In only a few years, the Grindr app has proliferated around the globe like wildfire, helping millions of gay men locate each other with razor-sharp accuracy (give or take 213 feet). As a practicing psychologist and avid student of human behavior, the Grindr phenomenon prompted me to ponder deeper issues and implications.
In addition to bringing back the color orange, how else is Grindr impacting the lives of gay men and the world at large? Will it result in the eventual evolutionary deselection of actual "gaydar" in humans? Will "gaydar" become as obsolete as the appendix, and the first vestigial sense now that an app does it better? What other unexpected and far-reaching effects might arise?
In the interest of science and the advancement of the human condition (and most certainly not for recreational purposes), I immersed myself in the world of Grindr to see what I might find.
The results of my exhaustive research revealed an alarming trend of what I've termed Grindr-Induced Psychological Maladies. The top 10 are listed below in what I speculate to be ascending order of prevalence:
- Multiple profile disorder: Dissociative fugue state in which an individual adopts a different personality whose sole purpose is to find out why they were blocked or to express rage and dejection.
- Depilatoriphobia: Intense fear of and revulsion to shaved or clipped body parts and tweezed eyebrows.
- Emoticon-obsessive-compulsive disorder: Excessive and unyielding impulse to use emoticons and cartoon icons to express feelings, likes, and interests.
- Grindrograde amnesia: Short-term memory loss resulting in the inability to recall that a significant proportion of Grindr users are really not looking to hook up.
- Photomegalomania: Pathological power struggle over who will send photos first.
- Grindric aphasia: Sudden inability to communicate with words with more than three letters.
- Penile Tourette's syndrome: Involuntary finger movement resulting in profile blocking after viewing a photograph of a small penis.
- Decapitamania (aka "torso rage"): An aggressive, angry outburst triggered by viewing a photograph not featuring a head or face. Usually manifests in verbal abuse, ranting, and threats to block.
- Post-meeting stress disorder (aka "PMSD"): Intense emotional trauma and shock triggered by door opening to reveal the actual person depicted in photos received via Grindr. Usually manifests in temporary paralysis of facial expressions, racing thoughts, speech problems, and in extreme cases, severe panic and anxiety.
- Bi-ruler delusional disorder: Inability to correctly read numbers on a ruler or tape measure when head is tilted toward groin area. Usually results in arbitrary addition of two to three inches on all measurements.
- Anti-aging dysmorphic disorder: Visual hallucination in which sufferer sees himself as he appeared 10 years ago when looking in mirrors or at photographs. Usually manifests in compulsive hoarding of 10-year-old photographs and featuring them in Grindr profiles.
Finally, by far the most alarming, puzzling, and widespread Grindr-induced psychological malady:
And the runner-up:
My professional advice for gay men at large who want to avoid the aforementioned maladies and my prescription for those unfortunately already afflicted: have a sense of humor, guys. It's not that serious.
Follow Joseph Cilona, Psy.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/drcilona