Dating in the gay world is like buying a car. You can look at all of your options with several different features online. You can then go and try out the model before you commit to it or take it home to show your friends and family. You also have to be careful to not get yourself into a shady situation that could end up with you dying.
Being gay and dating has always been a complicated act. Growing up in the Midwest, there wasn’t exactly a smorgasbord of men. There also wasn’t a big pool of gay men at your school, in your town, or even within a drivable distance. From my experience, being gay meant that you would be quite lonely and relatively inexperienced. This might not be the case anymore or even for everyone but as of five to six years ago, the pickins were slim.
Grindr is sort of the holy grail of gay dating. It’s mostly used as a hookup app and is, at times, truly as disgusting as you might have heard. You create your profile with a single photo, name, sexual position, HIV status, and body statistics. Other men in your area can message you with pictures, videos, and, most recently added, audio. Grindr is really popular at things like Pride and on college campuses where the app facilitates meet-ups. Best of all, you don’t even have to make the first step in person. The app gives you time to formulate your first responses and portray yourself in a way that you can’t necessarily do in person, especially if you’re a shy person like I am. This is also a detriment to social skills as you can pretend and catfish without any consequences.
You can see available men in the area for just about every purpose under the sun. A lot of men are out there just looking for dates and friends while others are out there to simply have some fun without any strings attached. The stereotypical hookup of meeting minutes before meaningless sex is a Grindr classic. On the other hand, people have met long term partners or even their future husbands on Grindr. It’s honestly a crazy world that puts a lot of the good and the bad of the gay dating scene at your fingertips.
I’m talking about dating apps right now because they’ve become vital to how gay men date and hookup in 2018. From what I’ve learned from straight friends, Tinder for them and Tinder for gay people are two completely different worlds. I have always thought that you go on Tinder to find something a little more meaningful whether it be a long term relationship or even just friends with benefits; something more than meaningless sex. It’s been rare that you would turn to Tinder to find a hookup for that night. For straight people however, Tinder acts as the primary app to hookup with people. You don’t necessarily open Tinder to find your soul mate; mainly hookups or friends with benefits.
Gay men usually take more time on their profiles. I’ve noticed extensive thought being put into their bios and their picture selection. People try and go beyond their physical attributes, which is a flaw to Grindr, in order to find something meaningful in this sex-crazed world.
3. Your friend’s gay friend
This is another cornerstone to the gay dating dilemma, only meeting other gays through friends, never just out in the wild. As I’ve gotten older and started to date more, the visibility of openly gay men has become more apparent due to the fact that I’ve been putting myself into gayer and gayer spaces. However, it’s often joked that just become one person is gay they will be sexually interested in the other gay person that a friend knows. It is true however that this is a common occurrence in middle and high school, especially in the Midwest where there are not large concentrations of gay men everywhere. It’s almost like knowing two black people and assuming that they will like each other simply because they’re both black.
4. Meeting a local gay
As you get older and are more apt to find yourself in gayer spaces, it becomes easier to date. A lot of gay dating happens through a facilitator of some sort, whether it be an app or a friend, face to face meetings occur more frequently when you are able to put yourself into these more diverse spaces. It becomes possible to meet A local gay rather than THE local gay, implying there to not be many options. For me, it’s become slightly strange to not have to solely relay on the will of others or an app to meet men. It’s possible to meet a guy at a café or at an art museum, to name just a few of the most basic love scenarios. The possibilities are endless in a world with gay meetings happening in normal spaces and I believe that in the next ten years we’ll be hearing more stories of how someone met their partner at the coffee shop down the street rather than on Grindr. Well, one can hope at least!
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Want to hear more from James?
Check him out on Instagram. James is from Indiana and in his last year of studying religious studies and French at IUPUI(Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis). He loves to hike, travel, and write.
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