’s views on this mobile device that allows for some a connection, it has found its place in modern vernacular, and has even got its own heterosexual counterpart in the form of Blendr which brings up the naming question. Do gay men grind and straight people blend? It would take a linguist of mammoth proportions to work this out.

I often think of Grindr as a gay version of Cerebro, Professor Xavier’s machine in X-Men that allows him to use his telekinetic power to locate nearby mutants, mutant aspect aside, I think you can see the similarity. It’s getting easier to ‘come out’ and society at large is becoming more accepting. But, the ‘huggy feely’ aspect is all well and good and it’s great to see that people can love one another more freely,Grindr is more simply about connection, doing away with the politicised idea of ‘gayness’ and simply taking it to the next level and making it easier for gay men to connect.

There is no doubting the sexual overtones in Grindr, but as a straight friend quipped ‘this Grindr sounds like the best app in the world.’

Joe Cassidy

What do you think of Grindr? Tell us in the comments….

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