‘You can find the nearest cruising homosexual with one of those?’
– Jeremy Clarkson on Grindr
Grindr, if you’re unfamiliar, is a gay dating app for smartphones that uses GPS to show you the location of the nearest gay men. I’ve been using this app for over a year now, initially just out of curiosity whilst I was in a long-term relationship, and recently to search for potential suitors.
I recently wrote about the lack of support for equal rights for gay men, and I can’t help but think that the way certain gay men conduct themselves doesn’t really help our cause. I’m aware that grindr is used most commonly as a cruising app, Stephen Fry himself admits that, but some of the obscene and lewd messages I receive are just down-right worrying.
Sloppy hole. SLOPPY HOLE. Oh my god.
I mean, where are you supposed to go with that? How can you possibly reply to such perversity? I simply ignore these messages, and am often bombarded with why are you ignoring me?
Uhm, maybe because you just asked me to fist your sloppy hole without so much as a how d’ya do?
I’m not the only one who finds these messages both hilarious and repulsive, Douchebags of Grindr, pinpoints and satirises them on the daily. However, when a 62 year old man is sending you pictures of his penis and is only 35 metres away, it’s rather disconcerting and it can be hard to see the funny side.
I’d like to think that these people are just textrovert- through the internet they feel that they have a license to do and say things they wouldn’t in real life- but some of the behaviour I’ve witnessed in the local gay clubs isn’t much more civilised; I’ve had a middle aged man offer to rim me down an alleyway once. What happened to a simple Hi, can I buy you a drink?
It is inarguably a revolutionary piece of software though, and can be very addictive. It’s extremely difficult for gay men to date in the real world; we’re often confined to a clubbing scene that revolves around drugs and casual sex and to a promiscuous cyber reality- having the opportunity to see all the single gay men in your area is definititely a positive thing. With talk of similar apps opening up to the straight community, however, one journalist voices her worries that these technological advancements could be the end of monogamy.
It’s a difficult and fascinating argument, there is no denying that society has become far less monogomous over time, but this does not give us the right to act massively inappropriately in the realms of the internet. As gay men, we have a responsibility to ourselves to not fulfil the sleazy stereotypes society has built for us. If you wouldn’t walk up to a stranger and hand them a picture of your penis in real life, you probably shouldn’t do it on the internet.