Note: This article may not be suitable for all audiences and is NSFW.
Grindr, the gay “dating” app that tells you the men in your area looking to connect has totally revolutionized the way gay men meet, interact, and communicate. This seems like a great thing, a service that brings people closer together and helps create a community. But for many, it’s more isolating and discriminatory, showing the ugliness of the community they’re looking to be part of.
Being a gay homosexual person that has used Grindr, I can speak from experience: it ain’t pretty folks. I recently chatted with Eliot Glazer and Brent Sullivan, creators of the popular web series “It Gets Betterish” about their thoughts on Grindr, and Sullivan told me, “We’re such bullies to each other. The gay community hates bullies who aren’t gay, but we bully the fuck out of each other once we come out.” Glazer agreed, saying that many of these behaviors “make having pride really challenging.”
What’s tearing us apart? How can we be more of a community? The change starts with us. For those looking for a better Grindr experience, here is your handy ettiquette guide—in order to build a community of prideful, respectful, culturally aware gay men.
1) Don’t be a racist.
I get it, we all have preferences. But if a person of color hit on you at the bar, would you actually say, “Sorry, no Asians or blacks?“ No, you wouldn’t, because that’s racist. It’s no different on Grindr. The rule of thumb here is that if you have to ask whether your behavior is racist, it probably is.
2) Don’t say you’re “just looking for friends” if you have a shirtless profile pic.
First impressions are everything. If you say you’re looking for “Just Friends,” then don’t post a picture of your hairless, rippling torso. It’s really hard to make friends when you don’t even have a head.
3) Don’t put someone in the “Texting Zone.”
The swapping of phone numbers is the hookup apps version of getting to third base. It’s an indication of interest and meeting in real life. It is not a means to just have another text buddy.
4) Don’t use inspirational quotes in your profile.
I love pith as much as the next guy, but the inspiration I’m looking for on Grindr isn’t coming from Maya Angelou (RIP).
5) Don’t end it with “Hi.”
You say “Hi.” I reply with, “Hey, what’s up?” Then silence. Where did you go? You must have had a reason for saying hi. You’re dead, right? I’m going to assume you’ve died. My condolences.
6) Don’t send everything but a face pic.
Not having a face profile is annoying, some people like anonymity—so that’s cool. But not sending one after a conversation has started, that’s B.S. Imagine doing that in real life, chatting with a guy at the bar, and then asking, “I’m sorry, you seem great, can you please take that box off your head?”
7) Don’t have a blurry photo.
It’s 2014, the only reason for an out-of-focus picture is the intentional use of an Instagram filter. Otherwise, delete those scanned photos from 2005 off your hard drive immediately.
8) Simmer down the arrogance.
Having confidence is great, I’m a fan. But egotism, that shit ain’t pretty. For example, would you actually say to someone in real life, “If you have to think whether or not you’re good enough to talk to me, you probably aren’t.” Yeah, you wouldn’t, so leave it off Grindr.
9) I need to know your name before I see your butthole.
Oh man, I love a good booty. But like, I don’t need to see your butthole right after saying hello. At least ask my name first.
10) Don’t say “masc/fem”—ever. Just don’t.
If you’re not into “fems” (whatever that means), just block people you view as feminine. The men you’re looking for are pretty visually apparent, so focus on them. Don’t be a bully about what you’re looking for.
11) Be yourself!
You know what, your Mom was right. You really are special, and great, and amazing. She was also right when she said, “Treat others as you’d like to be treated.” I don’t mean to bring our Moms into a conversation about Grindr, but you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Only you can choose which you’d rather use.
Still can’t find what you want? Here’s your guide to the best erotica sites for women, the best sex toys of the year, and the best dating apps for everything from hookups to true love. Plus, read more about the true meaning of kink.
H. Alan Scott is a writer/comedian based in New York City and Los Angeles. His work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, OUT, xoJane, The Advocate, MTV, Logo, WitStream and Time Out. He really wants you to follow him on Twitter at @HAlanScott.
Photo zmfg/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.